The Proviso by Moriah Jovan


Today's book's similarities to yesterday's book can be summed up rather quickly in four words: Can Be Termed Romance. That's about it. Yet the peripherals of these books are in startling alignment. But I'm not going to spell it out for you. Other than to say I also don't like this cover (albeit for very different reasons):

The Proviso by Moriah Jovan

Unlike Monday's book, this one I have actually read. Moriah sent me an ARC and I promised to read and review it. Although I also told her it might be awhile as I don't generally speed through 700page books. Unless, you know, they're in huge type and being simultaneously read by millions of small children who will ruin it for me if I don't finish it within a week of when they do. But no one has accused this LDS "romance" writer of being the next J.K. Rowling, so I figured I was safe.

So I've been reading the book for a few months now and finished it a little over a week ago. I'm going to start by giving you an overview of the book, but before starting with that start, let me quickly warn you that I am not going to be too worried about being spoiler free. My spoilers will generally be vague in nature, but will let you know What Sort of Thing to expect. You might want to start with the free 200page sample, then return. Just sayin'.

That said, basic structure:

The Proviso, for all the other things you could call it, is three romances. Three cousins take turns falling in love and getting married and, um, too soon for that big of a spoiler. Other things happen too. Right now I'll just say sex, because we can't talk about this book without talking about its sex anyway.

Cousin Giselle falls in love (sex and marriage inclusive) with Bryce. Who is covered in scars.

Cousin Sebastian falls in love (sex and marriage inclusive) with Eilis. Who stops wearing Chanel.

Cousin Knox falls in love (sex and marriage inclusive) with Justice. Who has red hair.

Also there are bullets.

As the author of an it-could-be-called-a-romance-but-that-seems-to-miss-the-point book myself, I'm sympathetic to Moriah's reluctant attempts to pigeonhole her book:
    I don’t know how to classify The Proviso. I never did. Drama? Yeah, plenty of that. Family saga? Check. Epic? Uh, most definitely, as it takes place over the course of 5 years. But epic what? I can’t think of a book I could compare it to. Healthy doses of religion and spirituality mixed in with money and explicit sex? What? What’s anybody supposed to do with that? It’s not LDS romance/literature/fiction (defined as anything that could be sold at Deseret Book/Seagull), although I could call it Mormon fiction if a criteria of “Mormon” is that a Mormon wrote it. I call it a romance because I see myself as a romance writer.
It's a complicated book. It's "based" on Hamlet. It shows a heavy Randian influence. It has lots and lots and lots of explicit sex. (She wasn't kidding about that. I don't think I've ever finished a book with so much explicit sex before. And I read Piers Anthony as a teenager.

(Note: Had I hit the first sex scene when I wrote this, I would have rethought my manner of presentation. Especially after this conversation.)

So this book has sex. But the cover should have cued you into that.

Now for a series of disconnected facts about the book that I will comment on as whimsy strikes me.

So the Randian thing. It made me want to scream at times. I'm always leery of anyone--even fictional anyones--who aligns themselves too thoroughly with any one philosophy. But Rand is so much a part of who Giselle and Bryce are that it can't be ignored. They won't let you.

I think Moriah knew how overblown they got, because she balanced the book out with a character who hates Rand and dismisses her as so much hollow frumpf. Phew.


Something that struck me as I got, oh, let's say a third of the way into the book, is that most of my irritations with the book came from misunderstanding the characters. From an artistic standpoint, Giselle and Knox (to name only two) are not mere human characters acting out human actions on a human stage. They are Greek Gods. They are the great heroes of yore, transplanted to modern Kansas City. The actions played on this stage are higher and broader and deeper and more more more than anything I myself might ever do. This book doesn't merely borrow plot points from Hamlet. It goes back even further to bring us to a world of Kings Who Are Gods. Once I realized this and then read the book through this perspective, the book worked much better.

The risk, of course, in writing that last paragraph is that you will now dismiss the book as being somehow literarily unworthy. Which would be stupid and make no sense. What, we're going to throw out Edith Hamilton on the same grounds? Be serious. Just because we don't see gods much shouldn't make as book about them less interesting. Think about that logic for a moment....


