Summer Romance

Summer is officially over, but the summer heat lingers.  Have you read anything steamy lately?

Here is my hot pick for historical romance:

bellewether-9781501116544_lg   Bellewether

Fans of Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander will relish Susanna Kearsley’s Bellewether, complete with romance, historical references, and a time-traveling ghost.

As Charley, the new curator of the Wilde House museum on Long Island, explores the history of the old house, her search parallels the world of the original 1750s family.  Kearsely alternates chapters in the voices of the men and women of the past with Charley and their modern day contemporaries.  The developing romance between Charley and Sam, the handsome contractor who is helping repair and restore the old house, mirrors the eighteenth century relationship of Lydia, twenty year old daughter of the house and Jean-Philippe, the French Canadian lieutenant staying in their house.

The story is slow-moving, bur offers glimpses into the lives of men and women living through one of the most comprehensive wars of the century.  Known as the French and Indian War in the American colonies, the Seven Years War ended with The Treaty of Paris transferring Canada from France to England, switching loyalties forever.  Kearsley also chronicle’s The Acadian Expulsion and its effect on families.

Prisoners during the French and Indian War were sometimes left in the homes of area farmers loyal to the British king under a gentleman’s agreement to do no harm and not try to escape.  Although he speaks no English, Jean Philippe volunteers to help Lydia’s father around the farm.  In the museum house’s legend, Lydia’s brother, Joseph, killed Jean Philippe to stop him from marrying Lydia.  In modern times, Charley is being helped by a mysterious ghost, possibly one of the colonial lovers, as she uncovers clues to the past.  In the end, the true history is revealed, conveniently creating a happily ever after ending for all.

More Historical Romances:

51qskWl-U4L._SY346_ Reading now on my iPhone: The Lost Vintage by Anne Mah

“A woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy to study for her Master of Wine test, uncovers a lost diary, a forgotten relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.

51Idch895UL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_  Listening to: The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

“A dual-timeline narrative featuring a 1949 Miss Subways contestant and a modern-day advertising executive whose careers and lives intersect.”

9781524742959_p0_v2_s192x300-1  On the Wait List at the library: The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

“The glamorous lost art school within Grand Central Terminal, where two very different women, fifty years apart, strive to make their mark on a world set against them.”

Books to Travel By

Travel ChestAfter exhaustive searches of trip advisor and downloaded tips from Fodor, Frommer, and Rick Steves, I needed a little fiction to sustain me on my trip.  Since Scotland is on my itinerary, Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series and a friend’s suggestion – Mary Stewart’s The Stormy Petrel – will be good starts.  I may bring my trainers and mimic The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry across Hadrian’s Wall and through the Cotswolds, and the new Maggie Hope mystery will be a great companion in London.

I hope to find a Peter May mystery in a bookstore, and maybe Sophie Hannah’s new resurrection of Agatha Christie’s Poirot in The Monogram Murders, but I have an old Jane Gardam paperback with me just in case.

And, of course, I have all the back issues of New Yorkers to catch up on…

 

Reading in the Tub

Is this what Diana Gabaldon had in mind for Jamie’s bath? When I spotted this in my room at the B&B in Utah, “Outlander” immediately came to mind.

And the tub is not just pretty to see; it works.

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Guilty Pleasure

No book has grabbed my attention lately, although I’ve started several. “Visitation Street,” “The Edge of the Earth,” “Falling to Earth” – all have my bookmarks. Even in sunny Italy, “Beautiful Ruins” held no fascination.   Soon, two of my favorite authors – JoJo Moyes and Deborah Harkness – have promising publications that will save me.

In the meantime, I confess – I’ve been wallowing in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. With over 1000 pages in each book, I’m halfway through the second and enjoying my guilty pleasure.

Have you read them?

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