Archive for November, 2011

Upstairs, Downstairs

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

For those of you who like seeing the downstairs as well as the upstairs, check out Tracy Grant’s interesting post on servant/master relationships in historical fiction.

For me, the first to come to mind are Jeeves and Wooster and Bunter and Lord Peter Wimsey. It struck me that both are (a) 1920s and 30s, and (b) valet/gentleman. I had to actively work to think of non-1920s examples (Tracy has a few in her post) and lady’s maid equivalents to the valet relationship, like Sophia and her saucy maid in Fielding’s Tom Jones. I wonder why that is?

Slightly off-topic, I’ve heard a happy rumor that there’ll be at least two more of Tracy’s Charles & Melanie/Malcolm & Suzanne books! For those who haven’t read them, they’re about a husband and wife team embroiled in espionage in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The earliest chronologically is Vienna Waltz, set at the Congress of Vienna, but her world is so perfectly integrated that you can read them in pretty much any order without losing anything. I started with Beneath a Silent Moon, which is technically #3, timeline-wise.

AMENDED TO ADD: For those who wanted to know the reading order of Tracy’s books, it’s:

Vienna Waltz (1814)

Beneath a Silent Moon (1817)

Secrets of a Lady (formerly Daughter of the Game) (1819)

Mask of Night (1820) (Kindle and Nook only)

You can find more about the books, including the upcoming Imperial Scandal, on Tracy’s website.

Guilty Pleasures

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Do you ever go through book or television fads? Ones that you feel rather silly about but can’t stop reading/watching anyway? My latest is a British TV show called Doc Martin.

No, nothing to do with the iconic 90s footwear. It’s about a doctor in a small Cornish town. What I find fascinating about this show is that it can’t really decide what it wants to be when it grows up. It’s a little bit House (Doc Martin, grumpy, anti-social and brilliant, always solves a medical conundrum by the end of the show), a little bit Britcom (quirky side characters, snappy dialogue), and a little bit soap opera (will Doc Martin ever resolve his relationship with the perky schoolteacher? Will his receptionist break her gambling habit?). I’m not sure why it works, but it does. I’m hooked.

Of course, I’m also watching them completely out of order, based on the vagaries of tv scheduling (thank you, PBS!), so I know all sorts of plot points I’m not supposed to know yet.

What’s your latest guilty pleasure?

Holiday Contest!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Happy almost December! As we edge ever closer to the holiday season, I bring you a very special Pink contest, a contest so special we’re doing it on the Contest page instead of the News page.

As my gift to you this year, I’m giving you an entirely new Pink Carnation bonus chapter– and the best bit is, you get to pick the characters.

Do you want more Miles? More Vaughn? More Dowager Duchess of Dovedale?

Just head over to the Contest page to let me know!

Ivy & Intrigue: #1!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Christmas came early for me. Ivy & Intrigue: A Very Selwick Christmas is #1 on Amazon’s Regency bestseller list!

Thanks so much to everyone who put it there!

Mistletoe UK!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Today is the official launch day of the UK version of The Mischief of the Mistletoe. Happy launch day, Mistletoe UK!

Mistletoe UK is available in both traditional paper-y form (as seen above) and on Kindle.

If You Like….

Monday, November 28th, 2011

If you like lighthearted Regency romances, you’ll probably like….

— Julia Quinn’s novels. I know people swear by the Bridgertons (start with The Duke and I), but don’t neglect the pre-Bridgerton Everything and the Moon and To Catch an Heiress. To Catch an Heiress was one of the inspirations for the original Pink book.

— Jessica Benson’s The Accidental Duchess, a hilarious Regency romp. She also has two shorter (also very funny Regencies), Much Obliged and Lord Stanhope’s Proposal.

— Teresa Medeiros’ After Midnight and The Vampire Who Loved Me. Yes, these may have vampires, but I promise, they’re not sparkly.

