Romancing a Skeptic

On NPR’s All Things Considered on Saturday, Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, creators of the web site, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, spoke to romance-book skeptic Rebecca Roberts about their new book on the genre.

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels
Sarah Wendell, Candy Tan
Price: $15.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Fireside – (2009-04-14)
ISBN-10: 1416571221
ISBN-13: 9781416571223


When challenged to come up with a reading list of current titles (no fair resorting to Jane Austen to try to win over a skeptic!) to introduce Roberts to the best of the genre, the women first recommended Lord of Scandal as a “100% excellent” historical, filled with “snappy dialog” and a heroine who is “a half-step in front of the hero at all times.”

Lord of Scoundrels
Loretta Chase
Price: $6.99
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon – (1995-03-30)
ISBN-10: 0380776162
ISBN-13: 9780380776160


They told Roberts that the hottest romance category right now is paranormal, best represented by Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series; “full of Norse mythology and the women are just incredibly empowered and fascinating characters.”

Kiss of a Demon King (The Immortals After Dark, Book 6)
Kresley Cole
Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Pocket – (2009-01-20)
ISBN-10: 1416580948
ISBN-13: 9781416580942


But Roberts audibly shuddered at the thought of vampires and werewolves and their ilk, so Tan and Wendell went on to recommend the following, all of which feature strong heroines and heros, excellent plots and are “utterly believable.” The titles are featured on the site “Save the Contemporary,” created in conjunction with Dear

Smooth Talking Stranger
Lisa Kleypas
Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – (2009-03-31)
ISBN-10: 0312351666
ISBN-13: 9780312351663


Instant Attraction
Jill Shalvis
Price: $14.00
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Brava – (2009-02-01)
ISBN-10: 0758231237
ISBN-13: 9780758231239


Talk Me Down
Victoria Dahl
Price: $6.99
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: HQN Books – (2009-01-01)
ISBN-10: 0373773560
ISBN-13: 9780373773565


Flat-Out Sexy 
Erin McCarthy
Price: $14.00
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade – (2008-11-04)
ISBN-10: 0425224074
ISBN-13: 9780425224076

One Response to “Romancing a Skeptic”

  1. RITA 2010 Awards | EarlyWord: The Publisher | Librarian Connection Says:

    […] After Dark series. Earlier this year, the creators of the web site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, told NPR that the series is the best representative of the genre, “full of Norse mythology and the women […]