Epilogues

Anne here.  AnneGracie_TheLaird'sBrideMedium
Recently several readers commented to me that they wished I had written an epilogue for my Scottish novella, The Laird’s Bride, and one asked me why I hadn’t, because I normally do. And you know what? I had no answer for her.

I think it was partly because I had expanded a short-ish story into a longer novella, and I don’t think I’ve ever written an epilogue for a novella. It certainly wasn’t because I don’t like epilogues — because I generally do. I suspect it simply never occurred to me—I wrote that story years ago. But now it has been suggested I keep wondering what kind of an epilogue would suit that book. I’m not going to write one, by the way, so don’t expect it. Once a book is published that’s it for me — it’s finished.

NonesuchBut I can see what those people were getting at. I reread a couple of Georgette Heyer novels recently, and oh, there are a few where she ends them so suddenly it’s almost like a bucket of cold water, shocking me out of her story world and leaving me wanting more. I know what’s going to happen, that the central couple are going to be happy etc, but I want to see it and feel it and enjoy it.

A lot of people — writers as well as readers — really don’t like epilogues in a romance novel. Some people (shock horror) don't even read them!  Me, I love ‘em. If I’ve loved the book, I want to spend just a little more time in that world with the characters. I love seeing the happy couple some time after the ‘I love you’ declaration. I want to be convinced that it will be happy ever after for them, that their love will last. And grow. A good epilogue is the icing on the cake.

What kind of scene? I don’t mind if it’s a wedding, or a christening, the promise of a baby, especially if that has been an issue in the book, or simply some scene where the hero and the hero are together, being happy in their new life.

The other thing that epilogues can do is to finally tie all the threads of the story together. You can’t always do that with the main part of the romance, but often you can with an epilogue.

I’ve written lots of epilogues — and quite a few weddings — and I can tell you now, it’s always tough trying to come up with some fresh way to end the book. In The Heiress’s Daughter (out in May next year) I almost handed the manuscript in with — shock! — no epilogue, because I felt I’d written so many wedding epilogues that one more would be boring. But my editor said she loved epilogues, so I ended up writing one anyway.

MarryInScarlet (1)

In Marry in Scarlet, I was in a bit of a dilemma when it came to writing the epilogue. I was feeling a little bit sad, as it was the last book in the series, and as well as showing the hero and heroine being happy together, I wanted to bring in a glimpse of the other characters in the series. A kind of farewell to them all.

In addition, throughout the series there had been a hidden romance going on, which was only revealed in any detail in this, the last book of the series, so I wanted to share a snippet of that as well. So I wrote an unconventional epilogue. There’s a ball, a speech by the heroine, and a glimpse of the others in the series. Some people liked it, others not so much.

The kind of epilogue I don’t like is when the hero and heroine are shown as parents of adult children, or even grandparents, but they’re still acting as if they’re newlyweds which I just don’t believe. Loving and affectionate—yes, but not newlyweds. Love deepens and matures and if you’re going to show me them twenty-plus years on, I want to see that mature love in play. But in general I’d prefer to see them not long after they’ve married — a year or two at most.

But some people prefer those “next generation” or “twenty years on” epilogues. And some people hate epilogues with babies. Or weddings. You can’t please everyone.

And speaking of not pleasing everyone, a trend I’ve noticed recently is an “epilogue” that’s actually a teaser for the next book in the series. I don’t mean an excerpt — it’s labelled an epilogue, and comes before THE END, but the characters in the romance don’t appear — just the characters in the next book to come. I don’t like that. I’m happy to have a teaser after the book ends, but it needs to be separate from the main novel, not a “faux epilogue.”

What about you? Do you like epilogues or not, and if you do, what sort do you like? And if you don’t like them, any thoughts about why not?
Is there any book for which you wished the author had written an epilogue?
And have you come across any of the “faux epilogues” that are really teasers? What do you think?

124 thoughts on “Epilogues”

  1. “Georgette Heyer novels … where she ends them so suddenly”
    You’ve got The Nonesuch cover there, but The Corinthian & Black Sheep are even worse. Both funnily enough leave the couple embracing on a public highway, & the reader wondering how on earth they’re going to break the news to their families.

    Reply
  2. “Georgette Heyer novels … where she ends them so suddenly”
    You’ve got The Nonesuch cover there, but The Corinthian & Black Sheep are even worse. Both funnily enough leave the couple embracing on a public highway, & the reader wondering how on earth they’re going to break the news to their families.

    Reply
  3. “Georgette Heyer novels … where she ends them so suddenly”
    You’ve got The Nonesuch cover there, but The Corinthian & Black Sheep are even worse. Both funnily enough leave the couple embracing on a public highway, & the reader wondering how on earth they’re going to break the news to their families.

    Reply
  4. “Georgette Heyer novels … where she ends them so suddenly”
    You’ve got The Nonesuch cover there, but The Corinthian & Black Sheep are even worse. Both funnily enough leave the couple embracing on a public highway, & the reader wondering how on earth they’re going to break the news to their families.

    Reply
  5. I mostly enjoy epilogue and I’ve written quite a few, like you often at the behest of an editor. And yes, it’s often been a baby. Or in the case of my last book showing the pair of them living happily with their dogs above the heroine’s bookshop with said heroine having palpitations over not a baby, but the first edition of George Chapman’s translation of Homer!
    I like epilogues because they’re relaxing. It’s “Oh! That’s just lovely!” time. All the worrying is done, everyone is happy and you can just relax with them.

    Reply
  6. I mostly enjoy epilogue and I’ve written quite a few, like you often at the behest of an editor. And yes, it’s often been a baby. Or in the case of my last book showing the pair of them living happily with their dogs above the heroine’s bookshop with said heroine having palpitations over not a baby, but the first edition of George Chapman’s translation of Homer!
    I like epilogues because they’re relaxing. It’s “Oh! That’s just lovely!” time. All the worrying is done, everyone is happy and you can just relax with them.

