Finite or Infinite?

I was remarking to someone yesterday, half jokingly, that as I close in upon the end of a series readers seem to be enjoying, I often wish I had made it larger. I have written six of the seven Survivors’ Club books and wonder why I didn’t invent twelve members of the club instead of seven. As I drew to the end of the Bedwyn series a number of years ago (the SLIGHTLY books) I wondered why I had not invented a family with twelve siblings instead of six. It is possible, of course, to begin a completely open-ended series in which, for example, the family concerned includes numerous cousins and perhaps several generations and can go on forever. But I have always chosen to write series that have a natural end. What do you think: finite or infinite? Which type of series do you prefer as a reader?

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Readers have suggested that I write stories for the Bedwyn children, but multi-generational  series have never appealed to me, either as a reader or as a writer–especially with love stories. When I finish a book, I want to leave the reader with the impression that this couple will live on happily (even though I try never to suggest a simple and unrealistic happily-ever-after). I want to leave them ever young, ever poised for the long and happy life they will have together. I don’t want to show them as older people, with adult children or even grandchildren. After loving Georgette Heyer’s THESE OLD SHADES, I did not like reading the story of Leonie and Avon’s granddaughter, in which book Leonie is widowed, I seem to remember.


The risk with series that just go on and on because readers keep asking for more is that they can grow stale. And they stop the writer from moving on to a new creative project. I often find the later books in a long series not as entertaining as the earlier ones. Sometimes it is even hard to believe that this comes from the same writer as the ones that so delighted me at the beginning. And I can understand that. Once I have finished with a series and moved on, I would find it very difficult to come back and write another edition. If I were to discover a long-lost cousin or sibling of the Bedwyns, for example, I would not simply be able to write the story. I would have to think my way back into that world of the Bedwyns in which I was creatively immersed for several years, and it would not be easy–or even fully possible, perhaps. So for myself–as a writer and even as a reader–the finite, fairly short series are best, at least when the genre is romance. What do you think?


To one person who leaves a comment below before the end of Saturday, October 25, I will send a signed set of the four Survivors’ Club books already published or about to be–The Proposal, The Arrangement, The Escape, and Only Enchanting. And to two other persons who leave a comment, I will send a signed copy of Only Enchanting. Good luck!

334 Replies to “Finite or Infinite?”

    1. I prefer when the series ends but the characters live on in the next story through some relation or other like the Bedwyn prequels and sequels.

    2. I prefer the finite, allow I did like the fact that the Bedwyns made short appearances in the Simply books. The confrontation between Fredja and her former governess, when she realizes that her former pupil has been responsible for the continued success of her school, has to be one of the funniest and poignant scenes in any books I have read. (and I have read most of the “classics”, best sellers, mysteries, and romances) Not sure I spelled Fredja correctly and am too lazy to go up three flights of stairs to get the book and look it up) am really enjoying the current series and am awaiting the next book, have pre-ordered it. Jan

    3. It is hard to leave a “world” that you feel a part of , so sometimes I fear a series ending. That said I trust the author to know when to stop. Doesn’t mean there will be no grousing!

    4. I love open-ended series. I know all good things must come to an eventual end but, once immersed in a world, I never want it to end! I still miss the Bedwyns. I think it does depend upon the given series though. If the writer has nothing else to add to that world, it can become tedious. I adore your books so I can never imagine anything but delight at what you choose to write!

    5. I have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens Cynster stories for many years and even listen to them on audiobook now but if your interest is in the shorter series, that is what you need to write. Your stories are wonderful and I would not want you to try to change your style. I have appreciated getting to know your characters and look forward to all the new ones to come.

    6. I like the way you use characters from one series in subsequent books. For example, in the “Simply” series, you brought back the Bedwyns as supporting characters. It gave a glimpse of their lives after the conclusion of their stories, and left then still in their prime, and in the middle of their “happily ever after”.

      I agree that if a series goes on too long, it can become stale. I like the way each of your series takes an underlying theme and builds on it. Each story in each series is unique. They can be enjoyed as stand alone books, or read in order. I found that when I started the “Slightly” series, I couldn’t wait to read about the rest of the books because the characters were so interesting. I’ll admit I would not have been adverse to reading about a few more siblings.

    7. It depends on the series and the author. Some, like yours, I wish could go on FOREVER!!! Others, I am ready for them to be wrapped up, hopefully neatly.
      I have read and LOVED your books from the beginning!! Thank you!!!!!

    8. I like the finite series but I’m always so sad when they end and I have to leave that world. I love reading older series where I can go right from first to last.

    9. I prefer the finite series, but it is enjoyable in later books to have familiar characters referenced in another book or series. Like coming home.

    10. Ever notice finite things can be infinite? Earth is finite, yet we keep discovering new life, new cultures, and how earth functions and renews itself. Same with our finite bodies…we keep discovering amazing ways our body can heal itself and adapt, like brain neuroplastcity. There are infinite possibilities as each book ends. I read romance for the happy endings…to take a vacation from my reality, not that my life is unhappy, but a vacation refreshes and gives my overactive caring and nurturing a break! So finite works for me! Allows me to have choice in the infinite possibilities beyond the ending, if I choose to imagine beyond. I like finite…I like you writing what is creative and joyful for you…because it’s infused into your books and lives you weave!

    11. You asked whether finite and infinite, and at this particular time in history and with our soldiers coming home, we need stories about survivors more than ever. So, could you have made it twenty? Would that many stories have carried the impact of the ones you have written for the seven? Those stories have been wonderful to read and I will miss them when they are finished. Thank you.

  1. I agree that multigenerational stories don’t usually work, and I can think of one series which I loved – the first three books were fantastic, but as the series grew into more books, I felt as if the author had lost interest, writing aging characters and then their adult children, and the stories became more research projects than character studies to the point I stopped reading her books altogether. I love your books and I hope to win some more!

  2. One of the things I love most about your work is that while not everyone is connected — although so many of your characters are! — I can see how they might all live together in one place and time. So while your each series might have a definite end, I feel like the world you’ve created has infinite possibilities.

  3. I like a series that ends. I like how some of your characters pop up in the other books you write, but I don’t like having a loved character grow old and die. I’m with you, preferring to remember them young, happy and in love.

  4. I have been reading your books for years and enjoy them so much. My Mum was a war bride from England and books from England have always been of special interest to me. I sometimes hate to end a series as the characters become friends but, in the end, I am happy to end one series and move on to the next. However you do it, please keep up the excellent work 🙂

  5. As a reader I’m conflicted about this, since the characters feel like friends and you hate to lose a friend that you enjoying spending time with. However, I can also see your point that the characters can become stale over time, just like relationships in real life.

    I wonder if maybe the answer is to start a series without having an end in mind and see where it takes you. What character invites you to find out more about them. In real life you make a friend and get to know them and through them meet other new people…sort of the road less taken approach?

  6. I much prefer a series that ends at some point. I enjoy the chance to get to know a group of characters and/or families, but I do think that eventually those that go on and on get a bit stale. I sometimes worry that writers are going to quit writing standalone romances completely, since publishers seem to be so focused on series. I still love a standalone title and it is getting very difficult to find them.

  7. Even though the reader has some say – in terms of sales and preferences, it is ultimately the writer’s sandbox – where the writer plays and builds his/her sandcastle world. If the writer is skillful, he/she can stay in comfort zone where and build a world which pleases the reader. If the writer goes out of that comfort zone, the end result may be uncomfortable for the writer, and in the end, be a less satisfactory book for the reader. In the case of the Georgette Heyer book, the HEA is broken by the plotline, and if the reader was made to care about Leonie’s husband, it takes the reader out of the current book enough to keep the end result from being as satisfying. Not to age the characters, though, that takes skill. Where I am playing, one of my characters appears first as a child, young adult, older adult, and then books later, as a patriarch, but I am playing in a completely different sandbox. They age for me; not all series can sustain that. :o)

  8. First of all, I am enjoying the Survivors’ Club immensely. For it in particular, I think more members would be unrealistic. How many wounded, tormented souls can occupy a house for very long before experiencing some sort of friction?

    I hate to see a wonderful series end, and I’ll dread the last book, but I think you’re about right to hold them at six or seven.

  9. I don’t think I could handle infinite – it would be like having an unfinished project and would drive me crazy! In fact, I love your series novels, and prefer to read them all at once.

  10. I agree with you. I like the finite. I just re read the Bedwyn series and am thinking about reading the Simply series again. I love the connection and that the Bedwyns are even in portions of those (or is it only one?) And that several of the same characters are in both series. But I do like that you keep them forever young. I love to think of Wulfric and Christine embarking on having more children and wonder how Wulfric will school James to be the next duke. Will he be as strict as his tutors were with him? I’m thinking not, since Christine would have a hand in it, too. But I am content with wondering.

    I have read several authors who have very long series: Sue Grafton, Nevada Barr, Janet Evonovich, John Sandford. I stopped reading Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum series, because each book is the same thing. Stephanie never grows or matures. In my opinion, that should have ended after 10 or so. The other 3 authors I mentioned, I still read and enjoy. But John Sandford is into the 22nd or 23’d Lucas Davenport book. It’s time to end it. I understand Sue Grafton has to finish the alphabet, and I really, really enjoy the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr. But, again, they are too much. At least, though, these characters continue to learn and grow.

  11. Wow, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this topic lately because I am a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series..and the next book (#9) is supposedly the last in the series. I firmly believe the same as you, that the author should leave the characters with the impression of a long, happy (with ups and downs of course) life. I do NOT want to read about a beloved character’s death. If you drag out a series too long, or even continue on to the next generation, you are bound to have to include a character’s death. I like series that run concurrent to another series, so there is the opportunity to feature a character from an earlier series, but maybe on a short time in the future. It’s a nice way to get caught up on characters’ stories..without writing an entire book about them.

  12. I just discovered your books, but haven’t read one yet. I usually like to start from the beginning. I feel that a story line should end. If they continue too long, they get boring. I love historical romances. They are my primary reading subject.

  13. I much prefer a series with an ending – there are a few that I have stopped reading because they went on and on and on (6 to 7 books is enough for me). The exception for me is the J D Robb books: while some are not as good as others, I always look forward to the next one. I also avoid multi-generational series.

  14. Honestly, I love an infinite series. I fall in love with certain characters and don’t want to say goodbye. I can think of 3 different series by 3 different authors off the top of my head that are in double digits now. One just released a new book and the other 2 have new books being released this month. With each new book, it gives me an excuse to reread the entire series over again before opening the new one. I always notice something I missed before each time I reread them. It is my version of my own personal paradise!

  15. I find that I like both finite and infinite series. With the Survivor’s Club, we know that there are a specific number of characters. I look forward to reading the rest of the series as these characters are intriguing and I want to hear their stories.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win these books…would love to be selected as 10/25 is my birthday!


  16. What a hard choice, the end of a series is often bittersweet as we always meet characters that have a story just waiting to be told. But I love meeting new people and exploring new places as well so the end of one often hails the beginning of a new one. And oh the excitement in that. Still there is no clear cut winner for me. My love story is generational, I had the young and beautiful and new, have lived the chaos of raising a healthy family and am now a grandmother that still has my warrior and hero by my side. So catching a glimpse of some of my favorite characters farther down the road of life is wonderful as well. So in the end my decision is not to decide but to keep on reading and enjoying whether it’s a single story that stands alone or a series that seems to be endless. And you my wonderful Mary Balogh will remain high on my list of must have as soon as it hits the shelves writers.

  17. I much prefer a finite ending that leaves very little questions, I find it frustrating if you are wrapped up into series and leaves too many open questions to characters. Some series that carry on for too long from minor characters getting their own stories become stagnant and the books less interesting and will cause me to loose interest in the author. A few “family” series I have been following that have reached 8+ books & novellas in each have lost appeal to me and the stories seemed to become cookie-cutter format with the feeling of read that before nothing new here and can make a story from a wonderful author a just OK read when you have come to expect more.

  18. I prefer a short series of 3-6 books max. The Legend series by Marie Lu is 3 books and I couldn’t imagine making it longer. I love your books and I enjoy your daily Facebook posts. I have found new books to read from your fans recommendations (and yours). Looking forward to your new book. I’ve never been disappointed

  19. I much prefer the finite over infinite. I love serial books. When I begin a series book/storyline, regardless of the genre, I feel like I’m a part of their story, and when the series ends, I get a sense of closure, if you will.

