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.

Favorite Classic

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

Carla Kelly
Kathleen Gilles Seidel
early Jennifer Crusie
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Suzanne Brockmann
Courtney Milan

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Marion Chesney
Marion Lennox
Eva Ibbotson

 

Frontier or American Historical:

Notorious by Patricia Potter

European Historical:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Beast by Judith Ivory

Traditional Regency:

More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh
Anything by Carla Kelly

Medieval:

Jeannie Lin’s Chinese Tang Dynasty historicals, especially My Fair Concubine

Paranormal Romance:

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair

Contemporary:

Again by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

Category:

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

Favorite Hero

Brandon Kel-Paten, Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
Scipio Africanus Butterworth, Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind by Carla Kelly.

Favorite Heroine

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

Strongest Heroine

Liria Valencia, One Good Turn by Carla Kelly

Favorite Couple

I know I’m cheating, but honestly it’s Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Funny:

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

Carla Kelly
Catherine Anderson

Guilty Pleasure:

Eden Burning, Elizabeth Lowell

Least-Favorites

Most Disappointing Book

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Worst Books

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

Lauren Willig

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Book

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Favorite Classic Novel

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Favorite Mystery

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

Favorite SF/Horror/Fantasy

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Nearly anything by Lois McMaster Bujold (but especially Miles Vorkosigan)
Barbara Hambly
Timothy Zahn
Terry Pratchett

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