Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Favorite Debut Romance Novels for 2012

It's the last weekend of 2012 and I'm starting my year-end summaries with a look back on my favorite debut romance novels for 2012:

1. No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper (read July 2012)

...this book has something -- that something that propels you forward and keeps you awake until 1 in the morning because you want to read what happens next --

It is the plot and the conflict the characters experience: there comes a point when Joan is very close to her goal to save the future but it would mean erasing herself from all the people that she loved and left behind. She would be left in limbo: belonging to neither the present or the future.


It is the characters. Characters who, after realizing what is at stake, immediately think of a plan. They do not moan or agonize or despair ... but plan. They are well-drawn out -- with purpose and agency.

2. More than a Stranger by Erin Knightley (read in July 2012)

I enjoyed reading the letters between Evie and Hastings. They revealed so much of our hero and heroine's personalities: first, as young and brash children who didn't filter their thoughts -- to young adults who bared their souls to each other -- finally to the final year, when so much was hidden between the lines. It truly was a love that grew and blossomed slowly and deliberately.

3. How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins (read April 2012)

While reading Manda Collins' debut, it became clear to me what some of my preferences are in romance novels.

For one, I love reading about intelligent heroines and I loved Cecily Hurston. She's right up there with all the ladies in Cara Elliott's Circle of Sin, Lisa Kleypas's Amanda Briars, Lauren Royal's Violet Ashcroft and Laura Lee Guhrke's Emmaline Dove. (There are so many clever heroines! ^_^)

4. Enslaved by Cassandra Dean (read April 2012)

Dean set out with an ambitious project: to tell a love story set in a not-so popular period (time of the Roman Empire) about two very dissimilar people (a gladiator and his domina) using a challenging point-of-view.

But Cassandra Dean's boldness is rewarded. She manages to make everything work. This is a keeper of a story and I am delighted to have read it.

5. An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone (read November 2012)

As a debut novel, this one was a wonderful, fast-paced read and succeeded in introducing us to a new group of heroes: the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard.

6. A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant (read January 2012)

I have been disappointed by maybe one or two debut novels in the past 6 years of reading romances -- for the most part, debut novels have introduced me to memorable stories and to new authors to look forward to.

And now, Cecilia Grant's debut comes along. And it is stellar.

The prose is breathtaking -- deliberate and thoughtful. Words pieced together to form and complement the sentiment of the characters and of the story.

To see 2011's list, click here.


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