Book Virago's Corner


Winter in Rhode Island, the Fantasy:  Crisp, clear air; brisk, but sunny days; clean, white snow sprinkled over pristine lawns and glittering in the city lights. Happy kids sledding down hills, their parents, bundled up and sipping hot chocolate while they chat amongst themselves.

Winter in Rhode Island, the Reality:  Damp, fiercely cold, penetrating air; frigid gray days; nights so cold it seems one could smash the brittle air into shards. Gray, dirty snow covering city sidewalks; exhausted homeowners piling small mountains of snow, sand, and ice next to driveways. Heating bills larger than ever… Yay, winter!

Want to escape for a while?  While most of us can’t hop a jet to the Caribbean or the South Pacific, there are many terrific books to read that remind us of warm summer days! So, put on a fuzzy bathrobe or tuck into a Snugglie, add a cat or a small dog onto your lap (or a large one, if that’s what you own) and give these stories a try. 

Summer Pleasures by Nora Roberts -- Two stories are contained within this light-hearted romance, each with the most unlikely of couples finding their ways to happiness with each other. Lee Radcliffe the celebrity reporter scores a rare interview with taciturn writer Hunter Brown and discovers there’s way more to the man than his horror stories would suggest.  Shade Colby travels across the United States with Bryan Mitchell; two photographers with highly different styles, they discover -- despite their daily squabbles -- that there is a fierce attraction between them.  Should they take the chance and explore the possibility of love?

A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr -- Set in beautiful Northern California, four old friends face challenges of varying sorts, while leaning on each other. 



The Hot Flash Club Chills Out by Nancy Thayer -- A rent-free house for the summer on Nantucket is the locale for the fourth outing for these lively gals. Thayer’s middle-aged ladies certainly show that life isn’t anywhere close to done once one hits a “certain age.”


Conversely, if you are like my friends Alan and Kim, and you enjoy stories set in the cold, here are several suggestions for you:

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin -- Set in New York in the Belle Epoch era, a middle-aged burglar named Peter is trying to rob a mansion, only to meet with the young daughter of the house. A doomed relationship develops between the unlikely pair, as the young woman is slowly dying. Excellent writing with lively descriptions and well-developed characters.


Death Trap by Sue Henry -- Dog musher Jessie Arnold, sidelined from her annual participation in the Iditarod due to a broken knee, tries to keep involved by manning the race’s booth at the Alaska State Fair. Her lead dog disappears, followed rapidly by a murder; soon, Jessie is both hunter and hunted in this chilly, but exciting tale.



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