My RNA box of books – my reviews (Part Un)

Before I moved to France, I asked my fellow members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association to tell me which of their works was the ‘book of their heart.’  The answers flooded in and some even sent me a copy of their book – signed as well! I’ve read six so far and enjoyed them thoroughly. All are romances, but oh so different in subject, range, tone, pace and language. Here are three of them.

Sarah Duncan’s ‘A Single to Rome‘ made me laugh and cry. I felt for Natalie as she struggled to emerge from the loss of the love of her life, Michael, a toad of the first water, IMHO. Losing her job was the last straw. I was so engaged with Natalie by then, I wanted to report her senior partner to the Law Society. Natalie did recover from emotional devastation and found a true and caring love, but she also learned to take and embrace risk as she became enmeshed in the the Italian lifestyle. Accepting help and focusing on her own needs helped her mature. Even her strange but comic new role as a jumper-outer gave her fresh insights. Easy to read language, emotional depth, high page-turning quality.

Clare in ‘Clare’s War‘ by Anita Burgh was an entirely different kettle of fish. I wanted to shake her at the beginning, but what a sensible, mature woman she grew into. I was so sad for her when she was let down badly by the the fascinating, destructive and self-centred Fabien and when her other Resistance lovers were killed, but delighted and relieved for her when she discovered Karl was alive. Compelling in its characters who lived under impossible situations, I was gripped all the way through. The action scenes played out very realistically. The light burned late on at least two nights as I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened next. But as well as being a tense, gripping story, it illustrated the pressures ordinary people had to live under, pressures which applied to those on both sides. A feast of period detail, warm and believable characters, gripping story.

Kim’s dilemma in ‘An Old-Fashioned Arrangement‘ by Susie Vereker was heart-wringing. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Although quiet and sensitive, the heroine is practical and makes an arrangement that goes against all her pinciples and instincts in order to secure her son’s happiness and future. That her sugar-daddy has appalling relatives, her not-so-dead scoundrel of a husband returns and she risks losing the kind and strong man she comes to love make this an intriguing and compelling story. An authentic diplomatic setting in Geneva, slightly nutty secondary characters and her husband’s sinister employers’ machinations add further layers of flavour to a great read.

Part Deux to follow!

2 comments to My RNA box of books – my reviews (Part Un)

  • Liz Harris

    An interesting summary of the books you’ve been reading, Alison, none if which I’ve yet read, though that may change in the future.

    I look forward to Part Deux, and possibly even Part Trois!

    Liz X

  • alison

    All well worth reading, Liz. I found/am still finding treasures I wouldn’t otherwise have sought out.