Aug 18 2015 12:00pm

The Best Authors You’ve Never Read

Nightwing by Lynn Michaels

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

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

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Scarlettleigh
I have very few keepers -- I cull religiously even on my kindle. I have books by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (which I was so excited to discover has released some of her books as e-books) and Cheryl Reavis. Those are the books I consider keepers. I have other books in a small cabinet -- I like them okay, but not enough to pay again for the e-book, so I keep the book.

I used to re-read a lot, but rarely do anymore -- the internet takes up that time.
2. Kareni
What a fun post! I too have some long time favorites still lurking on my shelves.

Abra Taylor's Hold Back the Night, 1983
Barbara Kaye's Home at Last, 1985 (Harlequin Superromance)
Jacqueline Marten's Dream Walker, 1987

as well as some early Elizabeth Lowell titles that she wrote as Ann Maxwell: Tell Me No Lies, 1986, and Time Shadow Rider, 1986.

I don't know if it would be classified as a romance but I also have
The Cheerleader by Ruth Doan MacDougall which was one of my all time favorites as a teen.

Frankly, I'm scared to re-read any of these for fear that they won't live up to my recollections!
Darlene Marshall
3. DarleneMarshall
@Kareni: I know what you mean. I worry some of the early books I loved will now strike me as dated, or racist, or just out of step. On the other hand, I'm often pleased at how much new understanding and respect I can have for an author and book on a re-read. Sometimes I find things I missed on my first speed read though a good book.
4. Andrea2
The book by LouAnn Gaeddert caught my eye and I clicked on the Amazon link. The page that came up is for Perfect Strangers, by L. Gaeddert, listed as a paperback from $19.98, with only 4 available, used condition. Ouch. But when I searched under LouAnn Gaeddert, I came up with more reasonable results - an alternate generic cover, but with 62 used books starting at $0.01. Sold! Would it be possible to change your link so the amazon button doesn't link to the $19.98 version?
Darlene Marshall
6. DarleneMarshall
@TanyaLK--Believe me, it was my pleasure to share. It's one of the things I love most about hanging out with booklovers like the ones here at Heroes&Heartbreakers.
7. shyhyatt
I love Nightwing by Lynn Michaels. I also like Marriage by Design and The Patriot by her. She is an excellent writer. I love Elsie Lee's books. No one ever mentions her. One of my favorite books by her is Dark Moon Lost Lady, but I pretty much love most of her books.
Darlene Marshall
8. DarleneMarshall
@shyhyatt--I don't think I've ever read Elsie Lee, but now I'll check her out.

I also have The Patriot and another Lynn Michaels book on my keeper shelf. I'm going to have to block off a weekend just for re-reading now.
9. andrea2
My copy of Perfect Strangers arrived over the weekend and I really, really liked this book, thanks for recommending it. Have you read other books by her and if so, how were they?
Darlene Marshall
10. DarleneMarshall
@andrea2--I love it when I can share books I enjoyed! I did read two other books by Lou Ann Gaddert, but I confess I did not like them as well as Perfect Strangers. She may be one of those authors who only hits one high note. On the other hand, your milage may vary, and she does bring the H&H of Perfect Strangers back for cameos in later books.
11. Kahintenn
@DarleneMarshall, thank you so much for these recommendations! I ordered Perfect Strangers and The Painted Lady used from Amazon. I liked them both although PL was very appealing and terrifically well written (I love me some historical romance)! I got The Wedding Officer for Kindle and really liked it too. I would never have found these without your post. I think I ordered the Adventurers too but it hasn't arrived yet.
Darlene Marshall
12. DarleneMarshall
@Kahintenn--You're welcome! This was a fun article to write, and perhaps I'll root around on my shelves and write another one down the road.
13. SandyH
Thank you for the recommendations. I ordered A Man Like Mac and Perfect Strangers from Paperbackswap. I just finished A Man Like Mac and loved it. I ordered two moe books by Fay Robinson. She only wrote 5 romance novels before she died.
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