Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!
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 four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.
Romance As Respite
It’s such a common story that I feel almost apologetic telling my own version of it: I started reading romance when I was at something like rock bottom in my life, and romance helped me see my way out. I had three babies in diapers, I had a bad case of postpartum depression, I had no time, no sleep, no joy. When I started hearing the cries of phantom babies even when my own were sleeping, I went to the doctor.
“You need to sleep,” she said, as if that were possible. “You need to do something for yourself. Get a massage. Buy yourself a muffin. Read a book.” I opened my mouth to protest that I had no time for massages, that my babies’ allergies meant I couldn’t eat any muffins, and that I did read, but she cut me off. “Parenting books don’t count.” Damn.
I left the office with a prescription for a higher dose of my anti-depressant and a recollection that I had been meaning to read Georgette Heyer’s Frederica. Reading, as it turned out, was something I could do while feeding even my fussy changeling babies. I moved from Heyer to Lisa Kleypas to Courtney Milan until I was more or less mainlining historical romance. Slowly, I reacquainted myself with the part of my brain that actually enjoyed things. I remembered that I liked stories that end happily, that end with love and hope. I had previously dismissed this preference as vaguely tacky and embarrassing. Now I embraced it: life was hard, my brain chemistry was garbage, and I’d be damned if I was going to waste a single moment of my life reading something that didn’t put a smile on my face.
Something about reading these stories scratches an itch. There’s something satisfyingly fundamental about people pairing up, joining together to form little families, and going forth to confront whatever life has in store for them. Romance isn’t only people finding love; it’s people organizing themselves into units, teams, families, whatever you want to call it; it’s knowing somebody has your back.
The books I’m recommending have in common a sense of building a life despite overwhelming odds, and the power of love to see you through the worst.
Harper Fox’s Seven Summer Nights takes place in a small English village shortly after World War II. A shell shocked archeologist is about to give up on life, but instead meets a vicar who has resigned himself to life without love. Watching these characters put their lives back together and find the courage to move forward was one of my reading highlights of the past year.
Bollywood and the Beast by Suleikha Snyder is an atmospheric and poignant beauty and the beast story. A former Bollywood star has become a recluse after a disfiguring accident, and watching him slowly learn to enjoy life again and believe he’s worthy of love makes this one of my ultimate comfort reads.
The main characters of EE Ottoman’s gorgeously written Documenting Light experience identity issues, shrinking support networks, job loss, an ailing parent, and uncertain futures, all while finding one another. It’s a testament to how much easier it is to get through the daily grind with someone you love by your side.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.
Whenever a reader tells me that my books helped them get through a bad stretch of time, I feel like I’m paying it forward.
Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.
There’s a dresser in my daughter’s bedroom that was mine and my mother’s. I don’t have any specific memories associated with it, but sometimes when I open the door, I have such a vivid sense of déjà vu from my own childhood.
Tell us about a word that has power for you.
I hear the word never and immediately start figuring out exceptions. I can’t help it—it’s like some kind of Pavlov’s dog reaction.
Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).
I have an endless appetite for stories of Holmes and Watson falling in love (or embarking on a queerplatonic life partnership, or whatever—I’m not picky). Something about the lifelong affection between the two men really speaks to me and reminds me of all the good things humans are capable of. Elinor Gray’s Compound a Felony is an excellent example of this type of story.
Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.
I’m super lucky to have almost always been surrounded by people who boost me up and believe that I’m capable of whatever I want, no matter how harebrained the idea sounds. This has basically given me an arsenal of self-esteem that makes it possible to weather setbacks.
Cat is generously giving away a paperback or e-book of one of my books (winner’s choice) and some stickers. To enter, leave a message below by 11:59 pm PST August 8, 2017. (US only)
She’ll be giving away two e-copies as part of the US bundles, also winner’s choice, one each for two readers (see below for more information.)
There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.
Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird-watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.
Buy Cat’s books:
*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 (US only) 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.
(Cat is contributing to the US bundles.)
To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week1@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)
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 Week1@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)
Week 1 contests are through Aug. 8
For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors 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 August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.
(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)
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 ReadARomanceMonth.com. 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