by Anna Campbell
No, it's a SuperRomance!
As I said last month, I've been on a bit of a Harlequin kick lately. And I must say it's been blissful. There have been all those Sarah Morgans (check out last month's review if you missed it - highly recommended reads!). There were a stack of India Greys and the wonderful week where I managed to knock over five Liz Fieldings in a row.
As you've probably gathered from the title of this piece, I've also read some great SuperRomances so I thought I'd share a couple of them with you. I'm delighted to say that all these books are still available from Amazon.
Since I discovered Aussie Sarah Mayberry a couple of years ago, she's moved into the position of a must-buy for me. I love her books - they're full of so much heart. And her books are heartbreakingly real, full of people you could imagine meeting and liking if they lived next-door (as in fact, the hero and heroine here do). I think that's one of the strengths of the SuperRomance line - these wonderful love stories are based so closely in the here and now. You KNOW I love a larger-than-life story like a passionate historical or a Harlequin Presents - but occasionally it's nice to touch base with the everyday and discover it can be as magical as any romance featuring arrogant dukes or managing millionaires.
In HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, widower Joe Lawson is seeking to put down roots in Melbourne for him and his kids after a really rough couple of years. He falls in love with his free-spirited neighbor Hannah Napier who hasn't had an easy time of it lately either, what with her fiance dumping her just before the wedding in favor of her sister. All she wants to do is leave the humiliations of the past behind and get outta Dodge (well, Melbourne). Joe and Hannah are just so darn likeable so you cheer every uncertain step they take toward love. The first date scene in particular is poignant. You'll love this!
I reviewed another Karina Bliss (WHAT THE LIBRARIAN DID) back in June last year. At the time, I commented on the rich emotion and the wonderful cast of characters, not just the hero and heroine (this was the rockstar going back to uni and falling in love with the outwardly-repressed librarian, lovely story!). There's equally rich emotion in HERE COMES THE GROOM and you'll fall in love with the residents of this small New Zealand town. They perform like a Greek chorus on the increasingly madcap courtship of childhood best friends Dan Jansen and Jocelyn Swann. Barry, the owner of the local menswear store, is a particular favorite. I was snickering into my morning cup of tea when I read his scenes and you will be too.
Friends into lovers is one of my favorite themes and this is a lovely exploration of that often fraught process. After facing tragedy in Afghanistan, ex-Special Forces officer Dan returns to his home town determined to establish a family and a fulfilling life. An essential element of that life is his childhood friend Jocelyn who runs the local newspaper. Jocelyn has had trauma of her own to deal with in the past years (trauma Dan doesn't know about and when he finds out, it's a heartbreaking scene). She's unwilling to risk the one stable relationship in her life for the possibility of romance with Dan, especially as she recognizes that he's still shell-shocked from his army experiences. When Dan sets out to change her mind, there's some wonderful comedy but at the heart of this book, it's a moving story of healing and forgiveness and love finally brought out into the open. Recommended!
Two of the authors in this review are already auto-buys for me. Molly O'Keefe was a new writer to me when I picked up THE SON BETWEEN THEM.
One word - wow!
The tone of this one is darker and more intense than a lot of Supers. And the story was really unusual - don't be fooled by that secret baby tag on the front. Yeah, there is a secret baby but it's handled in such a different, intriguing way, you'll be drawn in from the first page.
Sam and J.D. (Sam's the heroine and J.D. is the hero) have been in an uncommitted but passionate relationship for years when suddenly everything in their world tuns upside down. It's not just the existence of their child, it's events in the outside world that suddenly impinge on their affair and threaten either to destroy it or to carry them towards an emotional fulfillment both always believed beyond their reach. Sam is my favorite sort of romance heroine - she's smart and capable and strong and she acts like an adult in even the most trying of circumstances. J.D. is a genuinely tortured hero and he's gorgeous. His unforgettable struggle to emerge from the dark into the light will touch your heart. Molly O'Keefe was a major discovery for me.
So what's been your genre of choice lately? Are you a SuperRomance reader? Can you recommend any other authors I should try in this line?