I want to talk about an ethical question for readers which I don't think I had ever considered before reading this book. As a Christian, I am required to forgive all men. Yet I have made a deliberate choice not to forgive Knox. And it was only with difficulty that I was able to forgive Justice for forgiving Knox.

I have decided that, as these are fictional characters, I am under no moral obligation to forgive. These are not living, breathing souls; no matter how well fiction is crafted, it is still an act of creation less than Creation.

After the end of the book proper, Moriah included a set-back-before-the-book-even-started short story, "John 3:16" (available online), the inclusion of which is rather fascinating as it did a couple of things for me, as a reader. Added value, obviously--everybody loves a free bonus. But it also reminds me of how much I hated Knox. And it undercuts all the hard work Moriah had spent in the seemingly impossible task of making me (almost) forgive the bastard, which thing I had sworn never to do. But she spent many many many pages redeeming him and giving him a deus ex machina and then, after the final page, "John 3:16" made me hate him all over again. Fascinating artistic choice, Moriah. You have to tell me why you included it. I have to know.


In this book, eyes widen, heads are thrown back in laughter (or in scream), characters gasp for one reason and catch their breath for another, hands move to the face, etc etc etc. The characters seem to have a limited (and shared) repertoire of physical expressions of emotion and thought.

I've been wondering about this. Maybe it's hard to have enough little things to keep these kinetic indicators fresh over 700pages? I don't know.

I've been wondering what I would do with them had I been the book's editor. And I'm not sure. I think, within the realm of "romance", these shortcuts are common. And I don't think they bug other readers like they bug me.

Which reminds me of another stylistic difference between Moriah and myself. In my opinion she spends waaay too long to describing characters and their appearances and their clothes. This is not something I do. As a reader, I'm not likely to remember the way the author describes a character anyway. (Unless they pound it into me repeatedly.) And so I have decided that minimal details are necessary; let the reader create the character in her own image. I will provide vital details but the rest mattereth not and may be entrusted to the reader's imagination.

I am reminded of an interview with Daniel Handler that I can't find now. His publisher had wanted Violet to have some sort of physical description. ANY sort of physical description! He disagreed. He, like I, would rather leave a character a blank slate for the reader to paint herself upon.

The compromise he arrived at was, whenever Violet was ready to invent, she would pull out a ribbon and tie up her hair.

Perfect. Simple. Beautiful.


We will agree to disagree on this point.


As a reader, I'm not one to read 1000page tomes. I read more for breadth than depth and short books allow me to read more books by more authors.

That said, occasionally reading a biggun such as The Proviso is good for me. The manner of storytelling is necessarily different as are the opportunities available to writer and reader alike.


It would be interesting to see how various brands of feminism would take on this book. Take for instance (major spoiler alert here) the uses of pregnancy:

Three main women, Giselle, Eilis, Justice.
    Giselle desperately desires to be pregnant but her husband refuses. Eilis becomes pregnant when she is deemed to be the first woman worthy of condomfree sex by her love. Justice, if she has a baby, will fulfill a legal requirement for her husband and bring him great wealth.
I smell a dissertation here, just waiting to be written.


Well into what I had thought was a 150page denouement (another major spoiler alert), I was surprised by the book's climax. I mentioned this to Moriah and she said "They let their guard down. So did you." And all I can say to that is Bravo. Well written.


I suppose the only other thing I really have to talk about now is the MORMON thing. A healthy percentage of the characters in this book are Mormon to one degree or another. But of the major characters, not one looks anything like someone in a Jack Weyland novel. Besides the copious sex (only some marital) and dripping language (and I don't mean with godliness) and the shooting people in the face, there are no casseroles or home teachers or Pinewood Derbies. This is not a typical look at Mormonism. This is a look at Mormons ranging from the almost lapsed to the never-coming-back. All the good, active Mormons are relatives we only see in passing, on special occasions--holidays and the like.

