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.