Friday, February 18, 2011

Books from the Heart

by Susan McBride

I'm kind of in a crunch this week with revisions for LITTLE BLACK DRESS due Friday (as you're reading this!). So I'm going to make this easy on myself by rehashing a book talk segment I did for "Great Day St. Louis" on Valentine's Day.

Since love is in the air this month, I discussed four "romantic reads," all dealing with the topic of home and heart in different ways. Only one, ANGEL'S REST by Emily March, is considered a traditional romance while the other three are novels with romantic elements--THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen, THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister, and THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB by Stiletto Ganger Maria Geraci (yay!).

In ANGEL'S REST, Nic Sullivan is a small-town veterinarian with a broken heart. She's divorced and semi-happily single until she rubs shoulders with hunky Gabe Callahan, a loner escaping past tragedy by hiding out in the mountains. Serious sparks fly between the two, only--sigh--their pasts and the things they don't/can't talk about, keep them apart. It takes a bit of angelic intervention to bring them together.

THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON is Sarah Addison Allen's third book after GARDEN SPELLS and THE SUGAR QUEEN (and her fourth, THE PEACH KEEPER, is out next month). If you haven't read her Southern tales of home and heartache, you should. She writes beautiful prose that sucks you in, and in MOON, she gets us wrapped up in the life of a teenager, Emily Benedict, who goes back to her mother's hometown of Mullaby, NC, to meet her grandfather and find out the dark secret that drove her mom away.

Ellen Meister's THE OTHER LIFE is a tale of two lives, both of them belonging to Quinn Braverman. In one, she's a wife and mother in the Long Island suburbs, awaiting the birth of her second baby and missing her deceased mother. In the other life, she's got a high profile career and a high profile beau, a shock jock like Howard Stern, and, most importantly to Quinn, her mom is still alive and kicking. She can go back and forth to each life through a portal in her basement wall. But once the portal begins to close, she has to make a choice or risk getting caught in a life she might not want after all. (Just optioned by HBO for a TV series!)

In Maria's BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB, a cheating boyfriend and a really awful first date lead Grace O'Bryan to forgo the book club and start a "Boyfriend of the Month Club" with her friends. Like most things in life that we start for fun and giggles, this club turns into more than Grace bargained for. She's got her heart in the right place, and she finally finds a man worthy of it, too!

Here's the video in case you want to hear each summary like I'm talking to you right from your computer:

I recently did an informal poll on my Facebook page, asking friends what their favorite romantic books of all-time are, and the top five results:


Do you agree? If not, what's your fave? Inquiring minds want to know! (At least, this one does.) :-)


  1. Hi Susan,

    thanks again for the shout out! I was so thrilled and honored that mentioned my book as a favrotie romantic read!

    I love Pride and Prejudice. It's my favorite Jane Austen book, but I think Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen romance. Captain Wentworth's love letter to Anne at the end of the book never fails to make me cry like a baby.

  2. Dear God, can you tell it's 5:30 am here in Florida? I need spell check!!

  3. Thank you again, Susan! I was thrilled by the shout-out ... and loved the way you described THE OTHER LIFE.

    Have a great weekend ... and good luck with your revisions!


  4. Maria, I'm so glad I could yak about BOMC on the show because I really enjoyed it! You're making me want to re-read Austen. It's been a loooong time.

    Ellen, you're welcome, too! And I'm so thrilled for you about the HBO series deal! Yeeha! I swear, the peeps at "Great Day St. Louis" called it. ;-) Thanks re. revisions. I'm nearly done!

  5. Susan, great suggestions! I have some shopping to do. Maggie

  6. Mmm my favorite is a trilogy by Celeste DeBlasis. Pure Romance, Wild Swan, Swan's Chance and A Season of Swans. My favorite is Wild Swan, but the original love story goes through all three books. It's beautiful.

  7. Maggie, I'm hoping I'll have more time to read now that revisions are in. I have stacks of books beckoning me....

    Kadi, so good to see you, girl! Ah, that series sounds lovely! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  8. Oh, Susan, you are truly the romantic. Mostly I just read mysteries--but years ago I read one romance after another, sweet ones and the bodice rippers.

    I believe my favorite of the ones you mentioned is Gone With the Wind. I read it five times when I was a kid, and a couple of times later as an adult. Have to admit after the first time, I skipped all the war stuff.


  9. P&P def! Mr. Darcy is so swoon-worthy! :-)

    And while Heathcliff is devoted, he's too cranky for me.

  10. Lisa, I'm definitely going to have to do a little re-reading of P&P very soon! And maybe even REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier. But that's kind of romantic in a creepy way.