Yet the book's Mormonism is plain on the face. The issue is summed up well by the first page under the cover:

proviso jovan frontispiece

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess this is enough to offend a lot of good Mormons without reading past that first page. And, going further out on this steady and secure limb, I'm going to guess that actually reading the book wouldn't change their minds.

Now, my work has never been labeled erotic, but I, like Moriah, agree that we should not say Mormon artists May or May Not do any such whatsoever. We should watch ourselves and be sure that we judge not. We can certainly judge what we will or will not ingest into our souls, but judging a work's creator is a different problem altogether.

But I'm getting offtopic.

Let me wrap up the Proviso-Mormon thing with comments on the Mormon-hierarchy issue which weighs so heavily on so many of the characters.

First: I have a hard time believing it. I come across it so often in Mormon fiction (of all stripes) that I guess it must exist, but the idea that people structure their selfworth around obtaining "higher" and "higher" callings seems implausible to me. Perhaps a few, but can it really be so rampant? Those of you Mormons who are still reading, please comment on this. Do people really lust after and seek after callings? And not in a casual daydreamy way, but in an ambitious-caesar kind of way. Please. Enlighten me. Because if people do, they're idiots. And they have no understanding of our doctrine.



Anyway. Despite my owning a paper copy, The Proviso is primarily being marketed by its publisher as an ebook. Just wanted to mention that. And having mentioned that, here are my last few thoughts before I call this good and walk away:
    1. Visit http://theproviso.com/. Speaking of added value, here you get some. The first 200pages as a free download and the sites filled with little datums and factoids and excerpts and thises and thats. If you're interested but merely want to know more, go there. 2. Ummmmm. I thought I had more to say. But it's gone. But that's all right. I've said enough. 3. But I will say that for my issues with the book, overall I quite enjoyed it. I'm excited to read a couple of the other books in the Dunham series (no need to read in order), notably the post-apocalyptic one and the bishop-and-the-whore one. If she can make me find restructuring interesting, I'm sure she'll succeed there.

buy from amazon


  1. This book really doesn't sound like my kind of book--not that I'm judging Jovan as a person/writer (just like I wasn't judging Martindale as a person/writer), but I do think it works against too many conventions to be a satisfying read for me. When I turn to LDS/Mormon lit, I bring a series of expectations with me--not that I let them close my mind--but I do expect something gentler and more in harmony with the spirit of Christ than I would get in the national market. I know that not every LDS/Mormon writer/reader has that expectation but I do. I can't seem to shake it. . . it's just who I am. I think a lot of people would say that expectation is bad thing, but I'm thinking it is neither good nor bad. It simply is.

    So, I'm wondering why Jovan felt the need to make this book about Mormonism (along with the hundred other things it's about). Why not just let it be about other things? Are the Mormon elements pertinent to the plot or meaning of the book? Or is she simply taking advantage of Mormonism and it's cultural pot-stirring nature? I have a hard time understanding authors who say they don't hate us but sure seem like they do. (Jovan may or may not be one of those writers. I don't know. Haven't read the book.)

    About the conventions of 700 page romance novels. Yeah. They are samey, samey, samey.

    Love what you said about characters physical descriptions. I think they should be left minimal too. Didn't know that about Violet.

    I used to aspire after callings. But I think that's because I'm a very driven person who likes to be busy and when I decided to stay home with my kids I was pretty bored and struggled with understanding my worth as person in our telestial world. And I was lonely. Bigger callings meant more meetings and more acquaintances. Of course, the Lord eventually gave me a dose of responsibility and, I gotta, say that cured me. If I can be on the Enrichment committee for the rest of my life I will be grateful.

    This review reads like your Brother Brigham review. I'm assuming you liked it because you didn't straight out say otherwise. But, knowing what I know about you and BB, I'm wondering if you are being kind to Ms. Jovan. Pulling punches, as it were.

