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.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Paris on Sunday in support of a government-sponsored bill that would legalize marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.
Demonstrators waved banners emblazoned with phrases such as “Equality of rights is not a threat” as they began marching Sunday from Denfert-Rochereau square in the southern part of the city.
The march drew 125,000 demonstrators into the streets, according to police. That was well above the number counted by police at a similar march in December, but far less than the estimated 340,000 that turned out for a demonstration by those opposed to the proposal two weeks ago.
About 63% of French people favour legalising gay marriage, according to a survey released on Saturday, up from 60% in December.
The Socialist-dominated parliament is due to begin debate on the bill on Tuesday and is expected to pass it. If the bill is approved, France would become the 12th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
French civil unions, allowed since 1999, are at least as popular among heterosexuals as among gay and lesbian couples. But that law has no provisions for adoption or assisted reproduction, which are at the heart of the latest debate.
President François Hollande’s Socialist Party has sidestepped the debate on assisted reproduction, promising to examine it in March after party members were split on including it in the latest proposal.
"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.