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 [livejournal.com profile] lunasariel just read Love Continuance and Increasing, and she couldn't have said nicer things about it:

Anyway, I'm almost definitely biased in favor of LCI, because I watched it get written, at least via tumblr and LJ - I can vouch for the amount of research that went into it (a well-researched historical novel is the way straight to my heart, let me tell you), and reading about all the food she cooked to make sure that she was Doing It Right made me pretty consistently hungry. But it had everything I look for and love in a Regency romance - obsessive strategic analysis of who danced with who and how many times, a peppery old grandmama, escapes into the garden for private conversations, and plenty of dudes in (and occasionally out of) uniforms. ;) And boy howdy, these were some nice uniforms, and some nice dudes filling them! But then again, I have a well-documented and long-standing Uniform Problem, so I guess it's more of a surprise that I liked the F in this particular M/M/F, but I did. Caroline felt very eighteen to me, but a sensible and not at all shrieky eighteen - I was pleased beyond words when she and Rockingham actually, y'know, talked to each other like rational adults about things like a marriage based on affection rather than OMG ILU 5EVA, instead of the usual parade of misunderstandings and "dammit, you wouldn't be having any of these problems if you talked to each other for five seconds" that usually have me chucking romances across the room in rage. But, wonder of wonders, they managed to get everything sorted out to the satisfaction of all involved, with the only significant capital-M Misunderstanding coming from a third party, and even then, they actually did talk to each other for five seconds (and some change), so yay for acting like rational adults! :D

 
There's more at Amazon. But I had to brag!
 


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The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James, won the RITA Awards this year in both Best First Novel and Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.


The summary:

Sarah Piper's lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis-rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts- has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide.

Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah's task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy's ghost is real, she's angry, and she has powers that defy all reason.


Can Sarah and Alistair's assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, whereshe came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?


Smart Bitches, Trashy Books held a RITA Reader Challenge, asking readers to write reviews of all the nominated books. The review I wrote for The Haunting of Maddy Clare is here. It went up on July 19, and I forgot to link to it then, but you can read it now.

I'm not surprised it won RITAs. tt reminded me a lot of Sarah Waters' work, especially Affinity and Little Stranger. I'll be interested to see more of what Simone St. James writes.
julian_griffith: (Default)
I loved this book.

I've loved Catt [livejournal.com profile] kingsgrave 's writing for a number of years now, and "lesbian selkie historical novella" had me at "selkie". I bought it as soon as it came out, but it sat in my to-read queue for a while, because of writing and research-reading that took priority.

The lead character, Mairead, is strong and capable while still having to deal with the limitations and challenges of being a woman who's attracted to women, during World War II, in a place as isolated as Orkney. She's very sympathetic, while still having plenty of rough edges to her character.

The selkie element is handled beautifully. It's matter-of-fact without taking away the mystery or fantasy of it; it's got a similar tone to The Secret of Roan Inish. Mairead and some of the other characters don't need to believe anything but the evidence of their own eyes, but you get the sense that other characters would dismiss it as mere fancy and legend, and that, to my taste, is exactly as it should be.

The eroticism is powerful, neither too flowery or too crude, just HOT.

I spotted the... should I call it a plot twist, or a secret, or what? Anyway, I spotted it well before the overt reveal, but that didn't detract at all for me; it seemed reasonable that I, standing outside the story, could pick it up, but that Mairead wouldn't consider it until she was confronted with it. And the way she reacted felt true and right.

And the ending was just what I'd hoped.

I could wish that this was a full-length novel, but not because I feel that anything was missing. I'd just have liked to spend more time in that world.

I can tell that this is a story I'll be reading again. 

Buy it here: One Saved To The Sea

August 2013

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