HaBO: Comstock Laws
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Articles / January 28, 2020

This HaBO is from Shannon, who is trying to track down one of the first romances she read: This is everything I remember about one of the first romance novels I read sometime in the late 80s or early 90s and have not been able to find again. It may have been in a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My grandparents had a stack of them and I’m sure no one thought anything about me reading them at 10 or 12, but it was quite an enlightening education. East coast elite set during the late 1800s? The Comstock birth control laws play a large part. Two female doctors. One is named Sybil and is killed at some point. The other one marries rich man for unknown reasons (maybe he got her pregnant?). There was maybe a secondary male character named Nevada? Rich man doesn’t want female doctor working when she is his wife. There is one scene where he let her have an office in their house, but had turned it back into a regular room without consulting her. Random scene of condoms being smuggled in a bustle from Europe. I learned what a “prophylactic” was from that. Eventually the female…

One Night Stands, Absinthe, & More
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Articles / January 28, 2020

The Raven Prince The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt is $1.99! This book is much loved by historical romance readers, and has a 3.9-star average on GoodReads. Readers who love it especially like that the hero and heroine are both a bit unconventional: neither of them is superbly good-looking, a fact that has influenced their lives in several ways, and both are over thirty There comes a time in a woman’s life when she must do the unthinkable – and find employment. For the widowed Anna Wren, that means taking a job as female secretary for the Earl of Swartingham. Secretaries are always male – never female – as Anna well knows but the real downfall of her career is the realization that she is falling in love with Edward de Raaf – the Earl. But when she realizes that he is going to visit a brothel in London to take care of his ‘manly’ desires, Anna sees red – and decides to take advantage of the opportunity to also take care of her ‘womanly’ desires – with the Earl as her unknowing lover. But the Earl has another reason for going to London. He is formalising his betrothal and trying…

HaBO: Heroine’s Father Leaves a Note in Book’s Margins
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Articles / January 28, 2020

This HaBO comes from Emily, who wants to track down this historical romance: The book I’m trying to find is n historical set in England – London mostly – I think it’s a Regency. It’s part of a series I’m pretty sure. The heroine is the daughter of a professor/inventor/scholar of some sort and her mother’s dead. They live in Europe somewhere. Then her father’s killed and she hides until his attackers – who are after his work – leave, and she runs to London. She follows a note in the margin of her father’s books to a man who happens to be a single father in need of a tutor. Dresses as man, gets job. The kid and the other staff notice that she’s a woman, but not her employer. Meanwhile, her employer works for some government agency that was communicating with the heroine’s father; that agency is trying to locate the heroine after her father’s death…and everything eventually comes out. I just read Laura Lee Guhrke’s Governess Gone Rogue thinking it was the book I’m looking for, but it’s not! Any insight into my mystery book? There are a lot of romances where the heroine disguises herself to…

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
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Articles / January 28, 2020

A Strange Love by Ann Aguirre January 15, 2020 Romance Strange Love by Ann Aguirre is a delightfully weird, heartwarming romance featuring a virgin alien hero, an abductee heroine, and a talking dog. It’s a blend of Alien, The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. It’s also a middle finger to people who claim that romance novels are formulaic and rely on rich, handsome heroes to seal the fantasy. The hero in this book is Zylar of Kith Balak, a vaguely insectoid alien who comes from a culture almost completely unlike our own. That culture is matriarchal, functions in a hive structure, and relies on an elaborate courtship ritual called the Choosing. Zylar doesn’t have eyelids or knees or even, in fact, a penis. He’s got chitin and mandibles, though. The heroine is Beryl Bowman from Earth. She works at a daycare center and spends most of her free time with her dog, Snaps. Beryl does not have mandibles. These two characters are so vastly different that they shouldn’t make sense together, yet their love story is compelling, poignant, and completely believable. It’s almost a master class in how to develop emotional intimacy between characters and how ongoing, verbal consent during…