Book of the month: March


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.

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