arts & music

    Steamy Romance Recommendations (or; Respite from Reality)

    by Meghan — October 16, 2020
    A steamy romance book on a bed, covered in flowers

    As crazy as life seems right now, the best escape from reality is with a good book–especially a steamy romance. Here are Meghan’s top favs…


    In today’s world of general craziness, I think we could all do with a break from reality–even a small one.

    Ever since I was young, one of my favorite ways to escape my reality–or my wheelchair–was to open a book and dive into a world that was completely separate from mine.

    So, in hopes of giving you a nice escape from reality, I’m going to recommend a few of my favorite books that help you do just that. By the way, they also happen to be steamy romance books!

    The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

    Spanning more than five decades and three generations, Colleen McCullough’s best-selling novel, “The Thorn Birds”, pivots around the lifelong love between the ambitious Catholic priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart, and Meggie Cleary, the beautiful granddaughter of a vast sheep station owner in the arid 1920s Australian Outback. Against the backdrop of unrequited loves, bitter passions, desperate inner conflicts, and family tragedies, the mortal and flawed priest yields under the burden of choice, tormented by desire. From the corridors of the Vatican to the sun-kissed islands of Greece to the ancestral farm, Drogheda, two ardent lovers stand powerless before God’s will, bound by an unattainable and eternally forbidden love. How far are they willing to go in the name of love? (synopsis from Wikipedia)

    Ok, I admit it. I originally read this book (and watched the mini-series it spawned) because my mother named me after the main protagonist, Meghann Cleary. I wanted to see why she liked it so much. Though I ended up loving it for an entirely different reason. This isn’t just a novel. It reads like an epic saga, filled with beautiful imagery and complex characters that you both love and hate simultaneously.

    Though the novel does have some problematic things at the forefront. For example, the priest, Ralph, falls in love with Meggie. Which at first glance seems fine, until you realize the man has known her since she was six. The reader definitely gets the feeling that Ralph has a parental relationship with Meggie until she becomes a woman and then the relationship takes a dramatic turn for the romantic. This element of the story always made me uncomfortable. I’ve often wondered if the author was trying to make some sort of commentary on the abuse of power without actually mentioning anything. In the mini-series and novel, the storyline between Meghann and Ralph is presented to the reader as forbidden love. But to me it feels straight up creepy and wrong.

    I read the Thorn Birds in high school. It was on the extracurricular reading list which I’ve always found a bit shocking. How did this steamy romance with twisted morals make the cut on a high school reading list?

    However, I do not love the story for the usual reasons. I love the story because it has an honest portrayal of siblings that I appeals to me. The author also has a deft hand with imagery and makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to Australia.

    There are many themes in this book that make it an interesting read: greed, wanting things you can’t have, breaking vows, and promises. The major overarching theme is that love can be both the thing that saves you, or destroys you.

    Daisy’s Back In Town by Rachel Gibson

    Daisy Lee Monroe thought she’d brushed the dust of Lovett, Texas, off her high-heeled shoes years ago, but she’s come back home to find that little has changed. Her sister is still crazy, and her mom still has pink plastic flamingos in her front yard. And Jackson Lamott Parrish, the bad boy she left behind, is still so sexy it hurts. She’d like nothing better than to avoid him, but Daisy has something to say to Jackson, and she’s not going anywhere until he listens. (Synopsis from from Amazon.com)

    I chose this book because it’s laugh out loud funny. If you like lighthearted and slightly trashy romance, this is a book for you. It’s also a super quick read. I loved the banter in this book and small-town Texas feel. If you like this book check out Gibson’s Chinooks Hockey Team series as well.

    Comanche Woman By Joan Johnston

    In this captivating prequel to the New York Times bestsellers The Cowboy and The Texan, Joan Johnston tells the story of a woman kidnapped by Comanches—and the proud warrior who vows to make her love him. Living as a Comanche, the son of a white father and his Indian bride, Long Quiet secretly dreams of making Bayleigh Stewart, daughter of the richest cotton planter in Texas, his wife. When Bay is stolen from her home by marauding Indians, she seems lost to Long Quiet forever… until a twist of fate brings her back to him—a gift from the Comanche whose life he saved. Bay has lived among the Indians for three long years when a stranger who looks like a Comanche—but speaks perfect English—awakens a passion that burns hot and true. Bay yearns for home, but Long Quiet is determined to convince Bay that her home is with him. As they soon discover, they must both give up something of themselves while fighting for a love strong enough to bridge two worlds. (Synopsis from Amazon.com)

    I’m a long time fan of Johnston’s numerous works. I chose this one because I love historical romance. This one has a lovely world-building and a strong protagonist. This book is part of a trilogy Sisters of the Lone Star which could give you a larger picture story-wise.  It’s also part of a larger series The Bitter Creek Romances and the Blackthorne Series which are also great reads even as they’re a tiny bit formulaic.

    Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

    In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There also exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Among them, none relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed – orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both… (Synopsis from Goodreads)

    My friend Sarah recommended this book to me forever ago, after I had finished all of the Twilight series. Sarah pitched it to me as a very grown-up version of Twilight without all of the creepy stalker boyfriend vibes.

    One of the main reasons I enjoy this series so much is that it has truly fantastic world-building. On top of that, it doesn’t feel at all formulaic. This is a sprawling series of twenty-plus books. Each one is different I enjoy them. The books do however have very unique vernacular which takes some getting used to. The authors writing style is definitely unique. Some people like her, some people don’t; the same as many other things in life.

    What are your steamy romance recommendations? Let us know in the comments below…

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