Let It Snow

winterEven though there’s still snow on the ground, I can feel spring around the air.  Unlike many people, I mourn the loss of the winter when spring comes – I’m not really one for rain and flowers.  So as I was happily shoveling the snow the other day, I thought about my favorite winter romances.

Except I couldn’t really think of any, except one: Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas. The story of Evie Jenner and the utterly ruined Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, is one that has remained readers’ favorites since it came out five years ago – it climbed four spots to land at #3 on the recent Top 100 Romances poll.  It’s pretty hard to ignore the appeal of St. Vincent, who is so deliciously, unrepentantly bad, but who learns to love the stuttering Evie over a backdrop of frigid winter.  Their race up to Gretna Green remains memorable for those thick sandwiches of thinly sliced meats and cheeses; the hot bricks and fragrant wine that St. Vincent procures for the freezing Evie; and their quick growth to intimacy while cuddled for mutual warmth in the rocking carriage.  I love this section every time I read it, and I spent a happy fifteen minutes with my shovel on the driveway while I thought of Evie and St. Vincent.

But I couldn’t recollect any other winter stories.  When I thought about it, there are practical reasons, I suppose.  Flowers are romantic.  Beaches are sexy.  Slush and drippy noses and salt stains are just unsightly in the city.  And what would our poor heroine slaving away in a tumbledown cottage, actually do in the winter?  Her hands would be chapped.  She’d probably be skin and bones.  And don’t forget (I reminded myself), if our heroine is a member of the ton, then she’s rusticating the winter away from London, away from the Season, which, as we all know, is Locale Numero Uno for historical authors.

After I went in, I scanned my bookshelves and my memory, and I remembered Linda Howard’s Ice (contemporary) and Amanda McCabe’s The Winter Queen (Elizabethan England). Neither amazed me, although the authors made good use of the setting.  And I seem to remember Jo Goodman featuring some interesting winter settings in her older westerns, although again, nothing sticks out.

Unfortunately, I handicap myself quite severely in my requirements, because I find myself incredibly picky about the obvious winter story – Christmas.  After all, it’s easy to make Christmas a magical solution to everything, and blame (or thank) the Christmas spirit for bringing people together, and rely on twinkle lights and Scrooges and cute elves to make everything twee.  Not my thing, really.  The Winter Queen is an exception to the Christmas boycott, because Ms. McCabe brought the Elizabethan customs to life, and made Christmas interesting.  But otherwise, I tend to stay away from Christmas stories, unless they’re out of the ordinary.

Any recommendations to keep me cool through the long, warm, humid summer?

- Jean AAR

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16 Responses to Let It Snow

  1. farmwifetwo says:

    Rosamund Pilcher’s Winter Solstice… it needs a follow up but as far as I can tell she stopped writing after it. Xmas in Scotland.

  2. Tee says:

    Mary Balogh wrote a few regencies that occurred around Christmas; consequently, the winter season. And they were quite good.

    A Christmas Bride
    A Christmas Promise
    Christmas Belle
    Christmas Beau
    Snow Angel (not sure I read this one)

  3. PatW says:

    I was going to mention Balogh’s Snow Angel – the winter weather features prominently in the plot and it is NOT a Christmas story.

  4. avoriana says:

    Janice Kay Johnson’s Snowbound is a great winter romance.

  5. Heather Marshall says:

    You into erotic romance? Beth Kery’s RELEASE has lots and lots of snow and hot smex. Loved the fact they were snowed in in downtown Chicago.

  6. Mary Beth says:

    Dinah Dean wrote an old regency titled The Cockermouth Mail. I love this story and it takes place in a rigorous winter setting.
    I live in Minnesota, so I feel confident in my ability to judge a good portrayal of winter! This is probably not available as an ebook, but it is worth seeking out – a great romance and a ‘wonderful’ winter setting.

  7. Janet W says:

    Blanking out on title by Linda Howard wrote a sizzling snow tale … involving “needing to put skin to skin” if you know what I mean … bit of a cabin romance too. What about that Jo Beverley one, Winter Fire. Weather and snow was prominent in that plot too.

  8. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is Nora Robert’s Gabriel’s Angel which was reprinted in both The Gift and (I think) on it’s own in 2005. It’s marketed as a Christmas story, but it’s not. Just a woman (with a secret of course) stranded in a blizzard. Lots of snow, lots of tension.

    Not my favorite of La Nora’s old stuff, but a decent read.

  9. xina says:

    The Linda Howard book (short story) is called White Out and it is included with 2 other shorts in a book titled, Strangers In The Night. Hero shows up on heroine’s secluded cabin’s doorstep in mid-snowstorm. Much “warming up” takes place. :)
    2 more…A Country Christmas by Elizabeth Doyle. Historical and not having much to do with Christmas. Many outdoor scenes including 1 skating scene. The h/h are very young…16 and 19. Still, a very nice romance.
    Snowed-In by Christina Bartolomeo. More Chick Lit than romance, but still a HEA with a nice relationship for the heroine.

  10. Karenmc says:

    How about The Hostage by Susan Wiggs? A lot of the story takes place on an island in the Great Lakes, so desolate in the winter that all the fishermen and their families leave for warmer climes, accidentally leaving the heroine behind. Of course the hero comes searching for her and they have to bunker down alone until spring.

  11. Tumperkin says:

    Tom and Sharon Curtis’s Lightning that Lingers is set in deep winter and setting used very effectively in that.

  12. Cam says:

    What about Mary Balogh “Simply Unforgettable” I really enjoy the story, just a day after christmas with snow, roads and little cottages to stay the night. Miss Frances Allard and Lucius Marshall trap in the snow together , you can’t get more romantic then that. And she cooks!! and the hero loves it, they dance the waltz too. :)

  13. Jean Wan says:

    Wow, thanks for all the suggestions! I definitely have a good list to keep me going.

    I’ve read some of Mary Balogh’s Christmas stories – some I liked, some I didn’t. I feel that occasionally she can cross the twee line (my hot button, clearly), but other times she skirts it. But I confess I totally forgot about Simply Unforgettable, which was definitely a good book.

    Tumperkin: I cannot believe I forgot Lightning that Lingers. Definitely an ace. If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read it – I have to say, it was worth the money I paid on Amazon.

    • Tee says:

      Jean Wan: …she can cross the twee line (my hot button, clearly), but other times she skirts it.

      Consider me one of the uninformed or behind the times, but what is a “twee” line?

      • Jean Wan says:

        Tee: Consider me one of the uninformed or behind the times, but what is a “twee” line?

        Certainly not uninformed Tee – it’s probably my own idiosyncracy. A twee line, to me, is the line between acceptably sentimental and saccharine sweet. Twee.

        • Tee says:

          Jean Wan:
          A twee line, to me, is the line between acceptably sentimental and saccharine sweet.Twee.

          Okay, I got that. And, yes, some romance books can skip over the line too easily. LOL

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