Writers don’t read like other people. As I observed in my blog, “Do Writers Read for Fun?” there’s always that little man (or woman) in the bleachers, looking over our shoulders muttering comments like, “I would have done that differently,” or “Oooh, I like that. I’ll have to do that in my next book.” Those of us in critique groups are seriously afflicted.
Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. A Woman of Choice is good, but it’s different from your standard romance. This is the first of three connected (but stand-alone) novels chronicling the lives of Sydney and Nicholas. This is the first difference. Most romances span only one book. If characters continue in a series, they usually become secondary to another couple’s romance. That doesn’t seem to be the case in this series. Like Diana Gabaldon’s (who blurbed this book) Jamie and Claire, Nicholas and Sydney’s story continues on in A Prince of Norway and A Matter of Principle as their relationship matures.
The second difference from standard romance is that its events aren’t compressed into a week or even a month. Tualla’s characters take a year to unpack their emotional baggage. It gives the book a more leisurely feel than most romances, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. I found on several occasions that I’d read past my planned stopping time, and went to bed later than usual.
So were there things I would have done differently than Kris did? Of course! I’m a writer. We can’t help ourselves. Did she use techniques I want to copy? Yes. Definitely.
If you read last Friday’s interview of Kris, you know she’s taken the route of independent publishing, a path I’m also considering if my current submissions to traditional publishers don’t pan out. Here’s the elephant in the room: Is her independently published novel up to snuff? Without hesitation I say, Yes. She did a great job designing the cover, the quality of the binding is as good as any, the editing is good, the prose smooth, and the story itself is well told.
So if you’re in the market for a romance that’s not like all the others, try A Woman of Choice, and if you like it, tell your friends. Books (both independently and traditionally published) live and die by word of mouth.