Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Liz is the Biz!

by Anna Campbell

First of all, do Americans use that phrase that something is 'the business'? Meaning it's the bee's knees, the cat's miaow, the cream in my cawfee, the salt in my stew? Anyway, just in case you're wondering, it's an expression of the highest approval!

Liz Fielding is one of the best writers in romance today. Two RITA Awards don't lie!

Liz is a British writer who, as far as I know, has written exclusively for Harlequin Mills and Boon's Sweet/Romance line. But if you're not familiar with her books, don't be fooled that there's anything sugary about these stories, nor that they're anything less than passionate. I find the sexual tension in a Liz Fielding keeps me turning the pages with the best.

I first discovered Liz's work in 2004 when I went to the Romance Novelists Association conference in Leicester (it's the British equivalent of RWA Nationals - lots more tea involved!). A couple of people recommended her books and when I came home after my lovely four months of wandering around the U.K., I took their advice.


Liz has since become one of my favorite writers. There's a stack of stuff I love about her books. They're absolutely perfectly pitched when it comes to the emotion (and there's LOTS of emotion in a Liz Fielding, I regularly shed several tears, sometimes more, she just gets it so right!). They're intelligent and they feature intelligent, realistic characters. You absolutely fall in love with the people in a Liz Fielding. They're flawed and they're real and usually they really have to struggle to get their happy ending - by which stage, you've stopped crying (well, mostly) and you're cheering.

I find myself in awe of what Liz can pack into a measly 180 pages. She gives you a whole world of love and desire and romance and closes with a sigh-worthy finish.

My most recent Liz Fielding read is probably my favorite. It's called A WEDDING AT LEOPARD TREE LODGE. On the surface, it's a terrifically simple story. Wedding planner Josie Fowler hides her vulnerability and the scars of her difficult past under a cocky attitude and thick punk makeup. When she finds herself responsible for the society wedding of the year at the luxurious Leopard Tree Lodge in Botswana, she expects problems. What she doesn't expect is that she'll fall in love with the owner of the resort, Gideon McGrath. Gideon has tragedy of his own to overcome and it's heart-wrenching to watch these two wounded souls edge towards trust and love. It's a bit like trying to coax a leopard to eat from your hand, if you'll pardon the obvious simile!

There's a couple of scenes in this that are just so perfectly written and so deeply true to the emotions, I dare you not to get misty eyed. And the ending just takes my breath away, it's so beautiful.

As you can gather, this month's second helping is highly recommended! I haven't read a book of Liz's that I haven't liked, but this is one of the best romances I've ever read. Just gorgeous.

So do you like a book that brings a tear to the eye (even if the characters get their happy ending!)? What was the last book you read that made you cry?


  1. Hi Anna *waves*

    A book that made me cry recently (and I may have mentioned this before in another blog) was Eloisa James's A Kiss at Midnight. Watching the struggle between Kate and Gabriel as they try to find a way to resolve their responsibilities towards a happy ending broke my heart. It all seemed so hopeless - I cried when Kate realised that she loved him for his sense of responsibility and willingness to take care of those around him and yet she had to let him go so that he could fulfill his responsibilities.

    Another recent book was Leanna Renee Heiber's The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. There is a scene in there when the secondary characters have decided what's what (don't they know they aren't supposed to do that?) and have forced Alexi to follow duty rather than his heart. He's totally broken hearted but he steels himself to do what he (and pressure from everytone else) thinks he must. He breaks down and cries as his heart breaks and I cried too.

    I love gutwrenching emotional scenes.

  2. I adore Liz's books, but I haven't read the Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge so thanks for that recommendation. I've just finished Mistletoe and the Lost Stilletto which was gorgeous. Such fun and an absolutely perfect read.
    As for crying - I don't mind crying during the book, but if I'm crying at the end it has to be in a good way. Don't give me a sad ending......

  3. Hi Deanna! Great to see you here. I haven't read that EJ but I've heard wonderful things about it. I have read Percy Parker and I remember tearing up myself in that scene you're talking about. It was such an unusual read, wasn't it?

  4. Hey, it's the fabulous Sarah Morgan! When I was on Liz's site check on some stuff for putting this review together, I saw she had a new release. Looks like I'm about to hit the Book Depository again. I think they're going to build an Anna Campbell wing thanks to all the money I've spent there!

  5. Anna, Percy Parker was a complete surprise for me. I LOVED it. I have the second book but haven't read it yet. I should pull that out of the pile. I'm about to start a new book.

  6. Hey Anna...
    It might've been Christine's last book..when Louisa was shackled in the pokey with Jardine. It was a very touching scene. Although I don't have a problem with a hero crying, I haven't read too many books where that happens. Maybe some readers think it makes the hero less heroic?

