Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
How much of damage can 4,100 barrels of spilled oil do? The agreed-upon answer, reports the Associated Press, will determine the terms of a settlement between Royal Dutch Shell and southern Nigerian communities over a 2008 spill.
Talks begin today between Shell officials and representatives of about 15,000 residents in the vicinity of the Bodo lagoon, where the spill took place. The international and human rights firm representing the affected communities say the spill, the worst in Nigeria’s history, caused the largest ever loss of mangrove habitat. They say it destroyed the livelihoods of many of the communities’ residents, the majority of which are subsistence fishermen and farmers, and affected about 30,000 people in all. A lawyer for the firm, Daniel Leader, said, “These people, since 2008 they are living on a creek of oil. You step out of the front door you see oil, breathe in oil and toxic fumes.”
Shell admitted responsibility for the spill, but is contesting its impact. Officials say the ultimate economic effects of the spill should be the only determining factor in the settlement. Still, independent experts, according to the law firm, say the 4,100 estimate is low, and that Shell in fact spilled between 500,000 and 600,000 barrels of oil into the lagoon.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Lindsay Abrams.
"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.