Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sherry Thomas' 'Delicious'

I admit it, I have a weakness for reading romance. I'm not ashamed of my reading habits (and refuse to "defend" them, as if reading romance was something to be defended at all). One of my loves within the world of Romancelandia is historical romance.

I read all different time periods of historical romance. Regency, Victorian, medieval.. heck, I even have a small section of paranormal/historicals where one protagonist is from a different time period as the other. Without a doubt, though, one of my favorite single romance novels is Sherry Thomas' Delicious. So, taken from my (oft-neglected) book blog, here is my review of the book:

Verity Durant is a good cook - the best, second only (possibly) to Escoffier - with a secret. Her employer (and former lover) Bertie Somerset recently passed away, leaving her in the employ of his half-brother Stuart. What Stuart doesn't know is that his new cook is the same Cinderella he had a one-night love affair with ten years ago and has yearned for ever since.

Delicious is put forward as a Cinderella story of sorts. It starts out framed as a Cinderella story, and the author as well as the characters themselves reference the famous fairy tale throughout the novel. This not only works, but adds tremendously to the romance building between Stuart and Verity.

I loved the entire thing. Not only was I intrigued by the Victorian setting, I wanted to know if Cinderella got her prince, and what happened to the prince's fiancee. And what of Cinderella's stepmother? The prince's family? Delicious answers all of these questions, all the while drawing you into not only the romance between the characters, but into a new love affair with food - for that is how much of Verity's passion is shown: through her food.

Anyone looking to read a romance novel: I highly recommend this! It's delightful, satisfying, and all-around lovely. I know I gush, but I think, in this case, the work deserves the praise.
(4.5 stars out of 5)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Victorian... underpinnings

I can’t find a bra to fit me well. “WOAH,” you say, “that’s way too much information! What’s that got to do with neo-Victorianism?” First off, it’s just a bra. I’ll try not to get much more TMI than that. Second, what it’s got to do with neo-Victorianism is this: I’d rather wear a corset every day than go bra shopping and have to settle for a bra that either doesn’t fit me well or isn’t pretty. Or both.

A good corset both fits well and is pretty. A good corset is COMFORTABLE unless you do something wrong, or it’s wearing out. As someone who’s worn decent corsets for some time (granted, they’re Tudor corsets for 8-10 hours a day, for only 12 days of the year, but still), I can say this with some confidence. I made my own corsets, and with each new incarnation my corset fits me better and is more comfortable for longer periods of time – and that’s with a corset that’s trying to force my body into a shape it DOESN’T want to fit. (Tudor corsets are cone-shaped, whereas Victorian corsets are hourglass-shaped – and so is my body.)

The only thing with wanting to wear corsets instead of bras? They’re not popular anymore. This means I either have to make my own, or shell out a lot of money for custom-made corsets. On top of this, it also means I’d have to tailor ALL my clothes to fit the new silhouette a corset makes. Still, I’m considering it… perhaps when I have a little more money.

Introductory Musings..

Sitting tonight in front of the TV, with my stove-shaped fireplace filled with flames off to the side, I started thinking as I was knitting my tea cozy... While not exactly steampunk (although I do love that aesthetic), I'm a bit of a neo-Victorian. Love knitting, would rather wear shawls than sweaters, would rather sleep under layers of quilts than a duvet.

Hell, I like making my own bread BY HAND rather than eating store-bought - and not just for the lack of preservatives in the bread and of money spent.

And mind, while I love a lot of things about neo-Victorian living (especially the home-crafting parts), I am also INCREDIBLY grateful I was born in the latter parts of the 20th century and am living now in the 21st. I love my technology - TV, TiVo, electric lights, my blackberry, cars, the ability to boil water in under 5 minutes with my electric kettle, refrigeration.

I'm especially grateful for the liberation I have as a female... while we haven't caught up to males yet, we're SO much better off than our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Heck, I have it better than my mother at my age, who couldn't get an athletic scholarship to college because she was a GIRL, despite being captain of almost every sports team her school had *and* having the grades, too.
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