Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Jo Beverley - Meeting and greeting and signing

About a year or so ago, I came across this little gem in the Waterstones on Piccadilly and thought that I would give it a read. It sounded enchanting and in the same vein as the Georgette Heyer books from my teenage years.

I read it and loved it and wrote to the author, Jo Beverley, to tell her how much I enjoyed reading a historical romance and how - once again - it has opened my eyes to the possibilities within this genre. What helps is that Jo can write. Her characters are funny, bold, brash, silly, sweet, brave, handsome, pretty, sexy...the works.

This is a brief idea of the book:

To save her sister, Lady Chastity Ware hold up a coach. Unfortunately, instead of containing an elderly lord or a wealthy merchant, it holds Captain Lord Cynric Malloren, bored after time at home recovering from sickness. To her exasperation, he insists in helping her, regarding the whole thing as an adventure.
While evading the villain who seeks to snatch her sister's child, and the military raised to search for all of them, Chastity and Cyn fall deep in love. But Chastity is a ruined woman whose father will never let her marry a Malloren, and Cyn's brother, the formidable Marquess of Rothgar, will surely not permit such a disastrous alliance.

What was genuinely nice is that Jo emailed back and we have had an on-off email correspondence going for a few months now. On Monday I got an email from her pointing out that she will be doing a signing of her new novel at Murder One on Charing Cross Road in London, if I wanted to attend.

Having not ever been into Murder One, I thought yeah, that is an idea so off I toodled and found her firmly enthroned - complete with a pen that lights up when she writes - in the "romance" section of the bookshop. It was a revelation. There were four of us, excluding the shop assistant who looked after that section of the shop, and then of course, Jo who had us in gales of laughter at her research, her characters, etc. What a fantastically funny and witty lady who is, apparently huge in America and Canada, whereas I don't think she is that well known in the UK. With in excess of 29 books to her name she is not only prolific - did I mention I was jealous? - but also an extremely well read and genuinely interesting person. She was holding court, when I left, having had my copy of Lady Notorious signed - neh, neh, neh - and with promises extracted from the shop assistant that I would be back to visit.

I must admit, as previously when I did the review of the Alexander Potter book, that I am ashamed of my own preconceptions on this genre in general. Having grown up with the soul-sucking Mills & Boon novels from the 70's and 80's I thought I had been put off Romance for life. Today's visit, and reading these two gems, has definitely changed my mind. In fact, I would go as far as say that there had been a bit of an "about face".

The genre has expanded tremendously - these days it isn't just bustier rippers, historical romance and pink fluffy modern girly books that line the shelves - they have expanded into a huge range; thanks to Laurell K Hamilton and her ilk, they now have books that cross over into urban fantasy (vampires and werewolves) into thriller (spy novels for girls) into supernatural/ is fantastic!

A new reading genre has opened to me - here's hoping the hubby can cope with the more books that will be bought!

Watch this space....

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