    Infinite series can become tedious and can sometimes loose the readers interest. I mean no disrespect to any authors creativity, however, there comes a point when a series book/storyline needs to come to an end in some way, shape, or form.

    A storyline doesn’t have to continue forever, unless that is the author’s preference, or initial conception when he or she begins a series or storyline.

    There are times when I read a book that I wish that there was a sequel or additional books to continue the story.

    Sometimes a book will leave the reader with unanswered questions or wanting more. And sometimes the ending of a book will leave the reader with a sense of closure and not wanting more.

    It all depends on the author’s thought process when they initially conceive their storyline. JMHO

  20. You’re right: leave our hero and heroine forever young and in love. While some loose ends need to be tidied up, I like to also have room in my head to imagine…

  21. I love the series novels and having the characters come back again in the next book is like meeting old friends — it gives depth to the story and adds to the enjoyment for me. It is always sad to come to the end of a series but I think it is necessary — and one can always go back and start at the beginning to enjoy them all over again while waiting for your next series. Finite is probably best.

  22. I also like a series that has a definite end. I loved the first “Outlander” books, but Diana Gabaldon could have ended the series at three books as far as I’m concerned. When she brought her characters to America, she lost me. The setting and culture is just as important as the characters.

    I do like the idea of a new series that references characters from another, but one of the many reasons I like your books, Mary, is because you do leave the characters poised on the brink of their happy life together. I am not a fan of seeing my heroes and heroines with a passel of grandchildren!

  23. I like both in a way. It’s always interesting to me to have an author bring characters from previous books into a current one and finding that they have children and things are working out just fine. I do agree that not then one or two generational series can get old, but am author who CAN manage it and keep the stories fresh is pretty rare.

  24. For me it is more about whether there is material for more books in a series. One contemporary author that I have followed for 20 years now has been doing a series for about as long and is now really repeating plots and really characters, just putting new names on them. And it is obvious that she is just putting in stuff that is to fill space. She would have done better to go multi-generational. The key is to know when to stop. Also to know ur own limitations as an author. Was in a middle of a series and then it just stopped. 3 books left. Turns out she knew she had health issues when she started the series and that she might not finish it. Now there is something just sitting unfinished out there. Mary I think the length of your series are just right. Enough to give depth but realistic as to plots available and characters.

  25. I like a definite end to a series. However, I do enjoy meeting some characters in books written prior to a series. With the Bedwyn series we met or heard of them in One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember.

  26. I am mixed on whether the series should go on. The Bedwyns and the Huxables seem to have natural endings, but I would love to revisit them once in a while; friends you visit catch up, but that you don’t see every day or even every month.

  27. As much as I love a good book series, I much prefer when the series comes to an end instead of dragging on. As hard as it may be to say goodbye, I like remembering my favorite characters when they were in their prime-young, full of life and passion…not as grandparents. Honestly, who wants to read about Wulfric Bedwyn tottering about in his dotage?! We want to remember him finally winning over Christine. 🙂

  28. I also agree with the series having an ending.
    Thinking of Claudia Martin being as she is and in love I adore the characters weaved together in some ways but still seperate. As far as generational…no I am not a fan either. For me, all I would want to know would be about the original not the offspring. Mainly because I fall in love with the original character and they stay apart of me. It’s wonderful to get lost in their world and to be apart of it…finite

  29. I think I understand right that after awhile the series goes nowhere and there are no new ideas and the author can’t grow with other stories she has in her head. And if you were to leave the series and write other things that there wouldn’t be another time when you would come back and add to the series. Wow that is so understanding as once you stop the series you have put a closed stamp on it and you are plotting other things and you don’t want to stand a chance of going back in a few years and making a mistake about someone. I think that a reader gets attached to a series and wants it to go on and on but then even that reader has backed themselves into a corner and doesn’t realize it and should grow themselves and start with other books and let that author write what she has ideas about . I sure can understand why once you have stopped the series why you wouldn’t want to go back and invent a cousin or step sister that all of a sudden pops up somewhere as then you don’t have that whole picture in your head anymore. I know when I am reading after several books of a series I tend to leave that romance as an example and move to mystery and then come back as I find myself in a rut and don’t like that.

  30. I agree that a series with a set end is great to read, even if I regret the limits. Getting to know the group, following their connections through the other stories? Those are much more difficult if you open up a series endlessly. So I’ll take the bittersweet aspects of knowing that the club has only so many members if it means that I get to know all of them so well through the unfolding stories.

  31. I tend to agree – finite. As much as I have loved book series and been sad to see them end, I love that the story has an ending. It allows me to wonder, on my own, what if? My imagination can go to different ideas without it being spelled out, and while you have started it, shaped it and sent me on my way, I appreciate the freedom and encouragement to wonder.

  32. I do like a series with a set number of character stories…that being said I often think “what has happened to these ‘friends’ that I have come to love?” While I am not seeking stories of the next generation, I often wonder: has Freyja remained a spitfire?, did marriage bring peace to Sydnam?, did the “Simply’ teachers continue to teach their own children?, I would definitely buy a “continuation” volume to check back in, because while in my heart I’m led to believe they all got their HEA’s, I know life is not always smooth….LOVE your books and remain a fan…love regency reads…

  33. I like finite. I agree, often books about the later generations aren’t as good. That said, I also enjoy when a snippet about characters from a previous series finds its way into a new series. It makes the stories more ‘real’ when the characters are contemporaries wth other characters in the same time period, and it always makes me smile when it happens to remember them (and often makes me go grab that first book to reread it!).

  34. I agree with you Mary ; finite. I enjoy a series that leaves the reader with her characters in a state of happy youth exploring the possibilities of the years ahead and revailing in what they have already made together.

  35. I love a series and hate when they end it is always nice when you see the characters cross over through the various series like Lady Muir who finally got her happy ending in the survivors club. I read Stephanie Lauren’s cynster books where she is moving on now to the next generation. I hope I love them but my worry is when the books go into a different era the magic will go

  36. I enjoy reading both kinds of series, but if I really like the characters I want the series to continue. Madeliene L’Engle wrote books where a minor character in one was a major character in another book or series. I always enjoyed meeting a familiar character again in a book if it fit the story.

  37. I love the series that only have a limited number of books .. after a while if there is too many. it gets BORING. I like it stopping at 6 or 7….
    3 or 4 is not long enough and 8’9’10’ is way tooo long. anyway keep writing and I will keep reading. Joan

  38. The lovely thing about a finite series is that it lingers in the mind as a single, bite-sized chunk. The Bedwyns live together in my mind. The Survivors have another spot in my memory. I hate seeing a series end, but the books are still there, and I can reread them. 🙂 I agree, no multigenerational extensions – the sequel to These Old Shades was not satisfying. However, I do love that the characters get to visit each other’s worlds – to me, it helps enrich the story I’m in at the time.

  39. I remember the moment I shut the back cover of Wulf’s book, I didn’t know how I was going to stand not knowing more! My other favorite families are Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton family and the Malory gang of Johanna Lindsey. Johanna has gone on to write into the next couple of generations but I too find it hard to picture the dashing James and Tony as old men! Just as I would find it hard to see Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy anything but perfectly preserved in his young Colin Firthness…I find myself resenting Colin for aging. : (
    I did love Johanna’s, “The Gift” and Julia’s, “The Bridgerton’s Happy Ever After”, I think because it was like visit home for the holidays and I enjoyed seeing how everyone was doing. Anything more than that is like the relative that come for a visit and you find it’s Valentine’s Day and you are praying they will just get the heck out!

    I have read Georgette Heyer’s books. While I enjoyed “Devil’s Cub”, I agree with you that after that Leonie being a widow in the next one just made me sad. We all want these people you have created to never age or become ill, never suffer any more heart break than they already have. I certainly don’t want to picture Wulfric as a gray haired old man lifting his glass to his eye at his grandchildren!
    In the end I guess I like the compromise of having them show up in a book of another series…just to know that they are still dancing with their loves. I too love that in my mind they will always be young and beautiful and in love. Anything more takes away from the romance of it all.

      1. He’s still got it. Wait until you see Kingsman: The Secret Service in Feb. Daniel Craig will look like a wimp. Besides- isn’t it wonderful to see how good Darcy would look at 54???? Better than most of the male species.

  40. Love your books. I think occasional cameo appearances of someone who has appeared in other books of the same era can be fun but I agree that multigenerational series may grow stale. I am looking forward to “Only Enchanting”.

  41. I am with you I do not want to read about a character getting old or a husband or wife being a widow – that would upset me a great deal and I don’t think I could read a book like that – I like happy endings – I like to read a book that makes me feel good.

  42. I favor the finite series. While I love the natural progression of your characters from one book to the next, I think there comes a natural ending spot at which we leave the characters and allow our imaginations to envision the rest. In addition, I enjoy how your characters appear briefly in other books — and it’s obvious that their lives have moved on — so that we can be reassured that they are still happy, healthy, and in love. Another of my favorite techniques you employ is finding such characters as Lady Muir and Joseph Fawcitt and then featuring them in their own books. I love learning their back stories, complete with shattered dreams, secrets, and heartaches!

  43. I definitely prefer the finite series. It’s nice to live in a world for a while, but I agree it does seem to drain the author after a while. If not for you and Quinn, I might have lost faith in series entirely.

  44. I love your books they always make me laugh! I love series as you always say something of the ones in the previous book so that books doesn’t end. I pickup one of the slightly series at a second hand store. It sent me looking for more of your books.

  45. As a reader, if I love the series I always want to know more about the characters. But I also know I don’t want to keep reading about them indefinitely. I like the ‘riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after’ feeling that you get at the end of the series. I like closure. I like being able to delve into a new world in the next book or series. As a writer I can’t image staying within the same parameters forever. All series need to end at some point. Hopefully that would be well before the point that readers stop being interested in the characters. Always leave them wanting more!

  46. I must admit that there are times when I’m enjoying a book so much, that I wish the story would carry on. But that doesn’t necessarily mean in the future. In a book series, we often see hints into the future lives of other characters we’ve already read about, but not in great detail. I like imagining the character’s future and predicting their ‘ending’ in my own mind. Besides, it would probably be different to what the original author might have come up with had they continued their story.

  47. I like a series that ends instead if rambling on and on. If its a series that I really enjoyed I can always retread them!

  48. I agree. I would like to believe that there are couples who are still very young and in love, who have overcome the difficulties in life and now are living a serene life with one another. I guess I am a person who believes there can be TMI – Too Much Information. But, Mary, probably if you were writing about some 90 year old couple who were deeply in love, I would buy the book and love every word.

  49. I agree. As much as I hate to see a series end, out is good to let it come to its natural conclusion for both the author’s and reader’s sake. I have recently started on Stephanie Laurens’ series & even though each series is separate, you almost have to start at the very beginning as many of the characters & story lines are intertwined. That makes it difficult when there are only certain ones available from the library at one time 😉

  50. I loved the Bedwyn series because everyone had such strong. unusual characters. I’d love to revisit them, but not through stories about their children or their parents – the focus wouldn’t be about the Bedwyns I know.

    I like definite endings too, so I know they’re not going to have another romance; but it might be more of a mystery perhaps that some or all of them are involved in. I realise it’s cross-genre but it would give me a chance to revisit that particular family!

    I’ve seen historical romance authors go for fantasy-romances and mysteries and contemporary romances. That’s fine, if you have a good story just waiting to be told it should be told. But I’m simply the type of person who would buy everything about a particular series if I like the characters, whereas it’s a risk that I might not like cross-genre work from the same author, or even a different series set in the same historical period by the same author.

  51. I love your Regency books. I don’t like books with multi-generations, but I don’t mind unended series as you feel like you are in the same book for weeks/months at a time. If it’s good, it’s worth having more. It’s nice to see friends from previous books revisit. I’d love to have an autographed copy of any one or more of your books.

  52. I love the way you write. It works. While the SLIGHTLY series remains my favorite, I am really enjoying the Survivor’s Club. I hate to see it end but I know that you will be writing another great book or series which will enthrall me yet again.

  53. I prefer finite. I do not think I would like multi-generational books in a romance series. I prefer those that imply the couple live happily ever after. Though I do like how some of your books are in the same time period and that you see some characters from other books in one book.

