Let me preface this post by saying that I used to be a BIG ole snob when it came to LITERATURE and refused to read romance novels of any kind for fear they would weaken my mind or something. However, there is a reformed Natalie on the loose devouring these stories at an appalling (admirable?) speed. I have found that I have a particular taste for historical romance, so here are the three I’ve read recently in the order that I loved them:
1. A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
So childhood friends, Michael and Penelope, are separated when Michael loses his fortune (at age 21) in a game of 21. He retreats from proper society and rebuilds his fortune by becoming a partner in a gambling hell. When he learns that Penelope’s dowry now includes the land he lost in that card game, he decides to marry her. Little does he know that his marriage will be more than one of convenience and greed. Why did I love this? First of all they get married right off the bat and they have a great history. Plus Penelope’s character makes incredible strides. She is at first “proper Penelope” and quickly becomes gutsy and adventurous–letting everyone (especially her husband) know just what the hell is wrong with them.
2. A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries
Celia is the youngest of a group of hellion children. Her grandmother has insisted that she and all of her siblings get married before they are a certain age, or they will all be disinherited. Celia can’t imagine that anyone could ever want her because of a traumatic event in her past. Pinter is equally insecure because he doesn’t come from the same high society as Celia. Their relationship is tense due to so much miscommunication and mutual insecurities (Gone with the Wind, hello!). But when the two of them go searching for the answers to Celia’s parents’ murders, they discover that they ACTUALLY like each other.
3. Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace
Ok. First off, I love the word scoundrel. It’s awesome and its use abounds in romance novels. So Miss Hillary is an incorrigible red head who is head strong and witty. She captures the eye of one of the most notorious scoundrels, Lord Andrew Forrest (who’s a super hottie, duh). Anyway, he pursues her thinking that she is just another of his many conquests, but realizes that her quick wit and fiery passion are enough to pluck him from a life of debauchery and deposit him into a happily married life. They face a bit of uncertainty and resistance from their families, but ultimately make a perfect match.
I do find it a bit annoying that all of the girls have some profound insecurities about their looks, whereas the men have virtually none. However, the men do have some insecurities about being able to make their wives happy and it usually has to do with something about money or reputation. I’ve gotta admit I enjoyed each tumultuous love affair quite a lot and might now be in love with some more book characters. :-/
ps. I loved this article about romance novels by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She’s the one who inspired me to start reading romance in the first place.