    Reply
  7. I mostly enjoy epilogue and I’ve written quite a few, like you often at the behest of an editor. And yes, it’s often been a baby. Or in the case of my last book showing the pair of them living happily with their dogs above the heroine’s bookshop with said heroine having palpitations over not a baby, but the first edition of George Chapman’s translation of Homer!
    I like epilogues because they’re relaxing. It’s “Oh! That’s just lovely!” time. All the worrying is done, everyone is happy and you can just relax with them.

    Reply
  8. I mostly enjoy epilogue and I’ve written quite a few, like you often at the behest of an editor. And yes, it’s often been a baby. Or in the case of my last book showing the pair of them living happily with their dogs above the heroine’s bookshop with said heroine having palpitations over not a baby, but the first edition of George Chapman’s translation of Homer!
    I like epilogues because they’re relaxing. It’s “Oh! That’s just lovely!” time. All the worrying is done, everyone is happy and you can just relax with them.

    Reply
  9. I don’t mind epilogues, as long as they are not too involved. To me they are like putting a bow on a gift that has already been wrapped.
    One of my favorites is from a short story by Barbara Metzger called Three Good Deeds. It’s not even half a page long, and being a Metzger story the last sentence is so unexpected it had me laughing out loud.

    Reply
  10. I don’t mind epilogues, as long as they are not too involved. To me they are like putting a bow on a gift that has already been wrapped.
    One of my favorites is from a short story by Barbara Metzger called Three Good Deeds. It’s not even half a page long, and being a Metzger story the last sentence is so unexpected it had me laughing out loud.

    Reply
  11. I don’t mind epilogues, as long as they are not too involved. To me they are like putting a bow on a gift that has already been wrapped.
    One of my favorites is from a short story by Barbara Metzger called Three Good Deeds. It’s not even half a page long, and being a Metzger story the last sentence is so unexpected it had me laughing out loud.

    Reply
  12. I don’t mind epilogues, as long as they are not too involved. To me they are like putting a bow on a gift that has already been wrapped.
    One of my favorites is from a short story by Barbara Metzger called Three Good Deeds. It’s not even half a page long, and being a Metzger story the last sentence is so unexpected it had me laughing out loud.

    Reply
  13. Excellent post Anne, and I agree with everything you said! Love epilogues and having loose ends tied up. So please keep writing them – I will for sure!

    Reply
  14. Excellent post Anne, and I agree with everything you said! Love epilogues and having loose ends tied up. So please keep writing them – I will for sure!

    Reply
  15. Excellent post Anne, and I agree with everything you said! Love epilogues and having loose ends tied up. So please keep writing them – I will for sure!

    Reply
  16. Excellent post Anne, and I agree with everything you said! Love epilogues and having loose ends tied up. So please keep writing them – I will for sure!

    Reply
  17. I like epilogues, I like seeing the couple happy and loving after the uncertainty of their courtship. What I don’t like is a series that has too many books or goes on for generations, I get so confused and stop reading. Thanks Anne.

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  18. I like epilogues, I like seeing the couple happy and loving after the uncertainty of their courtship. What I don’t like is a series that has too many books or goes on for generations, I get so confused and stop reading. Thanks Anne.

    Reply
  19. I like epilogues, I like seeing the couple happy and loving after the uncertainty of their courtship. What I don’t like is a series that has too many books or goes on for generations, I get so confused and stop reading. Thanks Anne.

    Reply
  20. I like epilogues, I like seeing the couple happy and loving after the uncertainty of their courtship. What I don’t like is a series that has too many books or goes on for generations, I get so confused and stop reading. Thanks Anne.

    Reply
  21. Personally, I’m perfectly happy ending the book with the couple embracing in the middle of the road. I often feel as if the lengthy last chapter or two describing the wedding in great detail serves as an epilogue and I skim over it. If there’s an epilogue, I want it to add something, tell me something about the couple or their families that is a bit of a surprise, not just all sweetness and light, puppies and babies.

    Reply
  22. Personally, I’m perfectly happy ending the book with the couple embracing in the middle of the road. I often feel as if the lengthy last chapter or two describing the wedding in great detail serves as an epilogue and I skim over it. If there’s an epilogue, I want it to add something, tell me something about the couple or their families that is a bit of a surprise, not just all sweetness and light, puppies and babies.

    Reply
  23. Personally, I’m perfectly happy ending the book with the couple embracing in the middle of the road. I often feel as if the lengthy last chapter or two describing the wedding in great detail serves as an epilogue and I skim over it. If there’s an epilogue, I want it to add something, tell me something about the couple or their families that is a bit of a surprise, not just all sweetness and light, puppies and babies.

    Reply
  24. Personally, I’m perfectly happy ending the book with the couple embracing in the middle of the road. I often feel as if the lengthy last chapter or two describing the wedding in great detail serves as an epilogue and I skim over it. If there’s an epilogue, I want it to add something, tell me something about the couple or their families that is a bit of a surprise, not just all sweetness and light, puppies and babies.

    Reply
  25. Anne, I am totally on Team Epilogue in most cases. Since I write adventure romance, my characters have often been through dramatic and dangerous circumstances that they barely survived. The shared difficulties bind them together forever, but I want to show them in their new normal, as they settle into their future. At the end of a series, I like to do a scene that brings other characters in the series into the frame, not necessarily as an epilogue, but a scene that makes sense. ONCE A LAIRD ends with a scene where all the characters show up to save the hero’s heritage as a return for the life altering help he’d given them. At the end of ONE PERFECT ROSE, the final scene is at opening night of a theater that was part of the story, and other characters in series are in neighboring boxes. Different endings suit different books, but yes, too abrupt is jagging!

