Historical Romance: The Keeper Collection
Every now and then I stop reading romance. I have to, I find. Usually it's when I am in one of those moods where it doesn't feel like the stories could possibly ever really happen---no man is ever that much of a hero and no heroine is ever that beautiful and plucky, or resilient, or brave, or smart...
So I try other kinds of fiction for a while and usually come to a sad place where I feel like I might have "outgrown romance" ---as a reader and a writer.
Then I stop writing romance for a while. I can't find my muse, can't find the time, or frankly, I start feeling like I just "don't feel the love" for romance...if you know what I mean.
But then out of the blue, something happens and I snap out of it. I read a book that fires me up and excites me, keeps me thinking about it long after I've finished that last page. This time that book was published a decade ago, but one that I have only just discovered and will certainly put in my "Keeper Collection."
The book is FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, written by the wonderful historical romance writer Laura Kinsale.
Wow. What a story. A rakish duke, felled by a stroke and plotting family, is seriously handicapped and angry---and rescued by a Quaker heroine, one who is not so beautiful and who's good at math. This book is 533 pages long and steeped in conflict and characterization and in deep emotion. These amazing characters drove the story in a way that was so plausible, so real I felt for them.
And kudos to Ms. Kinsale for the incredible amount of research that made that book transport me back in time---to a place where stroke victims were thought to be lunatics because they could not understand, be understood or speak, and were often sent to an insane asylum. The author's careful attention to inheritance law, and to the facts surrounding the Quaker movement in England and yes, to the academic study of mathematics at that time is so apparent and so well done.
For a few hours on New Years Eve in 2011, right into the first few hours of 2012 I sat there reading FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, lost in the time and place, caught up in the lives of these two people (who were soooo meant to be together). I read until 2am. That doesn't happen too often. This was a book I could not put down.
What a way to ring in the New Year!
I'm back on the romance writting (and reading) wagon again. Glad to have found an old book that gave me a new, renewed enthusiasm for a genre I will always love. I will always be a fan, I know.
Has anyone had read one a "keeper" romance lately that got you going again after a dry spell? I'd love to hear about it. I want more!