So, any Valentine’s day plans? I was asked that question last week by one of my kids’ teachers (I volunteer a lot at their school—it’s my way of alleviating my guilt over overworked teachers and my overactive kids. Plus I get see other adults. Anyway, I digress). I’ve been with my husband for almost two decades. No, romance is not dead in my marriage, it just takes a different spin now. Such as when he closes the bedroom door on weekends so the kids would leave me alone and I can sleep in, or when he brings me lunch. It’s those considerate, day to day gestures that makes me feel valued and loved. Of course, a date night still gets thrown in there. So to answer the question “No, I don’t have plans but my husband is making plans.” I don’t know what those plans are but I hope it does not include sitting in a crowded restaurant with over-priced prix fixe dinner.
I remember one of our first Valentine’s day together. We had reservations at a restaurant but decided to stop by a bookstore while we waited. We never made it to that dinner. We ended up with books and Chinese dinner at home. So, if you’re like me whose idea of Valentine’s day is being as far away from the crowd as possible, I compiled a list of some of our Wenches’ favorite romantic books to curl up to either alone or with your special someone. In no particular order these are:
So in no particular order, some of the Wenches’ top choices are:
1. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Of course, the yummy actors playing these characters on the Starz series do not hurt either.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Do we really need to say more?
3. Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. This is a “classic” but remains popular to this day. It was probably one of the first time travel romance and it was truly well done.
4. Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. It’s not something most
people think of as “romantic” but there are some noteworthy things in this novel—beautiful, rich people behaving very, very badly. If you read French, I was told the French version is the way to go. I don’t. My loss. Or you can simply, watch the movie versions—Colin Firth (always my Mr. Darcy) stars as Valmont in the same titled movie, and Dangerous Liasons with Glenn Close, and a confusingly hot John Malkovich. But read the book. So many things are always lost in the movie.
5. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Dare I say it? There are times that I like this better than Pride and Prejudice—depending on my mood. Pride and Prejudice is a lighter read but North and South reflects not just the social milieu of its time but also of the economic and cultural clashes between social classes.
6. Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught. A historical, this is probably the most popular of McNaught’s work. I much prefer her works that came after, including Once and Always, Something Wonderful, and Almost Heaven. McNaught also wrote several contemporary books which, in my opinion, can be skipped.
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Writers need to take note of Jane Eyre—a strong heroine who stood for her principles. Of course, there’s the tortured hero, Mr. Rochester.
8. The Hathaways Series and the WallFlower Series by Lisa Kleypas. Lisa is one of my favorite historical writers and her Wallflowers and the Hathaways have many fans. But don’t miss her earlier historical works either. Lisa has written contemporary romance in the last several years that may be worth reading but I still think it is her historical work that elevates her as a writer.
9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Love that literary span through time, can it get more romantic than that? Poignant in parts, the time travel is only a backdrop. At its core, it’s a journey between two people through their marriage, loss, and distance.
10. The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn. Julia has a light touch with her writing combined with her character’s quick wit, the Bridgerton are seven siblings with seven different books. My personal favorite of this series is Francesca’s story.
Finally, I will be very remiss if I do not mention our own Writing Wenches. Many of us have written some wonderful books, some are coming out with their new books in time for Valentine’s Day. Please check out their books and I’m sure you’re going to love them.
Love and Libations by Patricia D. Eddy.
Shift in the Water by Patricia D. Eddy.
Fuel (DirtSlap Series, Book 1) by Ashlynn Pearce.
Before Sunrise by Sienna Mynx.
Sweet Dreams by Jennifer Senhaji.
Knotted by Quenby Olson
Baylyn, Bewitched (The Whitfield Witch Series Book 1) by Christine Cacciatore
Undercover Heat by Tami Lund
*Photo Credit Jamarmstrong