Ooo, Trish Wylie does vanity Google and found my review of The Wedding Surprise. And she didn't like it.
My little blurb about her book sparked a 1500 word essay from the outraged author. It's too bad I didn't proofread before posting my 'review' as she calls it, because I made two mistakes - I misspelled Mills & Boon, and I omitted the word 'category' in front of 'romance' at the beginning of the review when I said 'I haven't read a romance lately'. As anyone could see from a cursory glance, I read romance novels a lot - it's category romances that I wanted to get a refresher on.
Wylie takes offense at a number of things I didn't say in my review, which is quite a feat. But since she so graciously directed readers of her blog to mine (with an invitation to 'add a comment of your own or if you're someone who has read the book and didn't think it sucked like apparently all romances do...') and picked it apart piece by piece, I'll go back and explain the parts that confused her.
Trish says: "I will smile graciously and take criticism with grace when it comes from someone who has any clear idea of what category romance is about these days... Which this person- Clearly doesn't -"
Geez, Wylie, I said right up front that I wanted to know what they were up to 'these days'. I don't know what more you can ask for in terms of a disclaimer. I guess Ms. Wylie thinks only the 'educated' reader (ironically she uses the term 'educated' as a put-down a couple of times in her post) should dare to have opinions make comments about the books that they read.
Trish says again: "If you don't like a particular book then fine, that's entirely your choice, and mine, and the rest of the planets - but don't knock an entire genre because of one book and the pre-conceptions you already have in order to make you feel like a more 'educated' reader. If you're an educated reader then you do your research, read across the lines and discover what the best-sellers are - allow that others may like something that you do not - and you do not feel you need to put them down because of it."
I'll give you a pass on the first part of this one, Wylie, because I said (mistakenly) in the review that I hadn't read a romance lately. But WTF are you talking about? I didn't pan romance novels. I didn't even pan category romance novels. I panned YOUR NOVEL. And I didn't even pan it that hard.
Wylie goes on to pick my 89 words apart sentence by sentence phrase, by phrase. "Now let's look at the words 'but it's probably not typical' - Well actually, I'd love to say I was the first category author to come up with Reality TV as a back drop(...)"
That's great. Modest of you. But what makes you assume I was talking about the Reality TV aspect of your book? I wasn't.
"The thing about the kind of people that run down the genre without knowing better(...)," Wylie continue to dribble in this paragraph, calling me 'too lazy' in the next line.
"Then we have 'It's a Mills and Boone book, and set in Ireland. It took me a while to get my head around that, but I got over it.' - Mills and Boon may be a London based publisher - but (...) the books are set ANYWHERE (...) They have a diversity of settings, of plots, of characters and of authors voices that mean to lump them all under the one heading for criticism is a tad naive, don't you think?"
It wouldn't be naive. It would be a complete non sequitur. I was surprised that the book was set in Ireland because the only thing that tipped me off to the location was the mention of Dublin and the Irish names for all the characters. I started off with an assumption that had to be corrected mid-stream. This was annoying. I don't think, nor did I say, that publishing books set in a variety of locales is worthy of criticism.
"'Not a bad idea, but not very believable either - truly fell apart at 'the big reveal'. (...)But to choose one, as it happened mine (which is why I found it) to use as a way of running down an entire publishing house... well... Do I really need to spell it out?
As to the 'not very believeable either' - I could choose to write 'real-life' romance from the experience of my friends and myself as modern day women in our thirties - but I'm writing books that are meant for 'escapism' - for guaranteed Happily Ever Afters for the reader - because that is what they want, it's why the romance industry exists - and really, isn't life depressing enough???"
I am truly baffled. Apparently the fact that I mentioned the name of the publisher means that I was running them down. And the fact that I said her book 'wasn't very believable' means I have a problem with upbeat endings for romance novels.
Her hysterical conclusion: I hate romances and have used my dislike of her book as an excuse to slander the entire genre.
Perhaps if Wylie had read more closely, and if she hadn't been 'too lazy' to educate herself about the person who she was making personal attacks against - she would have realized that I didn't slam the genre - just her book.
And it wasn't much of a slam at that. I felt the characters were mildly likeable and I did enjoy the set-up. I didn't feel the ending was believable - because the idea of anyone trying to solve a relationship problem by creating television montage is only less laughable than someone accepting such a montage as proof of sincerity from someone who had lied to them for months. It struck me as humiliating, heartless, and far-fetched.
To sum up, Wylie used an 89 word review which made only one clearly negative remark about her book to throw a hissy fit of a tirade in which she accuses me of saying a whole lot of things that I didn't say and don't think. She was snide in my direction, she invited her readers to make nasty comments on my blog, and she called me uninformed, lazy, naive, and narrow-minded
Thanks for the link, Trish Wylie. I like romances a lot. I didn't like your book much, though I didn't dislike it as much as you seem to think. I definitely don't like YOU. I don't appreciate your behavior, and I won't be buying any of your books any time soon.