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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Macfarlane

Nora Versus Jill

Do you have favourite authors? Two of mine are Nora Roberts and Jill Shalvis. I've been reading Nora for decades, but Jill Shalvis is fairly new on my list of writers.

They both write contemporary novels, so every now and then I will read an old Nora Roberts book and cringe a bit at the treatment of gender or social issues. She's a good example of how popular fiction is a bit of a social and cultural time capsule. For example, if you go back a bit, some of Nora's characters smoke. Since this is no longer socially acceptable in most North American places, smoking is something you don't really encounter in contemporary romance novels these days.

Nora Roberts and Jill Shalvis are both popular extremely authors, but their writing styles are different. Nora Roberts is known for her descriptive prose, intricate plotting, and strong, complex characters, and more recently for dipping into supernatural elements, while Jill Shalvis is known for her light and humorous tone, relatable characters, small-town settings, and dogs. There are a lot of dogs in Shalvis' writing, and since I follow both of these authors on social media, I can also say there are dogs in Shalvis' life, too.

Both writers are great at characterization. When you read Nora or Jill, you will think you are reading about real flesh and blood people. Nora's writing is often characterized by vivid descriptions of people, places, and emotions. She is skilled at creating a rich and detailed world that draws the reader in and makes them feel fully immersed in the story. Her plots tend to be intricate and multi-layered, with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged.

On the other hand, Jill Shalvis' writing style is more light-hearted and humorous. She uses a lot of witty banter and playful dialogue between her characters, which creates a fun and enjoyable reading experience. Her characters are often relatable and easy to connect with, and her stories are set in small towns, which adds to the cozy and intimate feel of her books. Shalvis also seems to rely on romance tropes on a fairly regular basis. Recently, I've seen a couple of hers which cover the fake fiance trope. To be honest, I tend to hate that trope. I've just never met anyone who, in real life, has faked an engagement. I also can't imagine a real-life scenario where that possibly ends well. And yet, Shalvis pulled it off in the book I read. I suspect you'll never see this scenario in one of my novels, but I was impressed that when she did, she still had me hooked.

Overall, while both authors write romance, Nora Roberts' style tends to be more dramatic and intense, while Jill Shalvis' style is more lighthearted and fun. It ultimately comes down to personal preference as to which style the reader might prefer. Or, if you are like me, it may just come to your mood that day!

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