Today, three books came in the mail. In The Shadow of the Crown, The Divided Heart and Touched By Thorns, all by Susan Bowden, comprising her Radcliffe series, which I would more properly term a saga, as it covers several generations of the same family.
Sagas like this are my favorite kind of series, following the lives and loves of a remarkable family through the generations -at least three- and the changing circumstances of history. We don’t see many of these in the romance genre these days, and I think that may be a mistake. Some readers will cite that they don’t want to see beloved characters grow old and die -which does happen in some sagas, especially those more in the realm of historical fiction- but then we also lose the chance to see those characters, and their love, grow through the different seasons of life.
To see a hero and heroine I have followed through their courtship and early days become parents, not only to infants but older children, teens and young adults, eventually to become grandparents and watch the second and third generation embark on their own love affairs. Often enough, such second generation heroes and heroines only see their parents as their parents, and don’t take into account that the older generation does very much understand what it’s like to be young and in love. What’s more, they know what it’s like to be older and in love, to see that love last and grow even stronger.
Once in a while, we’d see a couple have difficulties. There could be a separation, willingly or not, the loss of a child, change in social status, either upward or downward, or any other host of things. Difficult for some readers, yes, but also a part of life, and in the romance genre, we know that all will be well in the end, so it’s the perfect place to take some dramatic risks. If there’s a separation, there is a reunion, and if a couple stumbles, they find their stride once more.
It’s not for everyone, and for those who require a specific setting, notably the ever-popular Regency, there isn’t time to sweep through the generations (perhaps why series featuring groups of friends or siblings prevail in this setting) but for settings with a broader scope -medieval comes to mind, or the early days of America, any revolution that changes the social and political landscape- it’s a rich field waiting to be mined, and for those who wonder how the children of a favorite hero and heroine turned out as adults, it’s a perfect fit.
There’s at least one of these percolating in my mind, and another WIP has the love story of the heroine’s parents as a subplot, part of that playing paralell with her love story with the hero. Didn’t plan that particular story that way, but that’s the way it wants to happen, so who am I to get in its way?
For now, though, the Radcliffes have the prime spot on my TBR shelf, and they are calling. How about you, readers and writers? What’s your take on multigenerational stories within romance?