I'm in the middle of a Philippa Gregory glom at the moment, even though I have a gorgeous stack of books for review glaring at me. Gloms happen, and this one caught me unawares, but happily so.
Some friends and I had decided to read a book together and discuss via email. They settled on Philippa Gregory's The Other Bolyen Girl. I love Tudor, so okay. Really wanted a romance, but hey, Tudor. No luck at the library, discretionary funds said inxay on the adesizetray, but I did have the Wideacre trilogy waiting for me in my TBR mountain range. I followed the twisted and evil Beatrice's legacy through three generations, and then turned to a reread of A Respectable Trade, which had given me the impetus to include such trade in one of my WIPs. Then after a frantic hunt, finally found Fallen Skies, set in 1920s England rather than the Georgian age of the other titles, but hey, Gregory. Plus it appeals to the part of me that will always ache with love for Brideshead Revisited and sniffle at pictures of Castle Howard (because I know it's really Brideshead, and poor, poor Charles. Sob. But a happy sob.)
I'm halfway through that at the moment, and last night's library visit netted me Ms. Gregory's 17th century duo, Earthly Joys and The Virgin Earth. They also had another Gregory, The Wise Woman, which I purposely left on the shelf, because if I took it, that would mean I wouldn't have any more Gregory novels to read. Other than the royal books, and I can't do historical biographies right now, not for the life of me. At present, I'm more than happy to follow the adventures of Stephen, the WWI veteran and lawyer who has what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder, and Lily, the spirited singer who has decided she's not going to acknowledge the war because it's boring and dumb and she doesn't like it. Will they have a HEA? I have no idea, and if you konw, shush. Do not tell me; I want to find out on my own.
See, if the first two Wideacre books had been able to have HEAs (and no, I am not advocating that anyone should look amongst their sibling groups for romantic partners) or if Frances and Mehuru of A Respectable Trade had been able to have HEA, those would have been perfect romances. So it serves me well to study them.
Along with all of that, I'm delving into some of the old school romances I missed the first time out. I recently finished Love's Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde and have some notes to make on that one. Apparently the heroine went on to have two more books of her own, though I'm not sure if the same gent was along for the ride; we'll see when I can hunt my copies of the sequels down.
Sure, I'm getting some good discussion going with friends both in person and online, but there's another benefit -- remembering why I fell crazy in love with historical romance in the first place. Especially the deeply emotional, meaty kind. Granted, that's not what's in the greatest demand these days, so it's easy, as Camilla posted here, to get jaded. Only jaded doesn't get the books written. Reconnecting with that love of writing so that it translates into actual words on page/screen does. Inspiration plus discipline makes for a winning combination. At least for me.