Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Recent Romances

Given Laura Vivanco's post yesterday on the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog, I feel that I ought to post proper reviews of two recent romances I've read, both by female Australian authors.   Both by the *same* female Australian author, actually: Stephanie Laurens.  (I have already reviewed Elizabeth Rolls' His Lady Mistress.)

I currently read and have in my past read romance novels.  I went through a massive glut when I was about 17/18 years old, with a particular focus on the "Loveswept" label.  They seemed to my teenaged brain to be of a higher quality of writing than your average Mills & Boon.  (I had a friend whose mother practically lived on M&B; I read a few, but the repetitiveness got to me.)  Between the ages of 16 and 20 I also went through a Danielle Steele phase, with particular focus on her historicals, like Jewels, Zoya, No Greater Love and Message From Nam (all of which I still own, as I enjoy re-reading them so very much!)  Danielle Steele was my favoured author for airplane reading at a time when I was doing a lot of 14-hour flights, and every so often, one of her titles will occasionally appeal to me.

But it has to be said that I've gone along with giving the romance genre a bad rap.  On Goodreads my tag for romance is "trashy trashy romance".  This shelf includes Stephanie Laurens, Jane Feather, Elizabeth Rolls, and an attempt at Amanda Quick (or if it doesn't, it ought to.)  I unreservedly love Stephanie Laurens, in particular, for her message that love is at the centre of all that is: that marriage without love is lacking, and (in "The Edge of Desire", for example) that love is love, no matter what the pairing.  And because of that unreserved love, I feel rather bad about the shelf-label of "trashy trashy romance".  I still believe that Laurens is a light read as compared to someone like Chloe Hooper or perhaps even Sulari Gentill (wait until I've read her).  But although  I think there's still no liklihood of a flat romance winning any literary awards anytime soon, I don't know why we don't acknowledge writers like Stephanie Laurens, who has to be one of Australia's best known writers when you come down to numbers.

And so: here are my reviews of the latest two Stephanie Laurens books that I've read.:

The Edge of Desire

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue


  1. Hi Heidi

    Great to see support for another Aussie writer. I agree that many romances won't cut it against the literary greats, but I'm baffled by the apparent contemporary literary prejudice against happy endings. Jane Austen doesn't fit that category.

    I don't know if you know that several of Laurens' books are available as ebooks from Aussie ebook platforms & ebookstores which support the Australian Women Writers Challenge. These currently include ReadCloud stores: The Book Shuttle, Pages&Pages and Australian Online Bookshop; and the store: Avid Reader. (For you can go to a central page and select a shop from there; for ReadCloud you have to go first to the bookstore.)

    The direct links are too ungainly to put here in the comments section and would be considered spam, but I think it would be good to support bookshops who support Aussie writers. If they knew they had readers' support they might consider doing more reviews! (The prices for many ebooks may still be too steep, but there are some bargains, so it's worth checking.)

    Thanks again for your contribution to the challenge.

  2. I don't think there is anything wrong with a 'light' read - personally I would choose a romance (I prefer Blaze though) to War and Peace any day!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  3. I love reading romances -- including Amanda Quick :) -- but haven't actually read any by Stephanie, so I'm off to see if your reviews inspire me :)