To celebrate the release of Johanna Lindsey’s newest Malory novel, I thought I’d revisit some of the books which, early on in my reading career, shaped my love for romance novels. And although I see things differently 12 cynical years later, sometimes when I reread some of these books I still get tingles in my palms. In order of least to most loved, here are some of the more noteworthy Malory-Anderson novels.
1. Tender Rebel
I loved Anthony Malory, especially as one half of the duo of the younger, more reckless, rakehell Malory brothers. However, I hated Roslynn with every fiber of my being. She was a shrew; suspicious, willful, annoying as all hell. Its only the comedic aspects of this book and the tie-in to James Malory (the other half of the duo) that saved it from its fate in the bin.
2. Love Only Once
The first Malory novel featured Regina Malory, beloved niece and apple of all four of her uncles’ eyes. She met, fell in love with and subsequently married Nicholas Eden. Unbeknownst to her, her new husband has a couple of secrets that stands in the way of matrimonial bliss, one of them the fact that he has a score to settle with one of her uncles. I love that this heralded the return of James into the Malory clan after having been disowned. As you can probably tell, James is one of my favourite characters.
3. The Present
Jason Malory’s story and the parallel story of the mysterious gypsy ancestor Anna Malory. I love this one because I’ve always been a fan of the whole forbidden love thing, as well as the kind of love that will ignore the confines of class and status. Also, we get to see all the Malorys in holiday mode.
4. Beautiful Tempest
This was the latest one that I only read a couple of days ago. The book featured James and Georgina’s headstrong daughter Jack (a name James chose just to be perverse) and the pirate she calls Bastard, who had kidnapped her not once but TWICE. I really liked the setting and the atmosphere this book created: that of adventure in the high seas. I also kept picturing Colin Donoghue AKA Captain Hook from ABC’s Once Upon a Time so i was, pardon the pun, really hooked on this one. I thought though that the last 20% of the novel was a bit farfetched, the ending anticlimactic and the love scenes a bit blah. Overall though, one of the better books in the series.
5. The Magic of You
Ah. Palm tingles all around. This is Amy Malory’s story, she who inherited some remnants of her gypsy grandmother’s “instincts” and who’s never lost a bet in her life. These instincts were triggered when she claps eyes on Warren Anderson, her new aunt’s brother from America who’s been burned by love so much so that he’s a bitter shell of the man he once was. It was so much fun watching Amy wear Warren down. It felt empowering to have a woman go for what she wants instead of waiting for the man to make a move. And when he finally gives in? Ah, that end scene of Warren’s surrender still ranks as one of my favourite scenes of all time. Like I said, palm tingles all around.
6. Gentle Rogue
James Malory AKA The Brick Wall. Big, blond and green-eyed with a silver tongue to boot and a way of raising his eyebrows that makes you want to sock him. Contrary, perverse and notorious, this ex-gentleman pirate met his match in Georgina Anderson, an American heiress who disguised herself as his new cabin boy in order to obtain passage to America. He sees right through it of course and his attempts to discomfit here were so damned entertaining. He doesn’t realise he’s fallen in love until he seemed to lose her and even then their road to a happy ending wasn’t at all smooth sailing. However, when he finally declares himself it was done in such a James fashion that I was beside myself with glee and joy. I still reread this at least once a year, that’s how much I love it.