I have confession to make…I hope it doesn’t make all of you think less of me…
I read romance novels. Regularly. It’s a serious addiction.
But, as a housewife, I would argue that reading of any kind is far superior to falling into the stereotype of bonbon eating, soap opera watching, and nosy neighboring housewife.
I also fall into that stereotype…but my husband loves me anyways. And who in their right mind doesn’t love a bonbon?
Let me be clear, however, as to which romance novels I read. You will not, for example, find me reading Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, or anything else which is likely to be adapted into a Lifetime Movie.
Not that I don’t occasionally indulge in a little Lifetime Movie Network from time to time. Or frequently. Don’t judge me! Can I help it if they suck me into their tales of love, betrayal, and mystery?
But when it comes to novels, I have standards!
- Historical romance only (generally Regency, but I also enjoy Edwardian or Georgian)
- Intelligent heroines
- Dialogue needs to be amusing and witty
- Absolutely NO melodramatic bodice rippers
- Minimal use of outlandish euphemisms (I can handle the occasional “throbbing member” but keep your “glistening swords” and “silky folds” out of my books)
As with all rules, there are exceptions. I have one: standards may be broken only upon strong recommendation from my friend, Katie, whose judgment on romance novels I trust above all others.
It was her, after all, who found the Bridgertons…
If you are an avid reader of historical romance, then I sincerely hope you know the Bridgertons. This book series, written by Julia Quinn, are among my absolute favorite! So if you don’t know the eight Bridgerton siblings (famously names in alphabetical order) I suggest you find out.
Seriously, your life will be better for it.
I recently had the incredible opportunity to meet Julia at a book signing where (even though the rules clearly stated no outside books were allowed) she signed my tattered old copy of The Viscount Who Loved Me (book 2 of the series), which remains my favorite romance novel ever.
Katie discovered the Bridgertons on a lazy summer afternoon when we were in high school. A trip to the bookstore led her to randomly pick up a romance novel, whereas I chose an anthology of re-written fairy tales. Because all young teens spend their summers reading…right? My book was terrible, whereas Katie would not stop bursting into a fit of giggles at regular intervals. As she snickered about over-ripe citrus fruits and unfortunate bee stings leading to marriage proposals, I was immediately intrigued. Luckily for me, Katie is a fast reader and I was able to steal the book soon after. I re-read it about once a year and it is the very same book I had signed by Julia.
Since Katie had yet to read the two latest novels from Julia Quinn (a quartet about the Smythe-Smiths and their terrible musicales) I got book one, Just Like Heaven, signed by Julia Quinn to send to her.
Since I couldn’t possibly send just a book, I decided to put together a care package. I recently posted about how I create gift baskets and care packages are much the same. Using Just Like Heaven as inspiration, I put together my Smythe-Smith Musicale care package.
The tea cookies (which is really just what I chose to call them, they are really just frosted sugar cookies) were made using recipes from The Decorated Cookie. I used the color flow technique to cover each cookie with the grey frosting, and then before they had set I piped on top with the light blue frosting. In the future, I will likely thin out the piping frosting quite a bit so that it blends into the frosting a bit more, creating an even surface on the cookie.
Here is a short list of some of my favorite romance novels
- Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
- Brighter Than the Sun by Julia Quinn
- When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
- A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E. Woodwiss
- The entire Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole
It should be noted that Kresley Cole falls under my “exceptions” for romance novels. The Immortals After Dark series is a modern-day paranormal romance series and is absolutely hysterical! No sparkling vampires here…but you do get a bat-shit crazy soothsayer Valkyrie with an obsessive crush on Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and witches as competitive with their Xbox as they are with their spells.