Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Genre is 'The Search for Gabriella'? Where does it fit on booksellers' shelves?

An acquaintance – widely read from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts via thrillers and historical novels – has this to say:

“To describe the book and give it a genre is a hard thing to get right because 'The Search for Gabriella' is an adventure story, a romance, historical, etc. But for me, although it is in part all of those things (and more), it feels most like a mystery. After all, what we are all dying to know from the start is – where is Gabriella? And each element of the story brings the pieces of the puzzle together.

I'd say it's first a mystery and second, a romance, and third, a historical story.

I think the mystery label is accurate in terms of reflecting the story – with the key part being Gabriella, the painting. But then there's Gabriella, the person – quite a romantic figure – and also the romance between the young couple,set today. And as the story starts and ends with the young couple, that makes it feel like a romance. Like all the in-between, with Ben following up his uncle's project and rediscovering Gabriella, which actually leads back to the relationship between him and his young lady.

The historical aspect – the different periods of history, the characterisations and the language – is very important.  Ben's quest to find the answer to his uncle's life's work leads us back through history and around the world. Venice in 1470, Shakespeare's London, Gin Lane in London in 1790, Abyssinia in 1868, and Prague today.  I think this all makes it a romantic mystery 'spanning time and location'."

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