What We’re reading — November

Anne here, hosting our monthly feature "What We're Reading"

We'll start with Jo Beverley, who says: I recently dived into my keeper shelves, and I've been re-reading Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. I used to read the whole series frequently, but I haven't for a while now and I decided it was time. Six big books and not as much reading time as I used to have, but I'm enjoying them tremendously. Gok

For those who don't know them, they're based around a central character, Francis Crawford of Lymond, a Scotsman whose adventures we follow around Europe and up into Russia in the mid-16th century. The books are about him, but stretches are about other important characters and from other points of view and the plots involve most of the significant historical characters and events. The Tudors, the de Guise, Ivan the Terrible, Suleiman the Magnificent, Nostrodamus!

Despite being all about him, we're only in his point of view once, so our picture of him comes through the view of others, which I think is key to the fascination Lymond holds for many. We have to learn him as we learn people in real life — from the outside.  I'm not aware of anyone else having written about a  series character in that way and it was daring for sure back in the '60s.

Merlin'sKeepMary Jo says: Having finally finished my book for next year, AND the revisions, AND the copyedit, I'm able to read more broadly again.  In fiction, I've been on a Madeline Brent rereading kick.  She/he was a wonderful writer of exotic adventures, with heroines who were young but intrepid and very admirable.  The heroes tend to be somewhat older, stoic and apparently uninterested in the heroine, until at the end they reveal that they've been madly in love with her from the start.  (This is a common British romance trope, I've noticed.  <G>) The books hold up wonderfully well, and rather than say more, I'll refer you to the blog  that Anne wrote last year.   

In non-fiction, I'm happily devouring The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson, the current mayor of London.  It's fifty years since Churchill died, and he has faded into history for many people.  At the behest of the Churchill estate, Johnson wrote this volume that is very much about the man in all his considerable virtues and vices.  I discovered the book two weeks ago by hearing Boris Johnson speak about it on NPR two weeks ago.  Johnson is one of those wonderfully erudite politicians that Britain produces, and like Churchill he's a masterful and entertaining writer.  I went online to read an excerpt of the book, and he had me by the second page of the introduction. <G>    Churchill

I've always been a fan of Churchill's, but I'm learning things I'd never known.  For example, he's the only British prime minister to be shot at on four continents.  He had more active battlefield experience than any prime minister since Wellington–and a very strong case can be made that he is the man who saved Western civilization.  Plus, Churchill was a writing machine who produced immense amounts of prose as a journalist, historian, and even novelist.  He won the Novel prize for literature–another first for prime ministers!  As a writer, I find that almost as awesome as saving Western civilization!    

Joanna here.  I'm reading a well-known autobiography of the Regency era — Harry Smith's.  He fought in the Peninsular Campaign, in France, at Waterloo, and in the Americas at the Battle of New Orleans. He was with the army that burned the capitol in Washington. Here's what it was like to be in the army in Regency times. And there's a bonus. The straightforward prose of this soldier's autobiography holds the love story of Harry and his young wife Juana. Georgette Heyer's The Spanish Bride is based on Smith's marriage to the young Spanish gentlewoman in distress. This is such a detailed and readable account of a historical life. I find it fascinating. Pick it up free at the Internet Archives or buy it as a print book.

Pat Rice says: I’ve been traveling and had lots of plane time for reading—one of the wonderful reasons for e-readers. I used to travel with an entire sack of paperbacks, and those no longer pass baggage limitations! But the bestest part, as my niece would say, is that all three of the books I chose to read were excellent, in different ways.

Since I adore anything Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes, I started with her latest, Heroes Are My Weakness. I am an absolute sucker for her wicked sense of humor, and even though her heroes often start as complete arses, they always beg forgiveness in spectacular ways by the end.And while this hero started off as a jerk—it was mostly in the heroine’s memory, which warped the way she looked at everything he did. He’s actually a deliciously wounded guy who needs as much help as the heroine. And the mute four-year-old and the puppets sealed the deal to perfection.

GoddessesThe next book I picked up was The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue from Barbara O’Neal, who writes exquisite women’s fiction filled with sensuality and spiritualism and good plain people who might live next door and troubles we all know about. In this case, the protagonist has booted out her cheating husband in a spectacular country song fashion. She’s suffering for the loss, but not financially—she still loves him. He’s broken her heart and their family, and after years of marriage, she can’t figure out why. So she starts changing—not for him—but for herself, seeking the woman she once was and lost along the way. Heart warming and tear jerking.

The third book, Dorothy Cannell’s The Thin Woman, was classified as a mystery, I believe, but the main mystery is a treasure hunt that doesn’t begin until the middle of the book and never really gets off the ground until the very end. It’s a very early form of chicklit with a plump protagonist who needs a date to visit an elderly relative at a country house party. From there, the plot snowballs outrageously, but the fun part is the characters. They’re witty, wise, obnoxious, and fully drawn. And to add to the richness—there’s a house makeover along with a heroine makeover, plus a wonderfully sweet romance. I think this is the beginning of a series, so I’ve ordered the next one. SugarDaddy

Nicola here. This month, because of deadline fever, my "what I'm reading" is really "what I plan to read when I finally emerge from my writing cave." So here are a few of the books on my TBR pile that I'm looking forward to treating myself to soon! First up is Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. I've downloaded this on the recommendation of a writing friend who couldn't praise it highly enough for being lush, romantic and beautifully written. Since I've loved many of Lisa Kleypas's historical romances I was curious to see what this would be like!

