The author’s promise

Ever since my vacation to Vegas where I was horribly upset when one of my favorite author’s killed off a main character in the last 40 pages (I think it was even later than that) of the book in a manner that didn’t seem to add ANYTHING to the story of friendship and family and love through the ages EXCEPT to reiterate the common knowledge that cancer kills (NO?! Really?!), I’ve thought about the author’s promise.
Does an author owe her reader something when she puts her name on a book once that name’s well associated with a certain kind of book?
I love Nora, but I’m not sure I would’ve been okay with that first JD Robb had it had Nora’s name on it.
When I read a Shelley Bradley, I’m expecting a hot (searing really) romance.
When I read Jennifer Crusie, I expect a snarky heroine, lots of laughs and an awesome plot.
Susan ELizabeth Phillips, amazing beyond belief characters.
Debby Macomber, precious heart felt stories.
Barbara Samuel, strong women who overcome obstacles to find their places in the world.
John Grisham, great plot legal thriller. When he wrote the Painted House book, I loved it, but I knew from the cover and from the cover quotes and back copy that I was getting something different. I could go on and on with this list.
The one exception is category, and there, I might get a different sub-genre, but I still get the author’s voice and the happy ending.
This book threw me for a huge loop because Kristin Hannah, an author I’ve loved ever since she moved into women’s fiction, let a character die. She didn’t just let it happen, she set the whole thing up to break the reader’s heart. I’ll never trust her again as an author, and I probably won’t read her again because I hate having to read the last page to find out if someone dies before I read the book.
I’m one person out of millions of her readers, so it doesn’t really matter.
But it does make me wonder about that contract thing and whether or not it exists. Obviously not. The book I read was one of her most successful.

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