Saturday, November 11, 2006

The offspring of fiction and love

I recently noticed that my daughter has listed the author Victoria Holt on her blog profile under ‘favorite books.’ Surprised me.

I think I have just about every book that I have ever purchased, and back in the 70’s I bought a lot of Victoria Holt and authors like her... I believe the genre is called gothic fiction or gothic romance or maybe it’s historical romance. Anyway, when I was Joyce’s age, and through all my high school years, I devoured books by Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr (who both are, by the way, the same person...), Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden and others I can’t remember right now.

Actually, I devoured books, period. Not just gothic romances. Some of my favorite books from that age are Watership Down and the Chronicles of Narnia (which I would read during class, when I wasn’t supposed to be reading... and one day I was so involved in the book that I totally forgot I was sitting in class, and I was crying as I read the book... made a spectacle of myself, but the teacher was cool and told me to go ahead and keep reading because I was obviously at an important part, she was right, I was, so I did).

I remember one of my sisters knew a woman who would get paperback books by the sackfuls, and she would give them to Janet for us girls to read. I was probably about 12 years old or so. Most of the books were Harlequin Romances... oh my heck, we would zip through those things like crazy, reading 4 or 5 in one day. Which wasn’t all that difficult, because once you’ve read a dozen of those things, you’ve basically read them all. Back then, the sexual situations were only alluded to, & very subtly alluded to at that. Not like the later books such as “Love’s Savage Fury” or whatever... those 'bodice rippers' that came out around that time with very explicit, very detailed descriptions that about made my eyes pop when I first encountered them. Which occurred during Office Practice class in my high school sophomore year. The cover of that paperback alone was enough to get you in trouble at school in those days.

The differences between those types of “romance” novels are pretty easy to spot... if the girl is frightened and at some point a setting in the book involves a copse then it’s a gothic novel, if the girl is 19 and the man (love interest) is in his 30’s and drives a Bentley, Rolls or Mercedes then it’s a Harlequin, or if the busty young, beautiful woman is raped but discovers she not only enjoyed it but loves the rapist then it’s a bodice ripper.

Anyway... back to Vicky. Joyce discovered I had a load of books on makeshift bookshelves down in our basement (awaiting more real bookshelves to be built... someday... by Kev). There Joyce found Ms. Holt and her ilk, and I guess she’s been reading them. Joyce is a devourer of books also, all kinds, and that is just one of the many, many things I love about my daughter.

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