Next is The Perfect Sinner by Will Davenport. This is one for timeslip fans – I love timeslip books! It's described as "a potent collection of historical facts woven into an astoundingly haunting and compelling novel". In 1372 Sir Guy de Bryan harbours three secrets, violations of the chivalric code. In the present day, Beth Battock watches the restoration of Sir Guy's tomb and is drawn into the story behind its mysterious inscription. It sounds wonderfully spooky and romantic!

The third one is a Young Adult book called Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. My editor recommended this to me; it's about a girl called Lily who leaves a notebook full of dares on a shelf in a bookshop waiting for the right guy to come along and accept. Enter Dash, who is never one to back down from a challenge. All I have to do now is finish my book so I can get reading!

GentCaptCara/Andrea says: Like Nicola, I’ve been scribbling away madly, and just finished a manuscript, so my “What am I Reading” list is more of a “What am I Just Starting to Read” list. I did pick up two books at the library yesterday that had recently grabbed my eye. Gentleman Captain by J.D. Davies, is the first book in a swashbuckling nautical series set in Restoration England. This one takes place in 1662, and the backdrop of Charles II, his mistresses and the intrigue at court sounds very interesting, and the time period itself—with the Great Fire and the Plague looming—seems like it will makes for fascinating reading. The naval history intrigues me too, as Britain was battling the Barbary Pirates among other adversaries. I’m looking forward to learning more about a time in British history with which I’m not too familiar.

Jumping from the past to the future, I also picked up a genre that I don’t usually read, but my monthy library newsletter featured it and it sounded provocative, so I decided to take a chance. Biblical, by Christopher Galt is a apocalyptic thriller. Strange phenomena are sweeping the globe—people are having visions, seeing angels and other events that defy reality. Mass suicides and time traveling hallucinations are happening. To figure out what is going on, an FBI agent teams up with a group of scientists, and they probe deeper and deeper into the events, they must decide whether they are battling an angry God or a far more sinister force. As I said, it’s not my normal cup of tea, but sometimes it’s good to go out of one’s comfort zone and try something new!  

1wolfAnd finally Anne here, starting with a feel-good contemporary romance, Kristan Higgins' Until There Was You. Small town American setting. It's a bad boy returns to his home town story. The heroine is a small, flat chested, dark-haired adopted daughter in a family of gorgeous golden German valkyries. She's had a crush on the bad boy since forever, but he broke her heart once and she's not going there again. I enjoy that trope and I thoroughly enjoyed Until There Was You.

But mostly this month I've been reading Joan Wolf. Joanna's interview with Joan Wolf inspired me to go and buy some of Joan's books. I'd heard the name of course, but way back, when I was first starting to read the US-published regencies, they were very difficult to get hold of in Australia, and so I never read any of her books. Now, since they are happily available with a simple click of my e-reader, I've glommed all her books currently available on kindle— yes all. I've enjoyed them very much, and if you haven't tried her books, there's a treat in store for you. 

So that's it for us this month — as always, a lot of temptation there, and a great variety. So, what have you been reading?

130 thoughts on “What We’re reading — November”

  1. Thanks, Janis — we enjoy it too. Book talk is a big part of our normal chat — we're all readers at heart– and so many wonderful authors came to me from a wenchly recommendation.

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Janis — we enjoy it too. Book talk is a big part of our normal chat — we're all readers at heart– and so many wonderful authors came to me from a wenchly recommendation.

    Reply
  3. Thanks, Janis — we enjoy it too. Book talk is a big part of our normal chat — we're all readers at heart– and so many wonderful authors came to me from a wenchly recommendation.

    Reply
  4. Thanks, Janis — we enjoy it too. Book talk is a big part of our normal chat — we're all readers at heart– and so many wonderful authors came to me from a wenchly recommendation.

    Reply
  5. Thanks, Janis — we enjoy it too. Book talk is a big part of our normal chat — we're all readers at heart– and so many wonderful authors came to me from a wenchly recommendation.

    Reply
  6. I love this monthly post because I get exposed to authors and genres I would never read otherwise. I still love my historicals, but thanks to you I’ve moved into non-fiction, steampunk, and contemporaries.
    This month I was entertained by Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her cover. The Kraken King is redeemed by a wonderfully crafted and fast-moving ending. In Mary Balough’s Only Enchanting, I was cheering on the h/h. I loved the lines “This not happily-ever-after, is it?” he asked her. “No,” she said, “but there are moments that feel like it.”
    As for non-fiction, I read Subaltern, by George Gleig, a lieutenant who fought at the end of the Peninsular War for a class on the Napoleonic Wars. When he gets into storytelling mode, he’s most entertaining. And who knew that a junior officer would spend most of his time with his dog hunting and fishing rather than fighting?
    For today, I’ve diverted to fantasy for G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire, which of course brings back again and again the lyrics of that classic song but the story is good, too.

    Reply
  7. I love this monthly post because I get exposed to authors and genres I would never read otherwise. I still love my historicals, but thanks to you I’ve moved into non-fiction, steampunk, and contemporaries.
    This month I was entertained by Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her cover. The Kraken King is redeemed by a wonderfully crafted and fast-moving ending. In Mary Balough’s Only Enchanting, I was cheering on the h/h. I loved the lines “This not happily-ever-after, is it?” he asked her. “No,” she said, “but there are moments that feel like it.”
    As for non-fiction, I read Subaltern, by George Gleig, a lieutenant who fought at the end of the Peninsular War for a class on the Napoleonic Wars. When he gets into storytelling mode, he’s most entertaining. And who knew that a junior officer would spend most of his time with his dog hunting and fishing rather than fighting?
    For today, I’ve diverted to fantasy for G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire, which of course brings back again and again the lyrics of that classic song but the story is good, too.

