In Praise of Romance Reviewers by Helena Fairfax, author of The Silk Romance

Hello readers, today we are absolutely over the moon with this fantastic author post from romance author, Helena Fairfax. Tina and myself began blogging about romance books in the beginning, whether they were contemporary, historical or paranormal. And we have always appreciated the time and effort that such authors put into writing, editing and promoting their work. We wanted to help spread the word and maybe introduce readers to more and more suspenseful and thrilling reads, at the same time as helping authors to promote their work.

One author who stood out from early on was Helena Fairfax with her debut contemporary romance, The Silk Romance. Tina reviewed this story first and I always loved her review. Along with  the review and the fantastic cover (Charlotte Volnek) and synopsis I had to have a read too! And, as stated in my review, it is an absolutely unforgettable romance. Helena has recently released The Silk Romance in paperback format and we are thrilled to add that we are mentioned in the book and are quoted on the front cover! Thank you, Helena!

Helena Fairfax – In praise of romance reviewers

Helena Farfax photo-002When Tina and Caroline invited me to write an article for their review site, I knew straightaway that I wanted to say how much I appreciate all the hard work book bloggers put in, and how particularly thankful I am that romance review sites like A Reader’s Review exist.

If you’re a lover of all things romance, as I am, and read lots of books, then how do you choose which romance novel to read next? In the olden days before book bloggers (or ‘back in the day,’ as my son always used to tease me with!) I used to find it hard to choose which romance novel, amongst all the many in the bookshop, I could be certain I was going to enjoy reading. All I could go on was the blurb and the cover – and I made many an expensive mistake buying romance novels I ended up putting down after the first couple of chapters, either because the writing wasn’t good or it just wasn’t my type of book.

It frustrated me that I could read reviews and book recommendations for plenty of other genres in newspapers – sci-fi, horror, even graphic novels – but no newspaper critic ever reviewed a romance novel. So how could I find the best authors? I couldn’t rely on word of mouth recommendations, either, as no one I knew shared my obsession with romance! In the end, in order not to waste money on a book that might not turn out any good, I used to either go to my local library (God bless our library service!) or visit my local market and pick up cheap, battered second-hand copies. If I found an author I loved this way, I would be ecstatic, and would buy up all her books new.

Nowadays the internet is full of romance review sites, and I can’t tell you what a difference this has made to my reading. I follow a handful of sites whose reviews I know I’m going to enjoy reading, and A Reader’s Review is one of the few sites I follow.

There are literally thousands of sites to choose from, and we each have our own preferences. This is how I choose whether or not to follow a review site.

I like it when a reviewer:

  • tells us what the book’s about (but without giving too much away.  Definitely no spoilers!)

  • summarises the characters and themes, and also gives their own opinion

  • tries to back up their opinion with examples from the text

  • is reliable (ie not blogging every day for a week, then writing nothing for months)

  • never gives bad reviews – particularly snidey reviews. (This is my own personal preference. I know some readers don’t mind reading bad reviews, but I prefer to read enthusiastic reviews that will point me in the direction of an author I haven’t heard of. If a book is bad, I prefer it if it just gets left unmentioned!)

And of course I love it when a reviewer introduces me to an author I’ve never heard of, who I grow to love.

Reviewing novels is hard work, as I know from the few times I’ve written reviews on my own blog. As an author myself, of course I’m even more grateful for the exposure romance reviewers provide, in a book market where romance authors are often overlooked and looked down on.

To give you an example of how poorly romance is regarded, I once took a box of leaflets detailing all the finalists for the RNA’s annual Romance Awards to my local bookshop, and asked them if they could display the leaflets on their counter. I was told they ‘didn’t sell that type of book in their shop!’ These were a selection of best-selling, professional authors, with publishers such as Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins. But apparently romance is too lowly a genre to figure in many establishments!

Well, thank heavens for romance reviewers, that’s all I can say! So when my first novel, The Silk Romance, came out in print, I was delighted to be able to use a quote from Caroline’s review on the front cover, and to credit A Reader’s Review in my acknowledgements.

Thanks for all that romance reviewers do, and here’s to lots more happy reading!

Helena Fairfax – Author post & bio (May 2013)

You can find out more about Helena on her blog at www.helenafairfax.com, or on Twitter @helenafairfax.

THE SILK ROMANCE

An unforgettable, powerfully intense and beautifully written contemporary romance!

I downloaded The Silk Romance after hearing how great it was from Tina. And so, as I came across it again a couple of weeks ago I just had to have a read. It is an amazing read that I am sure many will find difficult to put down. Yes, The Silk Romance will be forever in your memory as a great, sweet contemporary romance. (Caroline)

 

Blurb: Sophie Challoner is sensible and hard-working, and a devoted carer of her father.  One night her grandmother throws a ball for her in Paris…and Sophie does something reckless that she can never forget. 

Jean-Luc Olivier is not a man to treat lightly.  And so when fate takes a hand years after the ball, and reunites him with Sophie in Lyon, he is determined not to let her go a second time.

But it seems the fates are conspiring against their happiness.  Jean-Luc has secrets of his own.  And  when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep a sacred promise she made her mother.

Caroline’s review of The Silk Romance

Tina’s review of The Silk Romance

The Silk Romance is now available in paperback format and mobi (Kindle) format on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Thank you once again to Helena! It is always a pleasure to work with you.

Caroline & Tina 🙂

A Reader’s Review Blog

About Caroline Barker

I am a happily engaged mother of three and I absolutely love to read and write. Therefore, I am setting up a book blog in the hope to influence some readers out there!

3 thoughts on “In Praise of Romance Reviewers by Helena Fairfax, author of The Silk Romance

  1. Helena – thank you for your lovely post. As a reader it is great to be able to share the books we love with others. Most of the fiction I read are romance novels and it definitely is a genre that needs to be celebrated a lot more than it is. I find it very liberating to read the wide range of sub genres available in romance and what can be a more fulfilling read than exploring love, the most important human emotion.

    • Hi Tina, I’ve followed yours and Caroline’s reviews for a long time now. Thanks for all the excellent recommendations! It’s hard to understand why romance isn’t reviewed more often in the mainstream. You’re right, love is the most important human emotion, and there’s a romance at the heart of many a book and film. Thanks for hosting my post!

      • Yes, romance features across many genres. When Tina and myself discussed blogging we always used to talk about the romance scenes, even if it were a paranormal, historical or even erotic sometimes. Romance can be incorporated into almost any story and in many cases is fundamental to the binding of characters and part of their conflict within the story. It is also nice to read about romance from both the male and female characters standpoints as, in some cases, it helps the reader empathise with exactly what is going through that characters’ mind. I do tend to read crime novels and horrors, but I am always glad if a little romance is present in them. And I always like to go back and read a romance if it has been absent in my last few reads. It is like a drug, and when not present it is sorely missed!

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