February 14th is Valentine’s Day. In the spirit of the month that celebrates love and romance I decided it might be fun to make lists of my favorite romantic books and movies. Of course there are different types of romances; thriller romances, historical romances, young adult romances, mature romances, fantasy romances, and even erotic romances.
Although my personal genre is romantic thriller my favorite romance books are historical romances. In fact, this is actually a series of historical romances.
The Troubadours Quartet by Jean Gill
Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence: The first book in the series introduces us to Estela and Dragonetz, a couple who meet under somewhat unusual circumstances.
Bladesong: 1151 in the Holy Land: In the second book of the series the lovers are temporarily separated and Estela courageously travels to the Holy Land to find Dragonetz.
Plaint for Provence:1152:LesBaux: The lovers have returned to Provence and become involved in a rivalry for control LesBaux.
Throughout all three books the relationship between the troubadour Estela de Matin and the troubadour and swordsman Dragonetz los Pros grows as they become embroiled in the controversies in various courts in both France and the Holy Land. Their romance is fiery and complicated and they face obstacles that at times seem insurmountable. I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth installment of this thrilling and well researched historical romance. These are, by far, the most beautifully written books in their genre.
Second on my list of historical romances I love is “The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Love Story” (The Sub-Saharan Saga Book) by Mark Fine.
A somewhat more contemporary story, this is a rich and vibrant tale of the love between a black man and a white woman during apartheid in South Africa. The author deals not only with the complexities of their relationship, from the uncertain and tender beginning to an intensely dramatic conclusion, but he plays their story out against the turbulent backdrop of South Africa. The country is torn by the violence between tribes, between city residents, between blacks and whites, between cultures and religions. It is written in beautiful yet easily understood prose; words that flow like honey from the lips of the storyteller. Compelling and totally engrossing, it was almost impossible to set the book down at night. Fine sets each scene with a delicate balance of the opposing points of view of the characters. His incredible ability to show us the inside of the minds of his characters enabling us to understand their machinations is uncanny. Historically accurate Fine reveals both sides of the issue with a frightening clarity. Throughout the book he encourages to journey with the lovers, Elsa and Stanwell, their lives a microcosm of the events surrounding them.
I can highly recommend these books as both romantic and eye-opening. Crossing time and cultures they bring history to life and fill the hearts of readers with hope. Love may not always win, but the struggles of lovers to find a way to be together is inspiring.