For me, the book that started it all was Little Women. When I was eight years old and read that book for the first of a billion times, I knew someday, somehow, I would be a writer. And I guess in its way, it’s a romance. It does have the HEA, with Jo March meeting her professor.
Or not. Louisa May Alcott didn’t want Jo to marry and matched up her feisty Miss March only because her publisher insisted. Not only did Louisa herself remain a staunchly independent unmarried woman, but her heart really wasn’t into the marriage idea. She’d seen her talented, intellectual mother Abba “kept down” by the drudgery of housework, tending four daughters as well as a helpless dreamer of a husband who felt it demeaned him to work for a living.
Anyway, my two favorite love stories, Romeo and Juliet and Gone with the Wind definitely don’t have HEA. Therefore, they don’t quality as romances. So what to do? What to pick? Out of the thousands of romance novels I’ve read over my lifetime, how do I find the favorite one? To me it’s as impossible as finding a perfect grain of sand on the shore.
One of the early standouts has got to be Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and The Dove. When I was a young mom some thirty years ago, I’d treat myself to a new romance novel whenever I did the grocery shopping. In those days, one whole wall of my local supermarket was lined with paperbacks of every subject and genre. I gravitated toward the thickest romance tomes, especially those with glorious heroes on the cover. And that’s how I first met Wulfgar, the Iron Wolf, and Aislinn of Darkenwald, the beautiful Saxon maiden who steals his heart long before he realizes it.
Of course, Aislinn herself burns both with malice toward him and a passion she can’t douse.
To this day I remember his anger at being a bastard and jealousy of Ragnor, his ambition rivaling that of William the Conquerer in whose time the story takes place. I remember Aislin’s purple eyes widening the first time the first time she, and he…Well, you get the picture.
I loved the darkness of the medieval history, the harsh yet somehow elegant British setting. A stormy passion settling into true love. I still love dashing medieval romances with beautiful princesses and daring knights and lords. Yet, I ended up writing about cowboys. Go figure. Then again there are plenty of folks who consider America’s cowboys the knights errant of the plains with their adventurous spirits, respect for womenfolk, and staunch code of honor.
You might enjoy the cowboys of Hearts Crossing Ranch, my eight book inspirational contemporary series from at White Rose Publishing. Book Five will be out soon, and the stories are all stand alone, but a good place to start is Book One, Hearts Crossing Ranch, when a rugged Colorado cowboy falls for a beautiful city slicker on one of his family’s modern-day wagon train trips.
Now for a sneak peek into Hearts Crossing Ranch….
Cowboy Kenn Martin bears the guilt for allowing a coach to ruin his younger brother’s bright athletic future. Feeling unworthy of any happiness, he’s lost his faith in relationships and in God. When he meets Christy Forrest, he begins to hope for redemption but soon learns his past mistakes aren't something she'll easily forgive.
On the Colorado wagon train adventure planned by her late father, landscape designer Christy Forrest seeks to find peace in the nature she loves. However, she can't let go of her anger at the drunk driver who killed her dad—or the woman who did nothing to stop the man from driving. Falling for Kenn Martin begins to lighten her heart…until she realizes the handsome cowboy carries heavy a burden all his own—a burden she’s not sure she can accept.