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.
An engine fire has left a Carnival cruise ship drifting off the coast of Mexico. A total of 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew have been stranded on the Triumph since Sunday morning, enduring sweltering indoor temperatures, limited access to food and very few working toilets. A rescue attempt was recently derailed by strong currents that pushed the ship another 90 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, foiling plans to tow it to shore.
Another tow boat is expected to reach the stranded ship Thursday, but it’s only Tuesday.
Passengers have been able to communicate with friends and family about the conditions on board, and it sounds like a serious (gross) nightmare.
“Conditions are getting worse by the hour,” passenger Debra Rightmire texted to ABC News. “Cabin carpets are wet with urine and water. Toilets are overflowing inside cabins. We are having to sleep in the hallways.”
But Carnival is in serious damage control mode, trying to minimize Internet chatter about foul conditions aboard the Triumph. “Currently, public and cabin toilets are operational in certain sections of the ship, power has been restored to a limited number of elevators and power in the Lido dining area is providing for hot coffee and limited food service,” Carnival said in a statement on its website.
But reports from multiple passengers suggest they are using, well, plastic bags in lieu of toilets.
While they wait for a second attempt to bring them ashore, this time to Alabama, those on board are expressing frustration — but also gratitude for Carnival staff and fellow passengers. So save your “Lord of the Flies” comparisons, at least for the time being.
“People are being good — crew is so unselfish and working so hard,” Joy Dyer said in a text to the Guardian on Monday. “People starting to get more irritable, and others showing more kindness.” Dyer did add that she was worried about how long the honeymoon period would last:
“I fear a couple of days from now when people start going crazy.”
"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.