— Sarah MacLean’s “Numbers” trilogy, starting with Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. Don’t worry; there isn’t a one to eight, so you’re starting in order when you start with nine.

— Amanda Quick’s With This Ring or assorted others. I like the Gothic/Regency mash-up of With This Ring (think Northanger in spades), but some of her older novels are less Gothic, more Regency.

— Eloisa James’ When Beauty Tamed the Beast. How can you go wrong with historical House?

— Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible— or Lord Perfect or Lord of Scoundrels or…. You really can’t go wrong with Loretta Chase.

The Lady Most Likely, a story in three parts tri-authored by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway. Like those sampler packs of flavored oatmeal, it’s a great way to sample their three different writing styles.

— How could I possibly leave out the Queen of the Regency Romp, Georgette Heyer? Among her most romp-ish, try Sprig Muslin, Arabella, The Nonesuch, and The Grand Sophy.

I know I’m forgetting a ridiculous number of people. Who would you recommend for a fun Regency read?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, November 25th, 2011

What with the food coma factor, I’m having a hard time remembering what I read yesterday, much less earlier in the week, but here’s an attempted recreation….

— Lori Wilde, The First Love Cookie Club

I was given this at RWA this summer, but it was July and this book looked decidedly Christmassy, so I saved it– and I’m so glad I did. There are swirling snowflakes, Christmas cookies, second chances and an adorable small child in want of a mother. There may have been some tearing up on the train as I was reading this.

— Liz Young, Fair Game.

In the States, this is called A Promising Man (and About Time, Too), but I cling stubbornly to the copy I picked up the winter I was living in England.

(Side note: when British books are republished in the US, why do they give them such awful titles? Like changing Wendy Holden’s Pastures Nouveaux— yay, Milton reference!– to Farm Fatale. And then there’s the movie The Honest Courtesan, which became Dangerous Beauty. Same great movie, not great title. I disapprove. I also digress.)

Young does a brilliant job juggling side plots for her side characters, which are as much a part of the story as the main romance. In other words, she recreates a convincing sense of life in all its fullness, in a wonderfully exuberant way. In both the wider cast of characters and the tone, there’s a lot in common with Kristan Higgins’ books.

— Jill Shalvis, Simply Irresistible

This is also part of the RWA haul from this summer, saved for a more seasonable time of year. I’m just starting it now, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

What have you been reading?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, all! Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful, turkey-filled holiday. Now back to The March of the Wooden Soldiers….

Thanksgiving Reading

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

For me, most holidays have some association with books. Christmas is Little Women and Debbie Macomber’s Angel books; Halloween is The Haunting of Hill House
and assorted ghost stories; even the Fourth of July has Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside (I’m not sure why I’m reading about Canada on the Fourth of July, but there you go)– but Thanksgiving’s got nothing.

I remember spending the Thanksgiving of 8th grade riveted to Stephen King’s It, fascinated and horrified. Another year it was Joan Wolf’s Edge of Light, equally random, if with somewhat fewer demented homicidal clowns.

This year, I’m kicking off the holiday with a re-read of one of my favorite British chick lit novels, Liz Young’s Fair Game, which makes me feel all nostalgic about Christmas in London. Because, naturally, it makes sense to spend Thanksgiving reading about a culture which doesn’t have a Thanksgiving. But I don’t have any one book or set of book that says “Thanksgiving” to me. It’s purely the whim of the moment.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving read?

Teaser Tuesday: A Holiday Gift

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Remember that old Contest page where I used to have contests? The one that was abandoned for the convenience of holding contests right here on the News page? Well, I’m reviving it for a very special holiday contest.

Starting at some point next week (I’ll let you know once it’s up), I’ll be opening the old Contest page for voting on this very crucial question: which Pink Carnation character would you like to see feature in a a bonus chapter?

The best part? Whichever character gets the most votes gets that story. I’ll be writing it up as my holiday gift to you.

Start thinking about which character you’d like to nominate….