  54. I like both. I like an author that knows her own self and does what is true to her art. This is a good question to have asked for readers preferences. I have not read your series “survivors’ club” The title is intriguing to me and I will need to see about getting the first book of the series to start. Unless of course I get picked and you send it. PS,Thank you for friending me on facebook. I lead a monthly book club with a young widowed group.

  55. I prefer the finite. You aren’t above having characters make cameo appearances in later series or overlapping them slightly, and I like that. However, a finite series arc generally enriches the series. I like to think through shared backstory for series characters very thoroughly, and that would be difficult with an open ended series.

  56. I like the series’ that have definite endings. Yes I want more, but I like having a vision of a happy ending to remember the characters with. Like the Bedwyns, I like a final ending.

  57. I prefer finite. Everything has a natural end & I agree with you that reading about subsequent generations may be a let down. Let the characters live on in immortality in their current state. You could always revitalize them as minor characters in future offerings. Thanks for your wonderful stories! They provide me with an much needed escape from my mundane life!

  58. This is a difficult choice! Some series just lend themselves to being finite, and I think I like those best, especially if they are long series — around ten novels in a series sounds good, lol. And I prefer that each novel in a series focuses on a different couple. There are a few series that I do like having open-ended, primarily because I just don’t want to leave that ‘world’ and each novel brings up more questions or issues to be answered.

  59. I prefer a series to end–for some of the reasons you give and more. If characters from previous works pop up in a new one, I frequently have to go back and research who they are! I always have a book going (not necessarily a romance), and I frequently need a refreshing of the carried-over characters, especially with peripheral ones who are in the wings waiting on their own stories to be featured. As I grow older, I love reading about older (and wiser) characters; life goes on, even in fiction. But too many characters spoil the plot!

  60. I will buy books that are sequels to ones I have loved, so I guess infinite is my choice of reading.. I will buy new books as well, single stories or the start of a series. I love my kindle and Facebook bc I can get to see from all my favorite writers what is newly release that makes it easier for me to remember what to buy next time I’m at the store or on my kindle for future reading immediately. Writers I am following also introduce me to other writers I have not read or heard of before, its wonderful to have so many choices available, and I do like recommendations, thank you for writing!!

  61. I prefer to read a series that has an ending to it. I have read several other authors who have continued on with newer generations and they have become stale and repetitive. Sometimes I feel as if I have read the same passage in another connected book. I do enjoy an occasional sneak peak at a familiar family or connection in future books….it seems as if old friends are visiting. I have loved everyone of your stories and can’t wait for the rest of this series to come out!

  62. I love series! I am always saddened when I come to the last book in a series. I wonder what became of the characters. I miss them like old friends that have moved away. I look for cameos in new series. Please keep writing, Mary! I read everything of yours.

  63. i like the finite series. Your books don’t get stale. I have loved this series where the heroes have challenges…so few writers tackle PTSD, for example. Thanks for creating many happy hours of reading for me!

  64. I have enjoyed Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster stories which are entering into the children of the original cousins’ stories. I enjoy reading all of them. However, I do see your point about resolution and moving on. Several of the Cynster and related friends did have a staleness to the stories and plots. Club Bastion was excellent, but the Black Cobra was not as well paced until the very end when Dalziel entered the story. However, the story of the redemption of a villian from the Cynster stories was excellent. So I can’t decide one way or the other. All I can say is keep doing what you are doing. I loved every story and every series.

  65. I think that I prefer a finite series to an infinite series. I find infinite series’ too complicated to keep track of. I feel like I have to re-read the series from the beginning to bring myself back up to speed on who’s who and how they are connected (assuming it’s been 6 months since the last book came out, I may have read 75 books since then). The nice compromise is to have previous characters pop up in a later series. We get a glimpse of their lives without having to go into future generations.

  66. I don’t like never-ending series and I don’t like to see my characters old. I remember reading a book that had a 20+ years epilogue and whishing I had never read that part.

  67. I personally prefer a finite series. Usually when i read a series, i would love to read more of it. But as i get on to the next book and the next, it feels less and less exciting compared to the first book that i bought because there is always a repeatition or introduction of the previous books in it which, to me, lessen the excitement and suspend of the book. So, usually i’ll cherish the first book of a series more than the rest of the books that followed the series.

  68. I enjoy both series that end and ones that continue. I like updates on primary characters from other books as they appear in new books and series. Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series has novellas which feature secondary character siblings. Anne Perry’s Christmas books give added dimensions to characters you have met in her series. I still have my copies of “These Old Shades” and “Devil’s Cub”, but never read the book about the granddaughter. I began listening to your books before I read one, Mary. “Simply Love” introduced your world of characters to me. I have read the Simply and Slightly series. I enjoy reading and listening to your Survivor’s Club series. Seven is perfect for this series. Looking forward to where you take your readers next!

  69. It depends on the genre. In most romance, I like a finite end in which the related (whether by blood or friendship) characters all get their own adventure that ends in the HEA. Let me remember each couple in their prime. One exception is with the Bennetts of P&P; I love the many “sequels” by varied authors who take the Longbourne/Pemberley universe and add to it. In “women’s fiction” or the general publishing world, I enjoy the story arcs that continue on thru many books (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove books and Jan Karon’s Father Tim novels come to mind). In these, I like to watch couples mature and grow old together, as well as reading about the ongoing lives of the many quirky characters who inhabit the small towns of the writer’s imagination.

  70. I would love whatever you write!! I like when some characters pop up in other books like an old friend that you like to see again. But to read of them growing old and dying is closer to reality than I want when I escape in a good book! Thank you for sharing your talent with us all !!

  71. I have a problem deciding which I prefer. I love long series where we just happen to see some of the previous characters running around. But it can get pretty stale, and a bit confusing if you want to jump to the 15th book because the hero is awesome (and you don’t feel like reading the previous 14), but there are a bunch of references you just can’t understand. Which doesn’t happen that often in shorter (and finite) series.

    But I really don’t like reading about new generations. It’s OK as long as every character from previous books is still alive and thriving, but that rarely happens.

    In conclusion, the finite series win by a short margin. 🙂

  72. A new Mary Balough book is always a reason to stay home and escape to a different time and a world of new and old friends. History, romance, suspense and above all wonderful characters. Thank you

  73. I love a good series. But I also love a finite ending, tied up neatly and affixed with a lovely bow. There’s enough craziness out there today that a lovely, satisfying, happy ending does wonders for my weary heart.

  74. While Grace Burrowes seems to be able to keep her ongoing series fresh and well worth reading, I have to agree that I prefer a more finite series to an infinite. While I loved These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub, I could barely get through Infamous Army. Heyer should have stopped at Devil’s Cub IMHO.

  75. I have mix feeling about never-ending series. For example, Lynn Kurland’s de Piaget/MacLeod series follows the entire family, and while I enjoy reading about secondary characters, the later books have lost some of its magic. In other author’s series as the Bedwyn, I prefer keep the character as they are, and not know how die first or who lost a child.
    I can wait for Only Enchanting!!

  76. I like series of about four. A longer series usually has one or two that are not quite as re-readable as the others. Epilogues are my absolute favorite part of any book! I wish every book you write Mary has an epilogue from now on…please?!

  77. Both. I think the set-up of a series has a lot to do with whether it should be finite or infinite. For example, I agree with your choice to limit the Bedwyn series because it deals with just one family. However, there are circumstances where an infinite series is doable. I’ve written the first four screenplays of my franchise of romantic comedies, and I have plot lines for a series of prequels and a series of sequels. What sets my franchise apart is that, at its center, is a family foundation rather than a family. In the first four screenplays, nine diverse couples find their forever love. That gives me so much room to draw subsequent stories from. So, I think both finite series and infinite series have a place in romantic literature.

  78. This is very hot, because the rumor is Rowling will be returning to Harry Potter’s world. For me, I like a resolution over open endings.

  79. I love the finite series. It is hard though when it is done I feel like I am leaving friends. I just imagine they are continuing their lives in that perfect state of love. When I start a new book in same genre whether it is you or Julia Quinn or someone else. I like to believe that your characters are living right there in the same social circles just ‘off camera’. Thank You for bringing me comfort and a world to escape into for awhile.

  80. I always seem to prefer a definite close to a series versus the open ending. Otherwise a part of me is always wondering and then I bore my friends with the “what ifs” that flood my brain. And I feel a lot of times that once a series is complete (to the best ability), if an author keeps dragging it out so to speak, I will lose interest and desire to recommend the series to others. There are many that I love that have gone on forever it seems (10 books in and still enjoyable) but many that try for that infinite experience and I am bored and/or irritated with it by book 4.

  81. I don’t mind infinite series as long as each book is a standalone and has no cliffhanger to connect it to the next one. Jack Reacher series, Ed McBain and Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series are some of my favourite infinite series so far. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is the example of infinite series that I hate (sorry). After the first three books her stories get more weird and end with frustrating cliffhangers to tease you to read the next one. I stopped after the 4th book.
    Your series are alright Mary. And you are right, that finite series is preferable. Even Jack Reacher is getting old nowadays and soon would not look so good anymore wandering the street.

  82. Loved all your books, wish your love stories never end… . I think finite stories appeal to me more..but then I miss so much all the characters I fell in love with…so I can’t give a definite answer
    we have a Mary Balogh reading club here in my town from Romania and we send you our love, you make our lives happier, richer

  83. I prefer a series to last only 6 installments or so, any longer and usually it’s just a rehash and you stop caring what’s going to happen. I especially enjoy those books to interconnect new and old characters, but I’ve found myself annoyed sometimes when a single bachelor in one book that I like gets married off to someone not me!! lol 😉

  84. I agree with you Mary regarding book series, I always like the characters from the last book to be mentioned in the future book, especially if the heroine is expecting a baby.

  85. The length of the series should really depend on what is needed for the story that the author wants to tell. I enjoy the closure on a note of hope and happiness for the future. Sometimes too,I would think that new ideas and stories in different circumstances are being formulated and want to come to life on the written page. For me, I think that there are times I feel a book was too short and would have loved more scenes or details. I think there was one book I read forever ago..Laurie McBain that had a nice trio of books, the first about the parents of the heroine in the second and third books. I did think it fun that the story of the daughter took place over two books rather than just one! That is something I would like to see more of.

  86. It’s hard when you fall in love with a series to see it end. Sometimes if a writer takes some of the secondary characters into a new spinoff of the series, you can catch up with the characters you liked from the previous series. Then again, you want to read about a new series and new characters for a change of pace.

  87. I like finite and the infinite. With the finite you know starting the series there will be x amount of couples. Infinite the author can take it places some don’t appreciate to keep it fresh or keep doing the same story and people lose interest, so it’s all in the authors vision. I think you have the right amount of characters for the survivors seris any more and it gets to busy trying to include snippets of the others in each book.

  88. I love reading romance series, but I think all things should end. There’s one author that I won’t name who wrote a fantastic series about 6 relatives, but then it turned into the connections and the cousins and it seems never ending. I loved the original 6, I was okay with a couple of the connections, but I’ve stopped reading the series because it’s the same story with different characters.
    As a side note, I LOVED the Slightly series. Wulfric was my absolute favorite hero and worth the wait!!! Also perfectly placed at the end after making sure his siblings were settled and happy only then did he realize he needed the same for himself. Loved his story and his Christine 😀

  89. I prefer the finite series as well. I agree that writers who prolong the series do not usually do it well; at some point the reader can tell that the author’s heart just isn’t into the storyline anymore. Also, when the family gets too big, I start to get too confused, lol!

    That said, I absolutely LOVE when an author begins a new series and connects it in some distant manner to a previous one – such as including certain characters as attendees at a ball, or nodding to the current ones at the park. Or even mentioned in a conversation, even if we are not able to “see” them again in the new series. I think you do this very well!

    I am so glad you do not run out of ideas for new stories, and are able to continue writing in the style I have come to love!

  90. I can go either way. Some of Nora Roberts books are multi-generational and I like those ones. Some times I pick up a small discrepancy that can be jolting. But I’m also fine with ones that are finite. I first started reading your books with the Slightly series. Sometimes I wish there were more, but I’m fine with how many you have written.

