Novellas vary, in length and in quality. In a full-length novel, the author has more time to develop the plot and characters. The novella has to contain all of the story elements in a more compact package. It’s not an easy job – harder, in some ways, than writing a long book. The author has to develop a complete plot, create well-developed characters and (usually) write a believable romance in a much shorter form. Novellas come in different sizes, usually between 25,000 and 45,000 words. Multi-author novella collections are popular, especially at Christmastime. They can be inexpensive and fun introduction to new authors.
This novella collection from three distinguished writers of romantic suspense, was published one year ago, and I have already listened to it twice. Obviously, I liked it! All three of the authors are on my “read everything list.”
Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series is one of the most popular and enduring family sagas in its genre. I’ve read them all at least twice, so I had high expectations for her contribution to this collection, Missing. I was disappointed. As I considered it later, I decided that her full-length books are paced in a more leisurely style, developing gradually over a long period of time. She couldn’t do that in a short novella, so the characters had no depth. The romance didn’t make sense. I liked the plot, but unlike traditional mysteries, the ending was based on something totally unknown to the reader. I will still continue to read everything else she writes, of course, because I love her work!
I have been an enthusiastic Dani Pettrey fan since I found her first book, Submerged, shortly after it was released. It’s still one of my favorite books, and I’ve read everything she’s written since then – usually in audiobook form. Her novella, Shadowed, is by far the best of this collection. It reads like a full-length book, a complex and worthy addition to the Alaskan Courage series. It was set in the 1970’s – a fun and unusual time period we don’t see much of in current books. I enjoyed the “retro” cultural references. Shadowed has terrific characters, plot, setting… and bonus points for continuing the alliteration.
I have only recently started reading Lynette Eason, but I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read so far. Blackout was a little confusing sometimes, with many characters, but still very good. It moved quickly, with intense action, and I liked the base and progression of the romantic relationship.
Each of the novellas is now available separately, but the Sins of the Past collection is a bargain – and you can pick up the audio version for just a few dollars more!
What do you think?
What has been your experience with novellas? Have you read many of them? What, in your opinion, makes a novella a good book?