I finished Julie Garwood’s book “The Gift” earlier today. It is the third of four in the first series she wrote called “The Crown’s Spies” written between 1988 and 1995. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been 20 years since I read these for the first time. I remember waiting with anticipation each installment of this family of characters. The women were strong and held their own with the men in their lives. They weren’t victims, but were settled in themselves. They knew who they were and had the strength to protect themselves where needed, but also the strength to be vulnerable and trust in the love they had for the men in their lives. And in “The Gift” Sara, the female lead, was continually doing things that made me laugh.
Now some may complain because they are so formulaic. A romance story generally is. Boy and girl meet – strong feelings arise – adversity tries to sever the connection – love conquers all and they go off to live the best of all possible lives. For me romance books are like popcorn. They are a treat. Are they real life? For the most part no, and they were never meant to be. But I’ve gleaned alot over the years reading romances. I’ve learned that everyone has foibles. I’ve learned obscure bits of history, what passed for health care in days gone by, and am so glad I don’t have to wear the weight of what was considered necessary clothing from eras past. I do get weary of the bedroom scenes that are often spelled out in too much detail, but will concede that they have backed off from the amount of content devoted to them during the 1990s. Depending on the author and the time at which it was written, I’m at the point where when the scene is presented I start turning pages to get back to the story. I appreciate some authors who will leave that content behind closed doors. I will say this about having sex scenes in a book – because of the number of pages I will skip, I finish a book that much faster.
For me a good romance can be as good as a vacation. They are a break from routines that can sometimes be overwhelming. They are the possibility of things yet undreamed in my life. They are a relief from the news that focuses so much on what’s wrong and seldom what’s right. I will reread old friends because of things I remember from those stories. It could be characters or situations that made me laugh or were called to mind by something. I recently reread Susan Elizabeth Phillips “Natural Born Charmer” which begins with one of the main characters walking down the road in a beaver costume without its head. Who wouldn’t remember a character like that?
So for tonight I will be starting the last of this set of friends, Julie Garwood’s “Castles”. This series I’ve read about every other year since it came out, probably 8-10 times, just because I so enjoy the characters. But before I go I just want to pose a question. Do you have any old friends that you go back and read regularly? What compels you to reread a book? Just wondering….
Now go have a good read and a good night.
Welcome to bookstoremama’s mental ramblings of a bookaholic. After many years of threatening I am finally going to start writing about my reading. While in school I spent 7 years helping the librarians, being a guinea pig for speed reading curriculums, and having English teachers assign me independent research papers instead of having to learn to diagram sentences.
For almost 25 years I have worked in bookstores, hence the name “bookstoremama”. Initially I was at B.Dalton’s, just after they were acquired by Barnes & Noble. After they were unable to agree on terms in our local shopping mall, our community was without a bookstore for 10 months. Six months after B.Dalton closed, I heard that the yarn store owner was looking to add an independent bookstore to her shop. I stopped in to see let her know that I would be interested in helping any way that I could. She had been sent a Recommended Opening Inventory list that was $30,000.00 more than she could afford to start with and asked if I would be willing to take a look at it. I have had the supreme pleasure of picking the inventory ever since. We are nearing the end of our time together, she and I. She turned 80 this year, although you wouldn’t know her age by looking at her, and she’d like to retire. The store is up for sale. Changes in my life have put the possibility of my buying it out of reach. And I don’t know if I will be at the next version of a bookstore in our community, but after 25 years I think I’ve earned the right to keep the name.
After years of reading it is time to start writing.
My earliest memories include books.They’ve been one of the few constants in my life serving as my friends, my teachers, my entertainment, and they even brought me to my salvation.They’ve expanded my horizons as I’ve traveled through time and space. They’ve allowed me to experienced cultures and cuisines, challenged my preconceptions, and played a major role in forming the person I am today. At every stage of my life I could count on books to help me find my way, even when everything around me was in chaos.
As time goes on with this blog I may share some of my history and the role books have played along the way, but for the first steps along our journey together I’ll keep to a broader picture.
My love affair with books had me spending my free periods at school volunteering in libraries starting in fifth grade. From that point on I spent hours helping the librarians, which was really helpful any time I had to do a research paper in high school because I knew how to access every resource I had available to me. After leaving school, as a wife with young children and a husband who worked out of town a week at a time, books were my salvation, providing companionship and adult conversation during long, lonely hours. After a few years I started working a part-time job to save my sanity right across the hall from the local B. Dalton Bookseller. Within 2 years I was working for them. After their lease was not renewed I was blessed to get hired by someone who wanted to add a bookstore to her yarn shop and needed someone with bookselling experience to help her make decisions for opening inventory. I got to pick the opening inventory for that store and have had the privilege of continuing that work for the last 23 years. Along the way my life has had its ups and downs. My sons have grown, my marriage has ended, and life goes on.
What I read depends on what’s happening in my life at any given moment. My preferences are Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, Inspirational, Motivational/Business, Children’s, Cooking, Knitting, and a whole lot more. I read while I eat, in the bathroom, in the tub, in bed, on the porch, at the beach, waiting for the computer to boot, and any other time I can. I have learned that I can not read when I drive (street signs only please and make it quick!) and it is really uncool to be reading when you are on the phone with a friend who really is trying to have a conversation with you (they get hurt and you come off like a jerk).
In the days ahead I will share what I’m currently reading and my thoughts along the way. You will learn that I have many opinions and issues. I don’t expect that you will always agree with me, but I hope you enjoy whatever part of the journey we share together.
Good night for now, it’s time to read!!!
Today’s reading: Julie Garwood – The Gift
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