    Reply
  8. I love this monthly post because I get exposed to authors and genres I would never read otherwise. I still love my historicals, but thanks to you I’ve moved into non-fiction, steampunk, and contemporaries.
    This month I was entertained by Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her cover. The Kraken King is redeemed by a wonderfully crafted and fast-moving ending. In Mary Balough’s Only Enchanting, I was cheering on the h/h. I loved the lines “This not happily-ever-after, is it?” he asked her. “No,” she said, “but there are moments that feel like it.”
    As for non-fiction, I read Subaltern, by George Gleig, a lieutenant who fought at the end of the Peninsular War for a class on the Napoleonic Wars. When he gets into storytelling mode, he’s most entertaining. And who knew that a junior officer would spend most of his time with his dog hunting and fishing rather than fighting?
    For today, I’ve diverted to fantasy for G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire, which of course brings back again and again the lyrics of that classic song but the story is good, too.

    Reply
  9. I love this monthly post because I get exposed to authors and genres I would never read otherwise. I still love my historicals, but thanks to you I’ve moved into non-fiction, steampunk, and contemporaries.
    This month I was entertained by Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her cover. The Kraken King is redeemed by a wonderfully crafted and fast-moving ending. In Mary Balough’s Only Enchanting, I was cheering on the h/h. I loved the lines “This not happily-ever-after, is it?” he asked her. “No,” she said, “but there are moments that feel like it.”
    As for non-fiction, I read Subaltern, by George Gleig, a lieutenant who fought at the end of the Peninsular War for a class on the Napoleonic Wars. When he gets into storytelling mode, he’s most entertaining. And who knew that a junior officer would spend most of his time with his dog hunting and fishing rather than fighting?
    For today, I’ve diverted to fantasy for G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire, which of course brings back again and again the lyrics of that classic song but the story is good, too.

    Reply
  10. I love this monthly post because I get exposed to authors and genres I would never read otherwise. I still love my historicals, but thanks to you I’ve moved into non-fiction, steampunk, and contemporaries.
    This month I was entertained by Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by her cover. The Kraken King is redeemed by a wonderfully crafted and fast-moving ending. In Mary Balough’s Only Enchanting, I was cheering on the h/h. I loved the lines “This not happily-ever-after, is it?” he asked her. “No,” she said, “but there are moments that feel like it.”
    As for non-fiction, I read Subaltern, by George Gleig, a lieutenant who fought at the end of the Peninsular War for a class on the Napoleonic Wars. When he gets into storytelling mode, he’s most entertaining. And who knew that a junior officer would spend most of his time with his dog hunting and fishing rather than fighting?
    For today, I’ve diverted to fantasy for G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire, which of course brings back again and again the lyrics of that classic song but the story is good, too.

    Reply
  11. Have you ever heard of a writer named Marnie Ellingson? I pulled an old book off the back shelf called “Dolly Blanchard’s Fortune” and soon realized why I kept it. I don’t think she wrote many books, mostly magazine stories.

    Reply
  12. Have you ever heard of a writer named Marnie Ellingson? I pulled an old book off the back shelf called “Dolly Blanchard’s Fortune” and soon realized why I kept it. I don’t think she wrote many books, mostly magazine stories.

    Reply
  13. Have you ever heard of a writer named Marnie Ellingson? I pulled an old book off the back shelf called “Dolly Blanchard’s Fortune” and soon realized why I kept it. I don’t think she wrote many books, mostly magazine stories.

    Reply
  14. Have you ever heard of a writer named Marnie Ellingson? I pulled an old book off the back shelf called “Dolly Blanchard’s Fortune” and soon realized why I kept it. I don’t think she wrote many books, mostly magazine stories.

    Reply
  15. Have you ever heard of a writer named Marnie Ellingson? I pulled an old book off the back shelf called “Dolly Blanchard’s Fortune” and soon realized why I kept it. I don’t think she wrote many books, mostly magazine stories.

    Reply
  16. Shannon, thanks for those recommendations. We wenches enjoy this regular book discussion, too — the cross pollination of wenchly tastes is a wonderful thing. That's a great line from Mary Balogh — she's an auto-buy for me. As for the army officer who spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, I remember reading somewhere that apart from the sporting aspect, and the lulls between battles that was was, there were times when it was the only source of meat for the pot — supplies were often low and they had to live off the land. Isn't it wonderful how so many of those journals, biographies and diaries are becoming widely available these days. Used to be you could only read them in the library that owned the original.

    Reply
  17. Shannon, thanks for those recommendations. We wenches enjoy this regular book discussion, too — the cross pollination of wenchly tastes is a wonderful thing. That's a great line from Mary Balogh — she's an auto-buy for me. As for the army officer who spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, I remember reading somewhere that apart from the sporting aspect, and the lulls between battles that was was, there were times when it was the only source of meat for the pot — supplies were often low and they had to live off the land. Isn't it wonderful how so many of those journals, biographies and diaries are becoming widely available these days. Used to be you could only read them in the library that owned the original.

    Reply
  18. Shannon, thanks for those recommendations. We wenches enjoy this regular book discussion, too — the cross pollination of wenchly tastes is a wonderful thing. That's a great line from Mary Balogh — she's an auto-buy for me. As for the army officer who spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, I remember reading somewhere that apart from the sporting aspect, and the lulls between battles that was was, there were times when it was the only source of meat for the pot — supplies were often low and they had to live off the land. Isn't it wonderful how so many of those journals, biographies and diaries are becoming widely available these days. Used to be you could only read them in the library that owned the original.

