If Books Were Princes

Am I the only reader out there who thinks finding a truly great Historical Romance novel is rather like trying to find a good man on a dating website?

Before my husband and I finally decided to get married, we split up for almost a year. About half-way through this break up, I joined a few dating sites and spent hours looking at the pictures and biographies posted by hundreds of men with the potential to be just my type: funny, kind, intelligent blue-collar hunks of a certain age living within 30 miles of my little city by the sea. I sent a few of them a wink or nudge or whatever it was that led to flirting by way of instant messages and emails. Alas, I did not go out on a date with any of them.

It’s probably a good thing, as clearly I cannot judge a book by its cover, blurb or sample.

With the advent of digital ebooks, and the ease of self publishing, there are so many books to choose from now. So how is it possible that in recent months, I’ve picked the wrong ones more often than not? I read the blurbs and samples, perused both the positive and negative reviews and still somehow ended up with far too many books I simply could not finish. Even a few new releases by some of my favorite authors left me feeling unsatisfied after I’d loyally trudged my way to the last page.

I know I can be picky, even persnickety on occasion, but I swear I’m not impossible to please. I’ll happily ignore a few typos and misplaced commas, skip over a bit of repetitious inner angst and suspend disbelief a time or two if the writing is solid and the premise of the story is engaging. While I admit that I am always on the lookout for books featuring complicated characters who are true to themselves and unique plots that wander, skip or even dance a jig off the beaten path, I also enjoy tried-and-true scenarios and trite plot devices. I read and write Historical Romance, after all. But give me a twist to go with the timeworn, I beg you. Something fresh and fun out of left field. A tired tale revamped with a dash of the unexpected. A seemingly cookie-cutter hero or heroine who turns out to be a lopsided, three-tiered spice cake.

What’s a reader to do? Well, this reader became so disheartened, so afraid to risk wasting her time only to be disappointed yet again, that she spent hours, days, weeks, browsing covers, reading blurbs, samples and reviews until eventually they all blurred into the same story. All without one-clicking a single book. Rather like my time on the dating website circuit.

And then I went back to the truly tried-and-true. I scrolled through my library and re-read some of my all-time favorite romance novels, many of which I’d already read repeatedly. And I realized two very important things.

Firstly, my tastes have evolved and become a tad more refined. So maybe those new releases by favorite authors left me unsatisfied simply because they are no longer my cup of tea. And those books that went unfinished? Well, we all know we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find a prince. And, yes, I do realize I’m playing fast and loose with the cliches and idioms in this blog post, but surely by now you know that’s how I roll.

Secondly, there is a reason some Historical Romance novels become classics. They are beautifully written, the plots intricately woven, the characters so vibrant they leap off the pages, the emotions evoked so real and true and pure that the stores themselves are timeless. My tastes may change, broaden and expand in unanticipated directions, but I cannot imagine I will ever be disappointed when I curl up on the couch to read them from the first page to the last.

So, if you find yourself wallowing in the Historical Romance doldrums, here are a few books I suggest to put some wind in your sails:

Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels

Judith Ivory’s Untie My Heart

Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows

Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter


When I’m not frantically searching for a fabulous book to read, or getting lost in a classic that will never go out of style, I am feverishly working on book 4 in the Idyllwild Series. If you haven’t reads the first three books in the series, now would be a good time to find out why readers are devouring them and craving more.


Congratulations April’s Corset Winner: Charlene Whitehouse.

Do any of you remember seeing this picture of my very first corset? I named him George, and I hugged him and petted him and squeezed him. Or vise versa.
In keeping with this nostalgic mood I’m in just now, June’s  Corset is almost identical to the first corset that began the collection that now decorates my office, otherwise known as Lynne’s Lovely Lair.   
To enter simply post a Comment. Any comment will do, a bit of news, an idiom that’s always struck you as amusing, a historical ideal you’ve found ludicrous or a notion of any sort.
I’ll randomly choose one winner from all entrants on July 1st
(U.S. Only)




  1. Dean Young
    Jun 3, 2017

    I love books about the old west and enjoy reading your books

  2. Linda Szymoniak
    Jun 3, 2017

    One of my daughters has a small waist and looks amazing in a corset. I’d love to win this for her.

  3. Kimberly Hatten
    Jun 3, 2017

    Gorgeous corset!

  4. cyorgason
    Jun 3, 2017

    Even a man can enjoy your stories

  5. Karen Hawk
    Jun 3, 2017

    I’ve never worn a corset-I’d love to try it!

  6. JeanMP
    Jun 3, 2017

    Such a pretty color, so delicate.

  7. Linda Herold
    Jun 3, 2017

    You have such lovely corsets!
    I do like idioms and taught them in my special ed. class!

  8. Sandra Spilecki
    Jun 3, 2017

    Toad-in-a-Hole sounds yummy.

  9. Pam Potter
    Jun 4, 2017

    They don’t make men like the ones we read about in your books anymore. What a shame.

  10. Yaritza Santana
    Jun 4, 2017

    Gorgeous corset. Thanks for chance.

  11. Lisa Bromley
    Jun 4, 2017

    My daughter wears corsets but I’ve never had one’

  12. Teri Donaldson
    Jun 4, 2017

    I can’t wait for the 4th book to come out in your series. Your covers are always beautiful. They are simple, clean and always elegant.

  13. Kathy Davis
    Jun 4, 2017

    Your cover for Pretty Poison is my new favorite. I love it! I wish my hair was that color of red. 🙂

  14. Darlene Holley
    Jun 4, 2017

    I don’t know about those dating sites, I think I would get a frog for sure lol Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful corset

  15. Janie McGaugh
    Jun 4, 2017

    Beautiful corset!

  16. Joanna Davis
    Jun 4, 2017

    I just love the information you give on historical things.

  17. Tina Hairston
    Jun 4, 2017

    I’m going to be a great-aunt again. My eldest nephew is having his 2nd child and it will be a boy and the first great-grandson. I already have 3 great-nieces, one is his and the other two are my other nephew’s. Girls still outnumber the boys in this family..as it should, lol. I’m in crochet mode and making a new baby set. Blanket first so I can take my time and not have to re-start like I did for the one I made for my neighbor. It’s due in October so I’ve got plenty of time to take my time…SQUEEEEE!!!

  18. Tammy Windsor
    Jun 5, 2017

    So many books these days follow a “formula”, it seems. I agree that finding one that is fresh and unique is indeed difficult — a bit like capturing the illusive unicorn of yore. 🙂

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