Book Reviews

How to Write a Romance by the editors of Avon Books

Are you in the mood for romance? Most of us are, at least some of the time. Are you in the mood to write a romance novel? Now, that’s a more specific desire, but if you’ve ever fancied giving it a try, the editors of Avon Books, one of the leading publishers of romance books, have produced How to Write a Romance: Or How to Write Witty Dialogue, Smoldering Love Scenes, and Happily Ever Afters (Morrow Gift, July 2019).

It’s a cleverly designed guided journal that just might get you going, and a perfect gift for the aspiring romance writer in your life.

Many of the most beloved novels of all time are incredibly romantic, and perhaps the literary predecessors of contemporary romances. Classic plot lines often feature a plucky heroine who wants to be her own person, while at the same time, yearns for the love of a brooding, mysterious man. Read More→

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Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Eliot (1861)

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe was the third novel of George Eliot (1819 – 1880). Published in 1861, this novel, like others written by the esteemed British author (whose real name was Mary Ann Evans), addresses a number of social themes while telling a compelling story.

Silas Marner, a rather simple man, is betrayed by a trusted friend who accuses him of a crime he didn’t commit. This leads to his expulsion from a religious community that he has loved being a part of. He relocates to a remote village called Raveloe where he has no friends or family, and where the community eyes him suspiciously due to his odd nature. Read More→

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South Moon Under by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1933)

South Moon Under by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was this author’s first novel, published in 1933. She struggled to gain any traction in her writing career until she and her first husband bought an orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida.

She was fascinated by the locals of Cross Creek,  poor white natives of the area who were called “crackers” in the vernacular of the time. At first wary of this Northerner, they eventually warmed to her as she gained their trust. Once she began weaving the dialect,  flora and fauna, and foodways of the people of the “big scrub” into her writing, she finally found success. Read More→

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The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)

The Yearling, a 1938 novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896 – 1953), was the most successful work by this American author. It was an immediate bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939.

Rawlings struggled to gain a foothold in the literary world and made no secret that she found writing to be a difficult task. After buying an orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida, where she subsequently lived for many decades, she found the inspiration she had long sought from the local culture and  landscape.

The Yearling might now be considered more of a young adult novel, though at the time, this was not yet a separate genre. However, it’s a book for readers of all ages. It can be enjoyed as a great narrative coming-of-age story, or read as a parable. Read More→

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The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett (1901)

The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett is a 1901 novel by this esteemed New England author best known for The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896). The story is partly set in Berwick, Maine, where Jewett grew up and spent much of her life, and takes place during the Revolutionary period.

Roger Wallingford, a gentleman of Tory ancestry joins the cause of the Patriots through his love for the beautiful Mary Hamilton.

Mary urges Captain Paul Jones, a compatriot of her brother, to give a commission to Wallingford. A nefarious shipmate contrives to have Wallingford arrested for treachery and desertion, and he virtually disappears. Mary believes that the charges are false, so she and his mother set sail for England to find him and clear his name. Read More→

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