May 5 2014 7:18am

Romance Novel Prequels or Sequels?

The Duke and I by Julia QuinnSome authors travel up or down their characters' timelines, to write the stories of a hero or heroine's parents or children. This happens most frequently in historical romance, although it does happen in paranormal romance as well.

(Julia Quinn addresses some of the issues that might befall a potential reader when reading this type of story as she explains why she won't write a Violet and Edmund Bridgerton romance).

Do you like reading prior or the next generation love stories? Or are you too distracted by what you know of the couple you first read about?

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1. carmenlire
I love prequels/sequels because it really fills out the world the author has created. I first thought of the Macgregors by Nora Roberts in which the patriarch, his children, and then his grandchildren all have their own stories and I absolutely love that because it adds so much depth and inside knowledge when you're reading. You really feel as if you get to know all the characters and subsequently the world the author has created.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
I think I find it weird, sometimes, thinking that these people are the result of other people's activities in previous books. I like to think of the characters as staying as they are, not getting older, not dying, not having children, so it's hard for me to begin reading a sequel or prequel book. If I can forget who they're supposed to be, I usually enjoy it.
3. willaful
I find for the parents they're usually obnoxious -- like writing a love story for a character that you know is going to have an illegetimate child with someone else! -- or just have no real tension to them, perhaps because the authors love them to much to make trouble for them.

Stories for the children work better, though have some issues as well. I hated when Anne Stuart killed off the child who had been part of the happy ending in the previous book of the series! It's not that I think nothing bad should ever happen to a romantic coupld; it would have been different to have a sequel *about them* in which they lost a child, for example. But just having it be some almost casual history, ugh.

I also hate it when a young character is really smart or interesting in some way, and then grows up to be just like every other romance hero ever. (I'm looking at you, Linda Howard.)
Jennifer Proffitt
4. JenniferProffitt
I've read series where the next book in the series follows children of the couple I just finished with and I find it a bit weird. I could NEVER, and I mean NEVER, read Violet and Edmund's story from Julia Quinn, because as she said, it would just be too bittersweet. I love Violet as a character in the Bridgerton series, and I wouldn't be opposed to seeing her fall in love a second time in one of the kid's stories (had that been the case), but I just couldn't candle it if I got invested in V/E's HEA but knew it wouldn't end well.

This reminds me of Samantha Young's India Place that I'm getting ready to read. We have known the heroine in that book since she was a young teenager. I feel better about going into a story with a much younger sibling, who I have seen grow, than I do with a character who I was at the birth of, for lack of a better phrase. That being said, the upcoming Malory story by Johanna Lindsay, feels like OK territory to me because I haven't been with the Malories in almost a decade, and for other readers, it's been 20 years. I think that's enough distance, although still weird.

For me, if I'm going to follow a series, I'd much rather it be over a gaggle of siblings, or a group of friends, than from generation to generation. Though, I am always willing to stand corrected!
5. Scarlettleigh
My stand has changed over the years, but now I find that I don't really like either -- maybe I have read too many prequels and sequels and been disappointed.

Recently Eloisa James did a sequel on Leopold Dautry, Duke of Villiers' son - known in A Duke of Her Own as Juby, or Tobias. But in his book- Three Weeks with Lady X - he is now called Thorn.

Along with the name change, I felt like all the characterizations changed. He didn't appear to have any of his childhood attributes I had come to know - like his love of clothes - which he demonstrated in the epilogue of A Duke of Her Own.

Plus I found it difficult to believe that after watching his father intellectually pick a bride with diasterous results, that Tobias would do the exact thing again. In A Duke of Her Own, he was giving his father relationship advise, but when it comes to his book, he a typical clueless aristocrat.

If I had read the book as a stand-alone, I would have been pleased. Eloisa James always writes a good story. But to have met Tobias as a child, and then meet him as an adult, completely changed --- well it was a big disappointment. I wanted to see parts of the boy I had fell in love with. . .
6. willaful
"But to have met Tobias as a child, and then meet him as an adult,
completely changed --- well it was a big disappointment. I wanted to
see parts of the boy I had fell in love with. . ."

Yes, exactly! Why even use the character if you're going to change everything? It's like saying, oh well, he's a hero now, he has to have a manly name and manly attributes!
Jennifer Proffitt
7. JenniferProffitt
Ugh, @scarlettleigh and @willaful! That book is on my TBR list and I hadn't even made the connection! Will read with caution, now.
Anna Bowling
8. AnnaBowling
Generational books are actually my favorite sort of series, so I do like seeing the children of previous couples as heroes and heroines of their own generation. Going backwards to cover the parents can be trickier, as we'll have known the way that turns out, for good or ill, if the children's books come first, but done right, it could work.
Kaye Dacus
9. kndacus
It's not just generational prequels/sequels I have trouble with . . . I had trouble reading Gregory's and Hyacinth's books in the Bridgerton series---mainly because I was so accustomed to them being little kids in their siblings' books (or at least looked upon that way). It was hard to not only see them as adults but to read THOSE scenes which truly meant they were all grown up. All I could think of was that these were the bratty little kids running around in earlier books and now they're each falling in love and doing the dirty deed. Ewwww!

No matter how much I love certain families/groups in some of the series I read, I am firmly of the belief that there comes a time at which an author needs to let go and move on. I felt that way with Jude Deveraux and her Montgomery obsession back in the '80s and '90s, and toward the end of the Bridgerton series, I started feeling that way again. After a while it just starts feeling . . . old and worn out rather than familiar and comforting.
Janet Webb
10. JanetW
It's so hard to do well but I did think that Nora Roberts did a fabulous job with looks backward with the MacGregor family--especially the one set in Scotland and the colonial romance. I usually am not wild about it. ESPECIALLY if the characters are not true to the way they are presented.
11. Helena J
I like prequels and sequels, as long as the character remain true to themselves and the original book isn't spoilt by them. But sometimes the original book was perfectly conceived and completed, and a prequel or sequel just isn't necessary.
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