Thursday, June 17, 2010

Coming Up for Air

Well, June is definitely shaping up to be a rather lackluster month for me, posting-wise. The truth is that I just haven't had much to say lately and if you've been paying attention to what I've been reading lately you'd understand why: in the past few weeks, I've read ten Susan Wiggs novels. 


Yeah, I know. I'm not done yet with her either. I've got two more in the Lakeshore Chronicles to read and the second book in the Calhoun Chronicles ready plus a few more I've got my eye on. Wanna hear the crazy part? I'm not hating them. Susan Wiggs is a gifted writer; her books are touching and evocative even if they tend to turn a family-oriented series into a saga and as a result, make them heavy on the drama and pathos, almost to the point of melodrama but not to the level of a soap opera. For some particular reason, I've felt the need to collect her books as badly as I would Timothy Zahn's and talk about the pinnacle of geekdom - his sci-fi novels are based on the continuation of the Star Wars trilogy beyond Return of the Jedi. (We can definitely blame that one on a high school crush.) I'm not sure what made me start them in the first place.

Anyway...These Susan Wiggs books have been entertaining enough to keep my attention this long and yes, I remember recently writing about how I don't read many chapters in a series like this back-to-back. I can't really explain it. The highest grade I have given one of her books was A-, which is obviously a fantastic grade, and it wasn't a contemporary romance in the Lakeshore series but a historical one, The Charm School. Most of them have been graded B, some B-.

For a change of pace, I tried Kat Martin's Reese's Bride. I had read the first in this trilogy, Royal's Bride, though now I have no idea of the troubles of the lovers in it or how they got together in the end. Reese's Bride and Rule's Bride had both recently fallen into my lap so I figured I'd finish that series off and hand them over to others. Er, not exactly. 

Reese's Bride is about the second brother in the family, the second son of a duke who leaves the woman he loves with a promise to return and marry after he chases down the French on the continent for a while. Well, shortly after he leaves his lady love gets married to another man. Reese is so angry that he calls her a whore and reinlists or whatever, gets injured years later, and returns home to live in the same village as her, now a widow, and her son. Ok. The plot itself wasn't the problem. It's not very original, but not insurmountable. My problem came with Reese not considering that he may not be the only injured party and assuming too much. His former lady love is also guilty of keeping secrets and of being desperate enough to turning to him when she needed help. Again, not original. Before the middle of the book, they had married (his idea) and I knew where it was going and just wasn't interested in seeing what happened. Reese's Bride is far from a wallbanger but I didn't find it worth finishing. Sorry Ms. Martin. I have liked other books you've written but not this one and I doubt I'll be getting into Rule's Bride either.

I know all this makes me sound like a total book snob and okay, I am one, but I think my problem is just that these books should be too old for me, like the ones that my best friend's mom read while we were kids. And yet, I'm loving them. So today I've returned to Susan Wiggs but I hope I'm still holding onto my street cred since I recently read Carolyn Crane's Mind Games (finally). Today I finally got The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson from the library and that helps too. Pray for me, people, that I can kick this addiction of mine. Well, not totally. Just the Susan Wiggs books. And maybe the Timothy Zahn stuff too.

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