    Reply
  19. Shannon, thanks for those recommendations. We wenches enjoy this regular book discussion, too — the cross pollination of wenchly tastes is a wonderful thing. That's a great line from Mary Balogh — she's an auto-buy for me. As for the army officer who spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, I remember reading somewhere that apart from the sporting aspect, and the lulls between battles that was was, there were times when it was the only source of meat for the pot — supplies were often low and they had to live off the land. Isn't it wonderful how so many of those journals, biographies and diaries are becoming widely available these days. Used to be you could only read them in the library that owned the original.

    Reply
  20. Shannon, thanks for those recommendations. We wenches enjoy this regular book discussion, too — the cross pollination of wenchly tastes is a wonderful thing. That's a great line from Mary Balogh — she's an auto-buy for me. As for the army officer who spent a lot of time hunting and fishing, I remember reading somewhere that apart from the sporting aspect, and the lulls between battles that was was, there were times when it was the only source of meat for the pot — supplies were often low and they had to live off the land. Isn't it wonderful how so many of those journals, biographies and diaries are becoming widely available these days. Used to be you could only read them in the library that owned the original.

    Reply
  21. Ah Merlin’s Keep by Madeline Brent I have that somewhere I must hunt it out! Just finished Rogue Spy which I loved and read in nearly one sitting !Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover has just landed on my doormat so I think that will be next.

    Reply
  22. Ah Merlin’s Keep by Madeline Brent I have that somewhere I must hunt it out! Just finished Rogue Spy which I loved and read in nearly one sitting !Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover has just landed on my doormat so I think that will be next.

    Reply
  23. Ah Merlin’s Keep by Madeline Brent I have that somewhere I must hunt it out! Just finished Rogue Spy which I loved and read in nearly one sitting !Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover has just landed on my doormat so I think that will be next.

    Reply
  24. Ah Merlin’s Keep by Madeline Brent I have that somewhere I must hunt it out! Just finished Rogue Spy which I loved and read in nearly one sitting !Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover has just landed on my doormat so I think that will be next.

    Reply
  25. Ah Merlin’s Keep by Madeline Brent I have that somewhere I must hunt it out! Just finished Rogue Spy which I loved and read in nearly one sitting !Sarah MacLean’s Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover has just landed on my doormat so I think that will be next.

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Jo — I have had Rogue Spy sitting here for days now, ever since my pre-ordered copy landed, but I'm not starting it until this book goes in. My reward. 🙂
    And I often reread the Madeleine Brent books – lovely stories. And it might be time to order the Sarah McLean, too.

    Reply
  27. Thanks, Jo — I have had Rogue Spy sitting here for days now, ever since my pre-ordered copy landed, but I'm not starting it until this book goes in. My reward. 🙂
    And I often reread the Madeleine Brent books – lovely stories. And it might be time to order the Sarah McLean, too.

    Reply
  28. Thanks, Jo — I have had Rogue Spy sitting here for days now, ever since my pre-ordered copy landed, but I'm not starting it until this book goes in. My reward. 🙂
    And I often reread the Madeleine Brent books – lovely stories. And it might be time to order the Sarah McLean, too.

    Reply
  29. Thanks, Jo — I have had Rogue Spy sitting here for days now, ever since my pre-ordered copy landed, but I'm not starting it until this book goes in. My reward. 🙂
    And I often reread the Madeleine Brent books – lovely stories. And it might be time to order the Sarah McLean, too.

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Jo — I have had Rogue Spy sitting here for days now, ever since my pre-ordered copy landed, but I'm not starting it until this book goes in. My reward. 🙂
    And I often reread the Madeleine Brent books – lovely stories. And it might be time to order the Sarah McLean, too.

    Reply
  31. “Sugar Daddy” and other 2 books in that series are wonderful, I can’t think of another author who does historicals and contemporaries equally well.
    I have “Rogue Spy”, but I’m saving it as a special treat for a rainy day. I already reread “Forbidden Rose” as preparation(any excuse to reread that book will do).
    I just read “The Anatomist’s Wife”, an excellent historical mystery by Anna Lee Huber. And I’m reading the 2 most recent of Maggie Robinson’s Edwardian “Ladies Unlaced” series. “The Unsuitable Secretary” was the best, with the most adorable beta hero ever, but the whole series is enjoyable.
    And I spent a bit of time reading The New York Times “Disunion” series, which has been an ongoing series for several years now. It covers the Civil War in detail, as each battle and event reaches its 150th anniversary. This month is the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, so lots of interesting reading. I’m a bit of a Sherman buff.
    Thanks for the tip on Harry Smith’s book, I loved “The Spanish Bride”!

    Reply
  32. “Sugar Daddy” and other 2 books in that series are wonderful, I can’t think of another author who does historicals and contemporaries equally well.
    I have “Rogue Spy”, but I’m saving it as a special treat for a rainy day. I already reread “Forbidden Rose” as preparation(any excuse to reread that book will do).
    I just read “The Anatomist’s Wife”, an excellent historical mystery by Anna Lee Huber. And I’m reading the 2 most recent of Maggie Robinson’s Edwardian “Ladies Unlaced” series. “The Unsuitable Secretary” was the best, with the most adorable beta hero ever, but the whole series is enjoyable.
    And I spent a bit of time reading The New York Times “Disunion” series, which has been an ongoing series for several years now. It covers the Civil War in detail, as each battle and event reaches its 150th anniversary. This month is the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, so lots of interesting reading. I’m a bit of a Sherman buff.
    Thanks for the tip on Harry Smith’s book, I loved “The Spanish Bride”!

