Monday, June 4, 2012
Sizzling Historical Romances from my Never-Get-Rid-Of List
This week, I was going through my romance paperbacks in anticipation of the Sizzling Romance Swap at the Cartersville Public Library on June 7th, and it brought back so many memories of some great books that I loved. I have read romances for over 30 years so I have quite a collection in my closet, on bookshelves, and in boxes. I have read all the sub-genres--historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, etc..., but the ones that I have trouble letting go of and have reread many times are historical. These books go on my Never-Get-Rid-Of List.
If you ask romance readers of my generation what book got them started reading romances, chances are you will hear a title by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Considered the mother of the modern historical romance novel, her first book was The Flame and The Flower. I have been hooked on romances after I read it in high school. Set in Georgian England and in the Carolinas, it is the story of Heather Simmons and ship captain Brandon Birmingham. Less politically correct than today’s historical, Brandon mistakes Heather as a wharf prostitute on his trip to England; her weak protests seem like part of her act to him. When she later turns up pregnant, the two are forced to marry. The story is about two very different people trying to make a marriage work and finding love in the process. Woodiwiss’ writing captivates the reader and transports you to a time and place different from our own. Romance novelist Teresa Mederios wrote, “Whether you love The Flame and the Flower or hate it, we're still talking about it almost 40 years later. How many other romances will be able to make that claim?”
Another favorite on the historical scene is author Johanna Lindsey. Her 50th novel, Let Love Find You, comes out this month. My favorite of hers is the 2nd in the Mallory series, Tender Rebel. Set in England in 1818, Scottish heiress Lady Roslyn Chadwick needs to find a husband quick to save her fortune from a greedy cousin. At a ball she meets Sir Anthony Mallory, London’s most notorious rake. He’s everything she has been warned against but everything she can’t resist. Anthony will do anything, tell any lie, to seduce her but has sworn never to marry—what he does not count on is falling in love. When the greedy cousin finds her, she is forced to make a choice that may ruin her life or turn it into an enchanting dream if she can only trust Anthony. The book sizzles with the chemistry between the two and is great escapism reading.
Next on my Never-Get-Rid-Of List is Mary Jo Putney’s Fallen Angel series. This series takes place in England during and shortly after the Napoleonic Wars and features men who were friends in school and in war. It is hard to pick my favorite but I’ll go with River of Fire. Bearing both physical and mental scars, Kenneth Wilding returns from the war to an impoverished family estate. A stranger offers him an unusual proposition: prove Anthony Seaton (England’s most famous artist) killed his wife and all debts will be forgiven. Kenneth has no choice but to go undercover as Seaton’s secretary to investigate. While there he meets Rebecca Seaton. Rebecca is Anthony’s socially ruined spinster daughter and a talented artist. Kenneth must choose between love, honor, and saving his family estate. Putney brings an added element of the art world into this historical novel. Her novels are well-researched, historically accurate, and just great reading.
I could go on with many more that are on my Never-Get-Rid-Of list, but I’ll stop with just one more, For the Roses by Julie Garwood. Four orphaned street boys in New York City, just prior to the Civil War, find a baby girl in the trash heap. They name her Mary Rose Clayborne and decide to raise her. They head out West eventually settling in Blue Belle, Montana. Mary Rose grows up being a well-loved, soft-hearted, but stubborn young lady. One day Lord Harrison MacDonald comes to town, sticking out like a tenderfoot. Mary Rose convinces her brothers to help him survive in the American West. As Mary Rose and Harrison fall in love, he has a secret that could destroy them; he is searching for a woman who was kidnapped as a baby and never found. What makes this novel first-class is the letters inserted between chapters that the boys wrote as Mary Rose was growing up; imagine four young street urchins learning how to raise a child, and the trials they must overcome.
Additional Sizzling Historical Romances from my Never-Get-Rid-Of List:
Rose by Leigh Greenwood
Deception by Amanda Quick
Nobody’s Angel by Karen Robards
To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt
Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens