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.
Vincent Austin and Bruno Boileau will be the first gay couple to wed in France, just 10 days after President Francois Hollande signed the country’s gay marriage legislation into law.
But violence from fringe right-wing groups and anti-gay protestors has continued in the wake of the landmark reform, so the couple’s nuptials will take place amid tight security, with the city of Montpellier calling in extra police to ensure the ceremony goes off without incident.
In addition to a heavy police presence, the Wednesday ceremony will host more than 200 members of the international press, as CNN reports:
Some 200 journalists have been accredited to cover the wedding, many from overseas, signaling the global interest in the social landmark represented by the marriage.
Guillaume Bonnet, senior campaign manager in France for the equality group All Out, said he was honored to be a guest at the wedding on what he described as a historic day for his country.
“We have shown that if we all work together anything is possible,” he said. “Now couples like Vincent and Bruno can create life full of love and family just like any other loving and committed couple.”
Despite the less-than-intimate circumstances of their nuptials, the couple say they are delighted to begin their married lives together and aware of the significance of being the first gay couple to wed under the new law, as they told CNN:
When French children are born into this world, they are born with the same rights as everyone else — but from the moment you said you were a homosexual, society deprived you of some of those rights. Today the French Republic has given these rights back to us, the ones they had taken away, and it has put an end to an institutional discrimination.
"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.