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  26. Anne, I am totally on Team Epilogue in most cases. Since I write adventure romance, my characters have often been through dramatic and dangerous circumstances that they barely survived. The shared difficulties bind them together forever, but I want to show them in their new normal, as they settle into their future. At the end of a series, I like to do a scene that brings other characters in the series into the frame, not necessarily as an epilogue, but a scene that makes sense. ONCE A LAIRD ends with a scene where all the characters show up to save the hero’s heritage as a return for the life altering help he’d given them. At the end of ONE PERFECT ROSE, the final scene is at opening night of a theater that was part of the story, and other characters in series are in neighboring boxes. Different endings suit different books, but yes, too abrupt is jagging!

    Reply
  27. Anne, I am totally on Team Epilogue in most cases. Since I write adventure romance, my characters have often been through dramatic and dangerous circumstances that they barely survived. The shared difficulties bind them together forever, but I want to show them in their new normal, as they settle into their future. At the end of a series, I like to do a scene that brings other characters in the series into the frame, not necessarily as an epilogue, but a scene that makes sense. ONCE A LAIRD ends with a scene where all the characters show up to save the hero’s heritage as a return for the life altering help he’d given them. At the end of ONE PERFECT ROSE, the final scene is at opening night of a theater that was part of the story, and other characters in series are in neighboring boxes. Different endings suit different books, but yes, too abrupt is jagging!

    Reply
  28. Anne, I am totally on Team Epilogue in most cases. Since I write adventure romance, my characters have often been through dramatic and dangerous circumstances that they barely survived. The shared difficulties bind them together forever, but I want to show them in their new normal, as they settle into their future. At the end of a series, I like to do a scene that brings other characters in the series into the frame, not necessarily as an epilogue, but a scene that makes sense. ONCE A LAIRD ends with a scene where all the characters show up to save the hero’s heritage as a return for the life altering help he’d given them. At the end of ONE PERFECT ROSE, the final scene is at opening night of a theater that was part of the story, and other characters in series are in neighboring boxes. Different endings suit different books, but yes, too abrupt is jagging!

    Reply
  29. I enjoy epilogues, but if the story is very full and clear in the direction the couple is going, I don’t need it.
    I’ve read all of the Regency novels of Heyer, and she is very abrupt in some of her endings. She didn’t follow the ideas through for the reader in an epilogue I would have liked to read.

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  30. I enjoy epilogues, but if the story is very full and clear in the direction the couple is going, I don’t need it.
    I’ve read all of the Regency novels of Heyer, and she is very abrupt in some of her endings. She didn’t follow the ideas through for the reader in an epilogue I would have liked to read.

    Reply
  31. I enjoy epilogues, but if the story is very full and clear in the direction the couple is going, I don’t need it.
    I’ve read all of the Regency novels of Heyer, and she is very abrupt in some of her endings. She didn’t follow the ideas through for the reader in an epilogue I would have liked to read.

    Reply
  32. I enjoy epilogues, but if the story is very full and clear in the direction the couple is going, I don’t need it.
    I’ve read all of the Regency novels of Heyer, and she is very abrupt in some of her endings. She didn’t follow the ideas through for the reader in an epilogue I would have liked to read.

    Reply
  33. I like a good epilogue. I also like a snippet of a forthcoming book but not when it’s presented as an epilogue.
    My favorite epilogue is actually novella length and is aptly entitled Gratuitous Epilogue. It’s a follow on to the first three books in Andrea K Hōst’s Touchstone series. (FYI: The first book in that series, Stray, is free on Kindle in many countries.)

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  34. I like a good epilogue. I also like a snippet of a forthcoming book but not when it’s presented as an epilogue.
    My favorite epilogue is actually novella length and is aptly entitled Gratuitous Epilogue. It’s a follow on to the first three books in Andrea K Hōst’s Touchstone series. (FYI: The first book in that series, Stray, is free on Kindle in many countries.)

    Reply
  35. I like a good epilogue. I also like a snippet of a forthcoming book but not when it’s presented as an epilogue.
    My favorite epilogue is actually novella length and is aptly entitled Gratuitous Epilogue. It’s a follow on to the first three books in Andrea K Hōst’s Touchstone series. (FYI: The first book in that series, Stray, is free on Kindle in many countries.)

    Reply
  36. I like a good epilogue. I also like a snippet of a forthcoming book but not when it’s presented as an epilogue.
    My favorite epilogue is actually novella length and is aptly entitled Gratuitous Epilogue. It’s a follow on to the first three books in Andrea K Hōst’s Touchstone series. (FYI: The first book in that series, Stray, is free on Kindle in many countries.)

    Reply
  37. I love epilogues – all kinds. I always read them. My Hubby told me once that he doesn’t read them & I thought wow – you’re missing part of the story! I haven’t run across the faux epilogue yet. I definitely would not like that.

    Reply
  38. I love epilogues – all kinds. I always read them. My Hubby told me once that he doesn’t read them & I thought wow – you’re missing part of the story! I haven’t run across the faux epilogue yet. I definitely would not like that.

    Reply
  39. I love epilogues – all kinds. I always read them. My Hubby told me once that he doesn’t read them & I thought wow – you’re missing part of the story! I haven’t run across the faux epilogue yet. I definitely would not like that.

    Reply
  40. I love epilogues – all kinds. I always read them. My Hubby told me once that he doesn’t read them & I thought wow – you’re missing part of the story! I haven’t run across the faux epilogue yet. I definitely would not like that.

    Reply
  41. I generally like epilogues, except for the ones that require you to download it from the author’s website. Seems like cheating to me – if you want me to read it, put it in the book!

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  42. I generally like epilogues, except for the ones that require you to download it from the author’s website. Seems like cheating to me – if you want me to read it, put it in the book!

    Reply
  43. I generally like epilogues, except for the ones that require you to download it from the author’s website. Seems like cheating to me – if you want me to read it, put it in the book!

    Reply
  44. I generally like epilogues, except for the ones that require you to download it from the author’s website. Seems like cheating to me – if you want me to read it, put it in the book!

