Jan 20, 2011

Books from the past we love to keep...

Reading: Pray for Dawn by Jocelynn Drake
Watching: Sam Stosur win tennis!
Listening to: the frogs outside
Making me Smile: Thinking how lucky I am

Unlike many of my writer friends, I don't shelve a lot of my books. Of course there are exceptions to that rule (g). I've clung onto a few of my books for twenty-five years or more, the ones that have touched me in some way, resonated with me...ones that are just darn good reads.
Right now I find myself thinking back on the books I've loved, even as a child. The Black Stallion (of course!) The Silver Brumby series, The Secret Garden and The Wishing Chair. Actually, just recently I've ordered some 'learn to read' books for my youngest daughter, ones I still remember from thirty-five years ago (LOL - am I *really* that old???)
Not all of my keeper books are paranormal ones, although yes, J.R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series has its own shelf.
My favourite 'old' books are actually good old fashioned romances. Top of my list:
1: The Wilder Shores of Love, by Madeleine Ker (1987) -The heroine Margot, is a heroin addict. The hero, Adam, literally kidnaps her and forces her off the habit.
I *love* this story - and it's a harlequin presents!! How the lines have changed - and you'll probably notice, the titles too.
2: Eagles Prey, by Lucy Gordon (1987) - Sara, a wildlife photographer goes to the very remote and supposedly uninhabitable, Farraway island to photograph golden eagles. Rorke, hiding out on murder charges, uses her as bait to lure the real killer to him.
This one is a Silhouette Desire, again very different to how the lines are today - same again with the title.
3: No Gentle Seduction, by Helen Bianchin (1991). Lexi has it all, a great modelling career, wealth and looks. But her father is ill...and Georg Nicolaos is ruthless enough to take advantage of the fact.
Another Presents line, and quite a lot like the modern presents, the rich heroine, the richer hero. This one is just a great read.
4: Lady Vixen, by Shirlee Busbee (1980). The heroine Nicole is desperate to escape from her abusive relatives. On seeing Christopher (Lord Saxon) she devises a plan. Cutting her hair and dressing as a cabin boy, she stows away on his ship. Lots of twists and turns, but you can guess the attraction when he discovers the 'he' is a 'she'!
This was possibly one of my first historical romances (Avon), and possibly still my very favourite. Of course, it's a bit of a bodice-ripper, but I seriously don't care in this one instance (g)

So what about you guys? Any old favourites out there I should know about? I'd love to hear about them =)


  1. I love my old books, Mel! I reread them over and over -- including my old Enid Blytons. (Yes, I have The Wishing Chair too!)

    Old romance favourites ... Georgette Heyer without doubt. And I'm looking around at the moment for a copy of Savannah Purchase by Joan Aiken Hodge, about a girl who pretends to be her cousin (who's married to the hero).

    I love the sound of the four you've listed. Must look for copies!

  2. I still have my first ever SF novel I bought through the Scholastic Bookclub fliers at school (about 30 years ago).

    It's called PLAGUE SHIP by Andre Norton and is a story about a young cargo master who signs up with the independent ship "Solar Queen" as a junior officer.

    They're they underdogs in an often brutal space-trade business and the job is made harder when a deadly unknown disease is discovered on board. They then have to find its source and eliminate it before they're labelled a "plague-ship" and destroyed. It's all told through Dane's POV - a great rollicking space adventure.

    Turns out it was the second in the series, so I ended up hunting down the first book and the rest is history. I became a SF nut.

  3. Mel

    I love thinking about all the books that are on my keeper shelf when I was young Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five where the best as for romance that I have been reading for a very long time I have all of Shirlee Busbee's on that shelf and loved everyone of them as well as Kathleen Woodiwiss's Shana and The Wolf and the Dove also Johanna Lindsey's books and of course the first romance I read Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers.
    Brings back memories LOL

    Have Fun

  4. Hi Emily,
    I think delving back into an oldie book, is like reminiscing a bit into your past =)

  5. Hi Kylie!
    Isn't it amazing how one book can fire the imagination - and see a reader turn the corner into becoming a writer!
    ANd love that you are a SF nut =))

  6. Hi Helen!
    All of Shirlee's books? (jealous!!!) I have read a couple of her other ones, (Gypsy Lady being one I recall offhand) but they just didn't do it for me the way Lady Vixen did.
    And you can't go past an Enid Blyton =)

  7. Oh, I LOVE Plague Ship, Kylie! And the first one in that series. Was it Sargasso of Space? I was an utter Andre Norton fan at school, and still have heaps and heaps of her books. In fact, I got one just the other day -- one I've been looking for for years, Wolfshead, or Secret of the Lost Race. Can't wait to read it again!