  91. For me it really depends on the story line. I love JD Robb In Death series, but that is still the original characters. And Marie Force is doing an excellent job with the Gansett Islamd series. But there are series that after awhile it is too much. But I think it has more to do with the authors skill at keeping the books fresh then who the characters are. Some stand alones that I have read by the same author seem like the same story with different characters.

  92. I also like the finite series – besides providing an “ending”, it also opens up the options to create something new with another ending! 🙂 Love reading series books!

  93. I like both but it depends on the quality of the writing. I always feel sad when a series comes to an end but love it when I keep seeing snippets of characters lives in other books.
    If a series finishes but the author starts a new one I am happy

  94. I prefer finite for the most part, because I think that a good author can only keep the characters interesting for so many generations. I like your comparison to Leonie’s granddaughter! A case in point! On the other hand, I enjoy the way Anne Perry’s characters get older and change yet each book is stand-alone in its own right in both the Charlotte-&-Thomas-Pitt as well as the Monk series. Perhaps it just depends. .. 🙂

  95. I like a long running series, I love the Cynster series by Stephanie Laurens, now its the next generation and I enjoy having the parents (couples from the previous books) on hand and see what’s happening in their lives as they grow older. I like series no matter the length.

  96. When a series is truly engaging it’s difficult to say goodbye to those characters and that world. But, the finite series offers a sense of completeness–closure to the emotional journey. For me, the finite series is preferable. I often even wait for a series to be fully written and published before I begin reading it. Otherwise, I lose touch with that world and reimmersion can be tricky.

  97. I like the finite ones for many reasons you stated. I find the go less stale than ones that go on and on. I do enjoyed though when an author picks up parts of a series and intertwines them into new series. So there is a bit of overlap in characters. You’ve done this well. Julia Quinn does this well. Feels like you meet an old friend.

    I want to add that I love your series for a special reason. My mom and I read them at same time and get to share this. We both love the survivor series and look forward to the new book next week!

  98. I love most series to end, but after at least 12 novels. Though there are some I read that if they were to end I would be very disappointed.

  99. Whether I would like more books in a series or a finite series depends on the author. My favorite series from you are the Slightly and
    Simple series. Other thing I like which you do is have past character in these series show up in Cameo style in a new series or book. Such as the Duke of Bedwyn in “The Proposal”. My most favorite book in the series was “Slightly Dangerous” followed by “One Night for Love”. Of the Simpleys” it was “Simply Perfec”t.
    Lisa Kleypas’ series “The Wallflowers” is another one I like.
    These characters “touched my heart” as your characters did and do.

  100. I like the finite series. I’m at an age now where sometimes, I feel I’m going to need a story board soon when I’m reading! I love your books and enjoy my time in them. Well done, Ms Balogh!

  101. I prefer finite series. But to be fair to the Heyer book, Barbara was Leonie’s great-granddaughter. Given the age difference between Leonie and Justin, it is natural that she would be widowed when she is old enough to be a great-grandmother.

  102. Do stories ever really end? There is always the next day, the next year when something else happens. Sometimes it is better when the author leaves it to your imagination. For example, I have no trouble whatsoever seeing Wulfric raising his quizzing glass at his grandchildren. I giggle at the picture! And at how Christine responds to him later. Then I can see a grandson straightening up and standing taller or hear a granddaughter giggle. No, no need to continue the series. I have it all down.

    Some should have ended by now or a few books back. (Not yours, Mary–excuse yourself from this paragraph). They plugged on unable to stop and let me imagine by myself. I won’t name them. But, beyond the simple act of continuing on it’s the way they do so. . . linearly.

    I prefer what I call the spider web analogy. I like meeting secondary characters in their own story. The Reluctant Heroine remains one of my favorites simply for the way I squealed “Francis!” when he appeared. Not a continuation of another story but a whole new one. A different spoke of the web. I like those very much. One of these days when I have sufficient time I am going to go through all your books and connect all the main characters in a diagram. Do not be afraid. At the rate my life is accelerating I probably will not have the time. It is fun to think about though!

  103. Definitely finite.
    Aaand… I miss the days when there were more non-series books in the romance genre. Some of my favorite books of yours are non-series (Longing, The Secret Pearl, The Temporary Wife…).

  104. I prefer finite series. Like you, Mary, I don’t really enjoy reading sequels where my hero and heroine have aged; it spoils the picture I have of them in my mind, of them being forever young, in love, and looking forward to the future.

  105. I prefer that book series end. I hate when they do, but if they run on through too many books, I find I don’t always remember the first books of the series.

  106. When it comes to romance series I prefer the number to be finite. However, a historical mystery series can go on for as long as the author can think up mysteries, murders, and mayhem.

  107. This is a tough one for me. I love my Cynsters (Stephanie Laurens), but stopped reading them when we moved on to ancillary characters. The same went for many of Catherine Coulter’s series. But at the same time, I love second generation novels where I see the previous generation still madly in love after years together, often as a role model of the type of healthy relationship the younger generation yearns to have. I think perhaps it’s all a question of balance in these emotionally charged worlds we readers enjoy escaping to.

  108. In general, especially for romance series, I’m in favor of having a finite series. In the mystery genre, I think it’s easier to have a series that continues indefinitely. After all, each book has a new puzzle in it to be solved. My one caveat, though, is that the continuing characters should still be experiencing growth and character development. Many authors do this well while others are spectacular failures at this & keep churning out the same book over & over again.

  109. This is hard for me to answer. I think a shorter finite series is best, but there is the rare excpetion I think. I am currently reading a series that seems as if it will be infinite and for many reasons I keep buying the next book. I fall in love with characters and I do genuinely adore having tid bits of continued details about them and how their lives are progressing in successive novels, even if they are just small little cameo appearances it gives me a little thrill! But even with those seemingly infinite series I would like to believe that eventually they will get wrapped up in a pretty bow, and that the reader will gain closure!

  110. I think after reading this post, I have to agree with you, I didn’t originally. It gets hard to continue the same characters 20 books in! They do tend to get stale and I can only assume that it’s the same for the author as it is for the reader, no one wants to be bored stiff reading a book when there are so many out there to read. Sort of like my favorite TV series, I get upset when they pull them but have to be truthful and admit after a few years, they are more yawn material rather than the can’t wait for Wed pm to get here. There is something satisfying about finishing up a series and moving on to the next, after all, it’s why we buy them, to enjoy reading and rereading throughout the years! Many more years of happy writing from you and happy reading from us!

  111. Absolutely love all your books! The series books are fabulous but I, too, prefer a “proper ending to an era” just not too quickly! I don’t like to see the characters age too much, so once everyone has had their “happily ever after”, I am sated. Thank you for the chance to receive signed copies of the Survivors Series. Anxiously anticipating the 25th!

  112. All good things come to an end. How long it lasts isn’t as important as how it touches an individual’s emotions. A beautiful sunrise or sunset is a split second of the entire day. However, those few moments can last all day. Much like beloved characters who can live on in your imagination long past the end of their story. Leave them at their most beautiful, inspiring and logical end.

  113. When it comes to romance books I prefer a story with a finite ending. I love reading series it keeps the story going, but I don’t think it would be the same if it never ended. I really enjoy reading longer series with four or more books. Sometimes you just don’t want the story to end. 🙂

  114. I have been reading the titles in each of the series over several years. I have loved all of them, but especially the Survivor’s Club. I have read The Proposal, The Arrangement, The Suitor (nice back story for Philippa!), and The Escape. I am looking forward to reading the next ones as well. I like the series because you get to know what happens to each of the characters as time goes forward. Great concept. Thanks!

  115. Finite has its own appeal. All of us love the happily ever after part and want to keep thinking that that is what happens. However, sometimes I feel as if I want to know what happened to the couples after their story ended. Are they still living happily? In a series that is infinite you get a glimpse of your old favorite couples in relation to the new related ones.

  116. I LOVE series books much more than single stories! I find, however, that I prefer a series to end with no more than 7 books. I love the way that you often have a series relating to a specific group/family, but it is a slight offshoot of another series. The Survivor’s Club series is the perfect example of that. A whole new world with a little familiarity thrown in. If that had been real life, it was inevitable that these characters (people) would have been acquainted with some of the others at society functions, attend the same clubs, been distantly related, have mutual friends, etc. I think it’s the perfect way to introduce a new series without having to intricately weave every story together. You have done that very well! Thank you for keeping the early 19th century alive for all of us! 🙂

  117. I think finite endings are fine. I have read some books that it feels like it just went on too long. And I can understand not being able to go back to a world that the writer has left. That being said… I did wish for some more of some of your series, but I felt that the slightly series worked fine as the length it was. I don’t think people should beg more books out of authors; if you want more, that is what fanfiction is for.

  118. I like open ended series, where you can see other family members through out time. Like the story of the main characters’s kids and their cousins .

  119. I, like many others, prefer a finite ending. So much of life is uncertain, or should I say all of life is uncertain, so that it is satisfying to know that some situations can end happily. It gives us all hope for situations in our own lives ending happily. We know that not everything will work out right all the time but it is good to know that things can and do work out sometimes! 🙂

  120. Like many readers, I have in the past been upset at the end of a series, feeling lost, kinda of like well what now. I hate wondering what happens with my favorite characters. Time has a way of changing everything and we only get a brief glance at the characters lives. I do enjoy seeing some of your characters pop up in a new series. I think that eventually you have to call it quits or the storyline becomes ridiculous. However, I wouldn’t mind reading a book about the children of your characters. It would give us a glimpse of what the rest of their lives were like and a chance to see how their children turned out.

  121. It would be totally awesome to win the other Survivors’ Club books to go with the Only Enchanting book that I won in Sept. 2014. I love series books that aren’t to long, I know if I won I would think I died and went to heaven. 🙂

  122. I enjoy a series that goes on and on and on…I find myself asking ‘I wonder what happened to. ..’ I love getting to know the characters and their friends and family members..

  123. I love series, and trust the author to know when to stop. I have read Escape and I loved it, all the others are definitely on my to read list.

  124. I do not want stories to end. They become family and i always want to know what next and how are they and and and ……
    but please do not stop writing about less than perfect people like the survivour series it makes the caracters so much more real. And a good story although not real must still be real and only a great writer can do that and I thank you for that.

  125. I feel that if you aren’t enjoying what you are writing about then the result would not be something enjoyable to read.Does that mean I would miss a character from a previous series, sure: we connect or we wouldn’t be reading your books. But ultimately I want another book I can be absorbed in, not a list of characters to make it right.

  126. FB page you have found the internet in Hungary, Hungarian origin that I have .szerencsét trying to beat you if you have brought so much random luck to everyone on the basis of the name. Marika welcome

  127. I prefer the series to end. After so many books, too much of the book is spent trying to cover the back story. It starts to feel like I’m rereading the series in one book. Then, it is fun to see them later as background characters.

  128. I like series that come to a end. Some authors have done novellas to give us, the readers, an insight to what is going on in that world since we left them. I really enjoyed the Slightly series, lemonade in the eye is still funny. I think that was when the eldest found a bride, she wasn’t scared of him.

  129. What a great time for this blog! I have just finished a trilogy and am contemplating where to go next–I have three characters I would love to pursue further and so possibly one other trilogy and then pull my feet out of the molasses the series seems to be for me and try something new!
    As a reader, I do prefer finite series, although the emptiness when one finishes is definitely sad. With the Bedwyns, I was so happy to see glimpses of them in other books, but fell in love with new people. I think the first series that went on too long for me was Anne of Green Gables–when I was growing up my aunt had all of them, and I believe I dutifully read them, but the Anne I fell in love with was the original Anne.
    Now I can go back and pick up the last 2 books of the Survivors. I have been writing at such a ferocious pace that reading (except for re-reading, because I can put those down) has fallen to the side. I have promised I won’t write seriously until January, so I’ll be able to catch up with you and love every minute of it!

  130. As I started reading your blog, I thought definitely finite because you run the risk of getting bored and the characters can become uninteresting. But, the more I thought about it, I think I would really enjoy an infinite series about characters that grow and change with each book. Realistically, life is not a bed of roses and a successful marriage requires a lot of compromises along with love. It would be nice to go on a journey like that with beloved characters who struggle like us to adjust to each other after getting married. Of course, I would definitely want love to triumph always!

