Category Archives: Book of the Month

Book of the Month–Lord of Scoundrels

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Lord of Scoundrels

by Loretta Chase

I’d meant to do a book of the month post every month, highlighting underappreciated books, but then…I didn’t. Today I want to mention a book (and an author) that are not underappreciated, but I have to add my appreciation to those who already read and love her: Loretta Chase, author of Lord of Scoundrels among many other historical romances.

I’m ashamed to say that I was unfamiliar with Chase’s work before I started this MFA, and Lord of Scoundrels was part of the required reading. First published in 1995, it’s still in print and still delicious. For those with a bent toward historical romances, this one is a must-read. Try this for dialogue:

“I believe I’ve remarked before, Trent, that you might experience less aggravation if you did not upset the balance of your delicate constitution by attempting to count,” said Dain….”I particulary recommend,” he went on, his eyes upon the female, “that you resist the temptation to count if you are contemplating a gift for your chere amie. Women deal in a higher mathematical realm than men, especially when it comes to gifts.”

“That, Bertie, is a consequence of the feminine brain having reached a more advanced state of development,” said the female without looking up. “She recognizes that the selection of a gift requires the balancing of a profoundly complicated moral, psychological, aesthetic, and sentimental equation. I should not recommend that a mere male attempt to involve himself in the delicate process of balancing it, especially by the primitive method of counting.”

Bertie approached, and in his playing-field confidential whisper asked, “Any idea what she said, Dain?”

“Yes.”

“What was it?”

“Men are ignorant brutes.”

“You sure?”

“Quite.”

Isn’t that wonderful? And all the dialogue is like that. I’ve now read a couple of other books by Chase, and they’re all good, but this one is still my favorite. You can find Lord of Scoundrels at fine booksellers everywhere. See if you don’t agree with me and the 296 4.5-star reviewers on Amazon that this one’s special.

P.S. Don’t be fooled by the cover. On the edition I have, the primary color is orange, and our smart and feisty heroine is dark and ravishing, as she should be–not pale and naked, as she is here. This is one good example of how you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Book of the month: March

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Last month when I talked about the book I had most recently read, The Villa Dante, I said I’d write a monthly blog about a book that’s been lost or forgotten or maybe barely ever known. Having made it a Policy (because I’m so good with Policies), I wanted to think of a clever name for the Monthly Lost Book Post, so I could categorize the entries and they’d be easy to find. Well, not this month. I drew a blank this month. Maybe next month I’ll be able to think of a clever name. What do you think? The Irresistibles? The Irrepressibles? Something.

This month: Lightning that Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis, aka Laura London and Robin James. Sharon and Tom Curtis are hardly unknown—they sold a ton of books in the 1980s—but they haven’t written a new book in more than two decades as far as I can tell. They wrote romance novels, which they got into because they thought it would be fun. They hadn’t taken a class, and they didn’t have a clue. They just sat down one night after Tom got home from his truck driving job and Sharon got home from her book store job and started. Their best-known book, The Windflower, still sells (new) in hardback on Amazon for $423.78 and has 4.5 stars with 68 reviews. Not too shabby for a book that came out in 1984.

I didn’t get that book, because of not wanting to shell out $423 and change, so I went for Lightning that Lingers, which was a pittance by comparison, and the only book of theirs that’s available on the Kindle. Lightning that Lingers was originally a category romance that Loveswept, a Bantam imprint, published. It’s the story of a devilishly handsome wildlife biologist who sleeps with baby owls to keep them warm and harbors a disabled chicken in the kitchen. (I’m sure Sharon and Tom wrote that on purpose, just so we could say “chicken in the kitchen” out loud.) Our heroine is a shy librarian (okay, 1984, people).

The book is a little dated—there are references to M*A*S*H* reruns and est:

“If that’s the best fight you can put up when you think something horrible is about to happen to you, I’m going to enroll you in est. Do you know what’s in front of us?”

Her heart had given up its weak effort to do anything more than syncopate, and all she knew how to do was handle this strange thing that was happening to her one moment at a time. She pretended to squint out the blank front windshield before she said, “A dumpster?”

And that’s why so many people like Sharon and Tom Curtis’s work, I think. Because it’s well-written and heartfelt and unexpected. And sometimes, laugh-out-loud funny.

You could do a lot worse than read Lightning that Lingers. Other books by the Curtises are still available used for a lot less than the $423 new hardback price I quoted.