Elmore Leonard said: I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances ''full of rape and adverbs.''

Sunday, 13 January 2008


The Smart Bitches have used their mad investigative skillz to uncover some veerry interesting information about Cassie Edwards. Of course, by now none of this is news to any sentient being in Romance Land, but I think it warrants a mention in passing. If only to say - Plagiarism Bad. Tree Pretty.

Also, as a reader and a blogger, it's cool to see The New York Times and, more locally, The Daily Telegraph (though, boo! right wing rag) pick this up. It's certainly newsworthy. For one thing, Edwards has more than 10 million books in print! Ten. Million. 10,000,000. In print. In the world.

A couple of points worth mentioning.

I find it interesting that it took a non-romance reader to discover the initial discrepancies. I could make a sweeping assumption about the average Cassie Edwards' reader, but it's more than that. I don't think many romance readers read critically, and I think we - I- have a high tolerance for The Bad. The chaff. Our senses are dulled to it. In other words, we can wade through a great deal of crap in the hopes of discovering that next great read, so much so that we barely flinch at the dire and we certainly don't question it.

In the last week, I have found and read a Cassie Edwards. At first I was appalled. Now, reflecting on the experience, I can't help but wonder if Edwards is some sort of satirist. Because if that's the case, lines like these -

When she had made brief eye contact with Shadow outside her father's study, she had seen enough gentleness in his eyes to know that he would not harm her. Even now as he bound and gagged her he had done it with a keen gentleness! His eyes, as the moon revealed them to Maria, spoke of much that touched her heart and unleashed her passion! (Savage Dream, p76)

"Having to pay to have my woman returned to me is the last straw!" he said to himself, his heart paining him to think that Maria might have been raped, perhaps even repeatedly! (Savage Dream pp276-277)

I want to see things right with my parents before I enter into a marriage with you. While riding alone in the desert before passing out from exhaustion and hunger, I had much time to think." (Savage Dream p291)

- Lines like these take on a sort of mad brilliance. Add a hero who refers to himself in the third person and you have a masterful and layered parody of the romance genre.

In other news, black footed ferrets are seriously cute. For weasels.

ETA, The Smart Bitches have discovered that numerous passages in Savage Dream bear 'remarkable similarities' to a Pulitzer winning novel, Laughing Boy.
ETA This is very funny indeed. For posterity.

And score one for the ferrets. Perhaps Cassie Edwards can look back on the whole episode with a tinge of pride; for were it not for her copious and badly done plagiarism, the black footed ferret would be languishing in obscurity, forever overshadowed by its glamorous counterparts.

1 comment:

Jace said...

I'd never read a Cassie Edwards before ... doesn't look like I ever will. ;)