Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

February 24th. 2010

Loved it!! Mr.Darcy Broke My Heart is the second book by Beth Patillo that I’ve read and it was just as much fun as Jane Austen Ruined My Life. This woman obvioulsy loves travelling in and around London, Oxford and Bath–my dream trip. So maybe you have to be a marginal Austen-ite to enjoy the characters who are at crossroads in their lives and the secret society that is bound and determined to make things better. Knowing Jane’s basic history and crux of the standard Austen conflicts are central to these plots, but even for those who are sooo tired of period British stories will find delight in these very modern tales.

Go ahead, let Mr.Darcy break your heart too.

The Captain’s Lady

February 21st. 2010

Louise M. Gouge has written another outstanding historical romance novel with The Captain’s Lady. This follow-up story to Love Thine Enemy continues the web of stories set in the unusual location of East Florida at the height of the Revolutionary War. Though much of this story takes place in England, as the sea captain hero is charged with spying on a British council member to King George, the very real conflicts between the British and the Colonists are never far from the stage. Louise also takes the unusual angle of having the hero and heroine already “in love” at Chapter One. The trials for them are all about roles, secrets, and destiny. But throw in a hefty dose of female willfulness, parental stubbornness and duty and you’ve got a better spin on the problems facing these two young lovers on opposite sides of a history defining war. Louise writes so seamlessly that its easy to flow through the pages without much concept of the passing time. Romantic Times gave this novel 4 stars which is good enough for me too. Rush out and buy Louise’s latest saga before the shelves are empty.

The Sweet By and By

February 16th. 2010

Here’s a new trend in publishing–pair up a highly successful singer/songwriter (or insert any other celebrity career) with a talented author and wa-la, there’s an instant bestseller. Well, I don’t know if  The Sweet By and By will hit the bestseller lists, but its certainly a fun read. The folks at Thomas Nelson did a great job in putting Rachel Hauck (one of my favorite authors) with Sara Evans, a big time Nashville recording artist. I’m thinking the plot/characters/theme was courtesy of Sara’s imagination, but the pacing, dialogue and tension came from someone used to telling a story longer than three minutes. Since the spine of this book indicates this is #1 in the Songbird series, I don’t know if that means more from Sara Evans or more collaborative stories from the Nashville music scene. Is Winona also a wannabee author? Taylor Swift??  I was really intrigued by the hardback/slick print cover on this book–it’s like a crossover between a hardback and a softback book. Is this a more cost effective alternative to hardbacks with jackets? Don’t know, but its just one more example that the folks at Thomas Nelson are open to exploring new trends. I like that.

Never Say Never

February 1st. 2010

I’ve been a fan of Lisa Wingate since I met her at a RWA conference and found out she’s as pleasant and kind as the people in her stories. Truthfully, I was a fan after I read her first book and discovered a writer who can craft a compelling story with characters who aren’t distorted by angst–nice people caught up in awkward circumstances.But meeting her was great too. I’ve blogged about other Wingate novels, but the ones set in fictional Daily, Texas have an aura of their own. Never Say Never is the third book in this collection of interwoven slice-of-life stories served up with a dash of Texas gumption, and it may be my favorite. NSN begins in the vivid sweep of a Gulf Coast hurricane and doesn’t end till the lives caught up in the storm have found a safe haven. Loved that Lisa Wingate found a rhythm for writing a Creole dialect without sounding false or heavy-handed. Loved the open-heartedness of Texas folk with displaced hurricane victims and loved the very real crisis that comes from having dreams up-ended. One of thing Lisa does so well, is slide  wisdom across the table like it was a piece of pecan pie. She was able to carry the truism “crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind” into the mouths of characters from different walks and I felt myself nodding along like I was listening to a story told in my own kitchen. Having lived through this similar experience after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and our home church and community opening its arms to displaced people, I felt the NSN situations were real and honest but delightful in their differences too.  NSN ended sweeter than many real life hurricane scenarios, and certainly, no one would say that evacuees were all as gracious and flexible as the characters from the Holy Ghost church, but kudos to Wingate for lifting some mud from our not so distant past and making a novel from it. Loved watching the romance between Kai and Kemp unfold, loved the return of familiar friends from previous stories, and loved the sweetness that comes after a dangerous wind passes through. Guess you could say, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.