Beginning with Issue #29 of Laurie’s News & Views, I began to compile a page of authors whom various readers feel passionately about. These are authors who are buried treasures and whom readers wish were brightly shining stars in the genre. Sometimes new talent quickly rises to the top, but in other cases, talent lies latent, waiting to be discovered and savored. In an attempt to illuminate the talent of these authors, here are some posts to kick off this page, which ends with links to later columns spotlighting buried treasure authors and books.
Ann Klein (email@example.com):
If your readers are looking for a great author of books set after 1900, I recommend Elizabeth Villars. You’ll probably have to hit the library to find her books, but they are excellent. She has a couple of contemporaries (which are also good) but her best stuff is set in the first half of this century. She also writes mysteries under the name of Ellen Feldman. I believe her books are considered women’s fiction (vs. romance). They don’t always have HEA endings, some are more like bittersweet – but they’re always very satisfying.
Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org): I just love Barbara Boswell’s books. They’re funny, sexy, and have witty dialogue. She also has great supporting characters and sub-plots. The three books of hers I’ve read are: Wicked Games (my favorite), Red Velvet, and Winning Ways. I really hope she catches on with other readers – she’s too good to not be a big success.
Anne Hayes Cleary (email@example.com):
Another author I think is under appreciated is Michelle Martin. I have thoroughly enjoyed the regencies of Michelle Martin. And, I also enjoyed her complex contemporary, Stolen Hearts. I was amazed that an author who wrote so well about the Regency period, could also write an intriguing contemporary. Another under appreciated author I enjoy is Barbara Boswell. She has and still does write categories (originally Loveswepts and more recently Silhouette Desires) but she has published three single mainstream books, all of which are on my keeper shelf. (It’s really a room with lots and lots of shelves but I hate to brag) Wicked Games, Winning Ways, and Red Velvet contained all the elements I enjoy in a “good read”!
Heather Deiss (firstname.lastname@example.org):
One author I really like but never hear anything about is Patricia Camden. To my knowledge, she has only three books out. The first two are a short series; the third is unrelated. I can’t remember the first two titles unfortunately, although I think thatScarlett Kisses might be in there somewhere. The third book is entitled Promise me Magic, and no, it’s not about a magician. Warning though, in her first book, the love scenes between the villian and his _itch are not for the squeamish. The love scenes between the hero and heroine are quite nice however.
I checked my reference book for books by Camden. They are as follows: Promise Me Magic (1995), and duo ofSurrender in Scarlet (1991) and Scarlet Kisses (1992).
Joan Towey (email@example.com):
A number of years ago, my sister passed a book entitled The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick, an English author. This particular book, and the two that follow it, are carefully researched and discuss political situations in Britian during the middle ages that are never discussed, ie the Welsh marcher lords, the civil war between William the Conqueror’s heirs and realistic discussion of things like living off the land, merchants and what serfdom was really like. She has also written a few other books set in the Middle Ages, most notably Daughters of the Grail. This book discusses a particular heresy which was popular in France and how it and its adherants were dealt with by the Church and political leaders. All this and romance, too. I truly believe that Ms. Chadwick is the author who will take romance onto the pages of the NY Times Book Review, if only she could catch on in the US. She’s a better writer than anyone out there, even Laura Kinsale and Mary Jo Putney (who are my other favorites).
Anne Cleary: (firstname.lastname@example.org):
An author I’ve long admired is Mary Spencer (Liming) who also writes as Susan Spencer Paul for the Harlequin Historical line. (There was a controversy about the Susan Paul name so she has recently added the Spencer. . . interesting story behind the name addition). Her medieval, The Vow, featured a heroine who stuttered. Her “western”, The Coming Home Place was quite controversial because of the hero’s adultery. It’s sequel, Fire & Water was also enjoyable. The Bride trilogy for HH was exceptionally well done in comparison to some other medievals from that line, again IMHO, with well fleshed out characters, wicked villains (I love really nasty villains) and very different yet related plots.
Sally Simmons (email@example.com):
I really like Loretta Chase’s newer books but she isn’t too prolific and the publisher did not return my email request for when her next one will come out. I liked your column! You always bring up interesting topics. (Sally, Loretta’s next book is scheduled for 1998 release.)
