If you're looking for a romantic novel for Valentine's Day (or any other day of the year for that matter) here are four excellent choices. But a word of warning - if you're after gushy regency romances, bare chested cowboys, or the latest 50 Shades knock off, you might as well leave now, as that's just not BookBrowse's thing. Instead here are four thoughtful stories which are long on love, relationships and exceptional writing, and short on heavy breathing. Perfect for gift giving, or buying for yourself!
I Shall Be Near You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Historical Fiction, debut novel, published by Crown in hardcover Jan 2014
Perhaps Gone With the Wind is to blame, but novels about the Civil War are usually assumed to be about the South. Erin Lindsay McCabe's debut I Shall Be Near To You is a welcome deviation from the expected norm. Set in the North about a husband and wife who both enlist to fight for the Union, this story offers tender insights into the sadness of war. It also elaborates on a little-known historical fact: some women dressed as men to fight in the Civil War...In addition to the immersive details about war and the portrayal of women's involvement, this novel is a love story. Rosetta's first-person narration paints a tender portrait of two lovers, desperate to stay together as the world contrives to tear them apart. Though Rosetta's dialect is often grating ("That gets my dander up, even if what that lady spy done is wrong, like he thinks she ain't smart enough to do more than gossip.") her spunky attitude and tenacity reveals a fascinating, appealing character. Rosetta is brave enough to choose her husband's love over a life of feminine conformity.
Abbreviated from the full length review by Sarah Sacha Dollacker
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Novel, published by St Martin's in paperback Jan 2014
Calling Me Home is an outstanding debut novel! Alternating between the present and 1930/40s, the author draws you into the lives and conversations between an elderly white woman and a young black hairdresser as they drive from Texas to Ohio. Both women have secrets that they have guarded but end up sharing with each other. In reading the novel, issues such as race, love, family, and segregation are dealt with in a sensitive manner. This novel makes a person question why we have our prejudices when underneath we are all just human beings with the need for friendship, love and acceptance (Loren B). It has so many layers. It's sad and touching. Keep a box of tissues handy!
Abbreviated from the full length review by BookBrowse members