  7. Liz is one of my favorite authors, and as for a book that makes me cry, I'm not sure....
    I prefer books that make me laugh, that leave me wanting another story like the one I just read.
    Stella MacLean

  8. Thanks everyone! I'm feeling very special today :)

    A couple of recent books that had me in tears were Susanna Kearsley's Sophia's Secret and Elizabeth Buchan's Separate Beds. But I'm hopeless. A total embarrasssment to take to the cinema :)

  9. Hi, Anna. I've read a few of Liz's books, but not TWALTL. I know I've had a tear or two fall when I've read some books, but can't seem to remember titles right now. BUT, when it comes to movies and some t.v. shows, I get weepy. Shary and Jerry are always saying, "Mom's crying again!"

  10. Thanks, Anna! Liz writes wonderful books and I've enjoyed many of them. I haven't read this one yet but it's now on my list to buy!

    I'm a regular watering pot, especially during the holiday season when you'll find me tearing up over all those feel-good television commercials. I've already reached for the tissues twice this morning. lol!

    The last book to make me cry was A Marine for Christmas by Beth Andrews - a very emotional journey to the hero and heroine's happy ending.

  11. Jen, my heroes occasionally cry. Mind you, if I'd been through what they had, I'd be wailing like a banshee ;-) I think a hero who cries over nothing much might lose my sympathy but I think when it's something big, I'm definitely for heroes crying.

    Oh, I love Jardine and Louisa. And that was a really strong conflict that was keeping them apart - I love it when I can see both points of view!

  12. Stella, so glad you're another fan of Liz's books. I think she's an amazing writer. I don't want my withers wrung every time I read a book but when it's done right, as it is here, it can be an amazingly profound experience.

  13. Ooh, squeeeee! Liz is in da house! Liz, I just adored LEOPARD TREE LODGE. I hope you picked that up from the review ;-) I love the way you kept the touch so light for a lot of it and still managed to touch my emotions so deeply. Thanks for the recommendations - you know, they're both new to me! Someone who pretty much always makes me cry (in a good way) is Barbara Samuel. Another of my favorite writers.

  14. Deb, laughing at the kids going "Mom's crying AGAIN!" I actually think I'm more likely to cry now that I'm an adult than I ever was as a teenager. I think the emotions get deeper as you get older.

  15. PJ, I've got A MARINE FOR CHRISTMAS packed for my cruise. Can't wait - I cried over Beth's other books, particularly over my favorite of hers, the RITA winning A NOT-SO-PERFECT PAST. That one is an emotional rollercoaster - fabulous. Did I tell you I'm off to New Zealand on Saturday for two weeks? Whoo-hoooooo!

  16. Just remembered a recent read that had me blubbering (and I was on the train so it was a little bit embarrassing!). Sarah Mayberry's Hot Island Nights packed a huge emotional punch. Wonderful book!

  17. Anna, the last book that made me cry was The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts. Before that, it was A Firefighter in the Family by our fellow bandita Trish Milburn.

    I do like books that can reach in and grab me, but that only works if the effect comes naturally from the characters. I think it's hard to create that effect with deliberate manipulation.

    I'm not explaining this so very well. I hope you know what I mean.

  18. The last book I read that made me cry was Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas! What a beautiful and wonderful story! Very heartwarming and romantica plus it has a cute dog! Can't go wrong with that! The book was also very funny which gave it a nice balance. I would highly recommend this book to anyone!

  19. Anna, I really got that you enjoyed the book :) You don't how thrilled I am about that.

    And Barbara Samuel/O'Neal - how could I have forgotten. An autobuy for me after I met her in Matera. Wonderful, wonderful writer.

  20. Nancy, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I sniff out deliberate manipulation mighty fast. But as you say, when the deep emotion wells up as a result of the characters and their circumstances, it's wonderful to read. Thanks for swinging by!

  21. Johanna, Lisa is a master (mistress?) of that lump in the throat emotion, isn't she? Great choice!

  22. Liz, Barbara's an amazingly inspirational speaker as well. She visited our local conference a couple of years ago and people were agog! Hmm, like a day that starts with me using a word like 'agog'! Doesn't happen often enough!

  23. Anna

    I must get me some of Liz's books I do love a book that will make me cry and I have read a few over the years but for the life of me I can't think of the names of them at the moment.

    I do have Beth's A Marine for Christmas on the TBR pile and am really looking forward to it.

    Have a grea time on the cruise

    Have Fun

  24. Helen, haven't you read Liz? Oh, man, how wonderful that I've passed on the recommendation. And she's got a huge backlist which is even better because once I started reading her, I read a whole stack more. Just couldn't help myself. Thanks for the bon voyage! Day after tomorrow, New Zealand here I come!

  25. Wow, Anna, you've given Liz very high praise. And since you're always spot on, it MUST be a winner! Thanks for this awesome second helping. :)

    I'm like Deb, I tear up a lot--during emtional books, movies, and even commercials. And because I do it so often, my list of books would be a mile long. LOL!

  26. Andrea, isn't it terrible when we tear up at a commercial? There was a string of Telstra (our major telephone company) ads years ago about people from other countries who had emigrated to Oz then ringing home. Beautiful music (I think it was The Way We Were although it's so long ago, I could be wrong) and lovely travelogue photos of the places they'd left like the Greek Islands or Italy. Used to howl like a banshee every time I saw them!

    Hey, definitely check out Liz. I LOVE her stuff!