Sunday, 8 February 2015

Five Books Which Romanced Me

I'm not quite sure how I ended up writing romance. I'm not in the least bit romantic! My books do have a mix of comedy and/or suspense, and the hero and heroine usually end up falling in love by the end - mostly by accident - but I'm still that person who puts their hand over their eyes during the romantic scene in a movie with, "Ugh, mushy bit!" But as I also put my hand over my eyes during scary bits, gory bits and definitely rude bits, it's a wonder I've seen any movie all the way through.

Luckily I don't have this problem with books!

(It's a bit difficult to read with your eyes closed ... )

So here are five of my favourite romantic reads, in five different romance genres, for Valentine's Day.

(Guaranteed mush-free.)

A Fairy Tale Romance:
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.

Deciding she has nothing more to lose she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls…

A fairy tale romance - where the heroine spends most of the book transformed into a little old lady. Who else could get away with writing that? There is also a huge twist towards the end which I certainly didn't see coming. (I always love books that take me by surprise!) If you enjoy it, there are two other books in the series, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways.

A Funny Romance
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She's always been a nervous flyer. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So, naturally enough, she starts telling the man sitting next to her - quite a dishy American, but she's too frightened to notice - all her innermost secrets. 
She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous founding boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises...

It's the man from the plane.

What will he do with her secrets? He knows them all - but she doesn't know a single one of his. Or... does she?

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the hugely successful Shopaholic series but this stand-alone book is one of my favourites (another is The Undomestic Goddess). I love it because we've all made that huge mistake that's come back to bite us and because it really is very funny.

A Historical Romance
Duchess by Night by Eloisa James

After a lifetime as a wallflower Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is finally seeking a little pleasure of her own. And where better to begin than at the house of one of the most disreputable men in the country, Lord Strange? However, the high-stakes games of lust and chance that rule Strange's household mean that to cross the threshold could entirely ruin her reputation. So Harriet swaps her hoops and corsets for a pair of breeches and transforms herself into a young male relative of the Duke of Villiers. Before she knows it she's writing bawdy missives on behalf of a young actress, not to mention winning card games played by the most powerful men in England. But when she starts attracting male attention, Harriet must decide whether to stay in her disguise - or to reveal that she's really a duchess by night ...

This story is part of the Desperate Duchesses series, set in Georgian England. (It is #3 in the series but you don't really have to read them in order. Another of my favourites is The Duke is Mine). I love Eloisa James's novels because although they're historical they're written in a light-hearted, modern way - sexy and very funny. And I love the covers! Watch out for the scene where Lord Strange (who has finally wised to Harriet's secret) teaches her to fence.

A Romance with Bite
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pretty. She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill: he's tall, he's dark and he's handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting all her life for - but Bill's a vampire ...

I LOVE the mix of humour, mystery, suspense, horror and romance of these books. They were made into a TV series, True Blood, and now I'm going to be one of those boring people who go on about how the books are much better than the TV/movie version. But they are.

A Thrilling Romance
Nightfall by Anne Stuart

Richard Tiernan has been sentenced to death. With an ulterior motive and a heart full of dark truths, he agrees to tell all to an ailing writer whose greed and ambition are so strong that he will even give his own daughter to Richard in return for one last Pulitzer-winning story.

Cassidy’s spent her life struggling to earn her father’s respect and love. Now his health is failing, and her feelings for him are even more complex. Loyalty is a sacrifice. Daughters can be broken by their fathers. She has to help when he calls. He’s bailed Richard Tiernan out of prison just long enough to coax the shocking facts out of him. What happened that night? What did Tiernan really do to his family?

Her father will sell his soul to the Devil before he dies. So  be it.

Richard Tiernan may take them both to Hell.

If you regularly read this blog, or follow me on Pinterest, you will know that Anne Stuart is one of my favourite authors. The author delights in having the darkest, most twisted characters for her heroes. Can the heroine redeem this one? Deliciously dark - I loved it. 

Related Posts

Five Books Which Chilled Me
Five Books Which Influenced Me
Ten (Slightly Random) Ways to Choose a Book
Most Favourite Books in the World Ever (Pinterest board)

(Book covers and blurbs copyright the individual publishers)

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