As long as I'm writing about someone else's romances, I thought of two more illustrating how very different romances can be for what's in them. These happen to also be two that I know exactly where I was when I bought them and although I have loved them, I don't own more by either author. Their other books just didn't register with me; but because of loving these two, I definitely did try their others.
For me, sex isn't a big thing in a book to have it or not have it. I do find that if the sex becomes too dominant, I get bored. I am not easily offended though and a little sex on the dark side doesn't horrify me unless it's glorifying rape. That is a total no-go. If that hero forces the heroine when she says no but she later likes it, I will toss that book into the garbage if I bought it. Abuse isn't sexy to me.
So two more book reviews of romances that I have loved for very different reasons-- one with a lot of sex and one with the implications of it but no descriptions. One written by a woman and the other by a man. Neither one currently on Kindle.
Years ago I read a book again in the Lake Oswego library that I loved. I had looked for it in various used bookstores through the years but never found it. Finally I decided I'd give an Internet search a try. Lo and behold there a used copy was and I ordered it.
Vardy by John Harris is an historical novel that has a strong romantic relationship at the center of it. Set in France and beginning in 1870, it is the story of one of Napoleon's military leaders. Colonel Max Cary de Lily is small, ugly, missing one eye, scarred, but also full of the energy of war heroes or really any hero. Vardy is a young woman who at first is drawn to his power but then falls in love as she is pulled through the adventures of a volatile time in France's history. This story is well set in its time period but never loses the power of the two main characters. Vardy's growth as a character is part of its appeal. Even though these two people are lovers, there is only the suggestion of sex, no descriptions.
When it arrived, in beautiful condition I might add, I was delighted to find it was as pleasing to me as a novel as it had been when I first read it nearly 40 years earlier. It is also very different than the second book I will review.
In 1991, we had made a hurried drive across the United States right after our daughter's wedding. Farm Boss was involved in a project which involved using for the first time a laser. It was being built in Massachusetts and the company was in danger of going under before they could get the laser shipped. He needed to get the glitches out. It wasn't going to be something that could be done in a few days. I suggested we go back together, drive and spend the month it would take (company covered costs). It took us just 4 1/2 days to drive there from Oregon. It gave me a lot of time alone with one of those weeks at Rockport and two in Concord. It was a memorable trip on many levels as I could wander where I chose during the day and there were many delicious historical sites from which to choose.
It was while in Concord in a small bookstore that I found Shadow Play by Kathleen Sutcliffe. I took it back to the lovely old hotel where we were staying and didn't quit reading until I had finished it (it not being a short book). It remains one of my favorite romances; but when I went looking to see if it's still available, the professional review of it was scathing although other readers wrote reviews expressing the same love I felt for this story. Goes to show.
Shadow Play is a romantic fairy tale loosely set in an historic period but that's not the crux of the story. It has all the ingredients I love in a romance starting with a great hero and a heroine worthy of him. The hero has been through a lot of bad times but emerged as someone considered almost a god in the Amazon. Some of that is good marketing on his part but he's more the hero than he knows. The aristocratic heroine is out of his league or so they both think until enough time together changes their minds with lots of adventures, one right after another as they travel up the Amazon into forbidden territory. There is a villain worthy of any romance as he is beautiful physically, dangerous and presents a risk to the hero until the climax. So troubled past, dangerous present, uncertain future, and some lusty sex.
It always amazes me how when I love a book it doesn't mean I will like anything else by the same author. As authors we always hope we are creating books, whether in a series or not, that will make others want to read all we wrote. While it is true that when I find a book I love, I will check out others by that author, it doesn't automatically mean I'll even like them let alone love.
Also all the talk, of paper publishing having more value than eBooks, I think is disproven by how quickly books disappear from the shelves and even the ability to buy those put out by the big publishing houses. Some of these oldies are having their authors retrieve the rights and put them out as an ePub. I am all for that because any book I have loved I will want to read again.