Rebecca Ekmark (firstname.lastname@example.org):
An author that I have recently discovered is Rita Boucher. I don’t read regencies too often, but I am so glad I picked up a couple by this author. She creates characters that are very personable, characters that I can cheer for and that I care about for the length of the book.
Buried-treasure authors I’d like to recommend: Eva Ibbotson (for four books esp., A Company of Swans, The Morning Gift,Magic Flutes, and A Countess Below Stairs Elizabeth Linington (for one book esp., The Anglophile – nicely romantic and well written book set in 18C Dublin and of interest to anyone interested in Irish history; first published 1950s and actually a bit daring in sexual content for its day – though not very explicit) The once-popular but now largely forgotten author I’d like to recommend: Mary Stewart, for the romances she penned before she got in to her well-known Arthurian trilogy. Esp. recommended: The Ivy Tree.
Grace Aliff (email@example.com):
Being on the listserv gives you a false sense of intelligence regarding romance. Most of the posters are extremely knowledgeable and have shared favorite authors, so I sometimes assume in my head everyone knows about them but of course they don’t so I had to think of authors I really like whose books are not found in Target, supermarkets and drug stores readily or who may not write too many books. I came up with a few: Jennifer Horseman, Elizabeth Stuart, Mandalyn Kaye, Betina Krahn, Denee Cody.
Bonnie Malmat (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Hi! Like Soozie, I enjoyed the Miranda Jarrett books. Family series are very appealing, and it is nice to know what happened to characters that I’ve encountered in other books. I’ve not picked up her new one yet (It’s supposed to be the start of a new series), but I had noticed that her last two books were not quite up to the quality of the rest of the series. I didn’t know if it was because she ran out of steam, deadlines or other problems happened, or that she was moving to Pocket books. I’m looking forward to her new book —-
Nancy Hosmer (email@example.com):
One of my favorite all time authors is Curtiss Ann Matlock. I have read all of her books and enjoyed each and every one of them. She always writes about down to earth people in down to earth situations. Her two newest and longer novels, The Loves of Ruby Dee and Love in A Small Town are among my very favorite of all time! The dialogue is witty and entertaining. I just wish she was as prolific as another “famous” favorite of mine, Nora Roberts!
Karen Wheless (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I agree with you on several of your choices for “stars of the future”. Especially Catherine Archer – thanks for introducing me to her books! There are many authors that seem to be on the border – well known to us, but haven’t crossed the line to publisher success. I love JoAnn Power and Mary Spencer for medievals. There are a number of Regency writers who are well known to Regency readers, but not to others. I consider Carla Kelly the best Regency writer today. I don’t want her to stop writing Regencies, but I wish she could get some recognition for what she does best, instead of being lumped in with all the other underpromoted and badly distributed Signet Regencies.
Allison Gaines (email@example.com):
I don’t know if you consider these particular authors “Buried Treasures”. I think they’re great, though. Here goes:
June Lund Shiplett – For her Journey to Yesterday and Return to Yesterday series (I really enjoyed these two, and you don’t see much of Ms. Shiplett lately)
Barbara Bickmore – I love her Australia books, Back of Beyond and Moon Below
JoAnn Ross – Confessions and No Regrets were great reads and kept me on the edge of my seat
Pamela Simpson – Partners in Time and Mirror, Mirror were enjoyable. I don’t think she writes anymore. I really enjoyed her books. If anyone is a buried treasure find, it is Pamela Simpson!
Shelly Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I must say that my buried treasure is Celeste Deblasis. Of course trying to find one of her books is hard and usually only found at your local library. Her books may not be considered romances, but her characters always care deeply and passionately for one another, sometimes after fifty years. If that isn’t romance I don’t know what is. My favorite book of hers , and my personal all time favorite, is The Proud Breed. A story of two people who fall in love and then spend their lives caring, fighting, raising their children and just dealing with surviving. The way Miss Deblasis writes about these people you can almost feel the passion between these two, and what they go through together and keep the love in their lives is to me what romance should be about. Her Wild Swan series is exceptional also and I would recommend her books for anyone. Just one word of caustion. Even though I know her books by heart I always end up crying anyway. She makes you care deeply about these wonderful people.
Mark Pottenger (MarkPottenger@msn.com):
All of these authors and books rate well on my 5-star humor scale (actually negative, zero, and +1 to +5), and I don’t recall seeing their names mentioned much in my on-line browsing to date:
Lee Damon aka Jane H. Look
Perhaps that is true at other sites, but I first interviewed Danelle more than two years ago. And, you wrote a Desert Isle Keeper Review of The Wild One, so maybe this buried treasure will become more well known.