  2. Re: Character descriptions: This is a huge pet peeve for me. It just screams Mary Sue. Are your character's looks THAT important? REALLY? I'm fine if the character's appearances are described with random, subtle details. The way others talk about and react to him/her, a fleeting mention of a feature. In general I much prefer descriptions of mannerisms (Violet pulling up her hair), and will accept appearance descriptions only if they can be grafted organically into the character and/or story (ie, if paragraphs or sentences are set aside for the sole purpose of describing a character, the story has to happen in a way that convinces me that the character's looks are, so some degree, actually important to the story, and not in an author's-wish-fulfillment way.)

    Re: Callings: Well, I don't lust after callings. Mostly I do everything I can to avoid being given them, and then screw them up horribly/ignore them completely when I do finally get pinned down.

  3. .

    I'm pretty sure Moriah will be around to comment on much of what you've said, so I'll leave her and her motivations to to her. That's a lot of hers for one sentence.

    But I will say that 1) Moriah is Mormon and not anti in any way that I've discerned and 2) while the characters are as Jack as they come, they are real and honest in their Jackness. Books about the Jack are as fair as books about the devout, I imagine.

    As for your expectations, Laura, I agree: they are neither good nor bad but simply are. Me, I try to read things that I know will go against my desires and expectations just to see if maybe there's more to me than I realize. (I know that sounds kind of elitist, but I really don't mean it that way.)

    While there are plenty of things I did not like about The Proviso, I don't dislike it in the way I dislike Brother Brigham. I'll never read Martindale again. I will read Jovan again. Her bishop/whore one I mentioned, for instance? She has said she's going to try out the erotics of abstinence in that one and I'm excited to see what she can do without all that sex.

    And I'm sympathetic to what you said about callings. I'm a better saint when I'm doing something quote/unquote important. It's hard for me to be devout when no one's watching.... But I look at that more as a personal failing.

    Redoubt--thank you---mannerisms----that's the word I was looking for.

  4. 1. I'm also not sure I would read this one--I read the short story and am not sure whether or not I liked it. I think I've read too many other books lately about how evil and corrupt the world is and I need a break (just finished a seminar this quarter on 'trauma in lit and film' so I've had a bit too much lately). I also am not that into explicit sex scenes--I think sex has its place in life and in literature, but I usually don't understand why we need to have lengthy descriptions or anything. I usually don't find that a lengthy description adds more to the story than a shorter one would.

    2. I would also probably be turned off by lengthy character descriptions and overly verbose writing. That's one things I really didn't like about Twilight. I think the linkage between physical characteristics/dress with character should have gone out with 19th century literature. I'd prefer character to be revealed through actions and possibly some telling mannerisms.

    3. I always think it's interesting to see how people view the Mormon label or the use of Mormon characters. I just finished reading John Bennion's Falling Toward Heaven, and while I thought the writing and storytelling were excellent (except the choice of ending), I struggled with liking or relating to the characters. The central character struggles with the 'burden' of Mormonism, which is for him tied up in the weight of his patraiarchal, polygamous ancestors. For him Mormonism is about issues of power, authority, and sexuality. I never had any of those issues in my understanding of the religion (and I didn't grow up in a small town founded by my polygamous great-grandfather, so tha probably helps), so the 'Mormon' characters felt just as foreign to me as the non-Mormon ones.

    I think for me what I like is characters that feel 'real' or 'human'--and that sounds cliche and I'm trying to figure out exactly how that works. Characters that aren't just evil, or just corrupt, or just totally good, or just 'quirky'. I still haven't figured out why I like some books/characters more than others, but if I ever do I'll let you know :)

  5. Thanks for the review, Th.

    There's an unofficial "rule" about Romancelandia (romance blogs) that an author shouldn't comment on a review except to thank the reviewer, because anything else makes the author look like a jackass. So I'm a little uncomfortable actually commenting, except...you've asked questions.

    1. I included John 3:16 because I wanted to answer the question "What did Knox do to Leah?" in case anybody cared. Honestly, it wasn't an artistic choice at all. Just a lagniappe.

