Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seeking Recommendations for a Husband-Worthy Romance

Sarah T. at Monkey Bear Reviews and I have an informal deal for 2010 -- we've each asked our husbands to read a romance novel and write a review. I believe the terms are these: we get to pick a handful of romance novels and the DH gets to pick the one he wants to read and review.

Now, Sarah may know precisely which ones she wants to offer her husband, but I'm seriously mulling over this question. But I now have a number of very smart romance fans reading this blog, so I might as well take advantage of your collective brilliance and creativity.

(Ross is the one on the right.)

Let me tell you something of Ross's habits, interests and current reading preferences. He is a crossword expert (you can read a bio here) and posts daily at his blog about the New York Times crossword.  He is big fan of Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Julian Barnes, P.G. Wodehouse, and the Sherlock Holmes stories.  He's read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide books, but not Terry Pratchett's Discworld oeuvre (from which, I believe, you're supposed to deduce that he likes humor, can tolerate some sci fi futurism, but doesn't do fantasy).  He won't read the Harry Potter books, primarily because Ross had to attend a boarding preparatory school from age 7 and a public school from age 13; he has no interest in any fictional boarding school, and the fantasy element doesn't help.

Here's my thinking so far:  Because he's actually trying to learn about American football and baseball, It Had to Be You, the first of the Susan Elizabeth Philips Chicago Stars books.  It's not her best from a romance point of view, but it's funny and there's more actual football in it.  And, because he's English, the fact that the football is a bit, uh, fictionalized shouldn't be a problem. (On the other hand, he might enjoy Dream a Little Dream, which is my favorite from that series, because it has Edward, and Ross is a sucker for cute, weird kids...)

Next, a Pat Gaffney -- maybe To Have and To Hold?  (I personally prefer To Love and To Cherish, but Ross is pretty anti-Church of England, so would Christy bother him?)  She was inspired by mid-19th century novels, although the rural setting is so different from Dickens' London, I'm not sure that would trigger his interests.

A LaVyrle Spencer?  I've only reread Morning Glory recently, but I could hastily reread others of hers before offering them to Ross.  Similarly, he suggests Georgette Heyer, which is fine but which one?  I haven't reread any of hers other than These Old Shades and Devil's Cub, so I'd better get reading!

After that, I don't know.  A Jennifer Crusie?  (He likes humorous books -- both fiction and non-fiction.  He loves Bill Bryson, for example, and was a Garrison Keillor fan long before he came to the US.)  I liked the con artist family in Temptation, Ohio, but are there others?

Which is all I've thought of so far.  Help me out, Romlandia -- suggest some books that a nice British chap would enjoy!



  1. If Jennifer Crusie - I would suggest Welcome to Temptation. Really one of her best books.

    If he's huge into sci-fi, I would suggest Linnea Sinclair's "Games of Command". I'm currently coming up with ways to trick my dad into reading that one - really good military sci-fi but with a lovely romance thrown in.

    I would also suggest Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale - oldschool swashbuckling but lots of heart and romance too.

  2. I would recommend Lisa Kleypas, but start with her contemporaries first because her heroes are very strong and well written.

    Linda Howard's old romance suspense are always a good bet and even though I don't read her, I heard Susanne Brockman is also pretty good.

  3. I love Heyer and Spencer.

    These Old Shades is by far my favorite Heyer read to date so it's okay that it's one of the few you've reread recently.

    As for Spencer, Endearment/Years/Gamble are really really excellent.

  4. Jennifer Crusie would be a great start, I think - I'd say Bet Me, or Fast Women. Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips maybe.

    Bella Andre has a few football stories out - and I think it describes at least more of what it's like to be a football player- but they're pretty hot.

    For sports and contemporaries, Rachel Gibson's hockey books, or Deirdre Martin's are good.

    Jill Shalvis has a baseball romance - Double Play that I enjoyed a lot - and it deals with the game and characters and some other issues too.

    What about historicals? Or... Caught by Christie Craig. Leanne Bank's Bellagio shoes books, or what about Susan Mallery's either Winery sister books, or her Bakery sister books? Or Accidentally Yours by Mallery I think has a quirky kid... Her Buchanan books are good too - but I would skip the fourth :X

    I really like Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy- and a number of her other books.

