Sunday, January 24, 2010

In which Janette begs for romance--wait, will that title get me blocked in filters?

When I was a teenager I used to love to read romances. Seriously, I was a Harlequin addict. I thought men were supposed to be tall, dark, and brooding. Now I have stacks of YA books to read (have to keep current on the genre) and a stack of books my friends have written (because my friends are cool) and, oh yeah, I’m supposed to be writing books not reading them.

Still, I love romance. I miss romance. I don’t read contemporary romances because most of them are hot enough that they singe your eyebrows right off when you read them. But the other day I wanted a nice, mindless romance. A hot guy and witty banter.

A couple of months ago I picked up an inspirational romance. There was plenty of inspiration, a lot of information about the shipping industry, but no discernible romance. I don’t think the characters ever kissed. They just went out and helped the poor then decided to get married at the end.

I felt cheated.

The next time I picked up a regency romance. (Not yours, Sarah Eden, this was before I got a stash of yours.) I figured it wouldn't be too steamy in the regency era as they had chaperons and what not. (I know, I know, stop laughing at me.)

I’m not sure how steamy it was because I had to stop reading before I got that far. The writing was bad but the writer made up for it by throwing in lots of exclamation points. After saving the heroine from the advances of another man, we read:
The duke’s eyes softened for a moment then regained their habitual gallantry. (Really? Whose point of view are we in? If we’re in hers—and we must be because he can’t see his own eyes, how does she know they’re habitually gallant? She’s just met him.)

She asks, “You know my name, sir?”

And he says, “Indeed I do, fair creature! May I lead you in?”

Fair creature? Did men ever talk that way? I’m imagining my husband coming home from work and saying, “How was the day, fair creature?” Nope. It just doesn’t work in dialogue.

So I figure I can't just pick up any old romance book. I'm either too picky or too prudish for them. Still, eventually I'll be done the sequel to My Fair Godmother. (I'm about 3/4 the way done and I'm supposed to be done by next week.) I'll want a romance. In fact, I'll want many. Tell me your favorite.


katie said...

North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell (a great romance, but not light)

All of YOUR books - but those are probably boring for you.

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot - totally light and romantic :)

These Is My Words by Nancy Turner

Debbie (Nerd Goddess) said...

Hmmm... usually when someone asks for a clean, fun romance, I send them straight to you!

Have you read North of Beautiful? It's very good, and there's some nice romance in it, though it's not strictly a romantic book. I can't really think of anything else I've read recently! Best of luck in your quest.

Juju at Tales of said...

A. Holy cannolis! You are making a sequel to My Fair Godmother?? That's awesome!
B. I feel you on the romance thing. Often they are too hot or too light. For some reason my favorites always have a hint of magic like Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton or Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.
The last two I really liked where Christmas reads (A Home for Christmas by Deborah Grace Staley or Sweet Inspiration by Penny Watson).

Danyelle said...

Yay for part two being nearly finished!

I generally never read straight romance for the reasons you've outlined, so my the two I'm recommending are YA fantasy.

Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip. The entire story (three books in one) is about love, even though the reader doesn't really meet the girl until the second book. Into the Forests of Serre is another excellent read.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. The romance-romance doesn't really come until the second book (two books in one) but it's worth the wait.

Both (well, all three) have story, romance, and wit. Three of my favorite things. :D

brenda said...

Ooo, right up my alley!
Beastly & A Kiss in Time (Alex Flinn), Royal Target (Traci Abramson), The Icing on the Cake (Elodia Strain), Austenland (Shannon Hale), A Countess Below Stairs (Eva Ibbotson), A Bride in the Bargain (Deanna Gist), The Season (Sarah Maclean),Until Proven Guilty (Betsy Brannon Green), and anything by Marcia Lynn McClure (The Highwayman, Shackles of Honor, The Heavenly Surrender)
Happy reading :)

Sarah M Eden said...

"Courting Miss Lancaster" will be out in March. I HIGHLY recommend it. wink, wink.

Alysa said...

I love love love Eva Ibbotson's A Company of Swans. Great writing, swoon-worthy romance, no bodice ripping. I have plenty to say about that book, too, so if you read it we can talk. I've heard her Countess Under Stairs is good, but haven't read it.

I was blown away by The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter. She wrote at the turn of the century, so her books can be hard to find in print but are available free online. Anyway this one is also superbly written. At one point I told my hubby "I can't stop now! She's describing the house!" You know a book is good when the boring parts are riveting. This one follows the male. Dead romantic, sans scandalousness.

For review of other books I think are romantic you can check the romantic tag on my review blog:

Heather said...

