Beatriz Williams – Romance & Heroism

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2017!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre! Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors 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.

Happy August!


Exploring Human Experience

When I was about seven years old, my parents first started taking me to the opera with them. I remember watching Don Giovanni at the Seattle Opera when the entire orchestra was on strike and a pair of grand pianos accompanied the singers, and I remember how a horse nearly fell into the orchestra pit during the Grand March of Aida. I remember listening to complete recordings in the car as we drove along the highway, and I remember watching Live From the Met telecasts in starstruck awe. I remember arranging myself as Desdemona’s picturesque corpse because of my new, flowing white nightgown, and I remember the Valkyrie costumes my mother made for me and my sister at Halloween.

Now, you can speculate all you like on the psychological damage all this inflicted on our young minds, and I’m not going to argue with you. To put things succinctly, I was not one of the Cool Kids. But time heals all, and I’m no longer ashamed of my operatic past. In fact, it’s made me the storyteller I am today. No other art form celebrates the power of love so profoundly, so movingly as opera. What gives human meaning to the political struggle between secular and ecclesiastical power in Don Carlo? The desperate, impossible (and, incidentally, not-historically-accurate) love between Carlo and his father’s new bride, Elisabeth of Valois. For what does Brünnhilde renounce the world of the gods? Her love for Siegfried. I can’t think of a single opera in which romantic human love doesn’t play a vital, even a driving role—opera starts and ends with love, with the sacrifice love demands of us, with the ultimate hold love commands on us. In the electric chemistry between Placido Domingo and Renata Scotto in the Metropolitan Opera’s 1980 production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, I learned everything I needed to know about passion. (My husband, no fool, proposed to me before the fountains at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center.)

Today, of course, romance is no longer in fashion. To write about love and sex is to banish yourself instantly from the world of “serious” writers and “high” art, because love invites heroism and heroism, as any thinking person knows, is merely a triumphalist construct and not a real thing. But I don’t give a damn. I side with Verdi and Wagner, with Puccini and Bellini. I want to be moved. I want to understand and explore the extreme edge of human experience. I want to know what’s worth living for and dying for. I want the power of romance. (And if it’s set to music, all the better.)

Beatriz recommends:

I am forever a fan of my writing buddies, Karen White and Lauren Willig.

Karen’s latest The Night the Lights Went Out is a brilliant suburban thriller with strokes of Georgia history    –    @Amazon

Lauren Willig’s upcoming The English Wife turns a Gilded Age murder into an enthralling Gothic mystery.    –    @Amazon

My two new discoveries this year are Anya Seton, whose classic novel Katherine dazzled me for days, and Jillian Cantor, whose The Lost Letter movingly depicts the anguish of lovers separated by the course of war.

Read More about Anya Seton @Wikipedia   –    @Amazon

Jillian Cantor    @Amazon


(Willig, White & Williams will have another book out too, someday. If you missed The Forgotten Room, I highly recommend it! ~ Bobbi)

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

Like many of us, my first book boyfriend was Almanzo Wilder and my first romance was These Happy Golden Years. I read the entire series when I was quite young, but even at that age the subtle, gently-told love story between Laura and Almanzo—to say nothing of his heroism saving the town during the Long Winter—absolutely transfixed me. I loved Almanzo’s quiet strength, his patience, his appreciation for Laura’s gifts, and I loved how their love acted as a kind of amplifier to the story, making every detail more vivid and every act more telling. The lessons here were twofold—first, that romance strikes at the heart of what it means to be human, that it raises the stakes of every story. Second, that the greatest tool in storytelling is restraint.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

Obsessed with history as I am, I tend to get much more sentimental about objects connected to someone else’s past than to my own! But I’m deeply attached to the old wooden box in which I’ve the notes and cards my husband gave to me in the early years of our relationship.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Fidelity. Like all powerful words, it has so many layers of meaning – not just sexual monogamy, but a deeper spiritual loyalty, faithfulness, honor itself. It is integrity put to the test. I think of Fidelio—Beethoven’s breathtaking only opera—and the reverence in which he holds this bond between wife and husband. All my novels deal, to lesser or greater extent, with the loyalty that love demands of us, and the betrayal we feel when that loyalty is broken. Our need for trust is one of the most essential aspects of human nature.

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

As I was researching my upcoming Juliana Gray book, A Strange Scottish Shore, I did a fair amount of reading on medieval Britain, which led me inevitably back to John of Gaunt, a historical figure who has always fascinated me, not least because of the stirring speech given to him by Shakespeare in Richard II. I realized I had never read Anya Seton’s classic novel Katherine, about his love affair with (and eventual marriage to) Katherine Swynford, who bore him four children that eventually gave rise to the current branch of the royal family. So I ordered the book as my reward for finishing A Strange Scottish Shore, and absolutely tore through it in one sleepless twenty-four-hour read. If there’s one novel that conveys the power of romance—to enthrall readers, to change to course of history—this is it, movingly and beautifully told.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

Vera Britton

I’m going to leave aside the obvious influences of family and friends and turn to Vera Brittain, whose memoir Testament of Youth opened my eyes to the tragedy of the First World War and its long-reaching effects on the course of the twentieth century—not just in terms of historical facts, but as the catalyst for the development of modern culture. For me, she illuminated the struggle of an entire generation to come to grips with tragedy and with the disillusionment of a once-idealistic youth, and there was no turning back for me after that. It’s the reason why all my books are set, in whole or in part, during the first half of the twentieth century, and it forms the long backbone of theme that runs through them.

Main Drawing:

Beatriz is generously giving away: a bundle of her Twenties trio – COCOA BEACH, A CERTAIN AGE, and THE WICKED CITY, as well as an ARC of her upcoming Juliana Gray release, A STRANGE SCOTTISH SHORE to one lucky reader!

To enter, leave a message below. (US only, apologies to international friends.)

She is also sponsoring a tote & cup combo! (see below for more information)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.



Beatriz Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Along the Infinite Sea, A Certain Age, and several other works of historical fiction. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization. Beatriz’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and appear regularly in bestseller lists around the world.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Beatriz now lives near the Connecticut shore with her husband and four children, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.


Learn more:   |    Facebook     |    Twitter @authorbeatriz


Buy Beatriz’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo


Buy Juliana Gray’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!


Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Beatriz/Juliana is contributing to all of the drawings below.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors (including are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include a couple of international bundles.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!


Check out all three great posts everyday in August at  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  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.

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading  #ReadARomance