    2. Laura, I don't consider the book "Mormon/LDS lit." I consider it romance. More specifically, over-the-top romance. A swashbuckler, if you will. Several non-member readers (romance readers and not) have favorably compared it to a soap opera and I'm good with that. I'm not writing great literature here, even if I knew what that was or how to do it. I really really really really adore the Kings Who Are Gods theme

    3. Or is she simply taking advantage of Mormonism and it's cultural pot-stirring nature?


    4. About the conventions of 700 page romance novels. Yeah. They are samey, samey, samey.

    As are the conventions of mystery, spy thrillers, legal thrillers, and every other "genre" of fiction.

    5. Aspiring after callings.

    I know lots of people like that, including a couple of family members and a bishop who did not disguise his ambition.

    6. She has said she's going to try out the erotics of abstinence in that one and I'm excited to see what she can do without all that sex.


    7. The deus ex machina. I had to think long and hard about doing that. I believe I said to you, Th., once that I didn't end it the way I SHOULD have, but it's a romance and the only real requirement of a romance is a happily ever after or a happily for now.

    8. One thing I must have failed to convey ('cause nobody's mentioned it) is that Giselle's and Sebastian's choices are as informed by their childhood poverty as they are the church. It's a nasty combination, especially if you aspire after callings (which Sebastian's father did; while I didn't put that in the book, I did post a vignette on the book's site with that).

    9. Hating Knox. But you weren't indifferent, right?

    10. I think each reader has his own likes and dislikes. I like description. I like to read books with lots of description. I look at it this way: I write because I can't paint.

  6. Just wanted to throw in my 2 bits about people seeking callings.

    First jackass got a patriarichal blessing that told him he would be in the council of the 12 someday.
    O.K. maybe it was prophecy but. . .
    He lives and breathes for that and it has made him one of the most self-righteous ignorant bastards ever.

    Second ass goes around everywhere introducing himself as I'm President so and so, to people outside of his ward, people his calling has no bearing on, because he is seriously trying to climb the ranks caesar-like. As if affirming he is president of the elders quorum will get him some kind of prestige with the masses.

    I am a little interested in Mojo's book, but its romance so I will get a different title of hers because I do agree with a lot of her points just not genre interested.

  7. Thanks, David. I appreciate it.

    I'm a romance writer, though, so almost everything I do is romance. The two that Th. referenced (the post-apoc and the bishop/whore) are romances. I only have one project in the works that will definitely NOT qualify as romance, so you might be waiting a while. ;)

  8. Mojo

    I'm still interested in the others because post/apoc is cool, I was raised watching Mad Max/Road Warrior and it was very common almost mandatory discussion material growing up in Montana.

    And the Bishop/Whore project is intriguing simply because I have had people tell me thats why theu left the Church, because of what their Bishop did in Vegas. To me thats the total 'Faith in the arm of flesh copout' so I wouldn't mind seeing a novel, even with romance that took on a tougher ward/dividing subject.

    I would admit I might be a little thrown on gratuitous sex, not to be sqeaumish just because I don't read erotica. I'm much more of a skull crunching violence reader.
    In fact funny story, my best KC memory involved almost shooting a guy that tried to steal a van I was sleeping in.
    Not funny? guess you had to be there.

  9. Well, I'll tell you that the Bishop/Whore one (the title is MAGDALENE) is an allegory of the atonement, so take from that what you will... It is also NOT a conversion story. The plot point is a continuation of something that is referred to in Proviso and plays a fairly heavy role in the events in Proviso.

    Strictly speaking, in genre terms of erotica, erotic romance, and romance, Proviso is NOT erotica. It is erotic romance. But I don't mean that to come across as defense or like I'm trying to persuade you or anything. It is what it is, and I put the warning label in it so as not to ambush members of the church.

    Lessee...body count for Proviso is 3 during, 4 if you count alluded-to backstory.

    Re: Skull-crunching violence, I'm doing that in the historical (comes before the post-apoc). I can get away with more of that there.

    I know it's not funny someone tried to steal your van here, but I did actually smile at your story.

    In any case, I'm delighted to have piqued your imagination a bit. :)

  10. .

