A while back, a conversation cropped up at Romancing The Blog, a conversation regarding the idea that white readers don’t read romances written by black authors. I mentioned that I have absolutely no problem reading a romance by a black author, or any book by a black author, for that matter.
My problem has always been that I read romance for the hero, which means that he must be my dream man. I want him to be tall, dark, and handsome. And, yes, white. I’m simply not all that attracted to black men. Or red-headed men. Or, for the most part, blond men. But there have ALWAYS been exceptions.
Still, when I pick up a romance, I’m looking for dream dude. The heroine? She can be purple, furry, or covered with scales. I don’t care. I just want my juicy, dark-haired, alpha guy.
So anyway, author Sharon Cullars asked me if I’d be willing to give a romance written by a black author a chance if the heroine was black and the hero was white. Oh, and the book is a contemporary-set Brava with a paranormal twist.
My answer? Something close to “Hell, yeah!”
The short description: Lush. Eerie. Intelligent.
The long description: Sharon wrote an incredible book. Period. The color of the characters should in no way alter the true essence of what makes a romance novel work, and it doesn’t here. Race, in fact, plays a small, but crucial role in regards to the historical/paranormal aspect. The heroine is possessed of an involved history, she works at a newspaper with a targeted African-American readership, and the elegant descriptions from the hero’s point of view make her a beautiful individual.
Basically, the characters are human, well-developed, and the author doesn’t slap you in the face with the role color plays in either case. And I loved the interracial romance conflict in the historical scenes.
The hero is intelligent, charming, and pretty darned yummy. The heroine is equally intelligent, strong, and level-headed–and for the most part, I don't normally like romance heroines, but I liked her. The entire story is lushly sensual…though I have to say it was so lush and meaty that it felt odd for a contemporary Brava, which tend to be slightly lighter reads. In fact, the writing is very reminiscent of the writing styles often found in detailed, descriptive historicals. I would LOVE to see Ms. Cullars write historical novels…the scenes in Again that take place in the late 1800’s are so real I felt like I was there.
Overall, a very satisfying read. If you’re looking for an intelligent romance with which you can spend a lot of time, one that will entrench you in the world the author built, this’ll hit the spot. An amazing debut. Sharon Cullars has a lot of talent, and I will definitely read more of her romances…BLACK heroes or not. :mrgreen: