Flag on the Play

Personal foul, unnecessary bullshit against romance genre, use of “bodice ripper:” Laurel Maury, Los Angeles Times. 15 yard penalty, loss of down, and much mockage on the field. Taunting penalty against Smart Bitches is declined.

“The Jewel of Medina” is a second-rate bodice ripper or, rather, a second-rate bodice ripper-style romance (it doesn’t really have sex scenes). It’s readable enough, but it suffers from large swaths of purple prose. Paragraphs read like ad copy for a Rudolph Valentino movie.

“From my camel’s hump I could feel the leaf-kissed air moving like a cool, moist cloth across my brow as I inhaled the fresh clean scents of petal and blade and springs gilding the morning,” says A’isha. The newly founded Islamic community is fleeing Mecca, and she’s selling air freshener. Also, it’s unfortunate that Jones refers to male genitals as “the scorpion’s tail.” Perhaps this is an Arabic metaphor, like the Petrarchan conceit of lips like cherries, but it doesn’t work.

Thanks to Jessica M. via earlyword.com.

 

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  1. 1
    dillene says:

    Now I have the phrase “ripper-style romance” stuck in my head.  It sounds like the kind of thing that Hannibal Lecter would read if he were feeling sentimental.

  2. 2
    Emmy says:

    I’m with her on the scorpion tail ding dings. Owwie.

  3. 3
    Elyssa says:

    Ugh. Head banging against desk. Yet another person who has obviously not read romances.

  4. 4
    RfP says:

    This sounds like she knows there’s a difference between bodice ripper and romance.

    a second-rate bodice ripper or, rather, a second-rate bodice ripper-style romance (it doesn’t really have sex scenes)

    She does qualify that it’s a second-rate one.  It’s not as if she said “This is the best romance has to offer and it SUX!”

  5. 5
    Ms Manna says:

    RfP, I agree that it doesn’t sound to me like she’s saying ‘all romances are mediocre’, she’s saying ‘this book is mediocre’.  She even talks about a dynamic where a woman needs to be put in their places by a strong man being very out of date for the genre.

    I don’t know if she’s being unfair with her quoting, but she’s not wrong about that passage being more than a touch on the purple side.  (Not to mention ungainly.)

  6. 6
    Ms Manna says:

    OTOH, I can’t tell whether she’d deliberately trying to make Beaufort Books look skanky with the OJ Simpson reference, or whether the circumstances under which the book was eventually published are well enough known that she wouldn’t need to clarify.

  7. 7

    That’s it!  From now on EVERY ONE OF MY BOOKS will include a bodice-ripping scene.  Might as well feed into the stereotype if it’s not going to get dropped!

  8. 8
    B says:

    What I want to know is, what’s so bad about a little bodice-ripping? It sounds like fun. Heck, quite a lot of people could use some bodice-ripping in their relationships.

  9. 9
    jo bourne says:

    I am officially puzzled.

    This …

    From my camel’s hump I could feel the leaf-kissed air moving like a cool, moist cloth across my brow as I inhaled the fresh clean scents of petal and blade and springs gilding the morning,” says A’isha.

    is supposed to be in Saudi Arabia, near Mecca?

    The surroundings of Mecca look like

    http://tinyurl.com/3n5rte
    http://tinyurl.com/47a5ml
    http://tinyurl.com/4algzw
    http://tinyurl.com/4gxdy3

  10. 10

    What I find hilarious is that it doesn’t really matter what the writing in a particular book is like at all… if the critic doesn’t like it, it becomes ROMANCE.  I have very rarely picked up, like, a Nora Roberts book and read the phrase “leaf-kissed air,” but hey, I guess if this critic, who probably has never read a single modern romance, says that this is what romance is like, then I guess we’re all wrong and they’re right.

    Excuse me, I have a car to go key now.

  11. 11
    Laura says:

    second-rate bodice ripper-style romance (it doesn’t really have sex scenes)

    But it has bodices? Huh. I’m no expert on clothing history, but I would not have expected to find too many bodices in the Middle East in the 7th century.

  12. 12
    robinb says:

    Heck, quite a lot of people could use some bodice-ripping in their relationships.

    For the win!

  13. 13
    amy lane says:

    OKay, people, let’s get practical.  Has anyone ever actually tried to RIP a bodice?  Or a bra?  Or any sort of underwear designed to hold the twins?  Because I’m telling ya, I had an underwire job that deserved to die a horrible death, and ripping that fucker up wasn’t easy.  Mauling something sewn with two layers of fabric and held together with fifty-jillion fucking hook-and eye closures can’t be easy—I’m telling you, any big-bicepped buck who’s got the cajones to denude a bashful beauty in a bodice deserves a little more respect. 

    So does a writer—any writer—trying to instill a little beauty in the world.

  14. 14
    Silver James says:

    …any big-bicepped buck who’s got the cajones to denude a bashful beauty in a bodice deserves a little more respect.

    Alliteration FTW! I feel the same way about scenes where the dainty li’l ol’ heroine rips that shirt right off that rippled rogue’s chest. Same goes for medical dramas where they rip a shirt to start CPR and/or defib. Dude. Been there. It’s way harder than it looks! FYI, that’s what bandage scissors are for. They cut through material like that proverbial hot knife.

  15. 15

    I’d like to get me one of those muscled men to rip my bodice off. Heck, I’m sure most of us would want to be manhandled once in a while.

    Romance doesn’t have to be all sweet and gushy, but I do agree that at one point we just want to simply say “take my clothes off”, instead of “i’d like to lay down naked on the bed with you”.

    Accurate facts go a long way, too. :)

  16. 16
    Ziggy says:

    “From my camel’s hump I could feel the leaf-kissed air moving like a cool, moist cloth across my brow as I inhaled the fresh clean scents of petal and blade and springs gilding the morning,” says A’isha. The newly founded Islamic community is fleeing Mecca, and she’s selling air freshener.

    Air freshener! Hee hee.

    And… leaf-kissed air? Seriously? And this is a bestseller! If I were Sherry Jones I’d be sending Dr Spellberg flowers.

  17. 17
    Ms Manna says:

    Ziggy:  Every time I read that opening sentence from the quote, my brain goes, ‘you know, I really doubt that a camel’s hump smells all that great’.

  18. 18
    Mac says:

    is supposed to be in Saudi Arabia, near Mecca?

    The surroundings of Mecca look like

    Weeeeeeeellll… was this supposed to be set in the time when Mesopotamia was a “fertile crescent”?  (I’m off by centuries, aren’t I.  I’m freaking flirting with Sumerians… I’d Wiki the timeline, but I’m supposed to be working and am being very furtive right now…)

  19. 19
    jo bourne says:

    Hi Mac—

    Mohammed and ancient Sumer are about three thousand years and a thousand miles apart.  Like Miles Davis and the Athens of Socrates sorta.

    The bit about petals and springs and leaf-soft breezes just bewilders me.  Is this the hijrah?  Talking about springs and soft breezes between Mecca and Medina is like talking about the rugged snow-capped peaks between Orlando and Miami.

  20. 20
    Ziggy says:

    Ms Manna:

    Every time I read that opening sentence from the quote, my brain goes, ‘you know, I really doubt that a camel’s hump smells all that great’.

    PMSL (a new lolspk contraction I learned recently – “P*ss myself laughing”)

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