How can I ignore this face?
Or the stripety stripes, the creamy underbelly or the single cream toe on a front paw? I'm trying, though, as my current office assistant, Miss Skye, still needs some time to get used to her new environment. She's had a rough life for a young kitty and needs to figure out she's in a good place at last. She's been a survivor, but now she's learning to be a pet.
Survival, I've found, is a very interesting theme for a romance as well. (Nice segue, eh?) As my Christmas reading binge included Jenna Kernan's Winter Woman, a western from Harlequin Historicals, (okay, not a Christmas book , Christmas is not even in it, but there's snow on the cover, so I'm counting it) I found myself thinking of exactly why this book worked as well for me as it did when westerns aren't my usual choice.
First off, snow. They had me right there. I loves me the white stuff. Lived for two years in Vermont, would happily go back, but I don't think I could convince the DH to come, so any returns would have to be of the weekend vacation nature. My first fan novel back when I was fanficcing ST:TNG was set on a planet where it was all winter, all the time. I had a blast.
Then there was the fact that for most of the book, it was all h/h, all the time. Isolated on the frontier, battling dangerous environs, carnivorous critters and tempermental weather with a distinct minimum of secondary characters kept me riveted. I love a good adventure and a tight focus on the main h/h relationship, and this had it in bucketsful.
I really liked the structure of the wilderness adventure leading to civilization, and that the heroine did want to go back to a more structured world. Also liked the compromise that came with the HEA.
Also liked the inclusion of a faith element, done with exactly the right touch; worked very well for me. It was part of the characters, and struggles made sense.
At the (pardon the pun) heart of the matter was that the h/h, once they decided they really did love each other, went all in; they'll give up what' s most important to them because their beloved is even more important than that, and in the end, they get it all. Happy sigh.
Which got me thinking, what other settings can some of these elements be used for? I've enjoyed stories set in the wilds of Australia, Africa, Asia, various islands, even the colonial frontier (physically restraining myself from making notes on one of these until I have finished a current project.) Recommendations, anyone?