  131. I, too, enjoy a short series (also knowing ahead of time the number of books in the series gives me time to “wind down” with the characters…However, if a new series were to start & someone from a prior series happens to appear & they talk about friends & how is the rest of the group/family that makes me happy…I have always enjoyed the novels by Barbara Taylor Bradford & on occasion, we may encounter an “older” character (still in his same profession”) & knowing he is still alive & well is a treat (of course, I know they are all fictional characters but they seem real when I am reading the books…lol)…thanks…

  132. I feel very ambivalent about this question.

    On one hand, I read books over again, having fallen in love with the characters — I want to know more about them and am charmed when they show up in other books.

    On the other hand, I have started reading early books in series that get completely out of hand — who ARE all these people and why should I care about them?

    Sorry to be so unhelpful.

  133. I agree with your comments on infinite series. I think finite is better. But I will read anything as long as you are the author, and I will know that it will have a much deeper plot line than any other romance.

  134. I usually prefer open ended series as the characters become so dear to me. However there are certain series that are designed to end such as your Bedwyn series or Stephanie Laurens Black Cobra series. Open ended series that move into another generation sometimes work well but if not done right can become tedious. Basically I just love a good historical romance, series or not.

  135. I like both kinds but enjoy seeing characters evolve within the series. Once I am in their workd, I could keep going through their friends, their children after they grow up, etc. My pet peeve is when they aren’t numbered and I can’t know until too late that I’ve started in the middle.

  136. I prefer the types of series where a finite number of characters are introduced and their stories are told. I like to read about them in the following stories and see they are happy and living their lives ( like old friends). Although if the series is really well written, I’m sad when it ends. I will miss the characters. I do not care for series that center around one character and all their ups and downs. One of my favorite series is your Slightly series. Loved that family. I have reread it many times. But even then, I don’t want to read about their deaths or separations. I imagine them always together.

  137. To me, it is not a question of whether to leave a book open-ended or not, but how satisfied one feels after reading it. The fact that you have so many readers who love you, Ms. Balogh, speaks to the fact that you have found the perfect balance between definite and open endings. I love knowing some of your heroes and heroines from other stories before their own, and reading about them again in other stories later on. It is the perfect formula to introducing a character, and then drawing a gentle close to their happy ending. That said, I love your standalone stories too, the Pearl being my all-time favorite. So please continue to write with your heart, and we the readers will follow you whichever way you decide to go.

  138. I like it when the stories end, once I have read the whole series I just feel like ahh, that was a great series! Now to reread it! 🙂 I do like multigenerational series though, but only if the past characters play a small role in the book. I think they can give a lot of insight into a realistic happily ever after, because they’re living it 🙂

  139. It would break my heart if one of my favorite couples did not live forever in their perfect happiness. I once read a fan fiction sequel of Pride and Prejudice in which Bingly kept a mistress. It was awful. Never again. Finite is my choice.

  140. I absolutely agree with you Mary regarding ending a series. Though I love the characters in a story, I don’t want them to change after the ending. I don’t want to think about them getting old and dying even if they have a nice life. I do love a series with several books, but when it ends I am happy to start a new book. I can count on authors like you to write new interesting stories for me to enjoy.

  141. i love, love, love…….all of your books. Finite is best. I love each series you do. Don’t change a thing! I have all of your books and just keep reading them over and over. Love your characters & happy endings.

  142. Sometimes series are wonderful. I enjoy knowing what happens to other characters in the books. Your series are wonderful- and the right length. Only you know in your mind as the author how far to take a series. So far, you have figured it out. Some writers have the ability to prolong their characters’ adventures (the Outlander series); but some authors need to know when to leave well-enough alone. (Bridget Jones Book 3 is a disaster- no Mark Darcy, so why bother?) Now I will admit that my guilty pleasure is how many variations of Pride and Prejudice I can discover (and there are lots of them); and I never tire of reading them. In this case, I defer to your judgment because only you know when to leave the characters and go on to something else. I love the current series, but I look forward to any new scenarios you might think up. Even stand-alones are fine with me. Just keep giving us the wonderful Regency world to escape to and enjoy.

  143. I love a series but prefer then to be finite because after a while I like to read stories that go in a different direction and you can feel in the writing when an author is getting tired of writing a series. I have never found that to be the case with your books, probably because you end the series before its interest palls for you.

  144. I love to continue the stories of beloved characters and I feel really good authors can keep it interesting without it going stale, but there is that moment when I look at a book and say oh wow this looks good and then see that it is one of 12 and I kinda cringe because then I feel obligated to buy them all. I usually am okay with it in the end but I think 4-6 is enough of a spread for a series. But then I will always want more if things are left unresolved. I guess I am wishy washy like that. just keep writing and we will keep reading. LOL

  145. I’m voting with the majority here and saying finite. All good things must end, and the more HR I read, the more I realize that most authors can’t sustain a series beyond about a half-dozen books. But frankly, I’m a little surprised at how lopsided the results are!

    But a question – since you mentioned that you only have one more book to write in this series, have you planned/decided what is coming next? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

    Thank you for the give-away!

    1. Do you mean after this series, Donna? I have an idea for another family series floating around in my head. Bokks 5 and 6 of the Survivors’ Club series are written. There is just George, Duke of Stanbrook’s story still to write.

      1. Yes, after this series. Thank you for replying.

        I realized after I posted and thought about it some more that I’ve now read several Donna Leons and still find them varied and interesting. But I guess there are a lot more ways to commit a crime than to fall in love! 😉

  146. I to prefer a finite series. I am however very much enjoying Grace Burrowes different series with an occasional appearance by one of her other characters. I call here book “interconnected” though I don’t know if this is an actual word or if it’s actually true of her books or not. I would be thrilled to win any book from you as you are one of my favorite Regency authors.

  147. I agree with the potential risk for getting stale with a series that continues ad infinitum. The exception that pops in my head is a series by Stephanie Lauren (that series had cousins and in-laws featured). What I would be interested in reading are stories that take up years after- like, what happens after the epilogue. I usually care less about reading about other characters related to the initial pair (though they can be enjoyable) and am more invested in continuing with the original pair

  148. I have enjoyed both infinite and finite series. I enjoyed your Bedwyn series greatly. It did seem as if it came to a natural conclusion. I do miss the whole group but it would have been straining to continue with the children as well. I am intrigued by the survivors stories and can’t wait to read this series. Thank you for all the books you have written so far and the ones you are planning for the future. 🙂

  149. For me, it depends of the author. Sometimes I enjoy reading a series that goes for some generations but I prefer series with an ending. I don’t like to wait so, I prefer reading series with and ending.

  150. I prefer finite. Otherwise, the books start sounding like a rehash of previous books which gets tedious. I also like to think they are at the beginning of a satisfying life together. It’s the reason I read romance. If I wanted reality, I would read nonfiction or watch Investigation Discovery where one spouse is always plotting to do away with the other! 🙂

  151. I like finite.Multigenerational only works for a max of 3 & should only includes core family -not all cousins.But I love reading about previous characters as secondary characters in new books.Jane Feather does this very well as do you.

  152. I am of 2 minds. I like a finite to get to the end. Some like Outlander and J.D. Robb I could read forever. But some that go on need some serious editing.

  153. I prefer finite series..The Bedwyn series was my favorite (especially “Slightly Scandalous” Feyja and Joshua’s story) but I’m glad it was left at the conclusion it was and your are always coming up with all these new interesting characters with the occasional appearance of former characters and i think going back to work on a generational series would be drawing it out too long especially if it isnt with your complete interest . I cannot wait to read Only Enchanting and to know that only one more will follow as got me really excited and curious as to what happens. Thank you so much for all your wonderful stories and all the characters that you have brought to life; cozying up with one of your books and some warm tea will continue to be a favorite hobby for me.

  154. I prefer finite series, although I’ve seen multi-generation series handled well. (Nora Roberts’ MacGregor family comes to mind.) For those series, I enjoy it when the oldest members are first introduced in the younger relatives’ stories so they’re not getting older.

  155. Honestly, either way appeals to me. I like the idea of finite series so I can just imagine what happened after the last kiss or the honeymoon or however the book ended. I also like the idea of a series that follows a couple through their relationship – after all, everything isn’t sunshine and roses and puppies (and babies) just because a couple really loves each other. I like the idea of seeing a couple support and love each other even through problems and disagreements and issues. 🙂

  156. I enjoy series that expand into multigenerational characters. Stephanie Laurens is a master of these series with the Cynster family. I am not opposed to a finite series however. I think that it depends entirely upon how in depth the author is willing to spin out the story. If the plots begin to become repetitive then I will start drifting off while reading and it loses my focus.

  157. I enjoy the thoughtful way the develop each characters story in a series and that books can stand alone as well. I guess i like finite series works.

  158. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the survivors club series. I will be sad to see it end, but I do like the idea of there being an ending .

  159. I got so drawn into their characters, I’m not sure I could emotionally take it if you kept going with their children lol If you can’t tell, I really loved these Survivors

  160. I’m a finite kind of gal also! I have read some series that went on way too long. When you need a road map and a family tree to get through a book, it just kind of loses something (my interest).

    The last page of the last book of a series is sad but you can always revisit them (the characters) when you re-read the series in the future. I have read the Slightly, Simply, Huxtable, and Mistress Series at least two times (so far) and some of my favs I’ve read more than that.

    I also like when some of the characters from previous series show up in cameo parts in other series. It’s like running into old friends. And I like it when some of the minor characters from one series become the hero/heroine in a new series. I’m thinking of Gwen in THE PROPOSAL and Joseph in SIMPLY PERFECT. What a sweet and loving hero you made of him.

    You are soooo good at what you do!

  161. I love when there is more to come, I keep looking forward to another in a series. But I also love when new books come out with a whole new story. Either way your books are fantastic!

  162. I have to admit I like both. The only issue with the longer series is going back to read the first ones when the new one comes out! A shorter series takes less time to catch up with! Rereading the series helps put the new book in context. Love to see the unmarried friends of the original couple find their own mates.

  163. I agree that short series are usually better. I have read a few longer series, but they seem to be grouped in 3 or 4’s & the characters are not necessarily ongoing beyond the one group. Also, I am not a fan of saga’s and multigenerational series books. Leaving the couple young, in love and alive is the best way to remember them!

  164. I am such a fan of your work. You can’t help but to fall in love with the characters. Once I pick up one of your books I cannot put it down.

  165. I agree all series must come to a end to give life to a new beginning , new characters, new loves. I am reading A Summer to Remember to start a series from a while ago but still a wonderful read. Thanks for your books which are a great escape for. me at times.

  166. I like both books that have a long series, but sometimes hate to wait for the next one which can be years in between. I like the ones that come out close together.
    But when I finally have all the books in a series, I get to read them all over again in order one after another. I like to save them up when we have a big storm and you just can’t go out.

  167. I like to see things tied up into tidy packages, so series must have a end. The series can have many installments but at some point for me it is concluded. Then like others mentioned I go on to the next with new beginnings, characters etc..

  168. I think an end is a good thing for some and not so much for others. Depends on the writer, characters and the genre. A series that ends can be a good thing if that series does not appeal to readers. I like all of yours, some more than others but other Regency writers have gotten onto a series and lost me as a reader completely because I didn’t like the one they were working on and by the time it finally petered out I had moved on to other authors. Not a bad thing but I like to stick with authors when I can but a decade is a long time to wait.

  169. I like books that are complete unto themselves but can also be a series. For instance, the Slightly series were great on their own but also were linked since the hero or heroine was a sibling. I do think minor characters could have had their stories told but each book felt complete. I look forward to the next book by a favorite author and while the series’ characters become family, meeting new characters is equally fun!

  170. Overall, I like to read series that are only a few books. The PERN series by Anne McCaffrey, is a very long series, but I greatly enjoyed it. There is a wonderful ending to the final book. The series is fantasy, though, not romance.

  171. I like how your stories are all connected – characters who were mere mentions in one, comes to the fore in another. I love the family series, but by the time they’re finished, I’m ready for the next. I like that they’re readable as a series or as individual stories. I like being able to pick up a random MB book from my shelf and enjoying a few hours of another world and time. I love to imagine that while the heroine I’m reading about right now is whirling her way around the ball room, so totally in love with the man across the room, one of the earlier heroes / heroines is out on the verandah being compromised / propositioned, living their own romance.

