I read two fabulous books this week, thanks to recommendations on the Amazon boards. Woo! I am in a great romance-y mood!
The first one is The Endearment by LaVyrle Spencer. Oh mama, what a great read! I have a sneaking suspicion I am going to be working my way through all of Spencer's books soon. (I started with Morning Glory, which is another highly recommended winner).
The Endearment is a 19th century frontier historical romance. It's about a hunky Swede who places an ad for a mail-order bride from Boston. Of course, neither the hero nor the heroine gets what they're expecting....the Swede is a gorgeous, lonely giant of man who intimidates the heroine because he is so perfect and competent living in the wilds of Minnesota. The heroine is just a young girl, with her younger brother in tow, who has escaped a life of poverty and neglect and is searching for a miracle. The details about frontier life are absolutely fascinating, the budding relationship between Karl and the younger brother is touching, and the chemistry that grows between the skinny young girl and the strapping pioneer is wonderful, emotionally satisfying, and incredibly sweet. My only beef was that Karl's anger at Anna lasted a bit too long, but their reconciliation was the best. LaVyrle Spencer is a master storyteller, which is somewhat of a lost art in romantic fiction.
This book was close to perfection, and I can't wait to read it again!
Next up, The Viking Takes A Knight by Sandra Hill. I could tell right away this was not your typical romance from the chapter titles...for example, "Sometimes the best meals involve no food", "He never promised her a rose garden", "Even a thousand years ago, men were clueless", and my personal favorite..."Some men bang their heads against a wall, others bang..." Hee hee hee! Sandra Hill has a hilarious sense of humor. This book rocks! The heroine is feisty and fun, the hero is a wicked lusty beekeeper, and I honestly could not put this book down. It's a great mix of humor, sexiness and larger-than-life characters. Loved it!
I got a big kick out of the sonnets composed and recited by John's friend, Bolthor. Here's an example of a poem called "Ode to Katherine's Breasts"....
Once was a lady from Wickshire
With a bosom you had to admire.
Plump and rosy with a bit of bounce.
Caused many a man for her favors to pounce.
Big udders on women are surely a necessity
To give suckle to babes so pretty
And give a man something to hold on to in bedsport.
This book was a breath of fresh air. I was grinning happily at the end, and then I discovered....there are tons more books in this series! Oh happy days! Sandra Hill is going to be a new favorite author, there is no doubt in my mind.