Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
CNN is reporting that Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate who in the past decade has lavished $17 million on various Newt Gingrich political groups, will cut a $10 million check for Winning Our Future, the super PAC that’s aligned with the former Speaker, by the end of this month.
But the main beneficiary of his largesse will probably be a candidate other than Gingrich: Mitt Romney
Since the Florida primary, Adelson has been sending signals that he understands Gingrich is very unlikely to win the Republican nomination, that he is perfectly comfortable with Romney being the nominee, and that he doesn’t want to hurt Romney’s long-term prospects of beating President Obama.
There are also signs that Adelson, whose political involvement stems mainly from his hawkish views on Israel and the Middle East, isn’t enthusiastic about the man who has supplanted Gingrich as Romney’s chief GOP foe, Rick Santorum. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week:
Mr. Adelson doesn’t oppose Mr. Santorum, but he doesn’t share the former Pennsylvania senator’s socially conservative positions, including his strong antiabortion views, associates said. Mr. Santorum was one of only two Republicans who didn’t meet with Mr. Adelson in October around the time of a candidates’ debate in Las Vegas, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Viewed in this light, Adelson’s new $10 million gift could be seen as an indirect contribution to Romney. After all, Gingrich seems to run best among religious conservatives in South, where several states will vote in early and mid-March. Santorum, who has already demonstrated strength in the Midwest, badly needs to fold those southern voters into his campaign if he’s going to have a real shot at knocking off Romney. A revived, or partially revived, Gingrich could severely complicate this task.
By the same token, a revived Gingrich probably wouldn’t be much of a threat to Romney, who has had little trouble beating back the former speaker during his two previous surges. Gingrich, with all of his personal and ethical baggage and with all his influential enemies within the Republican Party, is a much easier target than Santorum for the Romney campaign.
The ideal scenario for Romney would be for Gingrich and Santorum to be equally viable in the upcoming contests, splitting up the conservative vote and allowing Romney an easy path to victory. But if he has to have one main conservative foe, he’ll be much better off if it’s Gingrich. To the extent Adelson’s $10 million makes either of these scenarios more likely, it’s a huge boost for Romney.
What may be most interesting here is the apparent ideological gulf between Gingrich’s actual voters and his chief financial backer. Gingrich has been pitching himself as the candidate for conservatives who want a true believer and who see Romney as the embodiment of a Republican establishment that doesn’t really share their values. But it turns out that the guy keeping the Gingrich campaign alive is precisely the kind of Republican they suspect Romney is.
Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornackiMore Steve Kornacki.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.
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