May 5, 2014 by E.D. Walker
I thought I’d start doing a once a week thing where I talk about some of my favorite things. Could be anything: food, a movie, a new book, an old book, my cat. ;P Just has to be something that gives me joy that I want to share.
Today one of my (new) favorite things is SWEET DISORDER by Rose Lerner, the first book in her historical romance Lively St. Lemeston series.
Political intrigue could leave his heart the last one standing…alone.
Nick Dymond enjoyed the rough-and-tumble military life until a bullet to the leg sent him home to his emotionally distant, politically obsessed family. For months, he’s lived alone with his depression, blockaded in his lodgings.
But with his younger brother desperate to win the local election, Nick has a new set of marching orders: dust off the legendary family charm and maneuver the beautiful Phoebe Sparks into a politically advantageous marriage.
One marriage was enough for Phoebe. Under her town’s by-laws, though, she owns a vote that only a husband can cast. Much as she would love to simply ignore the unappetizing matrimonial candidate pushed at her by the handsome earl’s son, she can’t. Her teenage sister is pregnant, and Phoebe’s last-ditch defense against her sister’s ruin is her vote—and her hand.
Nick and Phoebe soon realize the only match their hearts will accept is the one society will not allow. But as election intrigue turns dark, they’ll have to cast the cruelest vote of all: loyalty…or love.
I read this book a few weeks ago and, oh man, I needed it. I had been in the most horrible reading slump for weeks. Could not commit to a book, kept starting things then getting annoyed/grossed out/bored and stopping them. Then I saw a review for this book on Dear Author and it sounded so fresh and different I decided to give it a try.
So glad I did. This book has several things that set it apart from the usual historical mode:
1. A “plus-size” heroine. Which the hero totally digs! He is all about her lady curves, and I loved having a heroine who wasn’t the usual “waifish” young miss you see in so many cookie-cutter historicals.
2. She’s also a widow! (Which yes, is a common trope but!) who enjoyed sex with her late husband! No secret virgin widows here. Loved. It.
3. Class differences. The hero is of the nobility, the heroine is so-very-not, and this book deals with that. Some of my favorite parts were the two of them having to figure out how to meet up and be together without setting the town gossips talking.
4. The town. I am so glad this is Book One in a series because I want more Lively St. Lemeston. I also really dug all the politics in this book. Romance as a genre tends to steer wide of politics, but I enjoyed the jostling between the two parties in this book. (The fact this is a historical probably doesn’t hurt. Easier to get into thorny politic topics from long ago, after all.) Lerner also does a wonderful job portraying the community of the place, the people and how they all interact and connect to each other. The bakery, the local paper, the library they are all part of the community and if any of them suffers then the community as a whole is affected.
5. The writing. I find that my tolerance for poor writing grows less and less the older I get. It doesn’t take much for me to put a book down these days, so when a Kindle sample hooks me and I need to buy the book immediately this pretty much always means that the writing itself, the prose, is really damn good. To wit:
“My heart went out to her. He had thought it an empty phrase, but now he felt it, a sudden vertigo in his chest as if a narrow piece of the world had tipped sideways and his heart was falling towards her.”
So, great writing yes, but also funny:
“The people in this town are a regular Greek chorus, only with less Christian charity.”
If you like different historicals, a unique heroine and a truly wonderful community (complete with showing the good sides AND the bad sides) I recommend this book.
The only minor problem with this book is that I immediately wanted to go on a Rose Lerner binge but her next book won’t be out on the Kindle until JUNE! Wah. Why? :'(
My grade: ***** (I loved it)