I do enjoy a good book swap, especially the Guilty Pleasures themed ones, because you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. At the book swap in August at Dock Street Market, the lovely @L1nds, who loves A Game of Thrones as much as I do and is always good for a gossip, brought this little beauty.
My mum used to have half a dozen of these historical romance type novels when I was a teenager, placed ever so slightly too conveniently on the shelf in the hallway next to my bedroom. It was almost as if she was trying to tell me something. I would, of course, read them in secret, along with Jilly Cooper and the (rare) Black Lace my friend would steal off her older sister.
As formulaic as Mills and Boon, the hero must be broad chested, and the heroine feisty. Then have to have a passionate kiss by page 69, and there must be a misunderstanding, a conflict, and a resolution by page 200. If only real life romances were so enthralling.
I can’t remember the name of my favourite historical romance (and I wish I could cos I’d goodreads the hell out of it) but the plot involved an antiques dealer making a business trip an English castle, and somehow travelling back in time, swapping places with the Georgian Baroness who lived there two hundred years previously who was also her double. It was ridiculous, and made no sense, but was a lot of fun.
The covers are also amazing. Velvet and Steel was actually quite restrained, considering you can only see a bit of man cleavage and not a hint of nipple on him, and she’s positively decent. The hair, however, is magnificently windswept and bounteous and that’s enough for me. The cover also boasts that Sylvie is the author of 14 million books in print, which begs the question, is she actually Garth Marenghi, the only man in the world to have written more books than he has actually read.
As to the plot, it actually is a pretty good book! Lynette is the Saxon Wench (Lynette being such a famous example of an Old English name) forced to marry the Norman Royce, champion of William the Conqueror, in order to secure her father’s lands for the king. Royce is suitable bitter and care worn, still grieving for his wife who died in childbirth six-years before, to the point where he cannot even look upon the face of his daughter.
The first half of the book is mostly Lynette being cute and him staring at her, occasionally she might drape herself in a bedsheet and inflame his lust. When they finally get it together there suddenly appears a Massive Subplot involving an old enemy of Royce’s who tries his hand at getting into Lynette’s pants as well. But true love runs smooth eventually and their passions inflame all over the place.
My favourite part I think was when Royce and Lynette separately have the same dream of the other one appearing in the mist, Parade’s End style. This of course is what cements their affections, as opposed to the shagging.
It’s fun and silly and a good way to pass a Sunday morning. Guilty Pleasures are the best kind, and I am very much looking forward to what comes out of the next book swap.