Picking up right where we left off in Part 1, more LaVyrle Spencer favorites...
Separate Beds: Clay Forrester is a wealthy college grad student working toward becoming a lawyer. His one-night stand with blind date Catherine Anderson (during an off period with his off/on girlfriend, Jill) leads to pregnancy and a marriage of convenience. The marriage will allow Clay to save his reputation and his soon-coming career, while giving Catherine financial security and safety from her abusive father.
What makes it great: His buttery popcorn hands on baby bump, the two of them making a townhouse a home and going from near-strangers to falling in love. Catherine is a very serious heroine, and Clay is an affectionate hero who gets frustrated with Cat’s ironclad lockdown on her feelings. They both grow up through the course of the novel; two kids become two adults, deep in love for each other, and for their baby.
Years: Linnea Brandonberg arrives in Dickinson, North Dakota, prepared to take on a much needed teaching position and move in with her host family. She did not expect handsome grass widower farmer, Theodore Westgaard to take such an immediate dislike of her! His son is nearly her age! Luckily his mother, Nissa, allows her stay with them as planned, and despite Theodore’s bitterness for his ex-wife, he finds himself falling for a woman sixteen years his junior and she feels the same. Everything would be gravy, if only the man wouldn’t fight it tooth and nail.
What makes it great: Linnea was part of a fairly well-off family, so she’s unused to hearty Norwegian food and gags/turns green when she figures out what she’s eating sometimes. Pretty funny as I imagine a majority of readers would feel the same! It’s a May/December (I love these!) and I love how Linnea wiggles her way into Theodore’s heart and gently rebuffs the son (and that there’s no hard feelings on the son’s behalf). There’s a very emotional scene in the snow between Theodore and his brother designed to show the harshness of winter and living (fair warning it also has a character death :() I love when Theodore grovels silently, but with actions by showing up and having her teach him to read. They both know it’s an excuse he’s come up with to see her, but it doubles as his courting... sigh! And that it doesn’t end with the courting either, we get to see them married too!
Morning Glory: Will Parker is an ex-convict drifter blowing through towns looking for work, food, and a place to stay until they discover his past and kick him out. Soon after he loses his job at a local sawmill in Whitney, Georgia, Will finds a personal ad looking for a man/husband. The woman seeking is none other than Crazy Elly Dinsmore, a woman the town looks on as a nutcase. Barefoot, pregnant, with two kids already, Elly desperately needs a man. While her deceased husband was good and kind, he was a dreamer and Elly needs a doer, someone who will get the job done and help her raise her family. Will could be that man, given half a chance. They decide on a trial period before agreeing to wed. The story spans WWII, starting just before America is drawn into action when America is still in the midst of the Great Depression.
What makes it great: Will Parker is a thief by necessity instead of design. At his core, he’s an honest, hard working man, looking for a second chance. He’s great with Elly’s kids, a patient teacher and sensitive to them and their mother. He needs a lover and a mother figure and finds both in Elly. Some of the best things about the book are Will’s relationship with the town’s librarian Miss Beasley, the hot bubblebath scene, and Will watching the newborn baby nurse at her breast. Both the hero and heroine suffer from low self-esteem. Spencer deals fabulously with Will’s PTSD and the murder mystery at the end too.
Now for some runner ups— which I feel are okay, or a bit better, but not some of Spencer’s best. I’m including them because my mother or friend loved these and would hate to see me not mention them in a LaVyrle Spencer post.
The Hellion: I think it’s great that the hero has to get back into shape before he goes a-wooing his heroine in The Hellion, but there wasn’t much else that struck me in it. There was something about an abortion or maybe a miscarriage that broke up the main couple and to this day that kind of storyline isn’t one that I like. Too sad. I read it once.
Twice Loved: I like the sequence where you see the original love triangle in action, with one leg being unrequited. But I just felt icky about the *cheating* aspect as the heroine married the other guy when her real love *died.* The other guy was always second best and that wasn’t fair to him. I read it twice...ha! To give it a second chance, but nope, not one of my favorites yet.
Vows: This one also had a *cheating* slant. The heroine was engaged, but the hero didn’t think she loved the guy and wiggled his way between them. There are some fun aspects to this novel, but it’s not a favorite because of the sneaking around. I’ve read this three times long ago, but I might have to go back and give it another try.
Which is your favorite LaVyrle Spencer and why?
Keira Gillett reviews romance of all genres at Love Romance Passion. She loves marriage of convenience plots and angst ridden breakups that ultimately end up in gooey happily ever afters. You can also find her on Twitter.