March is turning out to be a great month for the eclectic reader in me!
Marisa de los Santos’ The Precious One released and I loved it! De los Santos is a romance writer at heart, who combines her perfect romantic pitch with breathtaking writing, really quirky characters and a piercing emotional wisdom that is heart-wrenching and fulfilling. But ohmygoodness, the bright love stories in this novel will satisfy the most ardent romance lover. If you enjoyed Love Walked In or Belong to Me, especially, you will probably love this book. And if you’ve never read her before, I highly recommend you do. Here’s a snippet of the publisher’s write-up:
In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.
Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.
Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?
Also out this month is M.J. Rose’s The Witch of Painted Sorrows, which revisits the author’s haunting hallmark themes of reincarnation, historical time jumps and possible possession. It’s set in Paris during the intriguing Belle Epoque and revolves around a romance that raises too many questions—and involves the supernatural—to make us feel at ease about it. But it’s hard not to be fascinated by the obsessive artist and the architect who loves her, and their past lives and loves that may or may not be asserting a dangerous influence on their “present” selves (present being the late 1800s). This book is the beginning of a series and ends on a cliffhanger, so there’s no happy ending here, though we can hope for one, can’t we? And as we’re waiting and hoping, we can fall into the sheer joy of Rose’s rich storytelling and lyrical writing.
Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool came out in 2013, but I had the pleasure of listening to it this month, and I am reminded how much I love this author! Technically considered a book for young teens, I can guarantee that no one who loves a good story will walk away from this gem of a novel feeling like it was written solely for children. Inspiring and amazing in its interconnectedness, the novel surprises even though, at the same time, we know that this twist was the only possible twist the story could take. The simple description of the story is that, just after World War II, two young teens take a hair-raising quest into the wild woods of Maine during Spring Break. But there is nothing simple about this book, and, as with Vanderpool’s remarkable debut, Moon Over Manifest, the straightforward storytelling belies a dazzling complexity that few books equal. Two tiny little romances exist in these pages, but the overall satisfying ending and the poetic way everything comes together will give the same sense of “all is right in the world” that we get from a good romance.
Finally, this month I read Jacqueline Winspear's 11th Maisie Dobbs novel, A Dangerous Place. I love this series and it’s inimitable title character who is part psychologist, part detective and part intuitive. I am not going to go too much into it, because it’s the 11th book, and you should definitely start at the beginning. If you’re a romance reader who needs a happy ending, then these books might be too much for you, because while there is a lot of grace, brilliance, and truth in these books, there isn’t a ton of light-heartedness, and certainly not a ton of happy endings other than mysteries being solved. But if you’re a bit more intrepid and can take some heartbreak in a series that in many other ways is wholly satisfying, then give Maisie Dobbs a try.
What are you reading this month? Lots of great romances came out and many more are coming soon. (Can't wait for Eloisa James' Four Nights With the Duke and Lorraine Heath's The Duke and the Lady in Red!) Were you a diehard romance fan in March or did you move into other genres of fiction? Do share!
Happy (eclectic) reading!