    Reply
  45. Thanks, Neko — I included the Nonesuch because I’d just finished reading it, but I do agree that some of her novels end even more abruptly. The Grand Sophy, for instance, which ends with a decidedly unloverlike declaration from the hero. Who for some readers was even a surprise hero.

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  46. Thanks, Neko — I included the Nonesuch because I’d just finished reading it, but I do agree that some of her novels end even more abruptly. The Grand Sophy, for instance, which ends with a decidedly unloverlike declaration from the hero. Who for some readers was even a surprise hero.

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  47. Thanks, Christina — I’m sure I will keep writing them, and not just because my editor encourages me to. I always enjoy your epilogues for the same reason — it reassures me that all is well and all is going to be well far into the future — even when the future is in the past.

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  48. Thanks, Christina — I’m sure I will keep writing them, and not just because my editor encourages me to. I always enjoy your epilogues for the same reason — it reassures me that all is well and all is going to be well far into the future — even when the future is in the past.

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  49. Oh yes, Denise, those long series are tricky for me, too. They’re fine if I remember to get every new book when it comes out, but once I miss one or two, I put off buying them because I’ve forgotten where I’m up to, and in the end, I simply stop reading. The other thing is, when a new book in a series is about to come out, I will often reread the others in the series. Rereading three books is fine, twenty-three, or even thirteen is not so fine. Thanks for commenting.

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  50. Oh yes, Denise, those long series are tricky for me, too. They’re fine if I remember to get every new book when it comes out, but once I miss one or two, I put off buying them because I’ve forgotten where I’m up to, and in the end, I simply stop reading. The other thing is, when a new book in a series is about to come out, I will often reread the others in the series. Rereading three books is fine, twenty-three, or even thirteen is not so fine. Thanks for commenting.

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  51. Thanks, Lil, I also quite liked the Corinthian ending, with them embracing in the road. And yes, if there’s not a little something new it can feel a bit samey. But I don’t want the kind of surprise where you’re left wanting to know more. It’s a balancing act, and can be quite tricky to achieve.

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  52. Thanks, Lil, I also quite liked the Corinthian ending, with them embracing in the road. And yes, if there’s not a little something new it can feel a bit samey. But I don’t want the kind of surprise where you’re left wanting to know more. It’s a balancing act, and can be quite tricky to achieve.

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  53. Thanks, Mary Jo — and I always enjoy your epilogues for that very reason — your characters go through all kinds of adventures, so it’s lovely to see them just being happy together. And yes, to bringing in others from the series — which is easy for a wedding or a christening, or some kind of gathering. I do like the idea of the theatre meetings, and the Once a Laird ending is wonderful.

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  54. Thanks, Mary Jo — and I always enjoy your epilogues for that very reason — your characters go through all kinds of adventures, so it’s lovely to see them just being happy together. And yes, to bringing in others from the series — which is easy for a wedding or a christening, or some kind of gathering. I do like the idea of the theatre meetings, and the Once a Laird ending is wonderful.

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  55. Thanks, Patricia — yes it was a different time, and she was establishing romance conventions, and epilogues weren’t a common thing then, were they? But a lot of authors prefer not to go there, and like to leave the happy time after the declarations of love to the readers’ imaginations.

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  56. Thanks, Patricia — yes it was a different time, and she was establishing romance conventions, and epilogues weren’t a common thing then, were they? But a lot of authors prefer not to go there, and like to leave the happy time after the declarations of love to the readers’ imaginations.

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  57. Thanks, Kareni, I suspect you’ve recommended Andrea K Hōst’s Stray before, because when I jumped onto the web to buy it, there was the note: “You purchased this book in Feb. 2021.” LOL. But I haven’t yet read it. So many books, so little time . . .

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  58. Thanks, Kareni, I suspect you’ve recommended Andrea K Hōst’s Stray before, because when I jumped onto the web to buy it, there was the note: “You purchased this book in Feb. 2021.” LOL. But I haven’t yet read it. So many books, so little time . . .

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  59. Thanks, Jeanne. I don’t understand people who don’t read epilogues either. And some people don’t read prologues. But a good epilogue is often the finishing touch that a story needs. Oh well, each to his own.
    I hope the faux epilogue doesn’t become “a thing.”

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  60. Thanks, Jeanne. I don’t understand people who don’t read epilogues either. And some people don’t read prologues. But a good epilogue is often the finishing touch that a story needs. Oh well, each to his own.
    I hope the faux epilogue doesn’t become “a thing.”

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  61. Thanks, Jean. I suspect that some of those added epilogues on authors’ sites are because readers want them and asked for them after the book was published. I actually considered that when people asked me for an epilogue, but decided against it.
    It’s the same when authors post “deleted scenes” on their websites — scenes that didn’t make it into the book. Some readers really enjoy them.

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  62. Thanks, Jean. I suspect that some of those added epilogues on authors’ sites are because readers want them and asked for them after the book was published. I actually considered that when people asked me for an epilogue, but decided against it.
    It’s the same when authors post “deleted scenes” on their websites — scenes that didn’t make it into the book. Some readers really enjoy them.

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  63. I’m Team Epilogue. Grin. Definitely I like a small snippet of the new normal. A page, 2 pages, 3 pages. Doesn’t have to be more than that. Just that they are settled and happy.
    I’m definitely on the “I HATE Abrupt Ending”s Team. I feel like I’ve been left hanging. That the book is incomplete and missing something. I forget at this precise moment which author I read that 90% of the time has a, to me, incomplete ending… It definitely does shake me out of that good book finished feeling.

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  64. I’m Team Epilogue. Grin. Definitely I like a small snippet of the new normal. A page, 2 pages, 3 pages. Doesn’t have to be more than that. Just that they are settled and happy.
    I’m definitely on the “I HATE Abrupt Ending”s Team. I feel like I’ve been left hanging. That the book is incomplete and missing something. I forget at this precise moment which author I read that 90% of the time has a, to me, incomplete ending… It definitely does shake me out of that good book finished feeling.

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  65. I generally don’t favor epilogues unless there’s something to be said in them that wasn’t implicit in the ending.
    In these days when everything is a series, I know the next book will pick up any loose ends as to the progress of the first couple and the fate of the supporting characters (who are generally the protagonists of the subsequent novels), so the epilogue seems superfluous to me.
    I would rather be left with the romantic ending and the future open, rather than learn that they became just another banal married couple.
    I don’t skip them, though; if they’re there, I read them and endure the flattening effect they have on me.

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  66. I generally don’t favor epilogues unless there’s something to be said in them that wasn’t implicit in the ending.
    In these days when everything is a series, I know the next book will pick up any loose ends as to the progress of the first couple and the fate of the supporting characters (who are generally the protagonists of the subsequent novels), so the epilogue seems superfluous to me.
    I would rather be left with the romantic ending and the future open, rather than learn that they became just another banal married couple.
    I don’t skip them, though; if they’re there, I read them and endure the flattening effect they have on me.

    Reply
  67. Anne-if a book doesn’t have an epilogue, I’m not going to tear my hair out. If there is an epilogue, I prefer it sweet and simple and related to the characters I’ve grown to love. I don’t like epilogues that go on too long, IMHO. In those cases, I might be asking myself When will this ever end? Is the author aiming for a certain page count? I especially dislike the kind of epilogue whete the heroine is now in advanced years, perhaps remeniscing about the man she loved. Past tense. Shuudders.

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  68. Anne-if a book doesn’t have an epilogue, I’m not going to tear my hair out. If there is an epilogue, I prefer it sweet and simple and related to the characters I’ve grown to love. I don’t like epilogues that go on too long, IMHO. In those cases, I might be asking myself When will this ever end? Is the author aiming for a certain page count? I especially dislike the kind of epilogue whete the heroine is now in advanced years, perhaps remeniscing about the man she loved. Past tense. Shuudders.

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  69. Hi.
    I don’t mind epilogues, sometimes they tie up loose ends maybe of other characters in the story. However, Don’t like the ones that go too far in the future. Love is not stagnant. I can’t stand epilogues that have nothing to do with the book and are about another book that have nothing to do with the characters in the current book. I usually reevaluate the story and the author to see if I want to continue getting those books. Sometimes I have deleted them from my “buy” list figuring it is a publishing ploy. If the book is a series based on a group of characters it’s nice to have a hint of what’s in store.
    So all in all I think it’s a fine line that authors have to walk.

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  70. Hi.
    I don’t mind epilogues, sometimes they tie up loose ends maybe of other characters in the story. However, Don’t like the ones that go too far in the future. Love is not stagnant. I can’t stand epilogues that have nothing to do with the book and are about another book that have nothing to do with the characters in the current book. I usually reevaluate the story and the author to see if I want to continue getting those books. Sometimes I have deleted them from my “buy” list figuring it is a publishing ploy. If the book is a series based on a group of characters it’s nice to have a hint of what’s in store.
    So all in all I think it’s a fine line that authors have to walk.

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  71. I enjoy epilogues which tell me about the couple’s life in their home on a sunny day and several small children are skipping around. Yes, I am a person who likes a truly happily ever after For me, it is nice to consider the couple truly living their best life together.
    I do not like anything that lets me know someone is forcing me to get a next book. That does not seem fair. Cheaters never prosper.
    I am a fan of character driven stories. So, naturally I love those tiny snippets that show me people living happily together.

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  72. I enjoy epilogues which tell me about the couple’s life in their home on a sunny day and several small children are skipping around. Yes, I am a person who likes a truly happily ever after For me, it is nice to consider the couple truly living their best life together.
    I do not like anything that lets me know someone is forcing me to get a next book. That does not seem fair. Cheaters never prosper.
    I am a fan of character driven stories. So, naturally I love those tiny snippets that show me people living happily together.

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  73. Denise, I got to the point that I couldn’t keep the couples & book titles straight in Lorelei James’ Rough Rider series, not to mention the families (3 families & cousins!) so I now have a list of the titles & copies as a note attached to the opening of Book 1. Wish I could put it in all the books so I don’t have to quit out of one & go to #1 but I’ve not figured that out yet…and keep it handy. I also put a list in there of all the families & who’s in which & what titles.
    Here’s where I want a good Family Tree in the book…big enough to read which is a problem with the ebks! Or used to be, in the lists of the author’s other titles, some would put the names of the MC’s under the title. I’m about to create one for the newer Cynster titles–there’s an up-to-date family tree but it’s only available online & that’s a pain! Ah well, it’s the librarian in me–I want efficient access wherever I want it!

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  74. Denise, I got to the point that I couldn’t keep the couples & book titles straight in Lorelei James’ Rough Rider series, not to mention the families (3 families & cousins!) so I now have a list of the titles & copies as a note attached to the opening of Book 1. Wish I could put it in all the books so I don’t have to quit out of one & go to #1 but I’ve not figured that out yet…and keep it handy. I also put a list in there of all the families & who’s in which & what titles.
    Here’s where I want a good Family Tree in the book…big enough to read which is a problem with the ebks! Or used to be, in the lists of the author’s other titles, some would put the names of the MC’s under the title. I’m about to create one for the newer Cynster titles–there’s an up-to-date family tree but it’s only available online & that’s a pain! Ah well, it’s the librarian in me–I want efficient access wherever I want it!

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  75. Oh, KC – an updated Cynster family tree that wasn’t infinitesimally small would be a gift to romance readers everywhere! I’ve stopped reading the series because I just can’t figure out who’s who any longer!

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  76. Oh, KC – an updated Cynster family tree that wasn’t infinitesimally small would be a gift to romance readers everywhere! I’ve stopped reading the series because I just can’t figure out who’s who any longer!