The only Regency romances I have enjoyed are by Georgette Heyer. She is my go-to author if I need a romance fix.

Kath said...

First, I can't wait for the sequel to My Fair Godmother!

Below are a few that I enjoyed:

A Time for the Heart by Nancy C. Allen
Mystic & Rider by Sharon Shinn
Seer & the Sword by Victoria Hanley
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Traitor by Sandra Grey

Elise said...

There's this fabulous author called Sierra St. James. I think her stuff is right up your alley. :)

To be honest and not to be rude to katie, the Princess Diaries weren't as great as I wanted them to be and got under my skin after a while. But to each his own.

I loved "The Squire's Tale" by Gerald Morris and the other books in that series. It's mostly laugh-out-loud adventure-y teen lit, but there is some romance. I second "Crown Duel." That's a great read.

Connie Onnie said...

I agree with Alysa A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson is also one of my favorites. The Morning Gift is another one I liked by Eva Ibbotson.
I also agree with Kath, Wildwood Dancing is another one I rather enjoyed.
Posion Study by Maria Snyder
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
And I just read The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg and really enjoye it as well. But I will admit I may have enjoyed the friendship more than the romance.

Julie said...

Thanks for the question, because I am always craving a good romance. Some of my favorite non-scandalous, well-written romances are

A Countess Below Stairs (Eva Ibbotson),
Nicola and the Viscount (Meg Cabot goes Regency), Frederica (Georgette Heyer),
These is My Words (Nancy Turner),
King of Attolia (the third in the Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner)

I wish I had more recommendations, because there is a dearth of good romances in our world. I'll let you know if I ever get mine published. (It's a witty Regency without any exclamation points!)

Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury said...

PRECIOUS BANE by Mary Webb is worth it, though some find the old-style English a bit of a challenge.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows has a nice little romance in it.

I've also enjoyed stories by Maria V. Snyder and Patricia McKillip (her latest, THE BELL AT SEALEY HEAD has a couple of romances in it).

Another lovely "beauty and the beast" tale, from the beast's point of view is A WIND IN CAIRO by Judith Tarr (if you can find it).

Heather B. Moore said...

I have the same problem with romances, either I'm a prude or a snob. Recently I read a really great historical romance (surprised myself by how much I liked it): Counting the Cost by Liz Adair. It's hefty and definitely a time investment.

Also, for clean romances, you should check out Michele Paige Holmes :-)

Austenland by Shannon Hale is fabulous.

Amie said...

I enjoyed Practice to Deceive by Patricia Veryan. It is the first volume in The Golden Chronicles. The second is good as well.

My favorite is Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden. It was a heart grabber!

Sara said...

If you are looking for a fun, romantic, but not over the top regency romance, I liked Barbara Metzger's earlier books. (I think some of her newer ones might be "steamier" from what I've heard) It's been a while since I've read them, but I remember thinking her writing was pretty funny, and the romance was there without being TOO much... Like The Primrose Path was one I think... Anyway, can't wait for the sequel!

Sandra said...

Elizabeth Gaskell and Jane Austen are my all-time favorites, and I also like Josi Kilpack and Shannon Hale.

Taffy said...

Good suggestions!
When I say 'favorites' they are books I would read more than twice; hmmm, I've read all these at least 3 times:

Pamela Aiden has a trilogy from Darcy's point of view. Love #1 & #3.
King & Queen of Attolia (Queen being best)
These is My Words
Keturah and Lord Death
The Secret Journal of Brett Colton
My Fair Godmother

Anonymous said...

Perfect Strangers by Jahnna N. Malcolm! It's my lateset YA read and I loved it! It was predictably romantic yet suspenseful!
P.S. I can't wait for My Fair Godmother #2!!!

TeresaD said...

I get in those moods too - where you just NEED something purely romantic. Ususally I survey the bookshelf(shelves) and read bits and pieces of different stories, since I can never find a good all-romance book.
Love to read:

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
The Actor and the Housewife (Shannon Hale)
Anne of the Island (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
Persuasion (Jane Austen)
The Mortal Instruments trilogy: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass (Cassandra Clare)
And the beginning part of Kissed By An Angel (Elizabeth Chandler)

Jenilyn said...

As others have said, Georgette Heyer and Patricia Veryan are both good Regency authors. My favorite GH books are Frederica, Sylvester, and The Grand Sophy.

Sharon Shinn was mentioned, but not my favorite by her, which is Archangel. I enjoyed General Winston's Daughter a lot too.

I also love Impossible by Nancy Werlin and Promised Land by Connie Willis and Cynthia Felice

Jane Isfeld Still said...

