Sunday, April 10, 2016

More Romance (Gets Boring, Doesn't It? :))

And the other book from the trip, somewhat similar in that it's a fantasy romance, but decidedly for adults (and not based on a classic fairy tale) - Summers at Castle Auburn.  Sharon Shinn is an author I've read for a while (though I haven't picked up her new books recently (well I haven't picked up anyone's new books recently :))).  I've read almost all of her books and enjoyed most of them. She's a regular fantasy world-builder, which I can take or leave, as long as the worlds are good (if they're not good, then I have no tolerance for it :)), which hers generally are. And she very often has a satisfying romance at the heart of the story (those are the "most" I enjoy :))  The first book I read of hers, Archangel, was described by Peryl (who discovered it), as a romance disguised as a fantasy (I don't think we realized at the time that this was far from a novelty, more of a genre :)) But anyway, yeah, her books are fantasy romances, often with some more complex world-built story to be resolved.  The story with Summers at Castle Auburn is that the library (BCPL and whatever other libraries I had access to at the time) didn't have this one and I wanted read it, so I borrowed it from someone (probably the Spitzes) and read it, I think during Yaelle's sheva brachos. I LOVED it, and eventually bought a copy.

This is Sharon Shinn fantasy romance, but light on the fantasy, heavier on the romance :) Takes place in a world that's quite close to say, Rennaissance Europe, not too much complicated magic or whatnot going on.   I remember the first time I read it someone told me she gets together with the wrong guy, which cause me to root for the one I thought was the wrong guy... which, it turned out, *was* the wrong guy, since she got together with the one I had originally thought was the right guy! which kind of muddied my enjoyment for the first read, but made for a more satisfying second read (not that this is relevant to what's probably my 4th or 5th read but just funny. Same thing happened with Agatha Christie's The Man in the Brown Suit).

So anyway, on further readings, I noticed that despite the lack of a an impending war or great destruction to bring urgency to the plot (not atypical of Sharon Shinn), the book is somewhat serious in tone, and the romance is serious with it.  It's also a bit interesting because of the youth of the protaganist during much of the book (are we supposed to root for a romance between a 14 year old and a 19 year old? it's a lot less weird by the time she's 18 :)) But that's all built in to my expectations from previous readings, so I didn't mind it too much.  And it really is a beautiful romance - Kent's secret devotion coupled with his myriad wonderful qualities, oh my.  And like I said, there isn't too much distraction from major plots about wars and such, which is a good thing in my book. Mostly castle intrigue, which I find more to my liking.  So certainly enjoyed the book, in line with my expectations :)

Honestly, I read so little these days that I probably would enjoy anything, so who knows if these reviews are fair in any way...  and who cares? :)

Verdict: 4.5/5

(also btw, let's pretend you are an avid reader of this blog, you will recall that I've reviewed this book at least once before, as I read it on my trip to Glacier back in 2012 :) can't remember if the time before that was when I was doing reviews)

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