Sun
Jun 19 2011 3:00pm

The Return of Diane Farr

The Nobody by Diane FarrIn 1999, Signet Regency Romance published Diane Farr’s first book. The Nobody was a knockout. Unlike many first novels, The Nobody was is a well-plotted book with an interesting and believable premise. Diane Farr’s writing is graceful and her characters unique and recognizable.

The heroine, Caitlyn Campbell, is the eponymous Nobody. She is the daughter of minor gentry, in town for a season under the aegis of her aunt, a baron’s widow. One night, having heard herself denigrated by a duke’s daughter, she walks home from a ball and, in the dark, runs into a mysterious man who needs her help to escape some thugs. 

There was just enough light to discern a tall man, who appeared to be in evening clothes, running toward her at top speed. She caught a glimpse of a gleaming white shirtfront and flying cape before he caromed into her with an exclamation, grabbing her arms to steady himself. Quick as thought, he pulled her with him into the recessed doorway, swinging her body in front of him so her back blocked all view of him from the street.

“Forgive me,” he uttered, and immediately pressed his lips to hers.

The rest is, well, the story. I encourage you to find it and read it.

Diane followed up The Nobody with Fair Game, Falling for Chloe, and Once Upon a Christmas, all Traditional Regencies, three of which were RITA finalists. And then she gave us four longer, Historical Romances. Her first Historical, The Fortune Hunter, is one of my favorites.

Like her Trads, The Fortune Hunter is elegantly written and fun to read. Its hero is George Carstairs, Baron Rival, whom we met as a less-than-heroic character in Falling for Chloe. The Fortune Hunter not only redeems George, it shows him as a thoroughly loveable character without actually changing who he was in Falling for Chloe. Diane Farr does a wonderful job of exploring the depths of George’s character, revealing why he behaves as he does and reclaiming him with the love of a good woman.

Their lips met. For the first time, they kissed with nothing to hide. For the first time, there were no barriers between their souls and no game to win or lose. For the first time, both knew that they loved, and each knew that love was returned.

It was a fairly shattering kiss.

I also encourage you to find this and read it. You won’t be sorry.

After The Fortune Hunter, Diane Farr published two books of what I think was meant to be a trilogy. Then, although her books had  won multiple awards and were universally beloved by those who read them, she found herself without a publisher. Those of us who re-read The Fortune Hunter with embarrassing frequency were despondent.

Wicked Cool by Diane FarrThis year—yay!—Diane Farr is back amongst the published. Or, more precisely, the e-published. But she has left the world of the Regency for contemporary YA—wait for it—paranormal. As  you probably know, my paranormal reading is relegated to fairly normal paranormal, that is mostly humans with special powers—you know, Harry Potter.

But I willingly downloaded Wicked Cool without being quite sure what I would find simply because it was written by Diane Farr and I knew that meant it would be well-written. To my delight, the heroine, Zara Norland, has extraordinary powers but is not a vampire. This coming of age story is about Zara learning about and dealing with these powers.

At school I am a complete loner, because it’s the only safe thing to be — for someone like me.

But away from school, I have Meg. She is a true and excellent friend. I’ve always believed that if you have one true and excellent friend, you are luckier than most. And to have Meg for my true and excellent friend? That made me luckier than anybody.

Tonight, I don’t feel so lucky.

I guess it’s dangerous to have someone, even an incredibly loyal someone, who knows all your secrets.

That just may be the saddest thought I’ve ever had.

Zara is a delightful, conflicted, totally human teen-aged girl. I loved her. I loved the book. And I look forward to the next in Farr’s SpellSpinner series, YA or not, Paranormal or not. YA seems a natural transition for her Traditional Regency voice. While Wicked Cool is totally different from the Regency world,  Diane’s unique voice comes through loud and clear. Welcome back.


 

Myretta Robens
The Republic of Pemberley

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7 comments
Janga
1. Janga
I love Diane Farr's books. The Fortune Hunter is certainly a favorite, but so are Under a Lucky Star and Duel of Hearts. I knew she was writing a YA, but I didn't know it had been released. Thanks for the reminder. I'm off to buy Wicked Cool now.
Janga
2. Santa
Diane Farr's 'Fair Game' remains one of my all time favorite romances and one I reference often. The characters resonate for me time after time. 'The Fortune Hunter' is also a favorite. I am so happy to hear she is back and with a YA paranormal. My daughter's favorite sub-genre. I love that a Diane Farr book will be a part of our reading pleasure!
Donna Cummings
3. Donna Cummings
How did I miss these the first time around? Thanks for the heads-up. I've got these on my list now too. :)
Janet Webb
4. JanetW
@janga Thanks for mentioning Under a Lucky Star ... some of my faves didn't make the transistion from Signet to standalone gracefully but Diane Farr isn't one of them :)

The Fortune Hunter deserves a blog all to itself (note to the world) because it's so very unusual and moving -- and humourous too! As sweet as their kiss was, I think it's a dance in the moonlight or one of their many conversations that remain with me. It's a book that shows great emotional depth as the two protagonists bare (metaphorically) their souls to each other.

Also, how often to you follow the impoverished rake home to watch him valet himself? Or truly understand the gifts given to our heroine from Lord Fortune that have everything to do with liberation and seizing back your dreams from girlhood. The secondary characters were memorable too ... including an unforgettable cat.
Diane Farr
5. DianeFarr
I wish you could know how much your comments mean to me. Thank you, everyone, for your encouraging words! I'm touched that you remember my books so fondly. And I do hope to write more. It's a long, slow process - for me, anyway - since I no longer have the luxury of writing full-time. But the books are in me! (Including that third book of the "star" trilogy.) I am working on a sequel to Wicked Cool that I hope to have out by Halloween. I must say, I'm extremely proud to have such intelligent, discerning readers! It's such a delight -- really, indescribable -- when a total stranger picks up your book and likes the very things you hoped readers would like. Not everyone notices the details. Not everyone picks up the character clues an author drops. (Some people failed to understand the hero's rock-solid decency in Fair Game, for example -- they took him at his own valuation instead of picking up the clues I dropped to indicate that he was as clueless about himself as he was about the heroine.) So THANK YOU for noticing, for caring -- and for liking Manegold the cat as much as I do.
Janga
6. DianeFarr
Oh, what a dope I am -- it wasn't Manegold-the-cat you were remembering, it was Tom! Oh, yes. Dear little Tom. He cleverly revealed to us all what a softie wicked Lord Rival was becoming. (Manegold was in ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS!)
Janga
7. Gail Eastwood
Before Diane Farr was published, I had the pleasure of judging a portion of The Nobody in the New England Chapter of RWA's "First Kiss" contest. At no time, before or since, has a contest entry I judged ever stood out so clearly as being outstanding. It had a special spark, not to mention Diane's inimitable writing voice and sense of humor. We corresponded, and I have been a fan ever since. I am so glad to see her reissues coming out, and new books in the works! I applaud you all for your excellent taste! We must support intelligent authors who write superior stories!
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