Tales of the Frisky

By Luke

Have you ever wanted to lose yourself in a romance novel — a sparkling story laced with heartbreak and passion, peopled with characters you come to know and cherish?

Neither have I.

But Loretta’s January 5th blog post “My Seminal Works,” with its magnificently broad list of great titles, inspired me to explore the genres that I’ve managed to avoid.  Topping that list was Romance.

“The Shell Seekers” is set in the beautiful Cornish countryside. (Photo Courtesy of Za Rodinu)

But within a couple of chapters, that joy had given way to the sort of grim resolve displayed by the Soviet infantry at the Siege of Stalingrad. (In fact, a squad of Red soldiers fighting their way out of the middle of the novel would have vastly improved the reading experience).

Each finished chapter was a small victory, like recapturing a block of that ravaged city. To this day, the novel inspires memories of mud and razor-sharp cold and misery rather than a sweet grandmother recalling her family’s heartaches and celebrations.

Apparently, I’m in the minority on this. The Romance Genre is one of the most popular forms of literature on the shelves of the Fontana Regional Library System.

And these tales come in all shadings — from chaste stories filled with longing and just-missed opportunities to full-on naughty narratives set among beautiful people in beguiling places like Paris or Dayton, Ohio (in the sultry summer, of course).

With such a deep palette, Romance really deserved another chance. Of course, if I were to try a frisky one, it’d be too easy to rate it “really, really good.” I’d have to set my sights on the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted to discover the  possibilities afforded by a cozy, amblin’ sort of story.

I decided to try The Covenant by Beverly Lewis — an Amish Romance that promised to be as pure as the pool of a mountain spring.

The action heats up in The Covenant. (Photo courtesy of happynutritionist)
The action heats up in The Covenant. (Photo courtesy of happynutritionist)

The story moved at a languid pace that was jarring to my modern sensibilities, and sure enough, there was no trace of  hubba-hubba action (scarcely a bonnet-loosening).

But there was magic in the lives of the sisters in the story and I felt the siren-song pull of the narrative.  It wasn’t too hard to understand the unique hold these books have on their readers.

Apparently, there’s a vast audience for tales that hinge on feelings, on the subtle interplay of words and glances. Who knew?

Could The Covenant be improved by a carefully inserted car chase or a supermodel fleeing the mob? Of course.

But if you’re looking for a gentle celebration of the verities of love and family, you could do a lot worse than The Covenant.

(Speaking of worse, do not go into Lewis’s The Shunning with the expectation that it’ll be a chiller in the vein of Stephen King’s The Shining. They’re completely different.)

3 thoughts on “Tales of the Frisky

  1. It’s funny, I love Rosamunde Pilcher and THE SHELL SEEKERS (all 582 glorious pages) and yet found myself indignantly bristling at her being classified in the romance genre. 🙂 I tend to think of Fabio-covered bodice busters (bonnet looseners?) when I think of romance novels.

    Either way, I have to confess it’s hard for me to read books outside my preferred genres, too…

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  2. Luke, I’m honored. And so glad you were able to finish the Covenant. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than reading about the Siege of Stalingrad, so I guess we both fall off opposite ends of the spectrum. But you had the courage to persevere! What fortitude! What pluck! What were you thinking? (Please don’t make me read War and Peace.)

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