Earlier this week I listed the first three romance novels in my unusual selection. Since I’m always on the lookout for new romance authors, I thought I’d share my own peculiar and quirky list here for anyone looking for new recommendations. And if you have any great romance authors of your own who you love, who are outside the usual Austen and Bronte reading list (fabulous though that list is), please let me know!
So here goes with the next four romance novels in my top ten, in no particular order:
The Fox, by D.H Lawrence
I first read this short story as a teenager and thought it was the most romantic thing ever. Now I know different. A soldier home from the first world war stays with two young women on an isolated farm. He falls for the younger woman, March, and, just like the fox of the title, “masters her spirit”, seducing her away from her female friend. The sexual tension rivets you to the page, and there are passages of great tenderness and swoonworthy sensuality. It’s a powerful story that defies description, although Doris Lessing gave it her best shot in this article when she called it “A smouldering allegory of sexuality and power”. Smouldering is definitely the word.
- A Traveller in Time, by Alison Uttley
Alison Utterly Brilliant, as my daughter used to call her. Suitable for both children and adults, this is the story of a young girl, Penelope, who is sent to stay with her aunt in the country. The house has an ancient history, and Penelope finds herself transported back and forth in time from the present to the era of Mary Queen of Scots. She becomes involved with the house’s Elizabethan owners, the Babingtons, and falls in love with their son, Francis. Unable to change the course of history or to persuade Francis that his devotion to Queen Mary will end in tragedy, Penelope is a helpless witness to events in the past. It’s a gentle and romantic story, and Alison Uttley’s descriptions of the natural world are as beautiful as ever.
- The Windflower, by Laura Logan
I first heard of this novel through comments on this interesting post at Heroes and Heartbreakers. (Which just goes to show I do read comments – so please add any romantic novel suggestions here!) In fact, I only started reading this book yesterday and was awake so long last night turning the pages my husband thought I was ill. When I first heard the plot – innocent girl gets abducted by mistake by pirate – I thought, hmm ho – but don’t be put off! For its genre it’s unputdownable, the dialogue is witty, the story is admittedly silly, but hey, so’s Romeo and Juliet. The author makes it sound believable and it’s well researched. And of course the hero – well, what can I say? Swit swoo!
- Parade’s End, by Ford Madox Ford
I can’t believe I only recently found out about this book. Or, to be exact, four books, since it’s a tetralogy. Some might say it’s not an easy read, but to be honest I blasted through it. Of course it’s not strictly a romance novel, but the love between the cerebral (ie geeky) hero Christopher Tietjens and a woman who’s not his wife is the strand that binds the whole tetralogy together. And what’s it about? Well, you’ll need a whole essay to tell you, so I’ll just repeat the simple story line which is that Christopher gets tricked into marrying a vindictive bitch who’s pregnant by another man. He meets the love of his life, but is too much a man of honour to divorce his bitch of a wife. He’s sent off to the first world war and returns a broken man, financially and mentally. Does he get the girl? Read it and see! Of course there are all sorts of other themes running through the book if you want to look, such as goodness, class, the end of a British era, etc, but they don’t let them bother you if you don’t want. I LOVED it.
So that’s it, parts one and two done of my unusual top ten romance novels. Last three romance novels, including my favourite love story of all time, will be posted on Tuesday. Thanks for reading – and please don’t forget to tell me your favourites!