Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Reads Highlight: Tamara Leigh

Well, having spent the summer without a Handsome Hubby to snuggle up with... I've read a truly embarrassing number of romance novels over the past few months!  My favorite authors haven't been able to keep up with my voracious appetite lately, so I've read and re-read some of my all-time favorites.  And since I don't have a new book to review, I thought I'd reveal what my favorite guilty pleasure summer reads have been:

Medieval Romances by Tamara Leigh 

Amazon-- in its infinite wisdom-- had been recommending Leigh's books to me for years.  Here's why it took me so long to read them... 
  • Let's be honest, the covers look like the type of romance novels I'd be embarrassed toread in public.  In fact, when the Hubby sees them in the Kindle Cloud, he chuckles.  
  • I've typically been more of a Regency or Tudor England type of girl.  Manners and social graces and all things Jane Austin have traditionally been my cup of tea.  Medieval stuff?  Not so much.  I've been to Medieval Times... bad food and smelly horses?  Eh, no thanks.  Beowulf and Canterbury Tales? Never my favorites.  
  • I'm pretty sure Amazon recommended Leigh because I've read and reviewed several of Melanie Dickerson's medieval fairy tales, and have found them pretty hit or miss.  Reading them for free to write a review?  Sure.  Paying money for them?  Not always worth it.  The fact that Amazon linked the two authors have me pause.  As much as I love reading, I can easily spend WAY more money than I should on books!  Side note... why aren't any of Leigh's books available to review on NetGalley?!  I'd be all over that.  
  • Amazon also kept telling me I'd like Leigh's time travel series.  Time travel?  Really?  I know many of my friends LOVE Outlander, but I just didn't.  The whole idea just seems so silly.  And I'm a serious historical fiction reader (or so I tell myself...) 
Ok, now that that's out of my system, here's why Amazon was right and why I should have been reading EVERY SINGLE ONE of Leigh's books all along:
  • Yes, the covers are kind of embarrassing.  But I DO love romance novels, so why not let the world know?  But most importantly, the books are not smutty.  There's love and romance and plenty of kissing, but that's really it.  Most even have a religious element or theme running through them.  
  • Even though I still adore the Regency and Tudor periods with all my heart, medieval stuff is cool too.  Leigh does an excellent job weaving historical fact with romantic intrigue and I've learned a lot about the period... which is why I love historical fiction in the first place!  I don't know how many times I've checked this British Royal family tree to get a better idea of how the events she mentions affected British history.  
  • While I do understand why Amazon thinks Melanie Dickerson and Tamara Leigh are similar-- Christian medieval romance writers-- their styles are quite different.  All of my issues with Dickerson's writing (simpering females, awkward dialogue, heavy-handed character development) are not a problem with Leigh.  I thoroughly enjoy her writing.  Her characters are all unique, believable, and intriguing.  Not an annoying, insipid, or wimpy female lead in the bunch.  And, my goodness, this woman has a talent for creating one swoon-worthy male protagonist after another!  
  • I'll admit that even after having read every other book available on Amazon, I still couldn't bring myself to do the whole time travel thing until I got truly desperate.  She handled the whole thing well, and while they probably aren't my favorites... I still devoured them both. 
If I had to pick, I think her Age of Faith series is my favorite.  But I truly love them all.  

In fact, Lady Betrayed comes out on August 4, and I've got it pre-ordered!  I can tell you without a doubt I will spend this entire weekend reading it. 

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