    Ok I'll stop now. Otherwise, historicals for sure. And... categories - but... I think that'd be a hard sell.

  5. Wow -- great suggestions. Thanks, everyone. (My husband's comment to my telling him how many suggestions I was getting: "That's good. As long as I only have to read one." I have reassured him. Wimp.)

    I think what I'll do is read all the potential candidates -- there are some books you've recommended that I haven't read, which is a sweet deal for me! -- and report here in future posts on how the search is going.

    And to visitors just getting caught up with the post & comments: I can always use more suggestions!!

  6. Hopefully no one will read my poking a stick in the fire words -- is this a book he'll have to read under cover of night or can he read it probably on the subway (or where ever?) ... because I think sometimes you have to segue into the sideways romance book -- in which case Heyer, perhaps one of the wittier, drier ones (like Black Sheep ... that's a LOL) or Outlander by Gabladon. Men seem to very much enjoy her books. Or Naked in Death. Could a romance be more modern?

  7. Janet -- No subway rides for us; we're retired in the country, so Ross works from home. He can read any book with full discretion (but I can tell you right now, I'm not giving him erotica).

    He's a slow reader, so Outlander is out (656 pages -- this is a task he's supposed to finish in 2010!!), and I can tell you now he's not a fan of sci fi (except when it's married to a LOT of humor, as in the case of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide books) so the Naked in Death series is out.

    But Black Sheep is a good choice. Henry (the ex-husband, and our guest for Christmas) has read all the Georgette Heyers and recalls Black Sheep as being good fun. It's on the list!

    Keep `em coming, peeps! I'm loving all the suggestions!

  8. I loved Agnes and the Hitman by Crusie/Meyer. A bit of everything in that one and a whole lot of laughs. (At least I laughed). One of my favorites and the guy POV was written by a guy!

    Be interesting to see what he ends up reading.

  9. yeah, definitely Crusie. Maybe if he can get into historical Heyer or Metzger whose short regencies remind me a lot of Wodehouse (the longer ones not as much). And there's always Pride and Prejudice

    Here are a couple of books I liked and didn't know were romance (before I discovered that I loved romance)

    Peter S Beagle, a fine and private place
    RA MacAvoy, The Gray Horse

  10. Only one?? The Wuss!

    Boo I was going to second your Heyer and SEP combo..
    I would go with SEP most likely, but Crusie does nothing for me nor does Gaffney, so I am biased, is Breathing Room the one with the therapist and the movie star?? As I think that has to be my all time fave.

  11. Carolyn -- I'm not sure about Agnes & the Hitman, but as clearly Ross and I have different tastes, he might enjoy it more. (He's a Marx Brothers fan; that might be a good fit, as there seemed to be a lot of slapstick and French farce elements in Agnes.) Good thinking!

    Kate -- I've read Peter Beagle and I'm embarrassed to say I have no recollection of what it's about. And the MacAvoy I know nothing about. I will check that out, thanks.

    Edie -- Yeah, he's a guy ergo he's a wuss. QED.

  12. I'm presenting Christian with a few romances to choose from. He likes books featuring dragons (his first love is fantasy), so I was thinking Shana Abé's 'The Smoke Thief' might interest him. I've also put a Jennifer Crusie on the list, as well as a J.R. Ward.

  13. I think you've got a lot of great suggestions already. I'll second "Bet Me" or "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie.

    "Lord of Scoundrels" by Loretta Chase is fantastic and smart, although not particularly humorous.

    I doubt you could go wrong with Georgette Heyer. My favorites thus far: "These Old Shades" or "The Grand Sophy".

    I'll second Rachel Gibson. Specifically, "See Jane Score" if you want a sports-related book. She has a much younger voice than the others mentioned above, but that might appeal to him.

  14. Well, now that Christian has picked Loretta Chase's "Lord Perfect," that puts a lot of pressure on me to find some things for Ross to pick from. Will work on that today, for sure!

    I may have to go with what I've already got & know, as I'm beginning to think I don't have time for a lot of new-to-me books.

    I will post about this in the next few days.


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