Been too long since I read a romance but when I did I loved Gergette Heyer also.
But I think I will have to pick up one of yours. Look tempting.

Liz Adair said...

Wow, what a great bunch of comments.

I'm a Georgette Heyer fan, too. I've read all her regency romances and mysteries several times. The historicals are a little heavy for me. She has great plots and plays the romance with a light touch and great dialogue. Haven't read her since I've learned POV from the Point of View Police, but I'll be interested to see how she holds up.

Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Ha ha. I usually read YA romances only. Really LOVED Shiver.

Good luck!

Oh and I gave you a blog award over at

Anonymous said...

Jessica Day George's books and The Mortal Instruments Series pop into my head right away. Jessica Day George's books beautiful fantasies, while The Mortal Instruments (first book City of Bones) are "hot enough that they singe your eyebrows right off" and efinatly has "A hot guy and witty banter."

Anonymous said...

Jessica Day George's books and The Mortal Instruments Series pop into my head right away. Jessica Day George's books beautiful fantasies, while The Mortal Instruments (first book City of Bones) are "hot enough that they singe your eyebrows right off" and efinatly has "A hot guy and witty banter."

Julie Wright said...

Seriously, my favorite romances are YOURS. I don't know what to tell you otherwise because you are who I go to for these things. Oh hey and I got a photocop ticket in arizona so I might be down to fight the darn thing. Let's go to lunch if I do, my treat this time.

Heather Dixon said...

I know what you mean about the singing eyebrows stuff. I wish books had ratings.

Lia said...

Okay, I've got one for you. You mentioned that you occasionally pick up inspirational romance. The best one I know is The Princess by Lori Wick. The plot has similarities to Love Comes Softly (which I also recommend): two almost-strangers are thrown together in marriage. What happens then?

On a scale of steaminess -- well, even if it weren't a Christian romance, the two main characters are already married! You can't ask for more moral than that. And yet, it's delightfully romantic and sweet.

Lia said...

Oh, and I second:

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
Precious Bane by Mary Webb
Jane Eyre by Bronte

And I add:

Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montogomery
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

Ah, I love a good romance.

Tressa said...

I love Sarah Eden's books too! Here are some others:

1. Mended Hearts by Connie Angeline (LDS)
2. Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes (LDS)
3. Lord Sidley's Last Season by Sherry Lynn Ferguson (regency - also The Honorable Marksley and Quiet Meg by her are good)
4. The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch (regency)
5. Pride and Prejudice (of course)
6. Crown Duel and Court Duel by Sherwood Smith (make sure you read both, some versions only come with the first part of the book)
7. Devil's Cub, The Grand Sophy, and The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer (regency)
8. The Scarlet Pimpernel
9. Cathie Marie Hake (Christian) has some pretty light, funny books
10. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (suspense, romance)

Several of the other books listed I've read as well and some I'm planning on reading. I'm so glad that you posted this so that I can add to my list of other good books to read.

Elizabeth said...

Oh my heck! I am dying of laughter! I seriously love reading your blog, it totally brightens my day.

Janette Rallison said...

I wish I was done with the sequel so I could go read all of these books! Sigh.

Smithy Smith said...

I really like The Secret Journal of Brett Colton, and A Love Like Lilly both by Kay Lynn Mangum. My sister recomends, and I do too, To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker.

Nikki said...

So you want mindless, clean and romantic?

*Newlywed Games by Mary Davis

*My Life as a Doormat by Rene Gutteridge

*The Drama Queens Series by Tracey Bateman: Catch a Rising Star, You Had Me At Goodbye,and That's (Not Exactly) Amore!

*The Guy I'm Not Dating by Trish Perry

*Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd

earwaxtasteslikecrayons said...

I also love Keeper of the Bees--I'd almost forgotten about that book, so I'm glad I read the comments.

For a great debutante-type romance, read anything by Emilie Loring. They're sweet, and the heroes are always gentlemen and the women are smart and likable.

I also like Lynn Kurland (paranormal romances), Rachel Hauck (Inspirational) and Susan May Warren (also Inspirational).

Have fun!


Kimberly said...

I really enjoyed Heidi Ashworth's Regency Romance - Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind. Witty and wacky and quite sweet in parts too.

Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart...those are three ladies I turn to when I want a good mix of romance and mystery.

Laura Lofgreen said...

Eden Close, by Anite Shreve or I'll suck it up and admit Twilight. I just love Edward Cullen.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this post is super old, but I just had to comment. About a year ago I read the book "Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins. It's just so romantic and sweet, and I love the relationship the two characters build up. Although...It's not very clean. But the story makes up for that.