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  77. I love that ending in Black Sheep, with Abigail exclaiming Miles, there’s a man staring at us over the hedge and… and I know exactly what is happening, what will happen (they’d just discussed it) and I know everything will be just fine. (and wondering how long before Stacy runs out of the 15,000 his uncle just paid him & dares to come begging for more & what Miles will do to him…) This was one where I didn’t need an epilogue.
    But yes, most of the time I do enjoy an good epilogue, esp. if it’s at the end of the series & the group gathers for some celebratory reason, or shoot, just a quick update a few years down the pike. But if one isn’t included, I’m not going to contact the author & castigate her for it! She’s the author; if I want the book written a certain way, well, I’d best get to writing, hadn’t I? (and I already know–I’m a horrible fiction writer!)

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  78. I love that ending in Black Sheep, with Abigail exclaiming Miles, there’s a man staring at us over the hedge and… and I know exactly what is happening, what will happen (they’d just discussed it) and I know everything will be just fine. (and wondering how long before Stacy runs out of the 15,000 his uncle just paid him & dares to come begging for more & what Miles will do to him…) This was one where I didn’t need an epilogue.
    But yes, most of the time I do enjoy an good epilogue, esp. if it’s at the end of the series & the group gathers for some celebratory reason, or shoot, just a quick update a few years down the pike. But if one isn’t included, I’m not going to contact the author & castigate her for it! She’s the author; if I want the book written a certain way, well, I’d best get to writing, hadn’t I? (and I already know–I’m a horrible fiction writer!)

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  79. Team Epilogue keeps growing, it seems – and count me in. I also want it to come within a few years of the book’s ending – and I do like the “gathering” sorts, where multiple characters reappear, as long as there’s a purpose.
    While I enjoy novellas, I always want more – as I did with The Laird’s Bride, Anne! And based on the story of your initial story for The Laird’s Bride, I got a used copy of The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance – and I’ve wanted MORE after reading each story so far. Epilogues would have been much appreciated!

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  80. Team Epilogue keeps growing, it seems – and count me in. I also want it to come within a few years of the book’s ending – and I do like the “gathering” sorts, where multiple characters reappear, as long as there’s a purpose.
    While I enjoy novellas, I always want more – as I did with The Laird’s Bride, Anne! And based on the story of your initial story for The Laird’s Bride, I got a used copy of The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance – and I’ve wanted MORE after reading each story so far. Epilogues would have been much appreciated!

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  81. It’s Epilogues all the way for me. l love them! I too am someone who would have loved Heyer to include them in her books. The Nonesuch is my favourite book and I would so like to have had a bit more to it.
    The faux epilogue is a definite no no for me. If it happened in a book I was reading, I wouldn’t read another by the author. This was a great discussion!!

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  82. It’s Epilogues all the way for me. l love them! I too am someone who would have loved Heyer to include them in her books. The Nonesuch is my favourite book and I would so like to have had a bit more to it.
    The faux epilogue is a definite no no for me. If it happened in a book I was reading, I wouldn’t read another by the author. This was a great discussion!!

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  83. Constance, I think that’s the problem with a really long series. But as long as each book also works as a stand-alone, that can work for me. I’m amazed that Stephanie has been able to keep the Cynsters going for 20+ years. But its certainly a world that a lot of readers love.

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  84. Constance, I think that’s the problem with a really long series. But as long as each book also works as a stand-alone, that can work for me. I’m amazed that Stephanie has been able to keep the Cynsters going for 20+ years. But its certainly a world that a lot of readers love.

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  85. Thanks, kc, yes a long series is hard to keep track of. I suspect that’s why some authors break them into chunks. The difficulty with family trees in a book is size — generally the print os too small for a lot of people. And on kindle its even worse.
    Mary Balogh is another author who has lots of family connections and at the start of some of her books I really have to dig around in my brain to remember who’s who. Often I just reread the earlier books in the series so I’m clear on who’s who. And then I love returning to that world.

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  86. Thanks, kc, yes a long series is hard to keep track of. I suspect that’s why some authors break them into chunks. The difficulty with family trees in a book is size — generally the print os too small for a lot of people. And on kindle its even worse.
    Mary Balogh is another author who has lots of family connections and at the start of some of her books I really have to dig around in my brain to remember who’s who. Often I just reread the earlier books in the series so I’m clear on who’s who. And then I love returning to that world.

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  87. I’m very fond of Black Sheep, too, kc, and I’ve been reading and rereading Heyer most of my life, so I can cope with her often abrupt endings. And I suppose I can imagine an epilogue ifI want one, though I couldn’t do half as well as Heyer. But I did wonder, recently when I reread Faro’s Daughter how Deb and Max would get on once they were married. After all they’d only interacted a handful of times, and though it was clear the attraction was mutually powerful, and that their ethical standards were similarly high, and though I know they were going to be happy together, I still wonder just how their relationship would play out, especially in society.

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  88. I’m very fond of Black Sheep, too, kc, and I’ve been reading and rereading Heyer most of my life, so I can cope with her often abrupt endings. And I suppose I can imagine an epilogue ifI want one, though I couldn’t do half as well as Heyer. But I did wonder, recently when I reread Faro’s Daughter how Deb and Max would get on once they were married. After all they’d only interacted a handful of times, and though it was clear the attraction was mutually powerful, and that their ethical standards were similarly high, and though I know they were going to be happy together, I still wonder just how their relationship would play out, especially in society.

