Wednesday, September 12, 2007


When the writing is going badly you’d think that the obvious answer is to dive into a good book and forget all about it. It doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. When the writing is going badly only a familiar book, something that I know will deliver a great comfort read will do. This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. Pretty much anything by Kate Hardy.

But during the last couple of weeks I’ve delivered my sheikh novella and I’m 75 pages into my latest Romance and I’ve been feeding my soul, filling the well with some terrific new books.

First up, comes NEEDED: HER MR RIGHT by Barbara Hannay. This is the second book in the SECRETS WE KEEP trilogy that was a collaboration between me, Barbara and Jackie Braun Obviously I knew the set up of this story. Knew Simone Gray, the heroine, who appeared in REUNITED: MARRIAGE IN A MILLION, and I knew her terrible secret, but that was all. I didn’t know much about Ryan, her Mr Right, or how the story was resolved. I did know that it would be an emotional roller-coaster, though, because that’s what Barbara always delivers.

Just imagine a girl with a terrible family secret, a girl who loses the diary in which that secret is laid bare and then discovers it has been picked up by a hot shot journalist. That would be the same hot shot journalist, son of one of Australia’s richest men, who’s about to be featured as pin-up of the month, wearing nothing but a towel, in the magazine on which she’s a senior editor.

Great set up, but then the emotion kicks in. I’m not going to spoil it by telling you Simone’s secret, or how Ryan proves himself to be a true hero. You’ll want to find that out for yourself and you buy the book here

My second great read is CAFÉ DU JOUR by Lilian Darcy. Lilian guest blogged here last month, talking about this book of the heart and its long road to publication. Lilian is a fabulous writer, with many books to her name, but this is her first mainstream women’s fiction, published by MIRA in Australia. I sent for my copy as soon as it was published and was immediately caught up in this story.

The heroine is a chef who, since her sister’s catastrophic motor cycle accident, has been struggling with food, both cooking and eating it. Her boyfriend wants to involve her in his dodgy “new age” workshops and her boss’s son had decided to make-over the restaurant where she works. Life gets increasingly complicated but through it all she grows towards something that promises a happy ever after.

This is a wonderful, involving story with some truly stellar writing. Lilian has a gift for character. You may not like everyone in this book, but they are all completely real, whole, fully formed people. And her turn-on-a-sixpence descriptions make me want to weep with envy.

Café du Jour is, infuriatingly, only on sale in Australia but it’s a piece of cake to buy it online from the Harlequin Mills & Boon website here. You’ll need to register, but you have to do that with any website you want to buy from these days, and after that it’s a piece of cake. My copy took about ten days to reach the UK.

And finally, PLAY IT AGAIN? by Julie Highsmith. This is one for fans of Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews.
A joyous muddle of relationships, with an aging rocker Dad, his gorgeous son, the girl next door, an ex wife, a dog, old school friends and that boy who, in the sixth form, reduced the mother of the girl next door to an incoherent, blushing idiot. Oh, and possibly the most incompetent gang of kidnappers in the entire world. Lots of fun and available here from Amazon, UK


Kate Hardy said...

Thanks for the recs, Liz. I already have the Barbara Hannay; I'm getting Lilian's book next week (being brought over for me from Aus *g*); and the Julie Highsmith sounds interesting, too.

Natasha said...

Oh dear, this is not a good post for someone with an addiction.

I've recently introduced my 13 year old daughter to Georgette Heyer and she's devoured the lot. Her favourite is 'Venetia' - just. It was neck-and-neck with 'Faro's Daughter'.

Barb said...

Almost anything by Kate Hardy? What a truly fabulous tribute. I've been meaning to read Kate's books for some time. Can see I really need to treat myself.

Barb said...

Meant to say, I'm exactly the same about the need for comfort reads. During my hefty revisions recently, I curled up at night with an old Rosamunde Pilcher, 'Under Gemini". Just what I needed.

Kate Hardy said...

Eh??? Pretty much anything by me?

I completely missed that.

Sitting here feeling gobsmacked. And really, really honoured.

And you've just given me the courage to tackle my revisions (which I've been avoiding all week by working on my other book).

Thank you so much for the compliment, Liz.

And it means so much more from someone whose work does the same for me - in a really nasty patch earlier this year when I thought I'd fallen out of love with romance as a genrre, I re-read 'Gentlemen Prefer... Brunettes' and it made me realise that yes, romance still works.