There is an interesting blog at Word Wenches about linked books, a trilogy or a series. In the romance novel sense, it means that book one will be about A and B, while book two is about C and D, with possible links or appearances by A and B. Series, Book 2.
I quite like a series. And I agree with some of the comments that a romance should really have a happy ending--but perhaps this is merely my PMS talking--but one comment niggled me a little. It's about how the reader will only read romance because of the happy endings--"Only a fool will spend money on fictional grief when so much is available for free."
I love a happy ending, but certainly not in everything. In romance? Yes. In historical fiction--I just want to be taken away to the period. In more contemporary literary fiction (like a McEwan novel), then it depends on the style of the author and the book itself.
After all, Atonement, my favorite novel of all time, is not exactly...happy.
That sentiment strikes me as incredibly limiting. It's like this friend I have, who only reads books he has been taught in school. I have my particular preferences (historical fiction over thrillers, for example), but if I only ever read the books I'd been taught in school, I don't think that I would be me. I wouldn't have had the imaginary experiences wrought by books I read outside of school--and I've read far more outside of school than in it.
The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick was a great read, but it had a very sad ending. Lady Macbeth is overall a fairly bleak sort of book.
As it's shaping up, Iggy is going to have a bittersweet sort of ending.
I'm reading Alison Weir's Henry VIII (chock full of info on his life and his court). I found out that Henry had Italian sculptors on his payroll (I'm stealing that little detail), as well as how holidays were celebrated, clothes, food, etc.
I'm sure those facts will their way to the wiki soon.
Do we like happy endings in books? Does everything have to be upbeat and sweet all the time or can there be a little bit of messiness in fiction, too?