I just finished reading two books. Both could be termed historical novels, I suppose, but they are set in very different perioda and geographical places.
The first was Lessons from a Scandalous Bride by Sophie Jordan. This was an Avon romance set mostly in London in the Regency period. A bleak beginning establishes why Cleo, the heroine, has a distaste for the physical side of marriage and the possibility of childbirth. She is suddenly swept away to the ton by the father who had abandoned her and her mother. He provides a hefty dowry so she can marry into a title. She chooses a man so old that he can’t insist on husbandly rights. Of course, a virile Scots lord changes all that and love ensues.
The main character of the second book, The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, has endured a sexless marriage not of her own doing. Cora goes to New York City in the early 1920s to find out about the mother who abandoned her to an orphanage while acting in loco parentis for silent movie-star-to-be Louise Brooks. Some of Louise’s flapper rebelliousness rubs off on Cora, and she too is able to find love in an unexpected way.
Moriarty has done her homework. Her book is well-researched and paints a vivid picture of what was like in the Roaring Twenties. But Cora doesn’t get a HEA. I’ll stick with regencies, thanks.
The other day I experienced my first departmental meeting at the institution of higher education where I am now employed. The woman facilitating the meeting had us do the obligatory self-introductions, one by one around the room: what is your name, your “function,” and a little known fact about yourself. As an introvert, I generally hate this part of a meeting; however, I had never realized just how revealing such an exercise can be. To a newcomer like me, it was instantly apparent who had a sense of humor, which ones were very full of themselves, and who would offer platitudes instead of simple facts (“My function is to share the joy of learning with my students” versus “I teach math.”) It was interesting to go once but I hope I can pass next year.
I made the mistake of wearing panty hose underneath my spandex Calendar Girl dance costume last night. The audience at the Fort Myers Elks must have wondered what on earth was the matter with me. My pants kept sliding south. Fortunately, the top was a tunic, but I was in mortal fear that the pants would slide down even lower than the hem of the top. Dancing while yanking up one’s pants is not an attractive sight. Then when they slid too low, I was afraid I’d trip on them. Let me tell you this did nothing for my concentration. I was turning left instead of right and missing steps all night. Easily my worst performance ever, and one I sincerely hope never to repeat.
I have never been much of a fan of Stephen King. My tastes lean far more toward happily ever after. But, at t erecommendation of my husband, I decided to read 11/22/63. I have got to give credit where it is due. How this man could manage to weave a plot through 848 pages is amazing. I have notebooks full of the beginnings of stories that fade to nothingness at page 20 if I’m lucky. I am widely regarded as creative (honest.) I can come up with one-liners galore but developing even a simple story eludes me. Why?
Loretta Chase has written a charmer about the second Noirot sister in Scandal Wears Satin. As a former gossip columnist for a tiny Florida newspaper, I envy her heroine’s powers of description in the articles she writes for a TMZ-like publicationof the day. She is surrounded by fabulous gowns to describe in meticulous detail. In my own defense, it would have been hard to wax poetic over the fishing boots worn by the people I encountered.
Mistress-of-disguise Sophy and much smarter-than-he-lets-on Lord Lunmore join forces to bring about a HEA for themselves and for his almost disgraced sister. Maison Noirot gains flocks of new customers. Even his dragon of a mama comes around.