    Reply
  33. “Sugar Daddy” and other 2 books in that series are wonderful, I can’t think of another author who does historicals and contemporaries equally well.
    I have “Rogue Spy”, but I’m saving it as a special treat for a rainy day. I already reread “Forbidden Rose” as preparation(any excuse to reread that book will do).
    I just read “The Anatomist’s Wife”, an excellent historical mystery by Anna Lee Huber. And I’m reading the 2 most recent of Maggie Robinson’s Edwardian “Ladies Unlaced” series. “The Unsuitable Secretary” was the best, with the most adorable beta hero ever, but the whole series is enjoyable.
    And I spent a bit of time reading The New York Times “Disunion” series, which has been an ongoing series for several years now. It covers the Civil War in detail, as each battle and event reaches its 150th anniversary. This month is the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, so lots of interesting reading. I’m a bit of a Sherman buff.
    Thanks for the tip on Harry Smith’s book, I loved “The Spanish Bride”!

    Reply
  34. “Sugar Daddy” and other 2 books in that series are wonderful, I can’t think of another author who does historicals and contemporaries equally well.
    I have “Rogue Spy”, but I’m saving it as a special treat for a rainy day. I already reread “Forbidden Rose” as preparation(any excuse to reread that book will do).
    I just read “The Anatomist’s Wife”, an excellent historical mystery by Anna Lee Huber. And I’m reading the 2 most recent of Maggie Robinson’s Edwardian “Ladies Unlaced” series. “The Unsuitable Secretary” was the best, with the most adorable beta hero ever, but the whole series is enjoyable.
    And I spent a bit of time reading The New York Times “Disunion” series, which has been an ongoing series for several years now. It covers the Civil War in detail, as each battle and event reaches its 150th anniversary. This month is the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, so lots of interesting reading. I’m a bit of a Sherman buff.
    Thanks for the tip on Harry Smith’s book, I loved “The Spanish Bride”!

    Reply
  35. “Sugar Daddy” and other 2 books in that series are wonderful, I can’t think of another author who does historicals and contemporaries equally well.
    I have “Rogue Spy”, but I’m saving it as a special treat for a rainy day. I already reread “Forbidden Rose” as preparation(any excuse to reread that book will do).
    I just read “The Anatomist’s Wife”, an excellent historical mystery by Anna Lee Huber. And I’m reading the 2 most recent of Maggie Robinson’s Edwardian “Ladies Unlaced” series. “The Unsuitable Secretary” was the best, with the most adorable beta hero ever, but the whole series is enjoyable.
    And I spent a bit of time reading The New York Times “Disunion” series, which has been an ongoing series for several years now. It covers the Civil War in detail, as each battle and event reaches its 150th anniversary. This month is the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, so lots of interesting reading. I’m a bit of a Sherman buff.
    Thanks for the tip on Harry Smith’s book, I loved “The Spanish Bride”!

    Reply
  36. Thanks, Karin — I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and yes, the only other writer I know who can do historical as well as contemporary is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz.
    Thanks too for those other recommendations.

    Reply
  37. Thanks, Karin — I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and yes, the only other writer I know who can do historical as well as contemporary is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz.
    Thanks too for those other recommendations.

    Reply
  38. Thanks, Karin — I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and yes, the only other writer I know who can do historical as well as contemporary is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz.
    Thanks too for those other recommendations.

    Reply
  39. Thanks, Karin — I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and yes, the only other writer I know who can do historical as well as contemporary is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz.
    Thanks too for those other recommendations.

    Reply
  40. Thanks, Karin — I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas, and yes, the only other writer I know who can do historical as well as contemporary is Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz.
    Thanks too for those other recommendations.

    Reply
  41. I love reading about what other people are reading. I read Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography many years ago, and it is what got me interested in the Napoleonic Wars. Actually it was Georgette Heyer’s book first and then Sir Harry.
    I have just finished reading Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which was absolutely fascinating. Now I am about to start The Year Without Summer 1816 by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P Klingaman. I am going from one volcanoe which exploded after the invention of the telegraph where information could be diseminated worldwide relatively quickly, to the volcanoe which exploded and hardly anyone knew about it for a long time. People had to wait for the ships bearing the news arrived after being at sea for, in some cases, many months.
    After that I am going to track down some of the books all of you have mentioned. Especially Boris Johnston’s book on Churchill. Sounds great. And then Gentleman Captain. One of my ancestors was a sailor during that period and I would like to know what life was like then. So many books to read.

    Reply
  42. I love reading about what other people are reading. I read Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography many years ago, and it is what got me interested in the Napoleonic Wars. Actually it was Georgette Heyer’s book first and then Sir Harry.
    I have just finished reading Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which was absolutely fascinating. Now I am about to start The Year Without Summer 1816 by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P Klingaman. I am going from one volcanoe which exploded after the invention of the telegraph where information could be diseminated worldwide relatively quickly, to the volcanoe which exploded and hardly anyone knew about it for a long time. People had to wait for the ships bearing the news arrived after being at sea for, in some cases, many months.
    After that I am going to track down some of the books all of you have mentioned. Especially Boris Johnston’s book on Churchill. Sounds great. And then Gentleman Captain. One of my ancestors was a sailor during that period and I would like to know what life was like then. So many books to read.

    Reply
  43. I love reading about what other people are reading. I read Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography many years ago, and it is what got me interested in the Napoleonic Wars. Actually it was Georgette Heyer’s book first and then Sir Harry.
    I have just finished reading Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which was absolutely fascinating. Now I am about to start The Year Without Summer 1816 by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P Klingaman. I am going from one volcanoe which exploded after the invention of the telegraph where information could be diseminated worldwide relatively quickly, to the volcanoe which exploded and hardly anyone knew about it for a long time. People had to wait for the ships bearing the news arrived after being at sea for, in some cases, many months.
    After that I am going to track down some of the books all of you have mentioned. Especially Boris Johnston’s book on Churchill. Sounds great. And then Gentleman Captain. One of my ancestors was a sailor during that period and I would like to know what life was like then. So many books to read.

