Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hail the Roman hero

The Gladiator's Honor bookcoverI just finished Michelle Styles's The Gladiator's Honor, published in North America by Harlequin Historical (thus the "or" as opposed to "our") and winner of the 2006 Cataromance Reviewers' Choice Award (for best Mills & Boon Historical Romance).

I can't recommend it highly enough. It is evocative, passionate, tells a heartwarming tale of forbidden love between a Thracian slave turned gladiator and a Roman noblewoman—both characters I loved from the get-go—and, best of all, it's not a Regency!

I know, I know, I myself have reviewed Regency romances here with equal enthusiasm, and I must admit I have a weakness for them. But I say it's high time Harlequin/Mills & Boon/Silhouette etc. started widening its scope. Personally I want to see on the shelves fewer Regencies and Medievals in favour of romances set during Roman times, the Restoration, the Renaissance – anything but the period dominated by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.

Readers and writers, let's unite and together bid farewell to Darcy, Knightley and the Duke of Wellington. Hail instead heroes such as Spartacus (picture Goran Visnjic rather than Kirk Douglas or Russell Crowe) or Johnny Depp in The Libertine, not to mention Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff. (As we know, I have a weakness for all things Victorian.)

Hey, wait a second, how did I make the jump from romance novels to leading male actors? Please forgive me, Michelle, I promise to write a proper review next time.

P.S. Thanks, Amanda, for the book recommendation. And, yes, it's been sitting in my Wish List that long!

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Blogger Michelle Styles said...

Eva ---

I am so glad you enjoyed the book!

And yes, I can promise HM&B are doing more Romans. They have bought three more of mine and one from another new writer. And Louise Allen, an established M&B Regency writer is currently writing a end of Rome with a Visigoth hero. I am currently hard at work on a Viking and after that I get to do a Victorian.

They are very much trying to widen their offering.

Many thanks again for enjoying the book and blogging about it,

8:00 am  
Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

I missed the boat with this one, and I can't get a copy anywhere. I love reading historicals, and I've just bought my first load of HMB ones.
I'm loving the sound of Michelle's future Victorian one too. [sigh] So many great books to read, but so little time (and another excuse not to write!!).
Sue :-)

9:14 am  
Blogger Eva said...

Michelle, thanks for stopping by! I am so glad to hear HMB plans to offer more of what I desire.

Sue and I would love to hear details of your Victorian novel. Is it too early to snag us with a few choice words?

2:30 pm  
Blogger Amanda Ashby said...

Eva, I'm so glad you loved Michelle's book. Of course with such a HOT cover, it certainly gets off to a good start! It's definitely been one of my fav books of the year so far.

7:50 am  
Anonymous Sharon J said...

I must've been booked on the same boat as Sue because I missed it too :( I really wanted to read this one but unless there's a copy in the library or one turns up in a charity shop, it looks like I'm going to have to give it a miss. That's what I hate about HMB, it's either now or never!

I'd like to see more Victorian/Edwardian titles from HMB and even WWII. The Regency period has never really grabbed me so I've never bothered much with their historicals. It looks as if that may be changing, though.

12:12 pm  
Blogger India said...

To be able to write convincingly and evocatively about one historical period is beyond-my-reach clever. To be able to do that about any number of different eras is awe-inspiring. Could it be that these new-style HMB historicals will banish for ever the idea of category romance as 'real' literature's air-head little sister??

(Sorry, am trying make a semi-serious point but the image of Johnny Depp as The Libertine is refusing to leave my head. I think that here in the sanctuary we need a JD watershed. No mentioning The Gorgeous One during working hours, please. I have revisions to revise.)

1:06 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

Popping in to wave HI! Been busy for a bit there and am just getting back to the blogland proper like LOL.

This book is DEFINITLY on my wish list!

4:50 pm  

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