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  89. Vicki, I think those abrupt endings are a kind of literary device. I remember when I was a student, arguing with people about them, and the argument from the other side was always some literary thing where it was somehow shallow or playing down to the commonality to bring all the threads together at the end, and have it all spelled out, and that it was crass of a reader to expect it.
    I’m not saying that the authors who do end their novels abruptly think like that, but some do like to leave things a bit up in the air. And some think their books ARE finished. It’s just we readers who want more…

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  90. Vicki, I think those abrupt endings are a kind of literary device. I remember when I was a student, arguing with people about them, and the argument from the other side was always some literary thing where it was somehow shallow or playing down to the commonality to bring all the threads together at the end, and have it all spelled out, and that it was crass of a reader to expect it.
    I’m not saying that the authors who do end their novels abruptly think like that, but some do like to leave things a bit up in the air. And some think their books ARE finished. It’s just we readers who want more…

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  91. Interesting, Janice. I don’t generally have the patience to wait for the next book in a series to pick up most loose ends. I know the couple in the book will be happy, I just want to see a snippet of it for myself. I suppose it’s also to prolong the story a little more, and not to leave that world I’ve so enjoyed just yet.
    And Your term “just another banal married couple” is, I suppose, why I’m less interested than those epilogue that show them 20 years down the track. But they don’t have to be banal. Happy is not banal, IMO.

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  92. Interesting, Janice. I don’t generally have the patience to wait for the next book in a series to pick up most loose ends. I know the couple in the book will be happy, I just want to see a snippet of it for myself. I suppose it’s also to prolong the story a little more, and not to leave that world I’ve so enjoyed just yet.
    And Your term “just another banal married couple” is, I suppose, why I’m less interested than those epilogue that show them 20 years down the track. But they don’t have to be banal. Happy is not banal, IMO.

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  93. Thanks, Binnie Syril, I haven’t come across many very long epilogues, but perhaps the author just doesn’t want to leave that world yet herself. And no, I don’t want a widow reminiscing either! I confess, I do think about that when there’s quite an age difference between the hero and heroine. I know it was common in the past, men deciding to settle down once they reached their thirties or even later, while women were married off quite young, but I can’t help thinking that chances are, the woman could be widowed quite young. But let’s not go there. . . *g*

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  94. Thanks, Binnie Syril, I haven’t come across many very long epilogues, but perhaps the author just doesn’t want to leave that world yet herself. And no, I don’t want a widow reminiscing either! I confess, I do think about that when there’s quite an age difference between the hero and heroine. I know it was common in the past, men deciding to settle down once they reached their thirties or even later, while women were married off quite young, but I can’t help thinking that chances are, the woman could be widowed quite young. But let’s not go there. . . *g*

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  95. ” If the book is a series based on a group of characters it’s nice to have a hint of what’s in store. ”
    Thanks, Cindi — yes, I quite agree with you there. But there’s a difference between a hint of a teaser, when readers become intrigued by a character, and naked serial bait. In my current series, I’ve already had emails asking me whether Clarissa’s story is next and if so, whether Lord Randall will be her hero — answer is yes—so people know what’s to come, but both of those people were integral to the previous story.
    And I’ve had hundreds of emails asking for Marcus’s story, from the Devil Riders series, and that was entirely unintentional on my part. I intended him to be a slightly distant, slightly villainous background character, but . . . he grew. But because he wasn’t in the original contract, my editor at the time didn’t want his story. so . . .
    So yes, it’s definitely a fine and tricky line to walk.

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  96. ” If the book is a series based on a group of characters it’s nice to have a hint of what’s in store. ”
    Thanks, Cindi — yes, I quite agree with you there. But there’s a difference between a hint of a teaser, when readers become intrigued by a character, and naked serial bait. In my current series, I’ve already had emails asking me whether Clarissa’s story is next and if so, whether Lord Randall will be her hero — answer is yes—so people know what’s to come, but both of those people were integral to the previous story.
    And I’ve had hundreds of emails asking for Marcus’s story, from the Devil Riders series, and that was entirely unintentional on my part. I intended him to be a slightly distant, slightly villainous background character, but . . . he grew. But because he wasn’t in the original contract, my editor at the time didn’t want his story. so . . .
    So yes, it’s definitely a fine and tricky line to walk.

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  97. Thanks, Annette. Yes it’s uncomfortable to be “forced” or manipulated into buying the next book to find out what happened. I stopped reading one series, where after several books where the heroine was trying to decide between two potential heroes, the book ended with her going to bed with one of them — and you had to wait for the next book to find out which man it was. A lot of people liked it, but it annoyed me and I sopped reading that series.
    And I’m a fan of character-driven stories too. I never understand why people can think romances are written to a strict formula — it always depends on the characters.

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  98. Thanks, Annette. Yes it’s uncomfortable to be “forced” or manipulated into buying the next book to find out what happened. I stopped reading one series, where after several books where the heroine was trying to decide between two potential heroes, the book ended with her going to bed with one of them — and you had to wait for the next book to find out which man it was. A lot of people liked it, but it annoyed me and I sopped reading that series.
    And I’m a fan of character-driven stories too. I never understand why people can think romances are written to a strict formula — it always depends on the characters.

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  99. Thanks, Constance, yes, writing short novellas for an anthology is hard, especially for those of us who generally write longer books. You have no idea how hard if was for the Wenches to restrict ourselves to 12,000—15,000 words, when I’m absolutely sure we could each of us written a full-length story about our characters.
    It’s why some authors add epilogues to their websites, so readers can enjoy them.
    But I won’t be doing that.

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  100. Thanks, Constance, yes, writing short novellas for an anthology is hard, especially for those of us who generally write longer books. You have no idea how hard if was for the Wenches to restrict ourselves to 12,000—15,000 words, when I’m absolutely sure we could each of us written a full-length story about our characters.
    It’s why some authors add epilogues to their websites, so readers can enjoy them.
    But I won’t be doing that.

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  101. The Nonesuch is wonderful I agree, Teresa. As well as the central romance, there is such a wonderful collection of individual characters in it — as have all Heyer’s books. I suspect that though Heyer was deeply romantic, she disliked sentimentality, and that’s where so many epilogues go. (Mine included)
    Yes, the faux epilogue is annoying, I agree. And it puts me off, as well.

