I hate being jilted. The sense of betrayal (“How could fill-in-the-blank do this to me?”), the self-flagellation (“How could I not have seen this coming?”), the depression (“I can't believe there is no more future with fill-in-the-blank”), the despair (“How will I go on without fill-in-the-blank?”). We've all experienced it. We've all been jilted before and it is likely we will be again. Here's a partial list of my infamous jilters:
Judith Ivory just simply vanished eight years ago, moved away without leaving a forwarding address. Oh, the pain of not knowing where a loved one is! Is she well? Is she wearing a sweater and clean underwear, just in case? Where is the closure? Maybe I have to admit that she just isn't that into me.
Barbara Samuel not only jilted me 10 years ago, but she even changed her name to Barbara O'Neal so I couldn't find her—it's like she got a restraining order against me or entered the Witness Protection Program. If you were over me, Barbara, why couldn't you just tell me so? Why string me along for years, all the while promising another St. Ives family romance? It was cruel and unsporting of you.
Lisa Kleypas is a special case. She hasn't quite left me, but she is two-timing me, committing bigamy, dividing her time between her historical romance family and her contemporary romance family. Her historical romances are still very good, but there is always the fear that she will finally get that divorce and choose to stay with her other family. Don't leave me, Lisa!
Connie Brockway broke my heart five years ago when she announced that she was leaving the manicured estates of historical romance for the bright lights and big cities of contemporary romance. I donned my metaphorical sackcloth and ashes and built a small shrine on my Keeper Shelf in her memory. But then a miracle occurred: she came crawling back to me. She is now writing historical romance again—hallelujah! But, you know, once bitten, twice shy. Can someone who's cheated on you before ever really be fully trusted again? I don't know . . .
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Favorite authors have left a trail of broken hearts and shattered dreams in their wake, but we die-hard historical romance fans keep coming back for more. We are, after all, incurable romantics. Cue Sally Bowles.
Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com.