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.
Columbia University has moved to change the conditions of a fellowship that stipulates it can only be awarded to “a person of the Caucasian race.”
In addition to the whites-only restriction of the award, the Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship can only be given to a person from Iowa, who may not study law or certain other fields, and must return to the state for two years after graduation.
As the New York Daily News reports, the fellowship has not been awarded since 1997, but Columbia administrators would still like to see the terms of the award opened up to other students:
Lucy Drotning, the university’s associate provost, filed an affidavit in Manhattan Supreme Court last week to support a prior action made by the fund’s administrator, JPMorgan Chase Bank, claiming the racist provisions set in 1920 are grossly outdated.
“Circumstances have so changed from the time when the Trust was established” that complying with the restrictions are “impossible,” the filing says.
“Columbia University is now prohibited by law and University policy from discriminating on the basis of race.”
Many of the previous recipients of the award did not realize the qualifying restrictions, as Douglass Gross, a Des Moines attorney who was awarded the fellowship in 1976 told the Daily News: “I didn’t even know there were requirements of race,” he said. “All I knew is that you had to be from Iowa,” he said. “And, since I was from Iowa, it was pretty easy to do.”
"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.