Posted by Alana T., EPL patron and guest blogger
If you read the Meet the Staff Interviews on this blog, you may have seen the question, "What is your guilty reading/listening pleasure?". Mine was, and still is, listening to romance novels. The funny thing is, I can't read them. I have zero patience for the characters and plot on the page, but I love to listen - it's more like eavesdropping on a conversation.
As with other literary genres, romance is categorized into multiple sub-genres. I don't listen to contemporary, Amish, fantasy or inspirational romance. I am flabbergasted by paranormal romance. My favorite sub-genre is good 'ole historical romance, specifically regency romance. I am especially fond of stories with a simple mystery and maybe something supernatural wrapped in. I recommend anything by Amanda Quick (the pen name of Jane Ann Krentz).
When listening, narrators are crucial to the interpreting the pace of the story and emotion of the characters. The vast majority of narrators in romance novels, even those with male main characters, are women. Every once in a while I'll run across a book narrated by a man and it is a special treat - especially those with female main characters. Why? It's hilarious! The love scenes are too funny! I have to stop whatever I'm doing, rewind the audio and listen again. I'm usually laughing so hard, I might miss part of the story. I'm sure this wasn't the intended effect, but it adds a special dimension to the listening experience.
There aren't many of these gems out there and most are older. However, romance is romance and a "good" story lasts forever. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick, narrated by Michael Page. The wealthy and handsome Earl of St. Merryn hires the penniless Miss Elenora Lodge to pose as his fiancé for a few weeks. He is trying to solve his uncle's murder and a fiancé will keep society at bay until he's solved the mystery. Of course, Miss Lodge proves to be headstrong and ... surprisingly enticing.
Anything in Stephanie Lauren's Cynster Series, narrated by Simon Prebble, is a good choice. There is usually a murder, some type of social scandal, and really long love scenes. The main characters are men (in the Cynster family), so the narration isn't quite as funny, but still, those long love scenes! If you want a female main character, try Where the Heart Leads. Simon Prebble is actually a really good narrator, I don't know how he can read this stuff and not break out laughing.
The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander, narrated by Michael Page. The disreputable, but somehow quite desirable, Viscount Stillwell needs to find a wife, but he also needs to renovate his family's mansion. The firm he has hired for repairs sends their representative, the equally desirable, but not disreputable, Lady Miranda Garrett, for consultation. She moves in to oversee "the work." Will the house repairs ever be completed?