  172. I have enjoyed the readers’ comments. So many have the same idea that it’s a finite ending that satisfies. I do, however, leave that ending up to the author. I see your dilemma but somehow the story must have limited the Bedwyns to six children and the Survivors (all of whom I have loved) to seven. Each saga seemed complete to me and when I have nostalgia and I can read them again which is always pleasant and often I find bits I missed first time around. Whatever you have for us, I will be there reading along. I don’t want to wait for the full series. I like to keep up as it unfolds. I alos want to mention how much I appreciate your Facebook quotes and book loving remarks. Often silly but quite true and heartwarming. I clip a few to my random file to enjoy later! Thanks, Friend.

  173. I think I prefer large families but I was so anxious to read Wulfric story that I would have had to read that first and then go on with the next generation. I become a member of their families. He has always been my favorite hero.

  174. Definatly Finite Mary. I love a series where familiar and loved people wander and weave in and out of each other’s lives for sure. But I want the happily ever after ending, knowing they are happy, loved, and will be together forever. Without the happy ending, where is the hope?
    Can’t wait to get my hands on your new one! Thanks for sharing your love of great stories, and amazing characters with us. They all become lifelong friends.

  175. It depends on the author. I love reading Jude Devereaux and I always look forward to seeing how she will make a Montgomery family connection, if she does. But I trust that each author writes to their strengths and preferences. I always enjoy each series that comes out by Mary Balogh, and even though I am a little bummed when it ends, I look forward to the next series to see what characters and dynamics it will bring.

  176. I enjoy finite series – I do like when characters go in and out of other books. After you have become emotionally involved with the characters it is hard when the one book ends, so it’s nice to see them reappear.

  177. I like both… but probably prefer the finite. It is probably very difficult to keep a series accurate with more than 6 or 7 books. On the other hand, it’s lovely to see glimpses, and there are series (like the Bedwyns) where the last books are better than the first. (LOVED Wulfric.)

  178. I love your finite series Mary. But I am also hooked on the OUTLANDER series which has gone quite long to say the least. I do however care less about Brianna. I have become hooked on Lord John and have enjoyed seeing the 3 characters grow and change. Re generations I love these Old Shades but also the Devil’s cub which has great moment when AVON brings his son to heel. I love it.
    I think that I don’t want an author going thru the motions with a character , so series need to end before that. Mary

  179. I agree with you. The Slightly series was just the right length. Long enough to satisfy me but not long enough for me to lose interest.

  180. I prefer finite series, although it is hard to say good-bye to beloved characters. I find that series often grow stale. I love mysteries, which often form a series, but I’ve found myself losing interest in later volumes of long series. For example, I love Anne Perry, but where I used to pre-order the newest Pitt or Monk novel, I don’t think I’ve even read the most recent few in either series. They stopped being as compelling to me. However, sometimes when an author changes to a different series, I also lose interest, because the new characters aren’t as captivating to me. And I generally detest when other authors take over a series from an author who has died. This often happens with children’s books–I gave my son the original Curious George stories, but all of the newer ones by different authors leave me cold. Same for The Boxcar Children. Sometimes dragging a series on and on ruins your joy in the characters and settings.

  181. This is a tough one. I think I prefer finite series, but I absolutely love it when my favorite couples pop up in other, non-related, books set in the same time period/location. Just as a quick bit of gossip, a sighting at a ball, etc. gives me this feeling that all the books are in the same world, and this overall sense of depth and continuity for that world. It lets me know that my old friends are still there, that they still exist, and are still happy, even if I don’t get to read about their everyday adventures. In general, though, I just want my favorite authors to write what they (you) want to write- as I will be perfectly ecstatic about any book that they put out.

  182. When I am reading the series I don’t want it to finish. I feel I have become part of the stories, even if only from a spectator’s point of view. Having said that, as soon as a new series by that author arrives, I then become immersed in the new series. So I would say, let the series finish as appropriate. I loved the Bedwyns. I loved Miss Martin. I am loving the Survivors. Please keep on writing. I will keep on reading.

  183. I love a good series. Especially the Bedwyns and the Survivors Club. It’s nice to try to imagine what their lives are like after the stories end and I can understand why they must end. The reader and author would eventually become bored with the characters. So I like to lose myself in their world for a few days or hours and then happily put it down for the next series. I can’t wait for your next series!

  184. I’m a new fan and love your work. Series are my favorite and as long as there is more I don’t care if it’s a new series or an ongoing continuation – I’ve read the Morland Dynasty series (36 books) twice and am sure to do the same with yours.

  185. I prefer finite series, even if both the author and the readers wish otherwise when the natural conclusion occurs.

    With the Bedwyns, the Simply series and The Survivors Club, at least all love stories are independent of each other though flowing from the similar premises. Nothing could have topped Wulfric’s happy ending, nor the way we came to appreciate him as the hero instead of the domineering older brother, all thanks to your gift for bringing us along for the ride, Mary.

    Harry Potter had to grow older and wiser, and his world had to deteriorate enough for the end game confrontation between Harry and his nemesis to occur.

    In an infinite series, I loved Outlander and bogged down in book #5 with Claire falling down a “rabbit hole” on an indulgent digression en route home from a clan gathering in 18th cen. North Carolina.

    Much as I love the TV series and appreciate the producers’ delivering us an epic wedding night with flashbacks to wedding, [spoiler alert] I do not look forward to “pirates of the Carribean” or to Claire’s marrying yet a 3rd time. Neither Claire nor her hero husband comes alive for me in the telling about their travels and activities. I believe the author and her fans are haunted by Claire’s 20th or 21st cen. online research of a death attributed to a fire in 18th cen. Boston.

    Ultimately, I hope the author’s own preferences win when sales and marketing departments urge for continuing of popular premise. I hope author and readers all win when choices are made.

    Thank you for asking, Mary.

  186. I love the continuing series and do sometimes wish there were more characters, but then every story needs to have an ending and I always prefer that it is a happy one – I don’t want to see someone as a widow(er) or think of them having a tragedy, it would totally negate the happy ending. Glimpses of characters from a series in another book is a very nice touch it provides that last look that those characters to be as happy as you wanted them to be when you closed that book.

  187. I like it either way, depending on the book. I love a stand alone book because it’s a good quick read. A lot of times I do wish that there was a series. As to reading a series, I love those, too. A series, to me, is a nice long visit with beloved friends. I don’t mind “seeing” a character age, because I’m aging, too. So, no matter which way the novels are written, I end up mixing up the finite and the infinite. Variety is the spice of life, and also the spice of reading.

  188. i love them both ways. If there is a family group, I enjoy reading about other members of the family. But I also like the finite ones where it leaves you with a happy ever after feeling.

  189. Once a universe (Slightly series, Simply series) has been created, it is difficult to not wonder what’s happening to the children, the friends, a chance mention of a character in passing. That being said, sometimes, our imaginations create some great ‘what if stories’ that fulfill our needs but leave the originating author to wander (and wonder) through their own imaginations and creat more wonderful universes for all of us to play in and marvel at the new situations created for that universe.

  190. I prefer finite series. As you indicate, the risk of the stories growing stale is bigger, and a good author will hopefully come up with new story lines and characters as compelling if not more than the ones already written about.

  191. I would have to say it depends on what time period the books are set in and if you have already planned out most of the family tree ahead of time. Personally i’ve enjoyed Johanna Lidsey’s Mallory family series very, very much. But I have to also agree that some family books can only go so far. I think as a fellow (yet struggling) author I think the worry would be that you would eventually bore your readers if you kept writing about the same family forever. However there is a catch there as well. If the family were large enough, like you suggested, why not 12 siblings? Then you would not have the problem of continuously stubling upon the same family members or other characters and could actually keep the series going for quite awhile. But as long as your fans want more of the family then I say- why not? But I always enjoy your books and I dont think you could write one I wouldn’t like.

  192. I prefer to have a series end, naturally, as you say. I have read books before that just keep going on and on with new generations and family links. At some point you get lost about who has come before. Especially when the author mentions a minor character from a previous book, and you cannot recall them, or the circumstances of their inclusion originally. That can be frustrating and leave you feeling you missed something. Usually at some point, you can also tell when the author lost interest in the series and is only writing it under the duress of their fans. I like nice, tidy little series that introduce the main characters and give you a book about each. You know when you’ve reached the end, and can savor the joy of each completed story without worrying you might miss a book later because you did not know there were to be more. Thanks for doing it your way. I love all of your books. 🙂

  193. I prefer a finite series. While I usually hate to reach the end of a series, I like knowing that the characters will always have that HEA. I’ve read a couple series that were extended by moving on to the lives of the adult children of the original couple. When they include the death of a part of the original couple, it’s terrible for me because the original stories become bittersweet so I won’t reread them.

  194. I loved Lauren’s Cynsters and I like that she has parallel series that bring back older characters. The fact is I have not kept up with the series. I think the Stephanie Plum books have gone on too long. I love series but I think the finite series are best (but I always feel like I have lost good friends).

  195. You could do it as several series of books. Say for instance your Slighly series you have the main family starting. Then do another series that their children..then their children in another series and so on and so on until you get tired of that family or get to modern day and have nothing left. But that is not the question. I find that if the author is good and you can enjoy their books then it does not matter if they continue or not. Some like Sherilynn Kenyon introduce a new character and that is the next book so it can keep going on but you have a bases for starting. I like to read so any book is good for me..

  196. While I love your books to go on forever, I have to say that I prefer the finite series. It seems that after a while, some integrity is lost when the characters spread too much. But as long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

  197. I like open ended series. I am always curious about what happens to interesting secondary characters. I want to know what happens to Thorn’s siblings and to Rose and Vander. But that can be covered in other ways–they don’t need their own books. I panicked when I thought there were 7 survivor books and I didn’t have all of them. But then sanity prevailed. I do want all of them!

  198. I like many varieties but my faves are series. I like both ones with def endings and ones with side character stories and generational stories- though I agree the founding books tend to be the best. It is like getting a new group of friends and they are fun to hear about- catching little peeks of them in the newer books. I *love when writers share characters cross books, members of the TON popping up here and there- so much fun! I would enjoy somewhat related series- maybe one set about childhood friends and another about school buddies and another about various characters that were in the other circles but not written about in the others. I do adore series! Thank you so much for writing all the kinds you do! 🙂

  199. I have always loved the series type of romance novels. The only hard part is waiting for the next one to come out. And with all good things, they too must come to an end. So I definitely vote for the finite end to a series. Its nice to see the characters every once in awhile appear in a new series, but I like it when the series has a nice ending.

  200. I prefer finite. I love knowing at the end of a book that there will be another book telling us what happened to secondary characters in book number one. But I think if a series goes on too long there has to be sad bits, people getting older etc. So…finite does it for me. I have read all your previous series plus single books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I am so looking forward to the final two in this series. Thank you for so many years of absolute emjoyment. I am looking forward to many more.

  201. I just discovered you by sheer chance. The photos with your comments are so delicious. I was captured immediately. I finally found your newsletter and next to read your books. I would like to know about you. You make me feel like we have been friends forever. Thank you so much for tickling my memories.

  202. I love reading series with each having there “own happy ending” and hearing a little”more” on the couples before! I want “to want to buy” the next book! Not “have too! These “new writers” with putting out 25 pages per “book” and you have to get additional. 4 or 5 more! No way! If its worth reading I wait for them to release it all at once then “maybe” purchase it!
    Love love love you work MARY! you truely have a blessed talent! ….Dottie..Ontario.Calif.

  203. While I enjoy both types as long as they are well written, my favorite are a blend. Having previous couples “stop by for a brief visit” makes me smile and remember their story and how much fun I had meeting them in their books. When previous characters make a cameo appearance adds some touch of “realness” to the author’s world. It is like catching up with relatives thru your Mom.

    After I was diagnosed with cancer and was still in the thinking the worst phase, one of my regrets was I would never know how some of my favorite series would end. Fortunately, I am cancer free now and will able to find out. Can’t wait until release date.

  204. I enjoy infinite story lines. A lot depends on the characters, if stories are completely realized to be continuing then a progression in future books is very interesting.Your characters are often specific to their individual stories and would naturally end. I realize that is deliberate but you do it so well it is not a disappointment. I think it takes a great deal of skill . As an example, Gone With the Wind for me could never have a sequel, even thought it was attempted many years later ( by a different writer ) that sequel was just awful. I don’t think Margaret Mitchell ever intended Scarlett to grow old ! Thanks for the opportunity to share my opinion.

