What I’ve been reading
Mrs Wintle’s Wonders (aka Dancing Shoes) by Noel Streatfeild. I don’t think it’s her best book but it has several classic Streatfeild elements and a few good moments. I do like the way that she doesn’t feel obliged to redeem her unpleasant characters or give everyone the happy ending they want.
The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan. I loved this so much. It is a wonderful, wonderful book about characters who I loved and situations that really matter. I think this is a book I would give to non-romance readers to show them that romance is not worthless fluff. This is a book I’ll want to read again and again.
The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand. Oh, Summer. This book broke my heart. The heroine has the worst parents ever who have left their daughter feeling broken and worthless. Oh, and she doesn’t think she’s allowed to eat desserts. Parents, why do you mess your kids up so badly? Anyway, since this is a Florand chocolate book, the hero is perfectly equipped to put the heroine back together and feed her amazing creations. Very sweetly, she also gets to feed him pasta and steak and real food.
Room at the Inn by Ruthie Knox. I didn’t love this and I’m not quite sure why. The set-up struck me as implausible and the romance didn’t win me over enough to live with that.
Everything You Need To Know by HelenKay Dimon. This was fun. I was a bit nervous about the set-up – heroine runs a website for women to report back on the men they date. But although that is part of the plot, it’s not directly related to the romance. I hadn’t read Dimon before, but I shall look out for her books in the future.
Ripped by Sarah Morgan. I loved this. Short and sweet, it’s a perfect Christmas treat.
Take One Arranged Marriage by Shoma Narayanan. I’m always a sucker for a marriage of convenience story and this, although it is an arranged marriage, fits well within the MOC trope. Both the hero and heroine have their own reasons for the marriage and I thought both were plausible. It’s a sweet story and I’ve now got a couple of Narayanan’s other books on my kindle.
A Date with a Bollywood Star by Rita Lakhani. I forget who was discussing cross-class romances recently, but this is sort-of one and it didn’t work for me. It’s set in the UK, featuring a hero who grew up in working-class Manchester and moved to Pakistan where he became a Bollywood star as a teenager (I wasn’t absolutely convinced by this part of the plot). The heroine is from a middle-class UK Asian family who were upset that she gave up her medical degree to study journalism. I didn’t buy into her total naivete (she’s a journalist!) and nor did I enjoy the manufactured black moment and reversal, wherein the hero lost all his money and then got it back again. I actually thought at first he’d simply pretended to have lost his money to see whether she’d still be willing to marry him (I am not sure she would). But no, and it’s not until he gets the money back that he goes to her and she takes him back.