Kate Smith (AAR Reviewer):
Danelle Harmon is loved on the bulletin boards, but it’s hard to find her on romance sites. Her books are emotional and witty, and wonderfully written. She has grown so much as a writer and is capable of such diversity. I’ve read almost all of her books and have loved every one. Lovers of historical fiction who enjoy an author who pays attention to historical detail will love reading any of Danelle’s books.
Tanya Wade (email@example.com):
I just have to mention how stunning I think Megan Chance is. I stumbled upon The Gentleman Caller a few months ago, and was floored by her emotional writing. After some wonderful suggestions from the listserv, I glommed what I could find of her backlist and am eagerly awaiting her next book in October. I don’t read much about her, but I’m so glad I found her. I just finished The Way Home, and if this wasn’t one of the most unique romances I’ve ever read, I don’t know what is. It had the bonus of two beautiful ‘poems’, written by the h/h that had me in tears. Her love scenes are very subtle, but she tackles some very tough issues.
I don’t believe that Lisa Kleypas has gotten the recognition that she deserves. She has come up with really unusual heroes and heroines and often given them very unusual and fascinating occupations and avocations. I am referring to her books set in England. The only one I did not like is her most recent, Stranger in My Arms. She more than makes up for it with Dreaming of You, and Then Came You.
Another author who deserves more recognition is Betina Krahn. Her early books weren’t that unusual but about 4 years ago they got a lot more interesting. These titles are: Last Bachelor, Perfect Mistress, The Mermaid, and Unlikely Angel. In these, she takes a really fascinating development in history and wraps an entire romance novel around it. She covers everything from women’s legal rights to ease in clothing restrictions to the enlargement of the prostitution class and Gladstone’s efforts to eradicate…just great stuff and the romance is wonderful as well. If you’ve only read her other romances, you will barely recognize this as the same author.
I think Melinda McRae deserves recognition for her historicals, not only her regencies. She wrote 2 I loved: Sweet Rewards, set amidst the Women’s Suffrage movement in England, and Stolen Hearts about the development of surgeons and physicians in England in the earlier 1800s, including body snatching for anatomy work! The hero teaches surgery as well as practices it (his family disowned him for doing something so ignoble; they wanted him to be a clergyman). These are 2 terrific books with 2 terrific romances!
Seeing your comments about your two favorite Harlequin Historical authors made me want to write to you about my own personal favorite, and that’s Miranda Jarrett. She is a wonderful, wonderful author, and though she seems to always get good reviews and win awards (I’m fortunate enough to recieve her newsletter, so that’s how I know about this), she doesn’t seem to have gotten the push from her publisher that you mentioned in your last page, and I don’t know why. Her books are very distinctive historicals. Not only does she set all her books in colonial times in America (at least the ones I’ve read, though I haven’t been able to find them all), but she writes about very real people with real problems instead of more lords and ladies. (which is my biggest problem with all the regency-time books. Not everyone in the world is born a duke!) Her stories always have very believable romances that are poignant and full of adventure yet also have some humor in them. Plus she really does her research, much like Diana Gabaldon. You read her books and you really feel as if you’re “back then.” Ms. Jarrett’s books are all about one family, too, which I also enjoy since you can check in from book to book and see how the last hero and heroine are doing, how many children they had, and so on. I hope that Miranda Jarrett is one of those authors who is going to be on your “rocket” and not one that is being stifled by lazy publishers. IMHO, she is one of the best historical writers right now, and I highly reccommend her to you and other readers. (So you know who else I like to see if our taste is the same, I also like Loretta Chase, Mary Jo Putney, and Laura Kinsale probably best of all.)
Carol, Lisa Kleypas is one of Avon’s lead authors; she’s very well known and beloved amongst romance readers. Betina Krahn is a lead author as well, perhaps not as well known as some others, but way up there nonetheless.
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2008 Buried Treasures
2007 Buried Treasures
2006 Buried Treasures
2005 Buried Treasures
2004 Buried Treasures
2003 Buried Treasures
2002 Buried Treasures
2001 Buried Treasures
2000 Buried Treasures
1999 Buried Treasures
More discussion on Buried Treasures in December 1999 edition of Laurie’s News & Views