    I laughed.

    I'm not sure why though.

  11. ## MAJOR SPOILERS ##

    Th: Yes! Knox is awful: abusive, deeply hypocritical. I really wanted Justice to ditch him. Grr.

    I know some people won't approve of the numerous sex scenes and graphic language. To be honest I didn’t think much about either of those and won't comment except to say that both could have been pulled back a little and probably had more impact as a result. In particular I think the blatant early signposting for both Giselle and Bryce lessened the impact of what could have been a deeply revealing and startling sex scene between them.

    There was one aspect of the book I did find really unsettling and that was the male/female power imbalances and double standards imposed on the six main characters. The women are ruled by their passions and consistently confuse physical response (to non-consensual acts) with real consent. Each of the three men uses sex to control or demean a woman (that he supposedly loves) at some point. Even in the case of Bryce and Giselle where sub/dom role-playing is clearly an integral (and consensual) part of their sex life, he oversteps clear boundaries they have set restricting those roles to the bedroom. The other two women are portrayed as weak and needing to be taught how to be strong and effective. Both are coerced by one of the men into certain changes and make others by observing and then mirroring his behaviour. The one female character who is truly formidable from the get-go nevertheless craves a man who can (and will) physically dominate her.

    Women who act heinously (Michelle, Trudy) are reviled. Men who act heinously (Knox, Fen) are generally forgiven or otherwise tolerated way beyond reason. (David is too 2-dimensional to matter.) Throughout the book the men make most of the decisions, exert the most force and yet are held the least accountable for their actions. The women are ridiculed/reprimanded when they attempt to exert power over men they love, even if only to defend themselves or assert their rights. Men (eventually) are rewarded/praised for exerting power over women they love (or want), even when their actions are paternalistic, cruel or even criminal in nature.

    This isn’t the whole of the book, and didn’t ruin it for me, but I found myself wishing for just one couple free of this pattern. Sebastian approached this kind of security at times, but his other actions made it hard to trust him, and as much as he worshipped Eilis, he was also credited with 'fixing' her and was therefore worshipping his own creation in a sense. The only coupling in the book where the woman is clearly stronger than the man is also the most evil: Trudy and Fen.

    I agree with what you said about the descriptions and I'd also apply that to the long romantic monologues. If I’m super-duper honest, I think this could be a great 500 page book. There’s a LOT of really good writing, decent plot and some very compelling characters. There’s also stuff that a bolder editor would have cut out or made more subtle in order to match the rest of the tight, fast-paced text. I liked the humour. I really enjoyed a lot of the dialogue/banter. The business-related stuff interested me more than I thought it would. I liked the guns. :) I particularly enjoyed the Ford sub-plot - every bit of it. Giselle and Bryce see-sawed for me, but overall I found their baggage, history, flaws and interactions the most interesting of the three stories.

  12. .

    I think that's a fair critique. And you'll be happy to hear that the next book works on some of those issues in what is, for me, an ultimately more palatable way.

  13. Part 1 (because it won't let me post more than 4,096 characters.)

    I know in the arena of Mormon lit (which The Proviso is not, but this blog and related blogs could fall under the umbrella of that field of interest), it is common (expected?) for the author to comment on a review/critique, but it’s not in my internet community (romance), as I’ve said. It’s considered bad form and “author behaving badly.”

    So this is late in coming because I have been trying to decide whether to comment or not.

    I’ll be frank (because Chosha was): Chosha’s comment really irritated me because A) she knew that I consider it genre romance going in, B) she was live-tweeting her objections to me as she was reading and expecting me to explain, C) during that live-tweeting she admitted she doesn’t like genre romance, and D) during that conversation, I reiterated that I consider it straight genre romance. Thus, I’m not sure why any of this was a surprise to her or that she had issues with it and continued to read.

    Yes, I love genre romance. Period. I try to make no apologies for that but in a way, this post is an apology and I hate that. And it’s made because of an Alan Eisner piece on HuffPo that just made my head explode, the subtext of which is: You women don’t have a right to like what you like, but our (men’s) amusements are all good.

