More Book Talk

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I actually took a break from Rom-suspense a couple of weeks ago. First I read Megan Chance's An Inconvient Wife.

Excellent, excellent book. I'd been wanting to read it for years but it was *never* in the store and I was too lazy to order. Thank goodness I finally did! Love the meaty, authentic, historical feel to the setting and really enjoyed the heroine's growth. Ironically, for a story that was about how helpless females were back in that time, in the end, she was the strong one and the men around her weak.

Next up, another Megan, Hart this time, and the book was BROKEN.

'K, I put the book down. Not because it was bad, but because it was that good. It was too rawly emotional. The protagonist is broken, her marriage is broken, her parapeligic husband, and 'Joe' the man whose sexcapades she's listens to like Scherazades tales once a month over lunch, is broken also. All those bewildering, yearning, aching emotions were just too much for a pmsing Jaye. Did I mention this is erotica? The sexual acts are almost besides the point. The *action* is all about revealing character and peeling back the thin skin that covers vulnerabilities. I'm not saying it isn't hot, or explicit, or frequent, or whatever other label you want to put on it. It's all that. But book is about the people, not the sex. I'll get back to this one soon.

Gothics. More to the point, Barbara Michaels! I've read 4 3 of her books so far. The Master of Blacktower, Greygallows, and The Wizard's Daughter.

There was one other one which had a more contemporary setting--60's? dunno. I wasn't digging it and gave up on it, but the other's are keepers. I ESPECIALLY luurve Master of Blacktower. A great sort of beauty and the beast riff (well, they're all techincally B&B riffs, but I really, really, enjoyed this one.) Here's our introduction to the hero:

Sunlight flooded the room from th windows opposite the door and blinded me so that I saw only the outline of the man who had spoken. He was tall and held himself like a gentleman, but I could see little more than that.

He stood without moving or speaking for a long time. The silence grew awkward. I was nerving myself to speak when, with a curious squaring of his shoulder, he moved forward out of the glare and I saw him clearly for the first time: Mr. Gavin Hamilton, Master of Blacktower.

I was struck speechless by the sight of his face. Ugliness I was accustomed to; none of my father's friends were noted for manly beauty. But the countenance that confronted me as worse than ugly. It was deformed. Across one side of his face, from brow to chin, ran a livid scar that puckered his flesh and distorted the shape of his mouth.

The rest of his face was regular, although the features were too strongly marked to be called handsome. He had a long, lean face, with hight cheekbones, and a straight, prominent nose. His eyes were dark and wide-set under heavy brows. He wore no moustache, and his thick black hair cut shorter than was the fashion. Some men, with such a scar, would hav tried to cover it with as much hair as possible. Not Mr. Gavin Hamilton.

I think that was a great intro, and stuff for the beginner writer to note. It not just a physical description, but there are little touches of character that go far in establishing the 'who' the character is. "He holds himself like a gentleman" (noble), "a curious squaring of the shoulders" (vulnerable), and the fact that he hasn't tried to hide his scars going as far to buck what's fashionable (strong). Great stuff!

I'm a sucker for "Beast" stories, and have one of my own in the works.

Currently reading: Francis Mathews' The ALIBI CLUB.

I previously read BLOWN, loved it and promised myself I checked out her other books. Yeah, I'm finally getting around to it now, almost a year later. :-P This one takes place in 1940 just as the NAZI's are invading France/Paris (at least that's the opening setting, not sure if the setting changes.) I'm only about 50 pages in, so we're being introduced to characters, while the pieces of the puzzle drop deftly into place. Mathews' also writes The Jane Austen Mysteries as Stephanie Barron and the Merry Folger Mystery series. BLOWN and THE ALIBI CLUB are both thrillers.

I haven't mentioned the Trads I've been reading. Most of them were from the library, so I don't have them at hand to give you titles and authours. Suffice it to say, they were all throughly enjoyable. Just the type of "pure romance" I needed.

If you want more books suggestions, check out Romantic Advances. Great site that lists all the upcoming releases of RWA recognized publishers.
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avidbookreader said...

**pulling An Inconvient Wife out of my TBR pile**Thanks for the reminder as I did order it and enjoy this author. --K.

raine said...

You found Gothics.
I LURVE Gothics!

You gotta stop posting this stuff, Jaq. I can't afford you. :-D

Jaye said...

I've never read anything else by this author. She's just not on the shelves here in Canada., but I really enjoyed this book and can see with it got alot of buzz awhile back. I think it would make a great movie.

Jaye said...

Yes, yes, yes, Raine, Gothics rock!! I really have to get Jane Eyre now. I just have to find an issue of the book without teeny-tiny cramped print. :-P

raine said...

Oh, yes!
Jane Eyre=must read.

I know it's considered terribly out-of-date now, but the atmosphere, the protagonists, the setting and emotions really are timeless. :)

Jaye said...

Have you seen the movie? I'm almost sure there's a b/w one from the 40s, but is there something more recent? I still want to get the book, but every time I've run across a copy the writing has been tiny and squashed. I think I might resort to the large print from the library. I just can't strain my eyes like that.

raine said...

Actually, I think there are 4 or 5 versions, maybe more, lol...

Most of them are not well balanced. Either Jane is too wimpy, or Rochester too handsome.
The 1944 film may be the best, great atmosphere and tension, with Orson Welles as Rochester (and let's face it--all he has to do is SPEAK in that fabulous voice of his), but Joan Fontaine is too soft.
There's one with George C. Scott, but Susannah York is too pretty as Jane.
Another with William Hurt, but it sucked...

The BEST I've seen since the Welles film was a 1983 miniseries starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. Dalton's too good looking, yes, but his acting and passion overcomes it all. Very true to the original, and actually made me weepy.
I did find it at the library, if that's any help--but if not, it's worth having anyway.

I know, I know, TMI, lol. But I think if you read the book & watch the film, you'll understand. :-)

Jaye said...

No, not too much at all. This is exactly what I wanted to know. Movies based on books hardly ever get it quite right, so I wanted to know which one hit the mark the closest and in what ways. I'll go looking for the movie set and the book tomorrow.

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