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.
Soap opera-crazed Indonesia is watching a tragically ironic drama play out in the death of a 9-year-old, whose parents blame a hit soap for playing a role in their daughter’s death.
“Love in Paris” is a romance starring a young starlet, actress Michelle Zudith, whose character suffers from leukemia and is expected to die before 20 — a plot device that affects her search for love.
Ayu Tria Desiani was a 9-year-old who suffered leukemia in real life. According to the Jakarta Globe, she frequently required treatment in hospitals. After experiencing a burst blood vessel, the Globe reports, she was rushed to an ICU ward yesterday.
Turns out the ward was filled with atypical guests: the perfectly healthy cast and crew shooting a scene for “Love in Paris.”
Ayu didn’t survive. And her family, according to the Jakarta Post, now claim the soap opera crew contributed to her death by crowding the ward, disturbing her treatment and walking around without sterile clothing.
The hospital insists she received adequate treatment though the Post reports that Indonesia’s health minister insists that active ICU wards can never be used legally as filming locations.
Whether Ayu’s family can prove a hit soap opera interfered with their daughter’s treatment is up in the air. But the accusation alone is stirring up a publicity nightmare for both the show and the hospital.
"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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