Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
While the crash of a meteor in Russia has left American Congress members concerned enough to call a House Science committee hearing on asteroids, some in Russia are keeping concerns terrestrial.
According to the Washington Post, citing Moscow-sponsored outlet Voice of Russia, controversial parliament member Vladimir Zhirinovsky “has blamed Americans for today’s meteorite scare.” Reportedly, Zhirinovsky told reporters, “Those were not meteorites; it was Americans testing their new weapons.”
WaPo notes that “Zhirinovsky is known for his nationalist, anti-Western, sometimes outlandish rhetoric” and has been called a “political clown” by German newspaper Der Spiegel.
Although outlandish and not widely shared in the Kremlin, Zhirinovsky’s meteor comments come at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The Economist noted Friday that “to Kremlin ideologists, the very concept of Russia’s sovereignty depends on being free of America’s influence.” The Economist notes a series of antagonist measures Russia and America recently introduced against the other:
The Kremlin has banned American couples from adopting Russian orphans, depriving many children with severe disabilities of the chance of a decent life. This was Russia’s first response to America’s Magnitsky act…[which] threatens sanctions against Russian officials directly involved in human-rights abuses. Russia’s second response was a law introduced by Mr Putin prohibiting Russian officials or their immediate family members from holding foreign bank accounts or foreign assets, because such things pose a threat to national security.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
"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.