Roman Holiday is a serialized, epic romance. The author and publisher talk about it being released in ten episodes of 40 to 60 pages each over two seasons, much like a television series such as True Blood or Downton Abbey, but with far less time between seasons, thank goodness! As a whole the ten episodes will form a single romance arc.
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Season 1 (Click Diamond to go to Random’s House’s page for that episode).
Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all in the hopes of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he has a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the Eastern Seaboard to do it.Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.
Serialized novels online are an interesting revival of one of the oldest forms of printed storytelling. Dickens was one author whose work was published in serial form. I don’t think it’s been as popular in recent times, with the exception of graphic novels. I am not talking about series novels, which are generally longer.
But, digital publishing has reopened this format to new interest and all types of experiments in publishing stories serially and this is Ruthie’s second foray into the field. Her first was an advance, serial release of TRULY on Wattpad this past Fall. TRULY is scheduled for release next year as a full novel so it was not intended for serialization at all.
ROMAN HOLIDAY was planned as a serial. Ruthie talked with me about the differences in an interview last month (HERE). But, it’s important to remember that the point is a story, and only secondarily the delivery method. And, this is shaping up to be quite a story. It’s a story about being lost and finding your way, and maybe about being found but lost.
It is the grittiest story I have read by Ruthie Knox. Roman is Cuban-American, born to parents who left Cuba in the Mariel boat lift. He grew up in a foster family in Wisconsin. He is profoundly emotionally messed up: trying to get the approval of father figures who are rigid and either bitter; incapable of loving him. He’s been taught to squelch his feelings by a Machiavellian mentor, who seems a bit shady. He’s nearly engaged to a woman he doesn’t love and who doesn’t love him, and who is definitely shady.
Ashley is lost; abandoned by her father when her mother died, she was raised by her free spirited grandmother. She gave Ashley great wings, but not much in the way of rooted sure footing. Plus, she sold Ashley’s home out from under her. To Roman.
The story is so far about them each discovering truths about themselves and others; and the illusions we create to get where we want to go. And, it may be about finding their ways to each other. It’s also a coming of age story for Ashley.
Roman is the grittiest character she has made so far. He has a sad and tragic past and a powerful desire to succeed. But does he want what he is going to get if all goes the way he thinks he wants it to? And, if Ashley stops him from developing her grandmother’s property is that going to give her the grounding she needs? Both of their dreams are illusory, built on sand and promises.
I don’t feel the same kind of attraction to either Roman or Ashley that I have felt for other characters she has written. But that isn’t going to be what makes the series for me. It is purely the story telling; Ruthie excels at sucking you right into the story. It doesn’t matter if I like the characters or want to fantasize about Roman; I want to know what happens: What does Ashley learn? What does Roman end up with? Do they end up together? Does the villain get her due? How does Ruthie pull us in every week? How are the hook-ups (very nicely dirty)?
I can’t wait to see where the two travelers go in their peregrinations and what lessons Ashley learns from her late grandmother’s friends. I have a feeling Roman will be doing some learning as well.
What does it for me is the way Ruthie takes her characters apart and then reassembles them. So, though I may not like the characters, or think they’ve made poor choices are are too dumb to live, I am pretty sure I will like them better by the end of the story. They’ll probably like themselves better as well.
It all reminds me of the Sheryl Crowe song: It’s not getting what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the series and will give one winner the first season for Nook or Kindle. If you are over 18 and can download books from these sources you are welcome to enter using the rafflecopter form below.
I’m giving away books 1 through 5 of Ruthie Knox’s ROMAN HOLIDAY for Kindle and Nook. Must be 18 or over, and able to receive downloads from Amazon US or Barnes and Nobel US. Read the rules on the rafflecopter form. Please leave a meaningful comment if you leave one and if you tweet, please be sure it leads back here to count.