Romance throughout American history

Happy 241st birthday, America! You don’t look a day over 240 years old. In honor of Independence Day, here are a few romances from some eras of American history that aren’t as beloved in the romance world as the Wild West or the Civil War, in chronological order.

Book cover image for Hamilton's BattalionHamilton’s Battalion by Courtney Milan,
Rose Lerner, and Alyssa Cole
This collection of historical romance novellas are all connected by one man: Alexander Hamilton. In Milan’s “The Pursuit Of,” a Black American soldier goes on a 500 mile walk and is joined by a motor-mouthed Redcoat, who knows that his companion’s silence can mean more than one thing. Rose Lerner’s “Promised Land” is the story of Rachel, a Jewish woman who disguises herself as a man to fight for America, only to come face to face with the man who broke her heart. And in Alyssa Cole’s “That Would Be Enough,” Mercy is Eliza Hamilton’s servant, helping Eliza’s quest to preserve her husband’s legacy. But when a bold dressmaker comes into the Hamilton household, Mercy must decide what’s more important: being safely alone or taking a chance on love. Continue reading “Romance throughout American history”

Romance by authors of color

Over the past week, there’s been a spirited discussion on Romance Twitter (yes, it’s a thing) about the way the industry and publishers treat authors of color as well as readers of color. Authors told stories about being shunted to “ethnic” imprints, seeing books by white authors featuring characters of color with racist tropes in them, and, in one thoughtless thread, someone asked if people of color even wanted to read or write romance.

If you’re wondering how to find an author of color writing good romance, here are some great recent choices available at the Seattle Public Library:

Continue reading “Romance by authors of color”

Second Chance Romance

Everyone has their romance catnip, a trope or plot device that makes it an automatic read for them. One favorite is the rekindled romance with a spouse, often after an estrangement or a marriage by proxy.

In Eloisa James’s The Ugly Duchess, Theo (Theodora) and James have known each other for years, and Theo thought their marriage was one of love. But when she finds that it was purely for her dowry, she escapes London for the Continent, leaving her husband. In response, James leaves as well and sets sail, becoming a notorious pirate. When Theo returns to London, she’s the toast of the Continent—confident in her unusual looks, and distrustful of James. How can he win her back? This is the fourth in James’ fairy tale retellings series. Continue reading “Second Chance Romance”

The Spy Who Loved Me

What is it about spies that make them such fantastic romance heroes? Is it the air of danger? The ability to write in code? Or maybe it’s that, when a hero is a spy, you know that eventually they’ll have to let down their guard and expose their secrets to the woman they love, proof of how she’s changed him and captured his heart. If you’re looking for heroes in service to the crown, this is a good start.

In Sherry Thomas’ His At Night, Elissande is virtually a prisoner of her uncle and the only way to escape is through marriage. In desperation, she sets her sights on Lord Vere, a notoriously vapid marquis. Once married, she’ll have freedom from her uncle, and with a husband who’s not very smart, she’ll have freedom within her marriage to do as she pleases.

Vere has spent years cultivating his reputation of idiocy, a man with no interests deeper than fashion, gaming, and skirt-chasing. But his secret is more than just his intelligence, it’s that he’s a spy in the service of the British government.  When he’s cornered into marriage by Elissande, at first it’s only physical passion that unites them. But as they slowly learn to reveal themselves, they find that it’s love. Sherry Thomas writes intelligent and original heroes and heroines, with angsty, passionate plots. Continue reading “The Spy Who Loved Me”

Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Young Adult

~posted by Jessica W.

Young adult novels appeal to many people, often because of the plot-driven storylines, but also because they’re about people finding themselves through turmoil, whether it’s a breakup or the world literally ending.  The protagonist enters the book (or series) unsure and unformed, and leaves stronger, wiser, and often a leader in their world, whether it’s a high school or an entire universe.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Find Daughter of Smoke & Bone in the SPL catalogKarou lives two lives.  By day she’s an art student in Prague, with the requisite jerk boyfriend and fiercely loyal best friend.  But she’s also sent around the world to collect teeth for her monster family, her hair grows out of her head blue, and she has tattoos of eyes on the palms of her hands that have always been there.  When she comes home one day to find her family’s home a smoking ruin, her life is turned upside down and she finds out that her life isn’t what she thinks it is, and there are far more things in and out of this world than we can ever imagine.  Read if you like: angels, demons, doomed love stories, strong friendships, and tooth-based magic systems. Continue reading “Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Young Adult”