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.
While conservatives have largely rallied in defense of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, who was suspended indefinitely by A&E for homophobic comments he made during an interview with GQ, not every right-wing luminary is as eager to man the barricades.
Surprisingly, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly — the transphobic bigot who is obsessed with sex — has voiced some criticism of Robertson, arguing that the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch’s understanding of the Gospel is wrongheaded in at least one key regard.
“Mr. Robertson, I believe, made a mistake by the condemnation line,” O’Reilly told guest Laura Ingraham during his show. “It’s not about the Bible, or believing or not believing in the Bible,” O’Reilly continued. “It’s singling out a group, it could be any group, and saying to that group, ‘Hey, … you are not worthy in the eyes of the Lord, or in the eyes of God. You are not worthy because of who you are.’ So once you get that personal, once you get down and into that kind of a realm, problems arise.”
O’Reilly was referring to Robertson’s comment that “Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
According to the Fox News personality, Robertson strayed from a proper reading of the Bible by making a pronouncement on who will and won’t go to heaven. “See, that’s where I think he made his mistake,” O’Reilly told Ingraham. “Right up to there, he was OK. But once he went in and said you are not going to go to heaven [he was wrong].”
"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.