    The Proviso, love it or hate it, is one long homage to genre romance, the genre romance I grew up on and adore. I threw everything but the kitchen sink in it and genre romance readers have loved it (which does not discount Chosha’s not liking it). It stands to reason that if you don’t like genre romance, you’re not going to like The Proviso and even if you do, you’re still going to find some things problematic or downright disturbing.

    I don’t know whether to address the points one by one and explain all the devices I used in the context of genre romance or not, because the explanations themselves would be seen as problematic if not downright disturbing—or even to explain them in terms of the sexual zeitgeist of the time in which the groundbreakers were written (please consult Nancy Friday’s books on female sexual fantasies circa 1973).

    However, I feel compelled to counter some things in her critique.

  14. Part 2

    Chosha’s (and Theric’s) issue with Knox and Justice is called “forced seduction,” and it’s the backbone of genre romance. Apparently, the fact that Knox goes about his life steamrolling everybody in order to make them stronger people/lawyers went unnoticed. Justice was no different, although the fact that he wanted her made a distinct difference in the way he went about it and that he was remorseful for it. (I thought he groveled adequately, and the groveling is the key to make “forced seduction” work right—and in Stay, he’s still groveling.)

    Chosha was right about the scene in which Bryce broke his agreement with Giselle, and I actually agree with her assessment of it, but I did it for a reason and I’m not going to explain why.

    The most surprising comment, though, was with regard to Sebastian “forcing himself” on Eilis in the grocery store after what she’d just told him. I thought Chosha didn’t give Eilis enough credit for her ability to transcend what had happened to her, which spoke to her iron will. Sebastian certainly did. And yes, he’s bossy. She knows that. He’s also right. She is pragmatic above all, and will take good advice when she hears it, and she was tired from her years-long fight with both Fen and her ex-husband. She was tired of starving herself to lose weight and failing because she didn’t have the proper diet. She was confused by the fact that Sebastian’s taste ran to rubenesque and that what happened in the grocery store was a decent compromise to her issue and his. In short, she was all too happy to let someone share her burden when it became clear to her that Sebastian was not out to get her and was, in fact, an ally.

    I felt that Chosha was not willing to give these people any credit for the good they had done, however unintentional or misguided in the way they went about it, for the way in which they fit each other. I also think she gave the women no credit for being able to handle their men or their own lives. I thought I made it clear that none of the men could survive without their women, but that all of the women could go on and thrive without their men.

    And just for the record, my proofreader despised Stay on the basis that it wasn’t anything like The Proviso. She felt that The Proviso was not a typical romance novel, but jam packed with all sorts of juicy details that make the characters real and come alive. It took twists and turns she didn’t expect. Stay, to her, was just your run-of-the-mill romance novel, predictable (right down to the ending), which she hates. IMO, Stay is not a typical romance novel because of the way it’s structured and a few key details that are absolutely not kosher in romance novels. IMO, Stay is just a quiet, sweet love story, which is exactly what I intended to write.

    Theric was right when he said these people are kings who would be gods. That’s what genre romance is all about. Whether it has as much explicit hubris as other romance books or not depends on the writer. I tend toward the sweeping, swashbuckling style; the melodramatic soap operaish; the superlatives and the loose prose. Why? Because the novels that defined the genre (see The Sheikh by E.M. Hull, bestseller in 1921 and any Georgette Heyer novel, whose novel-publishing career began in 1921 and any 1970s historical sweeping epic saga) are the ones I cut my teeth on. These are not, by far, new concepts. Nowadays, they're just wrapped up in paranormal dressing.

    I still hesitate in hitting the “submit” button, but I will because not to do so is kind of a betrayal of my characters, but they would not try to defend themselves, so I’m not sure why I feel the need to do so.

  15. .

    I can think of a couple Mormon novelists who should have kept their traps sut koflangstonkofmartinsdalekof.

  16. Well, and that's another reason I waited so long. I was embarrassed for him.

    So...remains to be seen if I come across that way.