This month our authors’ Round Robin question is one of the most difficult so far…
What are your favourite books of all time, in your favourite genres?
What a question to have to answer! I have SO many favourite books, whittling down a list is like having to kill off old friends.
I thought I’d choose some of my favourite romantic novels. Romance is such an underrated genre, and for some reason people often turn their nose up as soon as you say the word ‘romance’, but there is SUCH variety in love stories.
There are too many beautiful, funny, moving and page-turning romances to mention all the ones I love, but anyway, here goes…
My favourite classic romantic novels
One of the best presents I ever received was this complete Penguin set of Jane Austen, which my mum gave to me on my fifteenth birthday.
I remember sitting on the kerb in the playground at school reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time (lucky me!), totally gripped by Darcy’s proposal to Lizzie. I’d thought Jane Austen was going to be staid and dull. How wrong I was! I just had to find out what happened next. So I hid behind some coats in the cloakroom and became so absorbed in the whole drama, I missed the bell for registration and ended up in detention. Detention for reading Jane Austen! The irony. It was worth it, though.
My favourite romantic suspense novels
I’ve cheated and chosen two very different novels, because I couldn’t decide which to pick.
Mary Stewart has been a favourite author of mine ever since my teenage years. Her suspense novels were published in the fifties and sixties, so there is a dated feel to them now, but on the other hand she was ahead of her time in having independent, brave heroines, who were ordinary women called on to do extraordinary things. One of my favourite of her heroines is Charity in Madam, Will You Talk? Charity’s husband, a pilot, died in the war. He’d taught Charity to drive, and, unusually for the time, she’s a woman who can drive like a demon and give as good as she gets in a car chase.
Another thing I love about Mary Stewart is the beautiful settings in Greece and the south of France –exotic travel for the time. (My romantic suspense In the Mouth of the Wolf is an homage to her and is also set in the south of France.)
The other favourite romantic suspense I’ve chosen is One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich. A massive contrast to Mary Stewart! I was late to discover the Stephanie Plum series, but I’m so glad I have. She’s a brilliant heroine – feisty and funny, and I laughed out loud a lot. I also love her crazy family and of course the two heroes, Joseph Morelli and Ranger. I still haven’t read all the series yet, so lots more fun reading to be had!
My favourite historical romance
Anyone who’s followed my blog for a while will probably guess who my favourite author is in the historical romance category. Georgette Heyer is the Queen of Regency romance, and I’ve read her novels over and over again. I wrote a post a few years ago on why I love her so much, and since I’ve started editing novels my admiration for her has grown. Her dialogue sparkles, her novels are meticulously researched and her characters are well-drawn and varied, and her stories are just brilliant uplifting fun.
My favourite chick-lit novel
I used to really object to the term ‘chick-lit’, as it seems to say everything that’s derogatory about novels written by women and enjoyed by women. But now I think why not embrace it? There are some brilliant chick-lit novels covering some deep themes in a well-written, relatable, moving and often witty way.
One of the best – and one of my many favourites – is Rachel’s Holiday, by Marian Keyes. Here’s part of the blurb:
‘Rachel Walsh has been living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her hot boyfriend Luke.
But her sensible older sister showing up and sending her off to actual rehab wasn’t quite part of her plan…’
Basically it’s a novel about addiction and recovery, but also much more than this. This review in the Guardian calls the novel ‘brilliant’, ‘utterly hilarious, deeply romantic (Luke Costello, ah my fluttering heart) and desperately moving.’
My favourite sci fi romance
Stanislaw Lem’s Return from the Stars is a classic sci fi novel. I expect some fans of Lem would be aghast at me lumping it in the lowly romance genre, but Hal Bregg is one of my favourite romantic heroes.
Hal is an astronaut who returns from a ten year trip to the stars to find 100 years have passed on earth. He’s the ultimate hero: brave, strong, adventurous, chivalrous, but there’s no place for his type of heroism in the drugged-up, placid world of the future. When he learns his former colleagues are planning a trip to Sagittarius, he has a choice to make – remain with the woman he’s fallen in love with in this pleasant, dull utopia, or return to a life of adventure.
My only caveat is that the women’s roles are weak in the novel, but the rest of it is brilliant.
These are just a few of my favourite romantic novels. You might notice I haven’t added any paranormal/fantasy romance. I’m not a big fan of this genre, but if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
And now I’m really looking forward to finding out which books the other authors in the Round Robin have chosen as their favourites. If you’d like to check them out, please click on the links below!
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-26c
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com