  205. Ms. Balogh,

    I guess for me it all depends on what genre the series is. And whether or not the series began in such a way it needs a finite ending. I read both. But, as you state in your blog post, the latter part of some series don’t read as well as the beginning for some. I guess it is all in the who, what, where, when and how. Make sense? Heck if I know, I’m not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. lol

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment. And for sharing of yourself outside, above and beyond your published works. Have a Great day!

  206. Dear Mary, I want to say both. When I first read your question I thought infinite….let the stories in a series never end, but after reading through your reasons against I find myself swayed. I love reading so many authors and their book series, but also know I will love other works by the authors and can always reread the series again. My plans with the slightly series! (For the 3rd time)

  207. I prefer when a series ends but also that it’s wrapped up tightly … I don’t really care for a series to go on forever and include relatives that you have to research to remember where they came from. I’ve enjoyed all your series because they do wrap up nicely. You have a talent in making people in your writings come to life and making us (the readers) feel a part of their stories – thank you for that!

  208. After reading all the comments, I can’t wait to find this series of books and start reading! I must say though, signed copies of all 4 books would be wonderful. 🙂

  209. I like it both ways. There are some characters who in ready to move on from but there are also ones I don’t want to see end. So I’m happy either way I guess! Mary I absolutely love your books!

  210. I like it both ways. There are some characters who I’m ready to move on from but there are also ones I don’t want to see end. So I’m happy either way I guess! Mary, I absolutely love your books!

  211. Well, if the books are well crafted, with engaging characters, believable interactions, human drama, growth, pain, happiness, and the whole range what-we-read-novels-for-ness, than I’m happy if the series ends. However, book characters can be demanding, heroes can insist THEIR story told, heroines can insist that THEIR love story be illuminated! In that case, I’d happily revisit old book themes/series to read up on new characters that turned up, like lost relatives, to have their moment in the spotlight. You know, you cannot keep a good character down, they will forge right on. even if you have stated most firmly to them that you are done with their world. What ever happens, I will continue to look forward to further Mary Balogh contributions to the Romantic world view!

  212. I also like a finite ending. I enjoy characters from previous books having their own book but I don’t like to read about the main characters getting older either – I want to remember them as they were when they fell in love. Love your books Mary.

    Last December 2013 I had a small stroke on my optic nerve affecting my vision and could not see clearly for 3 months so could not read. I had just retired from work and since my books are my friends and reading is my passion, I was devastated I may not be able to read for long periods of time any more if at all. Except for a darkness like looking through a window screen, my vision has come back and I can read and so have been able to keep up with your ‘Survivors Club’ series and look forward to each book. Thanks for writing….

  213. I love series and the fact that we can see the characters evolve through 3, 4, 5, 6 or whatever books. I also like the fact that is ending at some point, that it was decided from the beginning to have a number of books and everyone is sticking to the plan. It’s like a contract with the reader that is respected 🙂 I like that… But at the same time, some exceptions, now and then, are not unwelcome, especially when it’s a general requested book. It feels like the author is more close to the readers and when it’s a big deal for them, he/she tries to get the muse to work with that 🙂
    Having said that, yes, I would like to get more info about the happily ever after of Harndon and Anna, Tresham and Jane, or Bewcastle and Christine or Anthony and Charity… Especially Wulf and Christine, because they were the end of the series and Anthony and Charity, because they were part of a standalone 🙂 But not a story of their children, no. And definitely not one where one of them is dying. I read one once and the story was fine, the characters very nice, but in the end, the father of the heroine, hero of another story, died. Awful!
    At the same time I did notice that something has changed over the years in your writing style. And that’s normal. But I wouldn’t want to read now a story of Charity’s sister because the style would be different and I would dislike that…
    And in the end, I also like it when a new series begins, that first book is so full of promises and teases, you needen’t even make a plot and love story out of it and it would be great 🙂

  214. I like a series that ends. I agree that they can become less good as the series goes on (the later Green Gables books, e.g.) and with a definite ending the series builds instead of petering out. That said, I do sometimes with I knew more about the characters.

  215. This is hard. I like them to be finite because I like closure but at the same time, I find that I grew attached to some side characters and I wanted to read about them too!

  216. I have LOVED all of your series and have always felt happy and sad when they end, but I do tuck them away to read again in the future. At my age, it’s almost like reading them for the first time!!

  217. There are some characters that I am reluctant to leave at the end of the book or series. I often imagine next scenes ancient events. The best characters are the complex ones who don’t have predictable futures. I do want to imagine them healthy and happy. Unfortunately too often healthy and happy isn’t very interesting.

  218. I like a series to end. I become immersed in the ” family” while reading, but by the 3rd generation I have had to go back to try to figure out who the new people and even the old characters are.

  219. I would have to agree with you though I don’t think I have read an open ended series. My mom used to be a huge fan of Jude Devereaux’s and I believe she has the two families. Anyway my mom had a harder time staying interested the farther along she went. I love a good series and though it is sad to see them end, it is also good that they end. You can always go back and reread. Plus it is nice when characters show up in other books in passing so you get a little glimpse back in their lives.

  220. I can go either way. I read several series’ that are still going years later but I like to think these authors have an ending in mind. I do prefer that when a series ends, it just ends. For me, there is no need to write about children or grandchildren. An epilogue is all I need for it to be a complete book with a happy ending.

  221. Mary,
    I prefer finite, although I am always regretting the end of a good series. Two reasons for my preference include knowing when I have reached the end, and can ensure I haven’t missed any books. I also find the multigenerational books become difficult to reconstruct the personalities and get full enjoyment from the characters previously featured. With a few exceptions, finite is my oral preference.

  222. I do get sad and a bit mopey when a series ends. I have read some series that go on and on and don’t remember all the things about each character. I do like it when I am reading and SURPRISE, there is a character from previous book. But for the most part I would say I like an ending.

  223. At one point in my younger self I though infinite was the answer. But as I’ve gotten a little more sophisticated (translation:older) I prefer endings. I can then look back and fondly remember all the characters and create my own stories for where they are now. It gets to be more like a soap opera if there’s never an end. (I quit watching those too btw.)

  224. I like both! Open-ended series work well for mystery and romance, and sometimes for fantasy or SF. . . but they work well only if the books in them can function as standalones or as trilogies/quartets/etc. For example, Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books (one or two standalones and a bunch of trilogies, all set in the same world and with some crossover of characters.) Or Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster novels and the related novels. The problem, though, is that sometimes the author of an open-ended series gets either complacent or stale, and the quality of the books suffers as a result – something that unfortunately appears to have happened to both those ladies in recent years. But as long as the author can keep the quality reasonably consistent, I love revisiting a world or milieu I’ve enjoyed before.

    I like finite series, too, in that you can have an overarching story arc that comes to an end. Lots of fantasy series fall in this category, and some romance and romantic suspense as well – Nora Roberts’ recent Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy is a good example. Finite series can range from feeling like a single, very long book (The Lord of the Rings) to being the individual stories of a related set of characters, like your series, Mary Jo Putney’s Fallen Angels books, and Lisa Kleypas’s Hathaway series. Both types appeal to me, but I’m usually sad when I have to say goodbye to that world. I do appreciate it when those finite series overlap, if only a little bit – like Gwen tying together the Bedwyn prequels and the Survivor’s Club books, or Kit and Lauren showing up in some of the Bedwyn and Slightly books. It adds the comfort of familiarity and ties the new series into a world I already know.

  225. I can honestly say both. There are certain characters that I want to know more about later. I want to know what happened to siblings, children, grandchildren. I am more of a series reader, but I am an addicted reader. Not a day goes by that I am not reading.

  226. I like the finite series. Yes, it’s tough to say farewell to characters we’ve come to love, but I think authors are energized when they are able to create new series and different characters. And there’s always the joy of rereading!

  227. I’m going to go with infinite. I love when I get attached to characters. Wondering when their sorry will be told, if it will be told. Also depends on the writing style. In one place so many things can happen and so many different lives touched.

  228. I love the finite series. I like the characters to stay young and in love in mind. When the series ends, it is like saying goodbye to old friends. If you bring them back in another book, ok, but a lot of space is used up presenting the history of that character. I don’t want to go back, I want to go forward.

  229. I like a nice clean ending to a series. If it goes on to kids and grandkids I feel like the main part of the series loses something. However, I do like spin off series where you can get a glimpse of past characters. I love your books! Yours were some of the first I had ever read! Thank you for your characters and stories!

  230. I like my series to be finite. I like knowing the characters at the time seeing them their happily ever after and move on to new stories and different characters. Besides in all series characters make cameos so you can still revisit your favorite characters. As much as i like series i need them to end because it means I can move on to newer things and new characters and places, otherwise you start to feel like you are reading the same story over and over and it becomes stale and annoying at least to me.

  231. I prefer the finite series. As much as I pine away reading the last one in a series, I feel like I’ve completed the full circle in the cycle of a family. Although I haven’t read all your books, in your long and fabulously successful career, Mary, I have read almost all your series books and have been sadly able to put them on the shelf, or, the more current ones, stashed away in my kindle library to gaze back on from time to time with a lovely and warm feeling of nostalgia. And now, I await, with great anticipation, Flavian’s story. That up and comer is tucked away in my pre-order kindle bin. Thank you Mary for the many wonderful years you’ve kept me completely enthralled with your writings. I treasure each and every one of the. 🙂

  232. Finite for me as well. I do think that your order of books in both the Bedwyns and Surviviors’ Club was perfect — ending with the man who took care of everyone he loves and then getting his own happily ever after. Wulf’s story is one of my favorites and I cannot wait to read how George, the Duke of Stanbrook, finds true love. Because I fall in love with your characters, I do not want to imagine them gray haired and toothless or in poor health. I only have to look in the mirror to witness the reality of aging. 😉

  233. I’m always a little sad at the end of a series of your books. I do agree that it is best not to continue a story too long because you can end up with a lot of characters through all the different stories. It can get difficult trying to remember who they all are. Series of six books is just right. I’m always left with the feeling they lived happily ever after. We can always relieve our sadness by reaching for the book on our shelves or Kindles to reread it again and again.

  234. I definitely prefer a finite series. I like to get a real feel for future book protagonists. It helps build anticipation. Sometimes it feels like an author is pulling distant family members out of the wood work to continue a series that should have ended a few books ago.

  235. I love a good series but agree that a finite number might be best. I do love how many of your series are intertwined with others. I just finished A Precious Jewel and partway through was thinking something seemed familiar. Finally I realized why – I recently read Helena’s story. Keep up the excellent work!

  236. I am pretty ok with the author choosing either. Most of the series I read have a finite end, and I just move on to something else. But I have a couple authors who have done multiple generations at the same locale; or siblings , cousins, and children of the beginning characters; and I thoroughly enjoy their stories, too.

  237. Mary,
    I love reading a “short” series and always can’t wait for the next book to be released I love reading the “last” book in a series where I can just sit back and once again in my mind be able to go back and think about each story and what happened next!

    At the same time I also wonder “what if” might have happened next. I’m not saying there should be multiple more books in the series but instead in several instances I’ve really enjoyed some short stories that havte been printed years after the series have ended and have enjoyed “meeting” once again some of my favorite characters years later and being able to “meet” some of their children and acquaintances and find out if they found love as well.

    To be honest I enjoy a “happily ever after” even if I have to wait for several years because it often draws be to my bookcases to read one (or all) of the books in the original series just “one more time”!

    You books are one of the things that need to be enjoyed “just one more time”!

  238. It’s a catch 22. Once I fall in love with the characters I’d love for the story to go on and on – but I think if it did I wouldn’t love the story so much.

  239. Can’t wait to read the next story! I find myself buying the reprints of your older books and loving all of them. Waiting so long for a new book is difficult. As my middle son says, “Patience is hard”

  240. I prefer when characters I am in love with have a “happy ending” with the staying young and beautiful bit. There is enough dreary in the world I don’t want to envision them older half deaf with rickets.

  241. As long as no one is killed off (widowed, etc) I don’t mind infinite. But the characters have to stay true to their first book. I read to escape. I get enough reality (cheating, porn, addictions, etc) from real life. I want my H/h to stay fabulous!

