Let’s admit it: when the sun is out, when the swimming pool beckons, when we’re on vacation someplace divine, the last thing we want to do is to read a big, ponderous book. Instead, how about the best romance novels for this summer? Hey, we’re already feeling hot.
With TRIANGLES, Ellen Hopkins has written sheer poetry- or at least, blank verse. Well known as a bestselling YA novelist, Hopkins presents her first adult novel, chocked full of sex, relationships, and drama. Three friends, Holly, Marissa, and Andrea, are all dealing with a mid-life crisis, and wondering “Is that all there is?” Holly decides to reinvent herself, and find out. She loses sixty pounds, and revels in the attention she gets when she indulges in extra-marital affairs. But how far will she go to risk losing her loving husband and secure home life? Andrea is divorced, and thinks Holly is a fool; Holly’s husband, Jace, finds Andrea all too willing to offer him the comfort he craves. Andrea’s sister, Marissa, is consumed with caring for her terminally ill daughter. Her son is gay, and her husband, Christian, is having trouble accepting it. He buries himself in his work, and carries on a five-year affair with a co-worker. All three women must come to terms with who they are now, and with what their marriages have become.
While we’re escaping, let’s travel far afield. Paula Quinn lets us ponder what it would be like to be CONQUERED BY A HIGHLANDER. Colin MacGregor has but one goal in mind. He wants only to complete his mission for the king, and return to his beloved Scotland. Intent on infiltrating the home of a traitor, the better to expose a nefarious plot, MacGregor is taken off guard by an irresistible woman. Lady Gillian Dearly, cast out of her home for bearing an illegitimate child, yearns to be free of her current treacherous, uncouth host. When the Highlander appears on the scene, she sees a way out. Their passion ignites, but the danger involved may prove too much for a happy ending.
London is the scene in Laurel McKee’s ONE NAUGHTY NIGHT. Lily St. Claire’s family fortune was lost a century ago to the hated Huntington clan. Now a young widow, Lily was saved from a life on the street, and has been set up as the hostess of London’s most exclusive gambling den, The Devil’s Fancy. Lily wants nothing more than to restore her family’s wealth. But when she finds herself involved with rakish Lord Aidan Huntington, all reason goes out the window. In turn, Aidan must find a way to save Lily from London’s seamy underworld.
Half of the fun of romance novels is enjoying the flamboyant covers. THE CLAIMED, Caridad Pineiro’s latest offering, features a shirtless hunk and a roiling sea. My intuition tells me this is Christopher Sombrosa, of the Shadow Hunters clan; he’s the forbidden candy who just may be the perfect mate for heroine Victoria Johnson. Little do Victoria’s friends, in their quaint little beachside town, know that the lovely young woman is actually the heiress of an ancient race called The Light Hunters . If only Lily and Christopher can overcome the hatred their people feel for one another, they could bring peace and happiness to all.
LETHAL RIDER is the third book in Larissa Ione’s “Lords of Deliverance” series. Thanatos, the most deadly Horseman of the Apocalypse, has pledged to be eternally celibate. But Regan Cooper, the demon-slaying Aegis Guardian, has another agenda. She seduces Thanatos, and becomes pregnant with his child. Passion, rage, and a battle to end the world are all part of this story of epic and illicit love.
I advise you to drink a long, cool beverage while reading these romance novels. And, just as important, don’t miss this opportunity to let the cares of your everyday life vanish like the resolve to never sample forbidden fruit.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com