Anna Campbell

November 2007


The Terrific Trio

Because I’ve been working on finishing a book, I haven’t done an enormous amount of reading lately. I’ve promised myself a real binge over Christmas – do you hear that, Santa? That’s what I want! Hours and hours to scale the TBR pile! But in recent weeks, I have managed to pick up three great books that I’d love to share with you.

MFTNov07-1The first is Jane Porter’s wonderful Flirting With Forty (5 Spot). I’ve long been an admirer of Jane’s Harlequin Presents. They’re rip-snorting, rootin’-tootin’, “can’t put down until you reach the end” reads full of high stakes drama and emotion. Recently Jane has branched out into women’s fiction. Flirting With Forty describes Jackie’s post-divorce life which takes some turns our heroine never expected, including falling in love with a surfing instructor who lives across the Pacific Ocean and is ten years younger than she is. The story is so painfully real and moving, I found myself crying and laughing and cheering for Jackie. It’s a wonderful romance full of genuine conflict and adult emotions but it touched my heart for other reasons too. Jackie’s relationship with her children. Jackie’s struggles to come to terms with herself as a single woman. Jackie’s friendships which inevitably change now she’s undergone the seismic change of a divorce. Really, it’s a great read, grab this book! I’m not surprised that Lifetime TV is making a movie of it. Now the interesting part is to see who gets to play yummy Kai, the surf instructor. He is one delish hero!

MFTNov07-3The next book is The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany (Avon). This is Bridget Jones in the Regency and it’s hilarious and fresh and almighty fun. I made the mistake of starting to read this on a long train journey and made an awful fool of myself snorting behind the pages. A lot of it is laugh-out-loud funny. The characters are just so endearing, the story is so sparkling. The hero Inigo is to die for. The heroine Philomena Wellesley-Clegg (not THOSE Wellesleys which is a running joke) is a darling and a delight. Honestly, if you want a book that’s going to put a smile on your face, pick this up. You won’t be sorry. And make sure you read the bits at the end, including the lines you will NEVER see in a Regency historical.

MFTNov07-2A Grand Passion by Anne De Lisle is, as far as I know, only available in Australia and New Zealand, although you can order it here. I recently joined Anne on a panel at the Brisbane Writers Festival and as a result, read her book. It’s officially a memoir but more than that, it’s a romance between a woman and a ruined old house that needs love and dedication to restore it to its true magnificence, and between a woman and the man she eventually marries. The story is so true and touching, full of the twists and turns and rewards and disappointments of real life. And in the end, it’s a triumph as beautiful old colonial manor Baddow House (widely rumored to be haunted) returns to its full glory and in the process Anne restores her own life to joy and purpose and love. I strongly recommend this book!