Kate Cuthbert, Editor of Booktopia’s Monthly Romance BUZZ has asked me to read the five romance novels featured below. She knows that I don’t read romance novels. I’ve read 19th century romances but I have never finished a Fabio-covered romance. She ardently (I can use ‘ardently’ in this context) believes I haven’t fallen in love with the romance genre because I have not read the ‘right’ romance novels. Kate is not a zealot. She’s a pragmatist. She knows if she succeeds in converting me my twitter stream will begin to be peppered with references to the genre. It is all about spreading the word, you know. Romance readers of the world unite!… and all that.
Of course, I am not convinced. In fact, I am not sure whether I will take up the challenge. My reading history shows no sign that I am on the verge of converting to romance novels. But, what the hey… As Kate is a delight to work with I shall list the books she believes have the power to seduce me away from my George Meredith.
These Five Romance Novels, Chosen By Kate Cuthbert, Will Make A Romance Reader Out of Just About Anyone (even me)
Flowers from the Storm
by Laura Kinsale
The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant and dangerous.
Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the ′D of J′ in scandal sheets, where he and his various exploits featured with frequency.
But sometimes the most womanising rake can be irresistible, and even his most casual attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms, quiet daughter of a simple mathematician.
by Bronwyn Parry
They’ve considered him a murderer for eighteen years, so no one in Dungirri is surprised when Gil Gillespie returns and a woman s body is found in his car. Wearied by too many deaths and doubting her own skills, local police sergeant Kris Mathews isn’t sure whether Gil is a decent man wronged by life, or a hardened criminal she should lock up. She does know he s not guilty of this murder, though, because she is his alibi.
Gil isn’t used to feeling anything for anyone. But there s a teenager here who has his eyes – a daughter he never knew existed. And the sergeant s fiery tenacity stirs his blood. He can t acknowledge either. He s made too many enemies in the Sydney Mafia and amongst corrupt cops. Kris s alibi might have saved him from a murder charge but her dedication to finding the truth has made her a target.
Gil is surrounded by wilderness, but there s no place to hide because his enemies have most of the town on their side, and they know that the one thing most punishing would be harming the few people he cares about.
The Perfect Rake
by Anne Gracie
She ran from a brute…
Fleeing the harsh guardianship of her grandfather, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke… But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.
…into the arms of a rake
Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…
What Happens In London
by Julia Quinn
Rumours and Gossip . . . The lifeblood of London
When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbour may have killed his fiancée, she doesn’t believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits . . . and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.
Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He’s not a spy, but he’s had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she’s nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself . . .
Agnes and the Hitman
by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
If you can’t stand the heat…
Agnes Crandall’s problems are roiling to a boil. First, a dog-napper invades her kitchen, seriously hampering her attempts to put on a wedding that’s she’s staked her entire net worth on. Then a man climbs through her bedroom window to save her. “Shane” (no last name) may be Agnes’s hero, but he’s also a professional hitman–so he’s no stranger to trouble himself…
Get out of the kitchen.
Between a rival who wants to take him out and an uncle who may have lost five million bucks in Agnes’s basement, Shane’s plate is plenty full. Soon Agnes and Shane are tangled up with the lowlifes after the money, a gang of Southern mob wedding guests, a dog named Rhett, and–most dangerous of all–each other.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.