Bit of a different entry this week. I feel like I say that a lot, so maybe that means it’s a perfectly normal entry. Originally, I’d wanted to make another book list, but then there came the convergence of a new to me author, an all time favorite author, and a musical earworm. What good can come of all that? Right off the bat, I’m thinking a couple of things.
The first thing comes straight from this blog. Okay, this blog. In that blog post, I wrote about some popular historical romance authors I haven’t yet read. When stuck for a new book (okay, spoiled for choice) I took my own advice, and picked from the list I’d given myself. After I read my first Julia Quinn, I moved on to Tessa Dare.
Our library didn’t have Goddess of the Hunt on audible when I logged on, so I grabbed the start of the Castles Ever After series, Romancing the Duke. Some nights, there is nothing else that will do but to get comfy on the bed, stick in some earbuds, and let somebody tell you a story. That story can continue while you’re doing such exciting adulting things as filling out calendar pages, fixing printer paper jams, doing dishes, etc.
I wasn’t sure this book was going to be entirely my speed, as I’d heard from several sources that Dare tends to be on the lighter side, and I have to admit I had my reservations about a heroine called Izzy. A funny thing happened, though, while I listened. A couple of funny things, actually. I found myself, as I often do with a new to me author, doing some research. A little website recon, a little review snooping, a little bit of that thing where my brain goes rogue and starts cooking something on the back burner without first asking permission.
Where, you might ask, did that back burner brain go? Old school romance. You know, sweeping epics, on a grand scale, spanning years and oceans and continents, literally worlds away from an I’ve=heard-it’s-fluffy story of an Izzy who gets a surprise castle with a surprise duke. Also one surprised reader, because one of the first other authors who sprang to mind was Bertrice Small, author of my favorite all time historical romance, Skye O’Malley.
Wait, wait, now I remember how I got here. Megan Frampton shared this quote, from Tessa Dare, on her Facebook:
Okay, back to business. I am not going to use ever post to toot the Skye horn (though part of me wants to say “challenge accepted” to that one) but, for me, the two aren’t all that different. One of the reasons I love romance as much as I do, as both a reader and writer, is that it is an inherently feminist genre.
In romance, the woman always wins. Always. She gets her goal, whether that be run a shipping empire and give Elizabeth Tudor what-for, or finding a home of her own, to put fairy tales on paper. In romance, the men not only support their heroines’ desires, but actively support and encourage them. A romance heroine is her hero’s equal, his partner, and, together, they are more than the sum of their parts. Whether it’s a sweeping old school saga, or a thoroughly modern Regency-ish rom-com, at the heart, there is the same message. When combined with the clear and distinct voice of a talented author, is there anything better? I’m thinking no.
One more thing: this entry’s title comes from one of my favorite songs by Mary Chapin Carpenter, “The Things That We Are Made Of,” which technically has nothing to do with romance novels, but everything to do with all those things that make us who we are.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Have you ever made a “strange” connection between two different romance novels or authors, that actually makes perfect sense? Old school? New school? Something in between? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.