Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Books to Make you Swoon

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly Meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish for folks who like lists and books.  I'm a fan of both and this week the topic is books that make you swoon.  I actually learned a lot about my reading self putting this list together which is why doing this is so much fun!  First I learned that my favorite romances are those that are slow-burning and well-developed  - a nice long journey to a spectacular pay-off is what makes me happy.  I also learned that I have trouble separating my swooning at the books or the movies that were made from them.  A number of these also have swoon-worthy film versions. I already knew that I prefer my romances in a historical or fantastical setting so the list is pretty heavy that way.

1) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

It's actually a little strange to call this swoony considering that Rhett and Scarlet's relationship is pretty dysfunctional.  But it is so epic and two words... Rhett...Butler. 

2. Savage Spirit by Meg Cameron

If there is anybody out there in the cyber world who read and remembers this one, I will be very excited to hear from you! These were the YA romances of my youth and I'm pretty sure this was my very first romance novel.  I still own a copy and have read it countless times. In fact my copy looks just like the above battered cover and all.  It's about Kentucky pioneer teenager Cat who is kidnapped by Indians.  She quickly develops feelings for an Indian brave, Blue Quail, who was adopted into the Indian tribe when he was a child. 

3. The Lymond Series by Dorothy Dunnett

I have tried many times to express the total epic magnificence of this series and generally failed.  Thankfully other people have more skill than I and if you want to read a great review of this series check out this review on heroesandheartbreakers along with the comments. Francis Crawford of Lymond is a hero to end all heroes and the moment when Lymond realizes he is in love is one of the most perfect romantic scenes I've ever read.  It doesn't happen until book 4 or 5 of the 6 book series and it is the perfect outgrowth of all that has come before.
 All that he was not. He looked at her. The long, brown hair; the pure skin of youth; the closed brown eyes, their lashes artfully stained; the obstinate chin; the definite nose, its nostrils curled. The lips, lightly tinted, and the corners deepened, even sleeping, with the remembrance of sardonic joy... The soft, severe lips.

And deep within him, missing its accustomed tread, his heart paused, and gave one single stroke, as if on an anvil.

4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

This was one of my favorite YA reads of 2013 and I love the central relationship that develops slowly and sweetly as well as the truly difficult and sad triangle they find themselves in.  It's romantic and authentic and lovely and I can't wait to see where it goes.  Impressive considering most love triangles leave me wanting to never read again!

5) My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey 

This was another favorite YA read from 2013  - the whole series was great!  But I especially love the characters of Lucy and her romance with Nicholas.  It's one of my favorite kinds of romances - they're good friends but one of them harbors feelings for the other, quietly pining until the other finally realizes that they also have feelings.  It's also a book where the quirky girl gets the super hot guy.  Plus they are super cute together and so much fun throughout the series and boy can Harvey write some steamy make out scenes.

6) Most anything romance-y by Georgette Heyer

In my mind, Georgette Heyer is the undisputed queen of Regency Romance (at least of those authors not living during the regency period).  The raciest thing you might get is a kiss but the build up and development of feelings between the characters is so great so when you get the kiss it just makes you melt.  She wrote a whole slew of them and each of them has a different and delightful story. She's the reason I started being interested in reading romances again after a 15-20 year hiatus.  Some of my favorites: The Convenient Marriage, The Nonesuch, The Talisman Ring, The Corinthian, Devil's Cub and Frederica.  Did I mention she wrote A LOT of romances.  I wish I could go back and discover her anew all over again.

7) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

No list of swooniness would be complete without Austen.  Sense and Sensibility is my favorite of her novels. This is one where I may not be adequately separating book and movie and I can't help but picture in my head how Emma Thompson  as Elinor reacts to learning that Edward is not married and has come to woo her.  The release of emotion from someone who has made an art form of keeping herself under control is just guh... 

8) It Happened One Autumn and The Devil in Winter (Wallflower Series) by Lisa Kleypas

The Wallflower series is a really fun quartet of books and the two middle books are my favorites.  They both have great central couples based on an opposites attract sort of formula.  And Sebastien St. Vincent, the hero of Devil in Winter is such a swoon worthy bad boy.

9) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This is another one that I'm not sure I can separate from the amazing miniseries with the delectable Richard Armitage as the brooding John Thornton.  Yum!

So what kind of fiction makes you swoon? 


  1. Nice list, Stephanie! I haven't read North & South, yet, but the mini-series is definitely swoon-worthy! I actually just picked up Seraphina and can't wait to read it. I've heard so many good things about it.

  2. Great list, Stephanie! Seraphina: most definitely. And the two Wallflower books. And clearly I need to read North and South, as I've run into it all over the place in the last few years of blogging.