ETA: This contest is now closed.
So! In for a Penny, my debut book, is on sale for 99 cents this week along with over FORTY other historical romances.
Penny was heavily influenced by the Regency romances I was reading at the time (it’s kind of a retelling of Georgette Heyer’s A Civil Contract, and my very favorite Goodreads review EVER describes it as “a Georgette Heyer style historical romance but with sex & explicit fellatio”), so to celebrate, I’m giving away 7 formative romance from my personal library to 7 commenters!
These are all books I read over and over as a teenager (as you can probably see from their condition). This is your chance to read an awesome romance AND own a piece of my literary history!
1. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer.
The first Heyer I ever read! It changed me in ways I would honestly probably rather not know about. I quoted it in my first ever terrible, terrible query letter. I STILL say “One does one’s poor best” when I get a compliment, just like Sir Richard. The back cover copy of this ancient edition reads:
Behind lovely Penelope Creed was the lavish life of a brilliant London heiress, and a proposed marriage to a man she loathed.
Ahead, tantalizing, was the shimmering dream of a love she had known once—and lost.
And with her in flight across a landscape of excitement was a man like no other she had known—the handsome, cynical, sophisticated Sir Richard Wyndham. They had met by accident, been drawn together by danger. And now only his masked emotions and the shifting impulses of her own wild young hear would tell what their destiny would be…
I don’t feel like this really captures the light, witty tone of the book, which is ridiculous and hilarious and brilliant and Sir Richard is way too old for Pen but WHATEVER I LOVED IT.
2. Miss Jacobson’s Journey by Carola Dunn.
This was one of the very first Regencies I ever read (I got my start in the genre by reading every Dunn at the library). I loved this one so much I actually special-ordered the hardback at a local bookstore and saved up my allowance to pay for it. The hero and heroine are Jewish and this book…I think it was important to making me feel like I had a place in this genre. Also this book is AMAZING. It’s like, every trope. The heroine ends up on a roadtrip across the Pyrenees transporting secret gold to Wellington for Jakob Rothschild who is HOT AF in this book btw, and on the trip with her is a guy who hates her and she’s not sure why but he DOES look weirdly familiar, AND a handsome aristocrat who bears the first guy a terrible grudge, and they both fall for her, and there are a million inns and cloak-and-dagger spy shenanigans and this book is SOOOO GOOOOD.
3. Sweet’s Folly by Fiona Hill.
Baby’s first beta hero! OMG I read this book OVER AND OVER. The heroine has to get married because the aunts she lives with are broke, so her best friend is like “You can marry my absent-minded mathematician brother, he won’t even notice you’re there!” So she does, and it’s horribly awkward and they both can barely make eye contact with each other. I have NO idea if this book was good because frankly, it didn’t matter. Alex was shy and sweet and geeky and literal-minded and beautifully blond (pretty sure my hero Solomon was partly inspired by him) and there is SO MUCH PINING which is my catnip and OH MY GOD.
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
Yeah. I really, really love Jane Eyre. In high school if I had nothing to read, I’d pick up my copy, open to a random page, and start reading. (I always skipped directly past Lowood to the adult romance section, though, which I’m kind of appalled by in retrospect. It was so upsetting though!)
I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you—especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land, come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapped; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.
5. The Butler Who Laughed by Michelle Martin.
I don’t even know how many times I reread Michelle Martin’s Regencies in high school. I bought every one I could find (this was before Amazon so there were some I couldn’t find), which was four. They had incredible banter and the heroines were great. This one had the best cover. It’s a house party story and has a little bit of a Jeeves and Wooster feel in some ways: the heroine’s parents are pressuring her to marry this guy who also doesn’t want to marry her, so he gets his hot friend to pose as his butler (sadly only pose) during a house party to help him scuttle the engagement (and also maybe he’s being blackmailed??? I don’t remember that but the back cover copy says so, so it must be true), and of course the heroine falls for the butler but she thinks he’s really a butler, and and and.
6. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier.
Okay, this isn’t a romance. There is no HEA, and I almost feel bad including it here after how often I talk shit when people put Rebecca on romance lists. That said, I really, really WANTED it to be a romance. Every time I reread it I somehow hoped it would be this time. The hero is actually a nice guy (rare for du Mauriers) and also a pirate (woooo!) and he’s mooring his ship on the heroine’s land in Cornwall when she takes her children there to get away from her dissipated lifestyle/husband and clear her head. And she gets to maraud with him and then saves him from jail and it’s so, so good and I just did not see why it couldn’t work out for them no matter how many times my mom tried to explain to me that her kids would be aristocrats if he stayed in England and a poor nobody if they ran away to live in a French pirate’s cabin in Normandy and people thought that was really important in seventeenth-century England.
7. Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer.
We end as we began, with Heyer! I love this book so much. Mary Challoner is amazing, basically, and you have to just go with it. And also kind of set aside the part where Vidal tries to rape her (she does shoot him in response, which is nice!). Or not set it aside, whatever. I vividly remember getting into a fight with a friend in middle school about whether or not his behavior was acceptable, so…baby’s first Romancelandia argument about consent! Truly a milestone.
1. Comment on this post to enter.
2. Say in your comment which book(s) you are interested in, if you have a preference.
2. The winners will be chosen at random using random.org.
3. US and Canada only.
4. Open for entries through May 28, 2016.