Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!
If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!
We All Deserve A Little Romance
Romance. The very word makes most men – and many women – shift uneasily. To be romantic is to be silly, in a sometimes adorable, distinctly embarrassing way. Most people dismiss romance novels as trite and inconsequential. Literary critics want nothing to do with romance.
This is all very odd, because if you can get people to detach from the social conditioning and be honest, they will have to admit that they don’t dislike the concept of love. The idea of a solid partnership built on affection and attraction, of belonging together, that’s something human beings need. We are social creatures.
Whether or not a couple can make such a relationship work, that’s another question. The idea of failing to establish a basic connection and always being alone is scary, and one way to deal with that fear is to deny and ignore it. Think of a romance novel as a carnival full of light, fun and mysterious and scary. A treasure hidden somewhere, maybe behind the house of mirrors. A lot of people walk right past, slowing down a little until you notice them. Then they’ll deny any interest. Sure, they say, maybe there’s a treasure. Okay, it looks interesting. But I’ll look like an idiot if I search for it, and if I find it, then what? So they pass on by and sneer at people who go in to explore.
Sara Donati recommends:
I’ve been in a bit of a dry spell lately, but I would definitely recommend Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You and its sequel, After You. Me Before You is a love story of a different kind and a hard act to follow, but After You is really touching and ultimately satisfying.
A love story set in modern day Manhattan that doesn’t have to do with shoe shopping? I’ll take two. Start with Steal Me by Lauren Layne.
See Lauren’s RARM ’16 post here.
Ellen Herrick’s first novel – The Sparrow Sisters – is quirky and evocative and engaging. I’m going to keep an eye on her.
(Bobbi here – fwiw, I concur with all of these recs. And I would describe The Sparrow Sisters exactly the same way! Love these authors. xo)
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
I have a memory of a walk in the countryside outside Princeton, New Jersey on a warm summer night. There was a light breeze and the scent of lilac in the air, and a field where fireflies rose and fell like waves over the pastures.
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
I have an old friend, someone I went to graduate school with, who stayed in academia when I left and is now a very well established professor in a classics department. She writes scholarly books about ancient Greek poetry, and she loves a good romance. When we were younger and had the time and opportunity, we talked about romance novels a lot. We still recommend them back and forth. Late last year when one of my dogs died and I was feeling very low, she sent me Meg Donohue’s Dog Crazy: A Novel of Love Lost and Found, and I thought: now there’s a friend who really knows me.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
New York City is the place I associate with romance. When I was twenty-three a guy I was dating took me home for Christmas, and we spent a week running around the city. He didn’t last, but my memories of that week in the city did. That was the year Woody Allen’s Manhattan came out, and the city really felt like that to me.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
My parents-in-law were married for more than fifty years. They were tremendously attuned to each other’s wants and needs, always respectful even when irritated, and they could make each other laugh. Even when he was close to death, my father-in-law’s face would light up when his Mary came into the room.
Tell us about your dream date.
If I were thirty again and single, I think I would love a date that started early on a spring morning in Bruges, a city in Belgium I’ve always wanted to visit. We’d explore foot all day long, find interesting out of the way restaurants to eat at, and we’d do that until sunset.
Sara Donati is generously giving away two copies of The Gilded Hour in trade paper or eformat. (US readers only, apologies to international friends).
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST August 21, 2016. Good luck!
(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)
Sara Donati (aka Rosina Lippi) earned a PhD in linguistics from Princeton in 1987. After ten years on the faculty at the University of Michigan, she left a tenured professorship and since 2000 has been writing fiction full time. Her first novel (Homestead, written as Rosina Lippi) won the PEN/Hemingway award and was short listed for England’s prestigious Orange Prize. In addition to Homestead and the six novels of Into the Wilderness series, she is the author of two contemporary novels (The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square and Tied to the Tracks). Her most recent book, The Gilded Hour, was named one of 2015’s best novels by the Seattle Times. She is working, slowly but surely, on the next novel in the series from her home on Bellingham Bay in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband (known to her weblog readers as The Mathematician), her adult daughter, a sweetly aging Havanese named Tuck, and a rambunctious cat. In addition to history and storytelling (on the page and screen both) her abiding passions are civil rights, animal welfare, dogs, and mixed media art.
Buy Sara Donati’s books:
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