We all have keeper shelves, but some of us have so many well-loved books they’re stacked two deep. The other day I was pulling some dusty tomes out from the back of the shelves and ran across keepers I hadn’t seen in years. Because it’s nice to share, here are some books you may not have heard of, but are worth checking out. Some may be out of print, but that makes reading them after you track them down even more fun. Don’t forget your local public library Inter-Library Loan service. It’s a great way to get your hands on obscure books:
Nightwing by Lynn Michaels—A modest little Harlequin Temptation paranormal predating all those sparkly vampire boys. A mysterious hero who has no reflection in the mirror? A heroine inheriting a spooky house in a remote location? Oh, yes, back before the paranormal genre hit the big time, this was one for all of us who longed for romance with a little…bite.
A Man Like Mac by Fay Robinson—A Harlequin Superromance, and an early romance featuring a hero in a wheelchair. We’ve come a long way in the last 15 years in portraying heroes and heroines with disabilities, but MAC was a ground breaking novel for mainstream romance. More importantly, it was a damn fine read.
The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson—Not exactly a romance, but it has a strong romantic element to it. The setting in feudal Japan made the novel stand out. We follow Lady Asano, or “Cat” as she now calls herself, as she sets out alone on the fabled Tokaido Road hundreds of miles to Kyoto. It’s the road book to end all road books, and was a lovely change from Eurocentric romances. As Stefon from SNL would say, “It has everything.”: ninjas, disguises, ronin and a samurai lady who wields a mean naginata.
Perfect Strangers by Lou Ann Gaeddert—This was a quirky, odd story whose premise sounds bizarre, even to the protagonists, but there’s a delightful and moving romance waiting to be discovered here. Natalie is an artist. She’s not especially pretty, or so her family keeps telling her, but she’s made a successful career for herself and lives alone on a farm with apple trees. One day a stranger knocks on her door, asking if he can set up his tent for a few days down by her creek. Things happen, and Natalie makes the stranger a proposition that leads to a most unusual relationship.
The Adventurers by Michelle Martin—This is my obligatory Regency offering. Even better, it’s a chick-in-breeches Regency with swordplay and banter, a road trip, a gruff hero, a non-obnoxious adolescent, and an inheritance. Much catnip in one lovely little book!
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella—Another novel not marketed as a romance, but with attractions for romance readers. Set during occupied Italy in WWII, it has a British officer matching wits with an Italian widow who exposes the army officers to culinary delights unlike any they’ve ever experienced. James Gould is supposed to stop the Tommies from marrying the local lasses, but how can he maintain discipline when he’s finding the spicy widow and her mouth-watering dishes hard to resist?
The Painted Lady by Lucia Grahame—This one’s for fans of erotica with BDSM elements. It’s a historical set in the Victorian era, about an Englishman who marries the widow of a famed artist. Sir Anthony has little idea of the hidden past that shadows Fleur, but discovery of a series of paintings done by her late husband causes Anthony to see Fleur, and her secrets, in a new light. It’s an intense story, but worth tracking down.
So now I have all these books scattered about my office. I should dust them and place them back on their shelves, but I know it’s going to be hard to resist re-reading all of these keeper treasures one more time.
Are there hidden treasures on your keeper shelf? Share them with us and spread the love!
Learn more about the books mentioned in this post:
|Nightwing by Lynn Michaels|
|A Man Like Mac by Fay Robinson|
|The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson|
|Perfect Strangers by Lou Ann Gaeddert|
|The Adventurers by Michelle Martin|
|The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella|
|The Painted Lady by Lucia Grahame|
Darlene Marshall writes award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers, and the occasional possum. You can learn more about her and her books at www.darlenemarshall.com