Today we welcome Cara McKenna to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Cara’s Hard Time came out earlier this week, and it features a convicted felon hero who courts the librarian heroine via clandestine love letters. An ex-con falling for a librarian is not the easiest tale to tell, and comes with some pretty intense moments. Cara is here to share some of the reasons (and recommendations) that gritty is oh-so great. Thanks, Cara!
Editor's note: Please be aware that his post contains discussion of rape and dubious consent.
Darren, Michigan, is a struggling former factory town, home to my most recent book, Hard Time, and the fictional Cousins Correctional Facility. Darren’s a pretty bleak little working-class city, short on both industry and hope. Recently, I asked friends and readers on Twitter what their favorite gritty romances from the past year were, and got loads of excellent recommendations. I picked four that I intended to read and reference in this post, but then something messed that plan all up.
A something called Wanderlust, by Skye Warren.
I’d not read Warren before, but a friend came over for pizza and gossip and told me about it. I caught key words—dubious consent, trucker, kidnapping—and promptly one-clicked.
The trouble with my original plan is that since I started Wanderlust I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I don’t want it out of my head yet, like a flavor I’m a little worried I won’t ever taste again, so I’m hesitant to wash it away with some other meal, no matter how lovely the new tastes might be. It’s beautiful, and it’s so, so, fucked. And wonderful. And fucked. And so not for everyone. Let me explain some of the ways in which it’s fucked.