  242. I have passed many pleasant hours in the company of your beloved characters. While I always feel a pang of regret as I turn the final page, I would rather bid them a fond farewell at the end of a finite series. How sad it would be to instead tire of them before they take their leave.

  243. Like the finite endings because we should leave something to the imagination. I enjoy collecting your books and have about 20 already. I intend to collect them all. Carry on the good work.

  244. I like a finite number of books. There’s a sense of completion when I reach the finale and can look back over the series with its highs and lows and marvel at how things came together for the best. I feel a great personal satisfaction when I’ve reached the end of a series.

  245. In my opinion it depends how you started a series. If it is clear that there are six or twelve siblings, you know as a reader what to expect and the writer has time to create and introduce each character. I enjoy these series. But some writers tend to extend their successful series in the end and now you encounter distant cousins (or something of the kind) with characters you haven’t heard of in the previous books and just met in the last chapter of the last book of the original series. For me as the reader these books are always to some extend disappointing. The story itself as a stand-alone might be good but as a part of the series you expect more.

    And as for the multi-generation series it’s more or less the same. If you know in advance it’s ok. But if the writer adds books after books because (s)he can’t let go… And as a reader you are developing your own ever-after and then suddenly the writer invades with another book full of his/her own ideas for a ever-after and destroys yours ;).

    Some reappearances are ok if they fit the story but not just for the sake of a reappearance. So better stop with the originally planned number of books and stop on a high note like “Slightly Dangerous”… and hopefully something similar for the Survivor’s Club (no pressure here 😉 ).


  246. I generally prefer a finite series because it seems they have more direction. I might be sad to see a series come to an end, but I know that the author has been able to complete her world. I’m frustrated by some authors who have seemingly endless series. Stephanie Laurens, for example, strikes me as a really good writer; however, I never read the early Cynster novels, so her current books are unwieldy because they seem to rely on the reader already being immersed in her Cynster world.

    Having said that, I like when either singular characters or couples from precious romance novels make brief appearances in other novels by the same author. They don’t need to have big roles, but I like knowing that an author has her world all populating the same universe. Julia Quinn is really good at this.

  247. I am torn. I suppose, when I think about it, I prefer a finite series in the romance genre – the aging and possible death of a hero /heroine (I, too, remember those Heyer books) is somehow sad. Mystery series, however, are a very different story. Pun totally accidental! I don’t mind an aging detective, or the introduction of new characters as the timeline goes on. The best part of any really good series is the re-reading of it.

  248. I love a series that has limits because it keeps me going, while knowing it’s finite. Sometimes I will reread some of the older books when a new one comes out, especially if the time frames of the books overlap. But I also like it when some of the characters show up in other books or the link to a new series comes from a minor character or what could have been an otherwise throw-away reference in an earlier book.

  249. I prefer a finite series, I am often sad to see a series end because I actually form and emotional attachment to the characters. When I say I read to escape, I truly mean it. It is just as you say that if a series continues, someone is going to have to pass on just as life itself. I think there is enough sadness in life without it coming into my reading. I do like it if one series branches off into another with different but linked characters, since I don’t write and only enjoy the fruits of an author’s labor, I have no concept of how difficult that would be for the author.

  250. I definitely prefer a finite series. I think a series of 7 books are ideal. Like everything else, it is nice to have a good beginning and an outstanding ending. I do get attached to the characters of a good book series, but to read the last book gives me a feeling of satisfaction and closure. I know that soon a new series will begin, and a wonderful writer such as Mrs Balogh will just fulfill the emptiness left by end of the previous series.

  251. Finite series, as per your comment we don’t want to see the characters older, with grandchildren or widowed, it will break the spell and that is the reason we read romance to be charmed for a while, to lose ourselves in someone else’s world and to know that everything will fine at the end.
    But if the author is able to insert/connect characters (blood relatives or not) in the same period of time (only months ahead) that works well too (example Elizabeth Hoyt with the Maiden lane series).
    Love your books. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

  252. It’s interesting to read all of the preferences. I think it depends on the series and the author. It seems much easier to continue mystery or detective series – always a new case to solve, but then it’s up to the author to keep it fresh. Deanna Raybourn’s Julia Grey series stayed fresh because of the locale changes (England – India) as well as the inclusion of different cultures (Indian, Italian, and the hero was part gypsy/Romani). She was forced to end her series as the publisher wanted her to move to stand alone books (all of which are great), even though many fans were clamoring for more in the series. Now she has a new publisher and is working on a Victorian series. Lauren Willig will be ending her Pink Carnation series with book #12 next year. Again, this series had an amazing following.

    Your series have all been wonderful, Mary, and seemed to end at the right time, even though I am always wanting more of those characters. My favorites have been the Slightly, Simply, and Huxtable series. I’m sure the Survivor’s Club will be right up there. I have a question for you. I have read The Proposal, The Suitor (on my nook), and The Arrangement. Just started The Escape last night (I wanted to wait until close to the release of the next in this series), and the first chapter confuses me. In that chapter Vincent’s story had not occurred, even though it has been published. Am I missing something?
    I’m only a hundred pages in, and it is hard to put down.

  253. I prefer finite. I love the idea of being in a world for just long enough to connect with all of the characters and see them through until they find their happiness. It’s as if you have a group of friends you witness from afar, and you watch, as an outsider, as they take a (often tedious) journey on the road to a blissfully happy life. The finite endings to series allows me to dream that within my own circle of friends, we too will each find love and happiness!

    Mary, your books have gotten me through life and love experiences over the years. And each time I finish a book, as much as they are fiction and in an era so unlike our own today, I remember that a life of happiness is always within reach, and sometimes found in the most unexpected of circumstances.

    I’m glad I managed to comment before the deadline!

  254. Overall I would probably prefer finite. I enjoy series, but also like to know approximately how many books I am getting into. Also I think your right too often series that go on “forever” they stop being new and tend to get to be repetitive. Some authors avoid this but I think that must be one of the hardest things to do. Also, as a librarian who chooses books, I know it is frustrating if a library gets some of the books in a series, but not all of them (thank goodness for inter library loan). But budgeting for a person or a library for a series that is going on “forever” is next to impossible. I know myself when I start a series I am going to want to read (and own) every book in the series, so I am more likely to choose a series with 6 books rather than one that will keep coming for years to come. However, it has to be up to the author to do what he or she is most comfortable with and what will keep their interest and devotion so that the last books are as good as the first. That is the real challenge.

  255. I like finite series – so glad you have written so many good ones! I read many romance writers, but your books are the ones I’ve reread the most – they have so much to say beyond just the basic plot of two people falling in love.

  256. I agree sometimes series can begin to go on too long, but do love occasional “walk-ons” of characters from earlier books. Also, I sometimes feel cheated after a two or three book grouping where I feel that they should have continued for at least another book or two!

  257. I like finite with a twist, like when they pop up in another story or when another series begins through their children.

  258. I like the finite series, and I usually find that the last book in the series is my favourite. I do like coming across characters I’ve met before, but not as very much older characters. I had the same reaction to the Heyer book about Leonie’s granddaughter – I didn’t want to know about what happened years later!

  259. I don’t really like series in which every book is about different members of a family and the series goes on forever. I much prefer series with books about the same couple or shorter series that has each book about different couples that are friends, children or other relatives of the main couple from the first book or are in the same book universe. If it’s too long a series can often very easily become stale.

    I also didn’t like that in Devil’s Cub Leonie was a widow. I’d much have preferred it if she didn’t appear at all without her husband. It was sad because I loved him and These Old Shades.

    I’m looking forward to the release of Only Enchanting. I’ve enjoyed the books in the Survivor’s Club a lot so far. Thanks for writing for us this wonderful series to read! It’s been a huge success in my opinion.

  260. I have read every one of your books. Love them and look forward to each new one. As far as series go the longer the better for me. I generally reread the previous book (s) again before a new book in a series comes out. So if the series is very long and you reread them so many times, they become almost real. Lol. Thank you for your wonderful books that take us out of our ordinary lives into magic.

  261. I like the finite series. As you commented, sometimes the infinite series change over time, sometimes drastically, and not always for the better. I’m not sure if I’ve read all of any of your series, but I have enjoyed the books I have read. And I have read the first two Survivors’ Club books, both in book form and one in audio. I always enjoy the audiobooks that are read in the proper English accent, because I can’t hear that in my own voice. Oops, I just discovered that I haven’t read the latest, “The Escape.” I will promptly rectify this lack.

  262. I like finite series. First it does not seems so daunting when you start a series with 5 or 6 books and not 10 or 12 ad infinitum. Also who wants to hear about characters you love and live in your memory as being dead. That being said I have enjoyed all your books I have read so if you did it I could live with it. Thanks for the hours of enjoyment.

  263. I prefer finite series (just as I prefer finite TV series). I have read “infinite series” and to be honest after a while I just don’t care about the new characters and trying to remember who is who from which book can take some of the pleasure of reading away. Sometimes I find that the same story would have better served out of an infinite series context.

    I do like it when characters I loved pop up in in other books in other series – it’s like meeting old friends unexpectedly. And just like when I meet old friend, I am sometimes startled by how much they have been changed by married life.

  264. I can see I’m behind the fair on this one, but did want to check in. I seem to be like most of your responders in having mixed feelings! Finite is probably best, and when I miss the Bedwyns (or anyone) I can always reread their books! That said, I do like inter-generational ones. I have read Black Moth, These Old Shades, and Devil’s Cub many times over. Your memory has misled you; Leonie is not widowed, and an older, still dangerous, still sexy Avon actually plays an important role in Devil’s Cub. So, I can go either way. My advice to you? Just keep writing! 🙂

  265. Don’t hate me but I prefer stand alone novels. My favorite part of any story is the beginning where I get to peer inside a different world, meet new characters, and learn their backstory and what makes each individual tick.

  266. I prefer finite series. I like discovering new characters and stories. I am currently reading a series where the author is getting into the next gereration but the series is starting to feel stale. Enough already. As a reader I like being able to imagine the characters I love forever young and living happily into eternity.

  267. hi mary

    i love both finite and infinite series….but as you pointed out in the infinite ones i have loved there are at least 1-3 books that i did not like with characters i hate ….. so i think finite is better.. though it leaves one very very eager to know more about the favorite characters and sidekicks…. for this i think if the author wrote short short stories (like it more if its free ;( )or novellas can be written…so it satisfies the reader too..and provides a small glimpse into their favorites life…

  268. I love the whole survivors club series. I can’t wait for the next book. I start reading and don’t want to put it down. They are so well written I feel part of the stories. I feel all the emotions and that makes it more exciting. You are such a talented writer to capture all the emotions and make the reader feel as though they are one of the main characters. Keep them coming.

  269. You have no idea how much I love your books. Especially the Slightly serious, I’m head over ‘ears’ in love with it and with the Bedwyn family and even Lindsey Hall! I have all the six books and I really made a big effort to have them because I live in Cairo, Egypt I found only 4 of the books available and I had to order 2 and the bookstore delivered it after like two months. I also have other books for you but I love that series. My favorite is Wulfric’s even though I didn’t like him before I read his book and I have only one problem with Slightly Sinful because Alleyne lost his memory so there was no mention of the family until like the last 20 pages. And I love that family so much that I was a little bit disappointed that they weren’t in a lot of chapters. Anyway not t blabber, I think it would be great if you wrote other books of Slightly, but don’t, I would enjoy nothing more than to read about that family, but I think that I really don’t want to read about them as they are old. I always want to think of them as golden characters, the ones that will live forever inside my memory.

  270. You have no idea how much I love your books. Especially the Slightly series. I have all of the 6 books and because I live in Cairo, Egypt I found only 4 of the books available. I ordered the other two and the bookstore delivered it in like two months. My favorite is Wulfric’s even though I didn’t like him until I read his book, and I have only a little problem with Slightly Sinful: As Alleyne lost his memory, the family wasn’t mentioned until like the last chapter and I love that family so much I want to read about them throughout the entire book! Anyway, enough rambling. I would love to red about the Bedwyns again, but I wouldn’t love to see any of the siblings or their love old. I would want them to always shine in my memory. That golden family……

  271. I think finate. One of the reasons I enjoy your books so much is that, occasionally one of the characters that I enjoyed reading about in an earlier series will make a random appearance in another novel so I dont miss them so terribly at the end of their series. Thank you for all of your wonderful stories.

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