artglassSometimes I take away more from a beloved romance novel than the love story, or fond memories of the hero and heroine. Sometimes other aspects of the book not only stick with me, they actually influence my life.

Art glass is something I never thought about, let alone collected, until I read one of my favorite romances of all time, Nora Roberts’ Born in Fire.

The heroine Maggie Concannon is a glass artist. Her work comes to the attention of wealthy gallery owner Rogan Sweeney. He wants to show her work in one of his galleries, and when she fails to respond to his inquiries, he goes in search of her in her rural home. Rogan first encounters Maggie – mid work – in her small studio behind her home. She barks at him to close the door, and then immediately turns back to her art:

She set her mouth to the pipe and blew. He watched the bubble form, fascinated despite himself. Such a simple procedure, he thought, only breath and molten glass. Her fingers worked on the pipe, turning it and turning it, fighting gravity, using it, until she was satisfied with the shape.

That was all it took. I was hooked, not only on Rogan and Maggie’s love story, but on art glass. Soon after I read the book, I began looking at art glass online, in galleries and museums. My collection began soon after that. I have my glass pieces spread throughout my home. I can’t step into a room without seeing one, and each one reminds me of Maggie and her tiny studio in rural Ireland.

Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts started me on a collection of perfume bottles. Dora, the heroine, owns an antique store. One of the hero’s friends comes into the store to check Dora.  Dora tries to help the friend with a selection, and asks, “How about something in a perfume bottle? We have several nice pieces in crystal, porcelain, blown glass.”

The scene goes on to describe the bottle that the friend settles on, a “heart-shaped bottle with cut flowers decorating both front and back.” That was all it took to get me searching the Internet for information about perfume bottles. I now have a collection of about 20 perfume bottles. It’s an odd collection, made up of antiques and art glass. None were expensive, but I love each one. And whenever I look at them, I remember Dora and her shop.

I had never heard of Fiestaware until I read Jennifer Crusie’s The Cinderella Deal.

Daisy took the kettle off while Julia took down two mismatched cups and saucers, plunking her Constant Comment tea bags in a Blue Willow cup and Daisy’s Earl Grey in the bright orange Fiestaware. Daisy poured the hot water over the bags and said, “Pretty” as the tea color spread through the cups.

Fiestaware appears in many of Ms. Crusie’s other books, but it was after reading The Cinderella Deal that I purchased my first place setting. I now have eight place settings in a rainbow of colors. I figure the variety of colors fits in completely with Daisy and Julia’s mismatched tea cups.

Jennifer Crusie also introduced me to another kitchen item, one that I’ve so far managed to resist collecting. In Fast Women, I first learned of Carlton Ware running egg cups from the Walking Ware line.

“Ha,” Suze said and unwrapped the china, only to stop and stare. It was a small, round white china cup, but it had feet, honest-to-God people feet with blue spotted socks and black shoes. Maggie had another, with black striped socks and yellow shoes. “What is this stuff?”  “Walking Ware,” Nell said. “Novelty china from the seventies.”

The minute I read the description in Fast Women, I got on the Web and began looking at photos (and sales) of these odd egg cups. I’ll have to admit I haven’t purchased any – they’re rather pricey – but the appeal is still there.  I suspect that someday, if the price is right, I’ll give in and buy one.

But my latest obsession is the result of a re-reading of Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. This is the time of year when I start thinking about looking for a fresh supply of gloves for the coming winter. And thanks to Lord of Scoundrels, I am completely determined to buy a pair with buttons.

“Say your prayers, Miss Trent,” he told her very softly. Then he slid his hand – his big, dark, bare hand, for he had removed his gloves to eat and hadn’t put them back on – down the sleeve of her pelisse until he came to the first button of her frivolous pearl grey gloves.  He popped the tiny pearl from the buttonhole.

Of course I’ve also become obsessed with food items, and particular settings as a result of romances, but that’s another post.

Have you ever become obsessed with an item or object featured in a romance? And are you wacky enough like me to actually begin collecting something that you first learned about in a romance?

– LinnieGayl AAR