    Reply
  44. I love reading about what other people are reading. I read Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography many years ago, and it is what got me interested in the Napoleonic Wars. Actually it was Georgette Heyer’s book first and then Sir Harry.
    I have just finished reading Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which was absolutely fascinating. Now I am about to start The Year Without Summer 1816 by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P Klingaman. I am going from one volcanoe which exploded after the invention of the telegraph where information could be diseminated worldwide relatively quickly, to the volcanoe which exploded and hardly anyone knew about it for a long time. People had to wait for the ships bearing the news arrived after being at sea for, in some cases, many months.
    After that I am going to track down some of the books all of you have mentioned. Especially Boris Johnston’s book on Churchill. Sounds great. And then Gentleman Captain. One of my ancestors was a sailor during that period and I would like to know what life was like then. So many books to read.

    Reply
  45. I love reading about what other people are reading. I read Sir Harry Smith’s autobiography many years ago, and it is what got me interested in the Napoleonic Wars. Actually it was Georgette Heyer’s book first and then Sir Harry.
    I have just finished reading Krakatoa by Simon Winchester, which was absolutely fascinating. Now I am about to start The Year Without Summer 1816 by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P Klingaman. I am going from one volcanoe which exploded after the invention of the telegraph where information could be diseminated worldwide relatively quickly, to the volcanoe which exploded and hardly anyone knew about it for a long time. People had to wait for the ships bearing the news arrived after being at sea for, in some cases, many months.
    After that I am going to track down some of the books all of you have mentioned. Especially Boris Johnston’s book on Churchill. Sounds great. And then Gentleman Captain. One of my ancestors was a sailor during that period and I would like to know what life was like then. So many books to read.

    Reply
  46. I remember Marnie Ellingson. She wrote six regencies; I believe they were all for the Dell Candlelight series. I liked what I have read of hers.

    Reply
  47. I remember Marnie Ellingson. She wrote six regencies; I believe they were all for the Dell Candlelight series. I liked what I have read of hers.

    Reply
  48. I remember Marnie Ellingson. She wrote six regencies; I believe they were all for the Dell Candlelight series. I liked what I have read of hers.

    Reply
  49. I remember Marnie Ellingson. She wrote six regencies; I believe they were all for the Dell Candlelight series. I liked what I have read of hers.

    Reply
  50. I remember Marnie Ellingson. She wrote six regencies; I believe they were all for the Dell Candlelight series. I liked what I have read of hers.

    Reply
  51. I’m reading The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd, a WW1 romance, at the moment. After that probably High Garth by Mira Stables and the new Alex Benedict series novel by Jack McDevitt.

    Reply
  52. I’m reading The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd, a WW1 romance, at the moment. After that probably High Garth by Mira Stables and the new Alex Benedict series novel by Jack McDevitt.

    Reply
  53. I’m reading The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd, a WW1 romance, at the moment. After that probably High Garth by Mira Stables and the new Alex Benedict series novel by Jack McDevitt.

    Reply
  54. I’m reading The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd, a WW1 romance, at the moment. After that probably High Garth by Mira Stables and the new Alex Benedict series novel by Jack McDevitt.

    Reply
  55. I’m reading The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd, a WW1 romance, at the moment. After that probably High Garth by Mira Stables and the new Alex Benedict series novel by Jack McDevitt.

    Reply
  56. Wow, Jenny, that's a great collection of reading matter. Yes, I read some of Harry Smith's autobiography many years ago after reading Heyer's Spanish Bride. I remember being delighted to see references to Juana that showed he really did love her, too. That was where I learned that LadySmith in South Africa was named after Juana.
    Your volcano books also sound fascinating — I was thinking about the Year Without Summer a few years ago when we had that volcano disrupting all the air traffic for ages, and thought about how the weather patterns change. So interesting.

    Reply
  57. Wow, Jenny, that's a great collection of reading matter. Yes, I read some of Harry Smith's autobiography many years ago after reading Heyer's Spanish Bride. I remember being delighted to see references to Juana that showed he really did love her, too. That was where I learned that LadySmith in South Africa was named after Juana.
    Your volcano books also sound fascinating — I was thinking about the Year Without Summer a few years ago when we had that volcano disrupting all the air traffic for ages, and thought about how the weather patterns change. So interesting.

    Reply
  58. Wow, Jenny, that's a great collection of reading matter. Yes, I read some of Harry Smith's autobiography many years ago after reading Heyer's Spanish Bride. I remember being delighted to see references to Juana that showed he really did love her, too. That was where I learned that LadySmith in South Africa was named after Juana.
    Your volcano books also sound fascinating — I was thinking about the Year Without Summer a few years ago when we had that volcano disrupting all the air traffic for ages, and thought about how the weather patterns change. So interesting.

    Reply
  59. Wow, Jenny, that's a great collection of reading matter. Yes, I read some of Harry Smith's autobiography many years ago after reading Heyer's Spanish Bride. I remember being delighted to see references to Juana that showed he really did love her, too. That was where I learned that LadySmith in South Africa was named after Juana.
    Your volcano books also sound fascinating — I was thinking about the Year Without Summer a few years ago when we had that volcano disrupting all the air traffic for ages, and thought about how the weather patterns change. So interesting.

