Linda Hilton has pointed out, and I agree, that the crowdsourced list is light on romance. I am prevailing on our romance readers - Linda, Whiskey & OB - to give us a few more romances for the list.
Off the top of my own head, I would definitely suggest:
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Pride of Lions by Marsha Canham
Can you guys help us out? Maybe another 20?
I discovered this book thanks to the tv show spot: a young woman was thrown back to 1700s Scotland because of this weird stones and I just thought "hey, that seems interesting".
Long story short: it became one of my favorites books.
The book begins with Claire, the protagonist, who comes back to Scotland with her husband to rebound but while exploring the land she goes through a time travelling of some sort.
At first, obviously, she is totally caught off guard by what happens to her but Claire is a very strong, independent and charismatic woman that isn't put off by a mere accident and faces the events with her head held high. She uses her knowledge and mind to survive this unexpeted adventure that happens to her.
Above everything else I liked particularly how Diana Gabaldon built the character of Claire: it is described as a person that I would like to meet in person.
She is stubborn, of course, but she has this amazing personality, great sense of humor, a very smart person, open minded and well, easygoing.
The other main character is Jamie, a ginger Scottsman with such a great personality who at first you just like but then, oh man, you will fell in love with him. I can assure you this: maybe you will not like the book but you WILL love Jamie.
At first, one could think that a 1700s man has a different view of life from a 1900s woman but that is why I enjoyed so much the relationship between him and Claire: they are different but they are influenced by one another, he is open to learn from her and improve himlself and she is willing to learn from him and understand his reasons.
It should be noted how Diana Gabaldon writes about Scotland, it becomes one of the main characters of the book: its landscape, its culture, its history.
The writer did an amazing job at researching and the book is full of true facts and Gaelic words. For me all of this meant a great curiosity towars this country and desire to visit it (Scotland's Office of Tourism should definitely hire Diana Gabaldon).
If you like history but more of that, if you like stories of love, adventure, hope and fate you should read this book and I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.
Thank you for reading :)
Honestly, I can't imagine what Anansi Press was thinking, letting this first novel go out into the world with a title so similar to that of a pop-culture phenomenon. Otherwise, though, they have done well by Gil Adamson in both production and editing, and I'm very glad they published this interesting story.
Adamson deliberately distances us a bit from her characters. They are "the Reverend", "the Ridge Runner", the "Widow." The significance of "the widow" as the constant name for the protagonist -we don't get her real name until well into the book - is that it keeps at the top of our minds exactly what is always at the top of hers - that she has murdered her husband. And that same distancing relieves us of the responsibility of empathizing with her more than we want to, though you'd have to have a pretty black soul not to feel something by the end of her picaresque adventures through the Crows Nest Pass area in western Canada. The landscape is very definitely a character, and a cruel one, in this novel. It has its spectacularly climactic plot event in the Frank slide (a notorious 1903 landslide that wiped out a sizeable part of a mining town). I thoroughly enjoyed how well Adamson described it and wove it in to her story from several points of view.
The widow - Mary Boulton - is supported by a well-described set of supporting characters, one of whom, the reclusive Ridge Runner, becomes a romantic interest though not, thank goodness, in a conventionally sappy way that would have ruined everything we have come to know about both characters. I thought the inclusion of the Native characters was sufficiently nuanced and well-managed to meet the political correctness standards of our time, though Henry is a relatively minor character.
At the beginning of this novel, Mary is highly vulnerable, fumbling her way to survival and sometimes very nearly not making it. She is dependent on a series of saviours - an old lady (and her household), the Ridge Runner, Henry and his white wife Helen, and the Reverend Bonnycastle (working out his own demons of abuse in the rough mining town of Frank). But after she is finally caught by her slightly cartoonish Furies, a pair of red-headed giants (brothers of the ex-husband), Mary accomplishes her last escape from disaster without a saviour. This, I would say, is the principal emotional dynamic of the novel.
I did find this one a bit of a page-turner, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes period settings and interesting women's stories. I would warn off only those readers who have a strong need for emotional identification with a protagonist.
I’d been wanting to read this book for ages and I’ve had it on my shelves for more than a year. I finally decided to read this monster and it took me an entire month to do it. It was really a great and interesting read nonetheless.
I loved the historical references in this book and the differences between how Claire and Jamie see the world; they come from completely different times. It was interesting to see Jamie changing his opinions about things thanks to Claire, but also the other way around. We often think we have evolved from our ancestors but we have many things to learn from them still. I’m not particularly fond of time travel but it was not that important in the book (weel, it’s the main theme of the book but it is not too dominating) (And I just noticed I wrote weel instead of well, which is my next topic about the book).
I took me ages to read it because it’s huge, but also because I was not used to Scottish language. I’m not a native English speaker, my first language being French, so I really had some difficulty understanding the dialogues at first. But then I got used to it and I was so invested in the book that I started to write words the way they are written in Outlander (I mainly use English at work). It was a really fun experience!
I did not particularly like the romance between Claire and Jamie at first; I thought it was going way too fast. But then I found that their relationship (and not only the sexy times) was really developing into something strong and it was interesting to read about it (the sexy times were interesting as well).
I’m not going to develop too much because this book is way too long and too full of interesting developments and I don’t have a lot of time (I really want to post this before the New Year). In brief, I enjoyed how realistic this book was, with a lot of humor and also a lot of not so funny events. I definitely recommend it.