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So I was looking around these intrawebs, checking in with the usual blogs, and saw this GS vs STA over at the Smart Bitches.

(For those who don’t much like following the breadcrumbs trail, a SB reader asked for recommendations of romance novels with Latino protagonists.)

At first glance one would think, since I’m Mexican by birth, that I would have tons of good authors and titles to reel off the top of my head. Instead, I remember how often Latino characters annoy the hell out of me.

In fact, I’m still pondering whether my reluctance to read books featuring Latinos, unless the novel is written by a Latino author, stems solely from long standing frustration (fueled in part by reading, almost three decades ago, many Harlequins, poorly translated into Spanish, where the hero was an arrogant millionaire asshole and–of course–Latino). Or if there is also an element of inverse racism at play.*

For the most part, I don’t expect writers to do what they write, be it romantic suspense or erotica (which is a good thing, considering there are no female SEALs out there *coughSuzanneBrockmanncough*). Yet, when it comes to Latino characters, I’m extremely reluctant to try anything by anyone unless I know there is a close Latino connection (for example, after reading this over at Jill Sorenson’s blog, I would happily read something by her with a Latino protagonist, and am considering finally reading Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry, despite its being YA)

* * *


I repeat, lo, over two years later: it’s not that hard (to get some common Spanish expressions right).

*(Why, yes, there’s another genre I mostly avoid, along with self-help and inspirationals–perhaps I’m really an utter bigot.)



  • MIreya
    December 6
    11:34 pm

    You are so NOT alone on this. I wouldn’t touch anything with a Latino main character with a ten foot pole thanks to I don’t know how many irritating experiences. I’d make an exception for Caridad Pinero, Shelly Laurenston and Julie Leto, have to admit. Thanks for writing about this… and no, you are not being a bigot at all. I have been very vocal over the years about what you expressed in both your blog articles. And yeah, one would think that in a country where the Hispanic influence has grown in leaps and bounds, finding someone to verify basic Spanish words, would not be that hard. Oh I am half Spaniard and half Puertorican, have only been living in the mainland since I moved in with my husband, who is American, 12 years ago. I spent most of my adult life reading in Spanish, though I never really read romance read until about 8 years ago, not even Corin Tellado’s, who was extremely popular in Puerto Rico.


  • Las
    December 7
    3:21 pm

    I thought it was just me. I saw that thread and didn’t even bother reading the comments. Unless other Latinos are making the recommendations, I’m going to assume that I’ll have major problems with the way the Latino protagonists are portrayed. I’ll spare you my rant on language.

    I do recommend Jill Sorenson. I’ve read two of her books, both with Latina heroines, and they were very well written.


  • I skimmed some of the recommendations in the thread–Barb Ferrer, Marta Acosta, Caridad Pinero. So far, so good, right? Then I saw that someone said “Anita Blake” and someone else said that some characters in Feehan’s Carpathian series live in South America, and steam started coming out of my ears.

    Oh well, so much for my being open minded about these things.

    I have, however, written down Jill Sorenson for whenever I have some disposable income.


  • You’re not alone. I find it difficult to read anything with Scottish protagonists. All sorts of reasons. Stuff around suspension of disbelief but possibly other stuff around too close to home-ness.


  • Mireya
    December 8
    12:36 am

    Anita Blake… really? Thank God I don’t go to that blog any longer. I would have blown a gasket.


  • FD
    December 8
    6:59 pm

    I feel like this about anything involving horses (majority of cowboy romances make me want to beat my brains out) and oh, lawyers. Bonus if it’s employment law.

    I think having lived experience of something makes a person simultaneously more critical and more appreciative when it’s done right.

    Anita Blake? Seriously? Egads. I’m wary of rec lists in general unless they express precisely why the book in question fits the criteria – because so often people ask for good x, y or z, and get something that has an x, y, or z character in it.


  • Las
    December 8
    8:21 pm

    and someone else said that some characters in Feehan’s Carpathian series live in South America, and steam started coming out of my ears.

    Can’t say I’m surprised. That, my friends, is why there’s so little diversity in romance. Most readers really don’t want it.


  • eggs
    December 9
    9:19 am

    You are not alone! I will happily read faux Latino characters because I have no idea what’s right and what’s wrong. OTOH, I cringe away from faux Australian characters because I focus so much on what’s wrong that I can’t enjoy what’s right about the story. All those “mates” and “sheilas” and “g’days” thrown around in the wrong context by people of the wrong social station drive me INSANE. We’re not all ockers, you know! If you can’t tell a north shore princess from a westie bogan PLEASE don’t write australian characters! For the record, Sarah Mayberry writes excellent, realistic Australians.


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