Anna Campbell

November 2008


Scaling The TBR Pile

Having just got a new book in to Avon, I recently rewarded myself with a couple of days of heavy reading. Like most aficionados of romance novels, I have a to-be-read pile that blocks out the sun and it was getting higher by the day. It was wonderful just to immerse myself in good books for a little while (wish it had been longer!) so I thought I’d share some of my discoveries with you.

the girl From the DiademThe first one is an out of print book from 1978 which you can still pick up on the secondhand circuit. The Girl From the Diadem (also known as Edwardian Belle) is by an author who was new to me until I went to our local conference in Melbourne and met Roz, who is a huge fan of Jean Merrill, the author. The first JM I read was a sparkling romance called Serafina. It had me laughing out loud and reminded me very much of books I used to read as a teenager. Not a lot of naughty bits but it has such verve and wit and a prose style that can rival Georgette Heyer’s at her best. What’s not to like? The Girl From the Diadem is equally enchanting. They don’t write books like this any more, but man, I wish they did! It’s an unabashed romp with complications upon complications and the comedy just gets richer and richer until the final heart-warming clinch at the end when the poor but brave heroine falls into the arms of the rich and aristocratic hero.

first ladyThe next also isn’t a new release although it’s considerably more recent than TGFTD. It’s First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I, like most romance readers, adore SEP, especially her Chicago Stars books which almost make me love footballers (only joking, she said cowering away from the hordes of angry footballers about to descend upon her). This is a stand-alone story about the widow of an American President who goes on the run to experience real life and falls in love on the way. It’s full of fantastic dialogue and comedy and also SEP’s trademark deep emotion. And I’ve got to say, I so admire the way she writes teenagers. The secondary characters in this story will really steal your heart.

So onto something more recent. As regular readers of MFT would know, I absolutely adored Laura Lee Guhrke’s And Then He Kissed Her which I discovered via a sprained ankle last year. She’s got a new Girl Bachelors book out, Secret Desires of a Gentleman. It’s a wonderfully warm and witty mixture of Sabrina and Pride and Prejudice. The heroine is a darling, gutsy and brave. The hero is one of my favorite types – the buttoned up man who loses control of his well-ordered life once he falls in love (shades of Mr. Darcy!). Highly recommended and sure to leave a smile on your face.

courting disasterNow I’ve left my two favourites till last. The first is by Kathleen O’Reilly, who wrote a marvelous trilogy for Blaze featuring the O’Sullivan Brothers and their bar in New York. Courting Disaster is her latest – it’s a longer book and has come out under the Silhouette Special Edition banner. It’s part of a continuation called Thoroughbred Legacy but don’t let that turn you off. I hadn’t read the others in the series and had no trouble following what was going on. I love bad boy falling for good girl stories and this one is a doozey. Formula 1 driver Demetri Lucas tumbles like a ton of bricks for squeaky clean country singer Elizabeth Innis and the sparks fly from there. Kathleen writes the most amazing sexual tension. Seriously these pages sizzle – I needed asbestos gloves to read them. But for all the heat, it’s the emotional heart of her stories that always gets me. I dare you to put this one down until you finish it. I sure couldn’t.