    Reply
  60. Wow, Jenny, that's a great collection of reading matter. Yes, I read some of Harry Smith's autobiography many years ago after reading Heyer's Spanish Bride. I remember being delighted to see references to Juana that showed he really did love her, too. That was where I learned that LadySmith in South Africa was named after Juana.
    Your volcano books also sound fascinating — I was thinking about the Year Without Summer a few years ago when we had that volcano disrupting all the air traffic for ages, and thought about how the weather patterns change. So interesting.

    Reply
  61. So many books, so little time …
    I’m currently fascinated by Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as (surprisingly) just about every literary award in China. It covers the whole period of Communist rule in China, specifically rural China, during which the protagonist is killed and reincarnated four (!) times, as a donkey, ox, pig, and dog in his home village. Often bitterly funny, it’s not a romance but is in its own way a love story.
    Love Harry Smith and looking forward to that Churchill bio by Boris Johnson. too. Thanks, Wenches and friends!

    Reply
  62. So many books, so little time …
    I’m currently fascinated by Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as (surprisingly) just about every literary award in China. It covers the whole period of Communist rule in China, specifically rural China, during which the protagonist is killed and reincarnated four (!) times, as a donkey, ox, pig, and dog in his home village. Often bitterly funny, it’s not a romance but is in its own way a love story.
    Love Harry Smith and looking forward to that Churchill bio by Boris Johnson. too. Thanks, Wenches and friends!

    Reply
  63. So many books, so little time …
    I’m currently fascinated by Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as (surprisingly) just about every literary award in China. It covers the whole period of Communist rule in China, specifically rural China, during which the protagonist is killed and reincarnated four (!) times, as a donkey, ox, pig, and dog in his home village. Often bitterly funny, it’s not a romance but is in its own way a love story.
    Love Harry Smith and looking forward to that Churchill bio by Boris Johnson. too. Thanks, Wenches and friends!

    Reply
  64. So many books, so little time …
    I’m currently fascinated by Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as (surprisingly) just about every literary award in China. It covers the whole period of Communist rule in China, specifically rural China, during which the protagonist is killed and reincarnated four (!) times, as a donkey, ox, pig, and dog in his home village. Often bitterly funny, it’s not a romance but is in its own way a love story.
    Love Harry Smith and looking forward to that Churchill bio by Boris Johnson. too. Thanks, Wenches and friends!

    Reply
  65. So many books, so little time …
    I’m currently fascinated by Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature as well as (surprisingly) just about every literary award in China. It covers the whole period of Communist rule in China, specifically rural China, during which the protagonist is killed and reincarnated four (!) times, as a donkey, ox, pig, and dog in his home village. Often bitterly funny, it’s not a romance but is in its own way a love story.
    Love Harry Smith and looking forward to that Churchill bio by Boris Johnson. too. Thanks, Wenches and friends!

    Reply
  66. Brilliant — thanks, Janice. I enjoyed your review, too, and scrolled down and read the next one, which was Paula Marshall's An Improper Duenna, which is an old favorite of mine, too.
    I did chuckle at your "rules for romance" — having broken them a few times myself. No hero appearance in the first half of the book—yep—, no sex in the first 100 pages—yep—, though it depends on the book and the context. I can't follow a pattern. I know that's what a lot of readers want — hero from chapter one and sex as often and early as possible. But for me, I'm afraid the book will be what the book will be. 🙂

    Reply
  67. Brilliant — thanks, Janice. I enjoyed your review, too, and scrolled down and read the next one, which was Paula Marshall's An Improper Duenna, which is an old favorite of mine, too.
    I did chuckle at your "rules for romance" — having broken them a few times myself. No hero appearance in the first half of the book—yep—, no sex in the first 100 pages—yep—, though it depends on the book and the context. I can't follow a pattern. I know that's what a lot of readers want — hero from chapter one and sex as often and early as possible. But for me, I'm afraid the book will be what the book will be. 🙂

    Reply
  68. Brilliant — thanks, Janice. I enjoyed your review, too, and scrolled down and read the next one, which was Paula Marshall's An Improper Duenna, which is an old favorite of mine, too.
    I did chuckle at your "rules for romance" — having broken them a few times myself. No hero appearance in the first half of the book—yep—, no sex in the first 100 pages—yep—, though it depends on the book and the context. I can't follow a pattern. I know that's what a lot of readers want — hero from chapter one and sex as often and early as possible. But for me, I'm afraid the book will be what the book will be. 🙂

    Reply
  69. Brilliant — thanks, Janice. I enjoyed your review, too, and scrolled down and read the next one, which was Paula Marshall's An Improper Duenna, which is an old favorite of mine, too.
    I did chuckle at your "rules for romance" — having broken them a few times myself. No hero appearance in the first half of the book—yep—, no sex in the first 100 pages—yep—, though it depends on the book and the context. I can't follow a pattern. I know that's what a lot of readers want — hero from chapter one and sex as often and early as possible. But for me, I'm afraid the book will be what the book will be. 🙂

    Reply
  70. Brilliant — thanks, Janice. I enjoyed your review, too, and scrolled down and read the next one, which was Paula Marshall's An Improper Duenna, which is an old favorite of mine, too.
    I did chuckle at your "rules for romance" — having broken them a few times myself. No hero appearance in the first half of the book—yep—, no sex in the first 100 pages—yep—, though it depends on the book and the context. I can't follow a pattern. I know that's what a lot of readers want — hero from chapter one and sex as often and early as possible. But for me, I'm afraid the book will be what the book will be. 🙂

    Reply
  71. L am reading “Monsters” by Peter Cawdron. A passing comet drops a few amino acids resulting in a series of changes which leads to a future time when being able to read, or teaching someone to read, is a crime punishable by death. I am at the point when the h is taking the H to a hidden library.