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  102. The Nonesuch is wonderful I agree, Teresa. As well as the central romance, there is such a wonderful collection of individual characters in it — as have all Heyer’s books. I suspect that though Heyer was deeply romantic, she disliked sentimentality, and that’s where so many epilogues go. (Mine included)
    Yes, the faux epilogue is annoying, I agree. And it puts me off, as well.

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  103. Ha! No, they don’t have to be banal … but in my experience, they too often are. I don’t care how many absolutely perfect children they have or that they’re still having perfect fantasy sex 20 years later. If anything, I’d rather read that they have met family problems or wars or whatever and transcended — but perhaps that would call for another book to explore in sufficient length.
    Should we think of Devil’s Cub as an epilogue to These Old Shades?

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  104. Ha! No, they don’t have to be banal … but in my experience, they too often are. I don’t care how many absolutely perfect children they have or that they’re still having perfect fantasy sex 20 years later. If anything, I’d rather read that they have met family problems or wars or whatever and transcended — but perhaps that would call for another book to explore in sufficient length.
    Should we think of Devil’s Cub as an epilogue to These Old Shades?

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  105. If you have a story for Marcus, could you write it and change his name? Or publish another novel in the same series with another publisher? Or self publish it?
    Writers generally keep their contractual and business customs quite private (as well they should, I suppose) and we fans only get crumbs of how it all really works. And the rules keep changing too.

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  106. If you have a story for Marcus, could you write it and change his name? Or publish another novel in the same series with another publisher? Or self publish it?
    Writers generally keep their contractual and business customs quite private (as well they should, I suppose) and we fans only get crumbs of how it all really works. And the rules keep changing too.

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  107. I love epilogues, except when they go too far into the future. I just want a peek of happy life, not the end of life. I haven’t encountered a “faux epilogue”, but that’s not cool. I already read excerpts from the next book and teasers, don’t present them as epilogues. The story I most wanted an epilogue for, I will never get, as the author is long deceased- Pride and Prejudice. I think many of us longed for just a glimpse of Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Bingley having happy ever after. There certainly are enough Pemberly based books. Go team epilogue!

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  108. I love epilogues, except when they go too far into the future. I just want a peek of happy life, not the end of life. I haven’t encountered a “faux epilogue”, but that’s not cool. I already read excerpts from the next book and teasers, don’t present them as epilogues. The story I most wanted an epilogue for, I will never get, as the author is long deceased- Pride and Prejudice. I think many of us longed for just a glimpse of Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Bingley having happy ever after. There certainly are enough Pemberly based books. Go team epilogue!

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  109. I agree on the size, Constance! The one online in her website for the next generation group isn’t that small but it’s on a dark ivory background & the print colors are difficult to read!
    And looks like there is the potential for lots & lots of titles yet to come–those fellas believed in be fruitful & multiplied! If I’m reading it correctly, of the original 7 guys (including Chillingworth), we still have 14 more kids w stories to go. And that doesn’t include the relations such as Michael & Cleo; Dillon & Priscilla, etc.
    I think I can work up a list & attach it as a note in the 1st book (Devil’s Bride) but I can’t figure out how to create that note easily in each book! Copy & Paste isn’t working for me there…Ah well, drawing board!

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  110. I agree on the size, Constance! The one online in her website for the next generation group isn’t that small but it’s on a dark ivory background & the print colors are difficult to read!
    And looks like there is the potential for lots & lots of titles yet to come–those fellas believed in be fruitful & multiplied! If I’m reading it correctly, of the original 7 guys (including Chillingworth), we still have 14 more kids w stories to go. And that doesn’t include the relations such as Michael & Cleo; Dillon & Priscilla, etc.
    I think I can work up a list & attach it as a note in the 1st book (Devil’s Bride) but I can’t figure out how to create that note easily in each book! Copy & Paste isn’t working for me there…Ah well, drawing board!

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  111. Anne, where I ran into trouble in pbks–put the maps or lists on two pages & the center is lost down in the binding. Ran into that trouble so many times with McCaffrey’s Pern titles! That map in the front was so tiny & part of it lost in the binding! And in an ebk, if it was included, you can’t enlarge it!

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  112. Anne, where I ran into trouble in pbks–put the maps or lists on two pages & the center is lost down in the binding. Ran into that trouble so many times with McCaffrey’s Pern titles! That map in the front was so tiny & part of it lost in the binding! And in an ebk, if it was included, you can’t enlarge it!

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  113. Hmmm, been a while since I read Faro’s Daughter–I remember fondly her imprisoning him at the beginning but don’t remember the lack of interactions. Going to have to reread (such a tragedy–HA!)

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  114. Hmmm, been a while since I read Faro’s Daughter–I remember fondly her imprisoning him at the beginning but don’t remember the lack of interactions. Going to have to reread (such a tragedy–HA!)

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  115. Janice,I know Devil’s Cub is a sequel to These Old Shades, and it’s nice to catch a glimpse of Avon and Leonie 20+ years down the track, but no, I wouldn’t call it an epilogue. *g* The focus is very much on Vidal and Mary, even though Avon steals the scene when Mary encounters him at that inn.

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  116. Janice,I know Devil’s Cub is a sequel to These Old Shades, and it’s nice to catch a glimpse of Avon and Leonie 20+ years down the track, but no, I wouldn’t call it an epilogue. *g* The focus is very much on Vidal and Mary, even though Avon steals the scene when Mary encounters him at that inn.

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  117. Thanks, Cindy — yes, Team Epilogue certainly has the numbers here. And yes, I sometimes wonder what Jane Austen would thin=k if she learned of all the spinoffs of her book. Not to mention the TV adaptations.

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  118. Thanks, Cindy — yes, Team Epilogue certainly has the numbers here. And yes, I sometimes wonder what Jane Austen would thin=k if she learned of all the spinoffs of her book. Not to mention the TV adaptations.

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