Jessica's notes about An's paper mention the
Connected book format –which had been new in early 1990s, shift in genre and its publication practicesIn fact, Mills & Boon had already published Mary Burchell's Warrender series, which began in 1965 with A Song Begins. Connected romances can also be found in the oeuvre of Georgette Heyer who is, of course, a highly influential figure in the genre and one of whom Nora Roberts is very well aware: Roberts has written that "Georgette Heyer has given me such great pleasure over the years in my reading, and rereading, of her stories. [...] I have Georgette Heyer's books in every room of my house." (i). As mentioned at Georgette-Heyer.com
Genre of romance seems at first resistant to connected series, since each novel has a definitive ending [...] Roberts’ first use of connected books format was in 1985, 4 books about MacGregor siblings for Silhouette.
Although Heyer didn't really write 'series', there are a few books that are linked by common characters. These are These Old Shades  with Léonie and Justin parenting Dominic in Devil's Cub  and Dominic and Mary are the grand-parents of Barbara in An Infamous Army . [...] In addition, the characters from Regency Buck  are also featured in An Infamous Army. [...] her first novel, The Black Moth  was revisited in These Old Shades. As Hodge says in the bio, "Devil Andover from The Black Moth has suffered a sea change into the wicked Duke of Avon (known as Satanas to his friends)."An Infamous Army thus creates a cross-over between the books about two separate families.
Jessica added that "Sarah Frantz asks the first question, noting that it was in fact Sam and Alyssa, Suzanne Brockman’s characters, who first began their courtship in a book in which they don’t have their HEA." This made me think of Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire and Palliser novels. They're not strictly romances, but they do contain plenty of romance elements because Trollope apparently believed that "a novel can hardly be made interesting or successful without love" (Polhemus 383). Trollope's two series do eventually cross over, and in Phineas Finn in the Palliser series we can find Phineas beginning a romantic relationship that eventually concludes in Phineas Redux.
Can anyone else think of more examples of
- early romance series
- cross-overs between series
- characters whose courtships begin in one book in a series and end in a later one?
- Polhemus, Robert M. "Being in Love in Phineas Finn/Phineas Redux: Desire, Devotion, Consolation." Nineteenth-Century Fiction 37.3 (1982): 383-395.
- Roberts, Nora. Foreword. Frederica. By Georgette Heyer. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2000. i-iv.