    Reply
  72. L am reading “Monsters” by Peter Cawdron. A passing comet drops a few amino acids resulting in a series of changes which leads to a future time when being able to read, or teaching someone to read, is a crime punishable by death. I am at the point when the h is taking the H to a hidden library.

    Reply
  73. L am reading “Monsters” by Peter Cawdron. A passing comet drops a few amino acids resulting in a series of changes which leads to a future time when being able to read, or teaching someone to read, is a crime punishable by death. I am at the point when the h is taking the H to a hidden library.

    Reply
  74. L am reading “Monsters” by Peter Cawdron. A passing comet drops a few amino acids resulting in a series of changes which leads to a future time when being able to read, or teaching someone to read, is a crime punishable by death. I am at the point when the h is taking the H to a hidden library.

    Reply
  75. L am reading “Monsters” by Peter Cawdron. A passing comet drops a few amino acids resulting in a series of changes which leads to a future time when being able to read, or teaching someone to read, is a crime punishable by death. I am at the point when the h is taking the H to a hidden library.

    Reply
  76. Hi Mary, I've heard a few people talk about the Mo Yan book — it does sound fascinating. So interesting that it's winning prizes in China as well as the rest of the world — must be extraordinary. I might make it my Christmas reading book. Often at Christmas I read something quite different from my usual reading fodder. Thanks.

    Reply
  77. Hi Mary, I've heard a few people talk about the Mo Yan book — it does sound fascinating. So interesting that it's winning prizes in China as well as the rest of the world — must be extraordinary. I might make it my Christmas reading book. Often at Christmas I read something quite different from my usual reading fodder. Thanks.

    Reply
  78. Hi Mary, I've heard a few people talk about the Mo Yan book — it does sound fascinating. So interesting that it's winning prizes in China as well as the rest of the world — must be extraordinary. I might make it my Christmas reading book. Often at Christmas I read something quite different from my usual reading fodder. Thanks.

    Reply
  79. Hi Mary, I've heard a few people talk about the Mo Yan book — it does sound fascinating. So interesting that it's winning prizes in China as well as the rest of the world — must be extraordinary. I might make it my Christmas reading book. Often at Christmas I read something quite different from my usual reading fodder. Thanks.

    Reply
  80. Hi Mary, I've heard a few people talk about the Mo Yan book — it does sound fascinating. So interesting that it's winning prizes in China as well as the rest of the world — must be extraordinary. I might make it my Christmas reading book. Often at Christmas I read something quite different from my usual reading fodder. Thanks.

    Reply
  81. Joanna, Imagine my surprise and delight when the book I started reading last night (and picked up again after reading this blog) contained multiple references to Harry Smith and his Juana. The book is The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, and is set in post-Waterloo England. I am hoping to find Harry’s autobiography as I am fascinated by the era encompassing the Napoleonic wars as well as the Regency.

    Reply
  82. Joanna, Imagine my surprise and delight when the book I started reading last night (and picked up again after reading this blog) contained multiple references to Harry Smith and his Juana. The book is The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, and is set in post-Waterloo England. I am hoping to find Harry’s autobiography as I am fascinated by the era encompassing the Napoleonic wars as well as the Regency.

    Reply
  83. Joanna, Imagine my surprise and delight when the book I started reading last night (and picked up again after reading this blog) contained multiple references to Harry Smith and his Juana. The book is The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, and is set in post-Waterloo England. I am hoping to find Harry’s autobiography as I am fascinated by the era encompassing the Napoleonic wars as well as the Regency.

    Reply
  84. Joanna, Imagine my surprise and delight when the book I started reading last night (and picked up again after reading this blog) contained multiple references to Harry Smith and his Juana. The book is The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, and is set in post-Waterloo England. I am hoping to find Harry’s autobiography as I am fascinated by the era encompassing the Napoleonic wars as well as the Regency.

    Reply
  85. Joanna, Imagine my surprise and delight when the book I started reading last night (and picked up again after reading this blog) contained multiple references to Harry Smith and his Juana. The book is The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, and is set in post-Waterloo England. I am hoping to find Harry’s autobiography as I am fascinated by the era encompassing the Napoleonic wars as well as the Regency.

    Reply
  86. Claire, I forwarded your comment to Joanna who said this:
    “You will love Smith’s use of language. The book is apparently written down a couple decades after the Regency, it’s it’s still where I send anybody who seems to think folks in 1800 spoke in long, complicated sentence snakes”

    Reply
  87. Claire, I forwarded your comment to Joanna who said this:
    “You will love Smith’s use of language. The book is apparently written down a couple decades after the Regency, it’s it’s still where I send anybody who seems to think folks in 1800 spoke in long, complicated sentence snakes”

    Reply
  88. Claire, I forwarded your comment to Joanna who said this:
    “You will love Smith’s use of language. The book is apparently written down a couple decades after the Regency, it’s it’s still where I send anybody who seems to think folks in 1800 spoke in long, complicated sentence snakes”

    Reply
  89. Claire, I forwarded your comment to Joanna who said this:
    “You will love Smith’s use of language. The book is apparently written down a couple decades after the Regency, it’s it’s still where I send anybody who seems to think folks in 1800 spoke in long, complicated sentence snakes”

    Reply
  90. Claire, I forwarded your comment to Joanna who said this:
    “You will love Smith’s use of language. The book is apparently written down a couple decades after the Regency, it’s it’s still where I send anybody who seems to think folks in 1800 spoke in long, complicated sentence snakes”

    Reply

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