The summer after I graduated from high school my friends (mostly girls) and I left the US of A to teach English in Taiwan. It was a good gig: good moeny, see new sights, learn different customs.
Ugh. It was a long flight over. Then the humidity was like 100%. And Taipei smelled strange and most people were brown and spoke a different language. The culture shock hit pretty fast.
What was I thinking?
The good thing was I was surrounded by Americans who helped me get a job, figure out which bus to take and how to order food.
The next good thing was I fell in love. I fell in love the people and the culture and food. I LOVED my new home. Oh my word! The adventures I went on, both planned and unplanned. The people I met and the memories I will forever hold close. I was only there for six months but I felt like I left part of myself over there.
A few weeks after I arrived, another group of Americans (all boys) showed up (we all went to church together). They were cute, especially The One. But like most insecure young'uns, I didn't think I had a chance with him. We hung out a lot as our two groups explored the area over the next few months. We became good friends. Then He started asking me out. We went to movies with Chinese subtitles, ate fresh fruit from the night markets and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking.
Then it happened...he kissed me! It took him long enough! He'll tell you I was playing hard to get and I'll say he had to earn it.
|Me and The Cute Boy|
Yup! Whirlwind is a perfect adjective to describe our engagement. But why wait when you know deep, deep down, that you were meant to spend the rest of your life with someone?
So, I guess I gave you two love stories: how I met my husband and how I fell for a country.
How about you? Do you have a love story? A book or a dessert or a person you absolutely love? Tell me!
Now onto the books. In no particular order I give you some of my all time favorite love stories in fiction:
The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kaye
The Far Pavilions is a story about an Englishman- Ashton Pelham-Martyn -brought up as a Hindu. It is the story of his passionate, but dangerous love for Juli, am Indian princess. It is the story of divided loyalties, of friendship that endures till death, of high adventure and of the clash between East and West.
I LOVE this story! lovelovelove the forbidden love story and adventure.
For centuries, historians have speculated that the Queen of Sheba is nothing more than a seductive legend; but when undercover agent Omar Zagouri finds a tomb in a tunnel beneath Jerusalem, he unearths cryptic clues that may lead to the queen’s final resting place.
Dr. Richard Lyon of Brown University, the world’s leading expert on the queen, is found murdered in his office, setting off a chain of deadly events. Omar desperately works to piece together the puzzle to locate the queen’s burial ground, fearing another assassination will take place. He teams up with one of Lyon’s protégées as well as with his ex-girlfriend, agent Mia Golding, in order to unravel the truth about the queen, expose a murderer, and reveal a timeless story of love, revenge, and sacrifice.
I love this series because the author has two love stories going: one ancient and one modern. These stories are well-researched and full of romantic tension as well as thrilling adventures and dangers.
One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
Just. Just go read this one. Trust me. If you love forbidden love stories, read it.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.
But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.
Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda’s only hope for escape lies in an arcane, forbidden power that’s buried within her.
In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.
So starts one of the best books I've read this year. Why? Why is it one of my favorites? I got sucked into the book, characters, story and couldn't pull myself out. Heart-pounding adventure, romance and intrigue.
Unraveled: A Tale of True Love by Julie Daines
When sickness swept through Bronwen’s family, it took the life of her father, brother, and sister, and left her permanently crippled. On the stormy eve of her sixteenth birthday, a faerie-witch gifts her a pair of enchanted shoes. Bronwen slips them on and is healed--but only when the shoes are on her feet. Her grace and beauty catches the eye of the king’s son--Urien, a handsome young man who prides himself on having everything perfect.
When Rhys, an old acquaintance and Captain of the Guard, recognizes Bronwen, he threatens to tell Urien her secret. Desperate to keep her deformity hidden and not to lose the love of handsome Urien, Bronwen quickly finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit. After all, she can't wear the shoes forever
This is such a sweet story of being your true self and finding the person who loves you just as you are.
The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.
What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
Another series that I LOVE! Oh my word, Gen is so complex. This is one series I reread because the twists made me want to go back and read everything that led up to the twist. It was awesome! (The 2nd and 3rd books were my favorite.)
Edenbrooke by Julie Donaldson
Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.
From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.
I'm gonna gush. I love a good, clean, smart book. Throw in romance, a dashing gentleman and lady who can laugh at herself and I'm sold.
The Kiss of A Stranger (The Jonquil Brothers) by Sarah M. Eden
When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentlemen, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.
Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?
So many of Ms. Eden's books are worth a mention! But I went with my first one and the one I love. Loved, loved this book. Who doesn't love a good, clean romance? And a Regency Romance is even better.
So I'm not going to put the obvious ones on this list. Like: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wives and Daughters, Romeo and Juliet. But this next one is a favorite spin off of Pride and Prejudice.
An Assembly Such As This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman #1)
In An Assembly Such as This, Pamela Aidan finally answers that long-standing question. In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley and reveals Darcy's hidden perspective on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows—as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.
This is such a fun spin off from Darcy's point of view. The middle book is a little wonky but the first and third are great.
And lastly, I'm going to add the Timeless Romance Anthologies. I know they aren't "books" per se, but I love these quick reads from talented authors. There are so many to choose from! I'm only putting a few covers here: