> Will North’s new novel Water, Stone, Heart is the story of Andrew Stratton, an professor of architecture whose wife leaves him for another man. Looking for a change of pace and atmosphere following his divorce, Stratton decides to take a course in stone hedge-building in the small village of Bocastle in Cornwall, England. Here he finds himself enchanted by a child named Lee, who introduces him to the residents of the town as well as the natural beauty in the surrounding hills. He makes friends and is charmed by the local residents and finds himself immersed in the techniques
used to build with stone. During his stay, he meets Nicola, a woman who has also been hurt in the past and is hesitant to commit to the future. North uses a real event–a flood that devastated the town of Bocastle in 2004–to bring a conclusion to this story of loss and love. North’s ability to convey the sights and sounds of the countryside of Cornwall adds to the atmosphere of the novel.
Panem, a city in the Rockies, and it’s twelve surrounding districts are what remains of the United States in this post-apocalyptic story. The twelve outlying districts suffer under harsh leadership because of their past rebellion. They are each required to send a teenage boy and girl to participate in the Hunger Games
annually. This fight to the death competition is broadcast on live television and is required viewing by all.
Katniss takes the place of her younger sister who is chosen in the lottery. Katniss has developed hunting and tracking skills in order to help feed her family. Her partner in the games has few skills that will give him any advantages. Katniss is put through training with her partner and a relationship develops. Can she bear to kill him if the time comes? This page-turning sci-fi novel is gripping and violent, yet the relationships versus survival theme is unforgettable.
I have a confession to make. I went to visit some family this weekend and I hid my paperback romance. I know, I’m so ashamed. I would pull out my intellectual book if anyone could see me reading, but late at night I would pull out my paperback romance and all the stresses of the day would just fade away.
This article from USA Today
gives me the validation I need. Apparently smart people do read books with heaving bodices on the cover. I am not alone. You can read your romance with pride, knowing that you are joined by scholars from some of the best institutions in the nation. Mary Bly, better known to us as Eliosa James
is a tenured professor at Fordham University and presented recently at the Princeton University scholarly conference titled “Love as the Practice of Freedom? Romance Fiction and American Culture.”
So, if you love books with a bared male chest on the cover and snappy dialog inside, read them unabashedly. And if anyone mocks you, just feel sorry for them. They’re missing out.