The nights may be getting longer, dear readers, and the temperatures might be falling somewhat…and while that might not be great for your outdoor plants, fall provides the perfect weather for snuggling with a good book. We could all use a few happy endings right around now, don’t you think?
So take a stroll with our genre aficionados through some of their selections for this month. We hope you find a few tales of true love and fulfillment to brighten your autumnal evenings!
The Ruin of a Rake: Cat Sebastian’s ground-breaking historic romance series is the first from a mainstream publisher to feature a male-male romance, and she does it so well that it really offers world of promise for future stories that have yet to be told. Though this is the third book in her Turner series, there is no reason that readers can’t get involved in this story completely–but it’s absolutely worth savoring each of these stories on their own merits. In this tale, we meet Lord Courtenay, a notorious rake whose public image reminds one greatly of Lord Byron. Up until now, Courtenay couldn’t have cared less what people thought of him–but the publication of a scandalous book supposedly based on his exploits has resulted in his exile from his family, and from the nephew he adores. Julian Medlock, meanwhile, has spent his whole adult life trying to become the model of decorum. He has no sympathy for Courtenay’s plight, even if he does find the man incredibly alluring, but when Courtenay’s sister pleads with him to help rehabilitate Courtenay’s reputation, Julian agrees.
Sebastian’s real achievement in this book is making two characters who, on the surface, appear genuinely unlikeable, almost to the point of being stereotypes of the rogue and the prig, respectively, into emotional, vulnerable, flesh-and-blood characters. Their faults, shortcomings, and mistake…of which there are many here…are portrayed with such sympathy that it’s impossible not to feel for them as they both navigate their way to each other. This is a truly emotional, surprising story that caught me quite off guard. Without shying away from the very real dangerous that our heroes face for their feelings, this is still a romance to savor. Check in with one of the friendly reference librarians at the Library if you’re interested in this book–I promise, it’s worth the wait!
The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland: I love quirky characters, outsiders, and all those who see the world in a radically different way from the way I do–this story is packed full of such characters, and each of them is treated with such dignity and with such heart, in spite of and because of their pain and their struggles that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them. Even though sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne is perfectly fine, her parents insist on sending her to Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens. Zander is determined not to fit in with the group of misfits she meets at the camp, which includes her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic, Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are, and Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar. But as the summer wears on, Zander finds herself leaning on this new group, and supporting them in turn, finding friendship, acceptance, and even love, as well as the strength to confront her own darkness. Though there is some adorably sweet romance here, the real pleasure of this book is the myriad unique bonds that Zander and her camp-mates form, and how those bonds change them all for the better. It’s not an easy read by any means, but it’s an important, a moving, and a redemptive one that shouldn’t be missed!
Until next month, dear readers, enjoy!