Meet Reviewer Caroline Russomanno
Caroline’s Top 10 Romance List
About Me Favorite Romance Novels
I’m a history geek and educator, and I’ve lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe.
Romance snuck up on me through sci-fi/fantasy like Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight and an obsession with X-Files internet fanfiction which, via a route which is now shrouded in the mists of time, led me to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. It finally dawned on me that I loved the romance as much as the sci-fi. My first “pure” romance, which remains a favorite, was Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ It Had To Be You.
In addition to romance novels, I love romantic musicals, especially The Scarlet Pimpernel, Elisabeth, and Phantom, for which I’m on Team Raoul. I’m addicted to British miniseries and can provide five or six thousand suggestions upon request. My non-reading interests include travel (especially visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites), cooking, studying foreign languages, and obsessing over dogs.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Personal Reading Tastes Favorites by Sub-Genre
What I’m a sucker for in a book: detailed settings (contemporary, historical, or imaginary), sexy banter, “good guy” heroes who help their heroines grow, genius heroes, intelligent and competent heroines, intricate plots, drawn-out sexual tension, relationships based on cooperation and respect, characters with a sense of humor.
What I don’t particularly care for in a book: rakes, secret babies, historicals with wallpaper settings and modern characters, gratingly perfect cameos from previous protagonists in the series, obvious sequel bait (scads of attractive, unmarried siblings, duelling clubs, etc), Regency spies, cross-species paranormals in which you already know the solution is “turning” the heroine.
What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: any conflict which could be resolved by a five minute honest conversation, emotionally abusive heroes and their doormat heroines, authors who conflate rude/violent heroines with strong heroines
Favorite Romance Authors
All-Time Favorite Romance Authors
Kathleen Gilles Seidel
early Jennifer Crusie
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors
Frontier or American Historical:
Notorious by Patricia Potter
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Beast by Judith Ivory
More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh
Anything by Carla Kelly
Jeannie Lin’s Chinese Tang Dynasty historicals, especially My Fair Concubine
Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
Again by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
I love categories! Anything by Carla Kelly or Kathleen Gilles Seidel; A Nice Girl Like You by Alexandra Sellers, Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie… I could go on
Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type
Brandon Kel-Paten, Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
Scipio Africanus Butterworth, Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind by Carla Kelly.
Phoebe Somerville, It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Most Tortured Hero
Christian, Duke of Jervaulx, Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
Liria Valencia, One Good Turn by Carla Kelly
I know I’m cheating, but honestly it’s Han Solo and Princess Leia.
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Favorites by Mood
Eden Burning, Elizabeth Lowell
Most Disappointing Book
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Something I read by Diana Palmer years ago and tried to repress. The hero was so appallingly abusive I actually destroyed the book because I felt like nobody should read it. Which is weird, because a) I don’t believe in censorship and b) I have a different Diana Palmer on my keeper shelf. Chalk it up to temporary book-induced insanity.
Authors Others Love That I Don’t
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Favorite Classic Novel
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
The Hercule Poirot mysteries, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Favorite Women’s Fiction
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg
Favorite YA Book
The Hunger Games (but not the sequels)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Nearly anything by Lois McMaster Bujold (but especially Miles Vorkosigan)
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