“Old School” is one of those terms that can have a lot of meaning. After all, the romance genre has evolved quite a bit over the decades and different threads of the genre have gone in different directions. I’ll admit that my first thought when I see the term takes me to the 400-500 page books I used to find in used bookstores and library sales back in the 90s. Big, epic historicals definitely still have their appeal for me, though I’m pickier than I used to be. Some problematic features just can’t be glossed over for me anymore. This time around, Caz and I both ended up going in a similar direction, reading old Regency trads from the late 80s/early 90s. At their best, these stories, just like their contemporary category cousins, pack a focused romance into a […]
When I read Mary Balogh’s Only Beloved, the seventh and final book in Mary Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series which took as its heroine Dora Debbins, a thirty-nine-year-old spinster, who had “lost all hope of marriage,” I thought good on Balogh, venturing into rather virgin territory where women of a certain age, cherished within their family, unexpectedly find beloved themselves. But it seems Mary Balogh has a few more tricks up her sleeve and now I’m “Anticipating Matilda.” […]
August’s TBR Challenge prompt is “Kickin’ it old-school” and it’s a prompt I always enjoy as it gives me the opportunity to pick something from the TBR Pile of Doom, which still looms large next to the bed. I went for Tangled by Mary Balogh, a standalone title originally published in 1991 which features a somewhat unusual premise; one I haven’t read before although I’m sure this isn’t the only book to have made use of it. I see that the book has engendered very mixed reactions over the years, and although I can understand why, I enjoyed it, principally because Mary Balogh is so skilled at portraying the emotional lives of her characters in a way that makes them feel very real to the reader.
The book opens as Lady Rebecca Cardwell is saying a fond farewell to her husband, Julian, […]
Mary Balogh’s 1992 novel Beyond the Sunrise boasts a storyline quite unlike those found in the other books of hers I’ve read in that it’s mostly plot, rather than character driven. That isn’t a criticism, however, because I enjoyed this new audiobook (narrated by Rosalyn Landor) very much. It isn’t without its problems, the principal of which lies with the heroine’s somewhat cavalier treatment of the hero and I suspect that had I been reading the book rather than listening to it, I might have found her difficult to like, but Ms. Landor is able to portray her with such empathy that even when I didn’t particularly like her actions, I was at the very least able to understand her and even feel sorry for […]
Today, Dabney and Maggie tackle the latest Survivor’s Club by Mary Balogh, Only a Promise. The book comes out on Tuesday, June 9th. We’ve tried to avoid overt spoilers.
Maggie summarizes the novel here:
As a schoolboy Ralph Stockwood, Earl of Berwick, was a natural born leader. When he convinced his friends to join him in glorious combat he had no idea that he would be the only one returning. Guilt ridden and heart sore Ralph has been able to move forward with life only by deadening himself to emotion. When he is ordered by his grandmother to find a wife and get an heir to secure the family title and fortune, he is reluctant to do so. On the outside he is a fine catch; A handsome man with […]
Recently we’ve seen a spate of books made into movies – Ender’s Game, Catching Fire and The Book Thief being three of the most recent. Which got me to thinking about romance novels I think would make excellent films or TV series. Books that I feel contain enough grit and depth to appeal to a wider audience while still containing the kind of luscious love stories that romance fans adore. I’ve added some casting hints just in case Hollywood needs the help. Here’s my list:
1. Nobody’s Baby but Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips – The story: Football hero and brainy scientist meet in the most unusual of ways. I can totally see Emma Stone as the brainy, feisty Jane. Cal is a bit harder but I can picture Mathew Fox (or a younger, hotter version of him) delivering the cereal killer line with aplomb. This […]
I put off writing my top ten until the last possible moment for a variety of reasons. I wanted some time to think about it, but I knew even though I had lots of time I’d still be making choices at the last minute; it’s not unusual for me to make my Reviewer’s Choice top pick while I’m writing the column. I also decided my top seven fairly easily, and then got stuck on the final three. I agonized over which three deserved the final honors, and then ended up with some also rans. I’ve been reading romance for a long time, and that presented its own problems. Should I choose early, sentimental favorites, or more of the quality Johnny come lately offerings? Well, in reverse order, here’s my top ten (ish).
Although I know other reviewers and staff have had a lot of trouble deciding upon their top ten romance novels, I have to confess it was mostly easy for me. This likely has something to do with the fact that I’ll be stranded on what is essentially a desert island for the next few months—that’s right, I’m off to college. There’s not much space in a dorm, so only the crème de la crème of my romance novel collection travels with me, and since many of those books have already been mentioned, it’s actually been fairly simple to whittle my list down to just ten.
Even so, I still have some books (like Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton or Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm) which I ache to write about and recommend. The books on my list have all been read and reread dozens of times. I take scrupulous […]
Coming up with a list of my top romances is not romantic at all. In fact, it can be downright unromantic as I found out the first year I tried to compile a list of my Top 100 favorite romance novels. Really? They must be joking, right? Especially since I’m constantly reading.
My first try at a Top 100 garnered 76 titles, and as I go back over the list, I can barely remember some of the books after #50. How can the books after that be called “top”? So now I keep a running Top 100 list that I purge now and again. But the Top 12 seem to stay fairly constant—until I change them.
What puts a book on my Top 12 list? Readability. I’ve read these books over and over. They are my comfort reads. They are safely tucked away on my Kindle and go with me everywhere. […]