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Romance Report : Romances in Bloom
By Martina Bexte (March, 2004)

Spring is busily organizing floral festivity outside, and publishers have been working just as hard, getting their colorful displays of romantic reads into bloom. Here are some feasts for your eyes.

Reviewers' Raves and Faves

Charming GraceMelissa recommends Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands as a great common-sense look at marriage, and tells us that Valerie Wilson Wesley's Always True to You in My Fashion showcases an unusual love story. Kim enjoyed Annie Smith's Autumn Leaves, about a mom who 'falls in love with the man she thinks influenced her daughter to join the marines', and Leigh Michaels' funny Part Time Fiance in which a lady claims her neighbor as fiancÚ to ward off a client's advances. I can't say enough good things about Deborah Smith's poignant and often humorous Charming Grace, in which Grace Vance tries to stymie the production of a movie about her hero husband. I loved rising star Sarah Zettel's In Camelot's Shadow in which a young woman refuses to become the pawn of an evil sorcerer determined to destroy Camelot. I also recommend Guilty Pleasures, a charming, witty and sensitive 'shy swan' story, penned by the talented Laura Lee Guhrke.

Historical Romance

In Camelot's ShadowLaura Kinsale ends a seven year absence with Shadowheart, her much anticipated sequel to For My Ladies Heart - deadly assassin Allegreto captures the Lady Elena, planning to use her to regain what belongs to him. Sarah Zettel whisks readers back In Camelot's Shadow, into the suddenly complicated life of Risa, whose father promised her to an evil sorcerer. Fleeing from her appointed fate, she's championed by King Arthur's trusted cousin, Sir Gawain. In The Warrior, Claire Delecroix presents the finale to her medieval trilogy, focusing on Michael and his claim to his ancestral home, Inverfyre. Stephanie Laurens creates another fine Regency romance in The Ideal Bride - a young widow catches Michael Wetherby's eye as he seeks a politically adept wife, but Caro refuses to be seduced into a loveless marriage. Another lively Regency is Suzanne Enoch's England's Prefect Hero, in which a sensible and proper young lady unwittingly attracts the attentions of the wrong man.

Mainstream & Contemporary

Ms. Simon SaysMary McBride charms with her latest character rich story, Ms. Simon Says. When advice columnist Shelby Simon becomes the target of a letter bomber, she's whisked away to safety by bodyguard Mick Callahan. Though neither is pleased with their forced relocation, they agree to tolerate the other and inevitably fall in love. Wendy Markham spins a light and frothy tale in Once Upon a Blind Date, all about the ins and outs and ups and downs of romance, dating and finding the elusive perfect match. And Sarah Webb broaches a familiar lament for many women -- Always the Bridesmaid. Amy's pushing thirty and wondering why every woman she knows, including her sister, has found their prince charming.

Romantic Suspense

Head GamesEileen Dryer is back with another trademark thriller, Head Games -- trauma nurse Molly Burke has experienced just about everything in her career, including a tour of duty in Vietnam and post traumatic stress disorder. Now Molly finds herself involved with her troubled nephew, and then becomes target of a serial killer who leaves her grisly gifts. And there's a lot of positive buzz about rising star Gennita Low, who's added all the right ingredients to her second action filled romantic suspense, Facing Fear : lost identities, political intrigues and scandal, spy-versus-spy, an intense hero and kick-butt heroine, and of course nasty villains. Finally Lisa Jackson's gripping The Morning After pulls journalist Nikki Gillette and detective Pierce Reed into the killing spree of a killer dubbed 'The Grave Robber'.

Fantasy & Paranormal

The allure of the undead is as strong as ever, judging by these brand new stories. In Katie MacAlister's Sex and the Single Vampire, Allegra Telford must conjure up a ghost or be fired, but her hunt takes her to the lair of vampire Christian Dante. Popular Maggie Shayne continues her Wings of the Night series with Edge of Twilight in which halfling Lily Bryant and the mysterious Edge join forces to find a serum that will cure her friend. In MaryJanice Davidson's amusing new Undead and Unwed, Betsy Taylor assumes she's died and gone to heaven after a car crash. She wakes up in a coffin and quickly discovers she's a vampire, one her fellow night stalkers are eager to meet since she's resistant to sunlight, holy water and all those other nasty things that wreak havoc with the undead complexion.

Romance News

Attention all Suzanne Brockmann fans -- better call your favourite bookstore and reserve a copy of Gone Too Far, finally out in paperback this month and certain to fly off the shelves in a big hurry. This much anticipated, action-packed story wraps up Sam and Alyssa's sizzling romance, one that Brockmann began in book one of her mega-popularTroubleshooters series. And if you crave a bigger Brockmann fix then pick up Bodyguard and Heartthrob. These two earlier titles have each been re-issued with a flashy new cover, and they're available right now.

Enjoy March romances in bloom!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.