Romantic Wednesdays: Cooking Up Romance

~posted by Marlene H.

We’ve all heard the saying that food is love. It’s the reason that grandmothers start saying, “Eat, eat” as soon as you walk through the door.

Food is also love in romance. Culinary romances are fresh, funny, sexy and sometimes make you very, very hungry.

chocolat by Joanne harrisTwo of the best known food romances are Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. (They’re well known because they’ve both been made into terrific movies). Both stories take place in a slightly magical and quasi-historical version of their respective countries; Mexico for Esquivel and France for Harris. Both are enchanting stories of the way that great food can turn a world, or just two lives, completely upside town. (The movie version of Chocolat is marvelously romantic, but has a more upbeat ending than the book) Chocolate may be the flavor that is most associated with that special combination of love and food. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Cooking Up Romance”

Romantic Wednesdays: Making the Roaring 20s Roar

~posted by Marlene H.

What made the Roaring 20s roar? Or in the case of romance, maybe that should be RAWR! Thanks to Downton Abbey, there has been a revival of stories set in the 1920s, and wow!

Not all stories with romance in them are necessarily romances. But romance certainly adds spice to a tale that has plenty of other things going on.

phryne and jack 2My current favorite example is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Set in 1920s Australia, this TV series features a female private investigator who seems to fall into cases, and dead bodies, wherever she goes. But Phryne’s adventures have led her to collaborate, and sometimes work against, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson of the Melborne police. While they solve crimes together, Phryne and Jack have an absolutely simmering chemistry that makes viewers ask themselves: “Will they or won’t they?” (I think the question is “when will they?” myself) But the sparkle of their banter, whether it involves their current crime or the mystery of their relationship, is utterly entrancing. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Making the Roaring 20s Roar”

Romantic Wednesdays: Mary Stewart, First Lady of Romantic Suspense

mary stewart

~posted by Marlene H.

Mary Stewart was arguably one of the pioneers of the genre that we now call romantic suspense. Before her, there was gothic horror, where the heroine inevitably does something stupidly dangerous and waits to be rescued, but that isn’t quite the same thing. And there was contemporary romance, where the entire story is about finding Mr. or Ms (except it was Miss in those days) Right. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Mary Stewart, First Lady of Romantic Suspense”

Romantic Wednesdays: Angels Among Us

~Posted by Marlene H.

Everyone falls in love. Even angels. Or at least that’s the way it works in paranormal romance. If demons are the ultimate bad boys (and girls) then angels are almost too good to be capable of falling for a simple mortal. Except that in angel romances, of course they do.

Sometimes the good guys know just how, and when, to be a little bit bad.

archangel by sharon shinnArchangel by Sharon Shinn is the first book of her Samaria series. It’s also the first specifically “angel” romance that I remember reading. It’s a bit science fiction/futuristic, but that only adds to the otherworldly feeling of the story (and the romance). This is a future where science, faith and force of will gathered together to create a perfect society. The problem with perfect societies, even when angels watch over it, is that perfect societies are filled with flawed human beings. When corruption threatens the peace, the powers that be search for a way to blend angel and human, so they decree that the new Archangel must marry a human woman named Rachel. Nothing decrees that they fall in love. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Angels Among Us”

Romantic Wednesdays: the Baddest Bad Boys

One of the great romantic themes is the redemption romance, or how someone who has been very, very good saves someone who has been very, very bad, all through the power of true love. In Regency romances, this was the “reformation of a rake” story. In paranormal romance, a vampire has been the hero of choice. After all, who could be badder than an immortal, undead, blood-sucker?

A demon, that’s who!

Demons are the baddest of the bad. We know they’ve given themselves completely to darkness and evil. But what if one of them could be saved? Then you have a sinfully dark hero with a tiny smidgen of light, just waiting for the right person to save them from their own evil nature. Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: the Baddest Bad Boys”