  8. Yes, that was the first in the Solar Queen series. Like you, Andre Norton was one of my first obsessions as a reader.

    I now have many of her wonderful books. I don't know how many second hand bookshops I trawled to find missing titles.

    Such fun and such adventure between the covers. Love them all!

  9. I loved "I Capture a Castle" which is not a romance or even a love story in that it's all about unrequited love but it's beautifully written. I was relieved that the movie version was fabulous too.

    I loved Enid, especially the Famous Five and ones about Barney and his monkey Miranda. Narnia books too :)

  10. I have given my daughter all my Enid Blyton's which include the Twins at St Clares, Malory Towers and Famous Five books... wasnt really a secret seven fan. She's also got my sweet valley highs, Nancy Drews and Trixie Beldens.

    Re the books for when we get older I've kept all of my Judith McNaughts and read them over and over. I've also kept the Miranda Lee series... cant think of the name but there's two sheiks, both half brothers and the third book is about an english business acquaintence... I like that series.

  11. Ooh Zana, haven't heard of that one in book or movie form?! Will have to check it out!
    I remember the fabulous five too, yet another book that had been on our shelves at one time or another.

  12. Hi Tash!
    Reading these posts bring it home just how popular some books were!
    Hope your daughter gobbles up all those wonderful stories =))

  13. Mel, as soon as I read your post I thought of my Dallas Schulze books. The one I'm looking at right now is "Saturday's Child" with is published in 1990. It's a romance set in the early 1900s. Dallas does her historical atmosphere in this book just beautifully I think. And her contemporaries are just as good.

    (happy sigh) I do love a rummage through the keeper shelf!

  14. Sounds like another goody Sharon! I haven't read an historical for quite some time...

  15. Hi Mel,

    I've still got a heap of my old Barbara Cartland with me!

  16. Hi Mel --
    I don't have many books I've kept from when I was younger -- but my Narnia books I've always kept.

    On my romance shelf I have my fav Johanna Lindsey books including her SF ones (I *love* Warrior's Woman).

  17. Hi Nas!
    Barbara Cartland, I haven't read one of her books for a LONG time. But what a writing machine, eh!

  18. Hi Anna,
    Johanna Lindsey seems to be another staple for the book shelves, and actually even my mum was quite a fan of hers =)

  19. Mel, I *love* old books. I have double copies of some favourites, like Pride & Prejudice, because I've kept my old version plus a new one to read so I can 'save' the older one. :)

  20. Mel, a lot of your faves as a child were mine too. Anne of Green Gables was devoured and re-devoured time and time again, but L.M. Montgomery wrote a load of books and one of my all-time fave romances is "The Blue Castle" -- very sweet, of course, but fab.

    Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer are both reread very often. I went through a phase of reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy every Christmas holiday. Hmm... might just have to try and fit in another reading of that this year :-)

  21. Rachel,
    I love that!! Two copies stored just so the old one is pristine =))
    Mind you, I'm still trying to get into P&P *Wry grin* - though I do love the DVD, does that count? LOl

  22. Michelle, that's good to hear!
    I haven't read the Lord of the Rings, something I must try and get around to! How does it compare to the movies?

  23. An old favorite of mine is Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I know I still have it. Somewhere is a box with books I've kept for 30 years.

  24. Oh Robbie,
    I had that one too at some stage. I might have to try and hunt it down again!

  25. Hi Mel, I hope my daughter gobbles them up too... I used to read them to the girls as their nighttime story... the old fashioned boarding school stories totally fascinated them... which I guess is because the kiwi way is just SOOOOO different :)))