Summer Lovin’

August 8, 2008 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

It’s August, and suddenly the carefree “summer will last forever!” attitude I had all through July is completely gone. Far from amassing fun summer reads that I pile in corners of my shared room and imagine myself absorbed in on a beach somewhere, I find myself buying school books on Amazon and looking at John Steinbeck in used bookstores. Yuck.

So, as a last hurrah, I bring you three books from my “summer smut” reading list:

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Actually a fairly decent novel, both plot-wise and…otherwise. Not overly smutty, but not really lacking it ether. The basic idea here is that Alessandra falls in love with a young painter who is working on the frescos for her family’s chapel. In order to keep herself out of a convent, she agrees to marry a much older man who turns out to be her older brother’s lover. Awkward.

I think we can all see what’s going to happen with the painter here. While he is straight out of a marginal romance novel, he also has enough quirks too keep his character interesting. And since Alessandra and he only meet a few times, there’s enough plot in between to keep this novel a novel, and not a romance. Nice work, Ms. Dunant.

A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies by Ellen Cooney

Charlotte, who is recently recovered from a form of polio, discovers that her husband is having an affair and finds herself in a hotel where the male employees are mainly employed to “service” the clientele. Yep. That’s it.

The main problem with this book is that Cooney feels the need to burst into flashbacks in the middle of very exciting scenes. I could barely keep track of it all, and the flashbacks weren’t even interesting. It got to the point where I would scream in frustration when I saw one coming. Also, there is something about a stolen identity involving the main male character, and something else involving a police chief that was, in my mind, never really resolved. Not even worth borrowing, and certainly not worth the 99 cents I paid for it at a thrift store.

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

Okay, according to a review that was tucked into the pages of this book, I was supposed to be sobbing my eyes out by the end. I didn’t even well up — and keep in mind that I burst into tears during the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance the other night.

While I may have speed-read it, and I can certainly understand that is really quite tragic to fall in love with a free-wheeling photographer who you only know for a week when your family is at the Iowa State Fair, only to have to sacrifice what could be the world’s greatest love affair to remain in Iowa with aforesaid family, it’s kind of…eh. I had a very hard time believing it, to be honest.

Sure, it’s sad that this woman will never have mind-blowing sex again, and had I not been distracted I might have cried somewhere near the end-slash-middle region (you’ll see if you read it), it’s sadder to me that this woman ever left Italy in the first place than that now she’s stuck in Iowa. She made her choice long ago, and it shouldn’t be such a great tragedy now that she’s being forced to live it.

Though, to give Mr. Waller his due, the thing with the bathtub was a nice touch.

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Entry filed under: Collections and Lists, Romance and Chick Lit.

Chick Lit: The books, not the gum Comfort Reading

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