But, I had to wonder if my dislike of the book stemmed from it being a so so story or my love of some of her other books. Winter Garden (my favorite), Stolen Charms and My Darling Caroline are all keepers for me.
I know I'm comparing. I also know I do it with Catherine Coulter, Jane Feather, Mary Jo Putney and Joan Wolf--loving older books and being disappointed in later ones. I no longer read Coulter and Putney, Wolf I keep trying simply because I can't believe her writing style has changed that much, and I vacillate about Feather from book to book. I realize my reading tastes evolve at the same time authors writing styles are evolving and perhaps we're going in opposite directions.
It leaves me wondering...
- Is it fair to judge a book by previous ones, instead of on the merits of the story and storytelling?
- Obviously I'm not the only one who does this :) So for those who don't, how do you not make comparisons?
- How is it possible that a writer like Joan Wolf's writing style and voice evolve into something SO completely different?
- And do editors, agents and publishers push authors to fit their molds? ie Avon and their interchangeable stable of Regency/Victorian writers?
That last question might be a little snotty, but I find myself reading less and less books published by Avon, there are only a handful of authors with their own truly distinct voice, the rest seem like so much of the same. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so.
So, what do you think fair, unfair?
Now, the flip side of that. Do you give freshman authors a break?
When a book is by a new author or a new to you author do you give them a break as long as the story is good? I'm starting to think so. When I look back at my list of books read YTD I've read 17 new to me authors, some complete newbies and some I've tried for the first time. If I compare some of these to my keepers, in some cases there's no comparison, but yet I still liked the stories. Does any of this make sense?
And then do you have different standards for different genres or romance sub-genres? This I know I don't do, but am pretty sure others do, and they may not even realize it. I'm leaving this thought rather vague on purpose :D
PS--you may have noticed I didn't include Linda Howard in my list of evolving authors. Though I know so many people don't feel her newer books are as good as her older ones, I'm apparently bordering on rabid fangirl status and if she wrote the phone book I'd at least like it, if not love it :D