Today we welcome Cecilia London to the blog. She’s celebrating the release of her new title, Songbird.
From the Author:
True story: I mostly write contemporary/near future (for now, anyway) but I mostly read historicals. I love the character development, the dialogue, and the settings (London is my favorite city in the world, hence my pen name), but mostly I love a good quality quirky heroine.
My new release, Songbird, is what could be labeled a political romance. It features a recovering Republican (fascists taking over the party will do that to a person) heroine who’s a little (okay, a lot) insecure and a cinnamon roll hero intent on healing her wounded heart. Our heroine is closed off, aloof, hard to know, and our hero does his best to break through the icy walls she’s built around herself. Are her politics intertwined with her personality? To a certain extent, yes.
However, in my mind, all romance (and all fiction, for that matter) is political. The presence or absence of political themes is a statement in and of itself. It’s a luxury to be able to dismiss and ignore perceived political issues when they exist even in the most fantastical or escapist novels. To quote my fellow author Emma Barry, with whom I was discussing this very concept on Twitter, “if you think there aren’t politics in every other romance you’ve ever read – even if those politics often just support the status quo – well, then I do not have some books I’d like to sell you because you probably wouldn’t like my books.”
*Ahem* So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about some of my favorite romances, which may not appear to be political but which, in fact, are.
Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
Winter. Makepeace. Winter MF’ing Makepeace. I don’t think much needs to be said beyond that. He’s one of my favorite (virgin, no less!) heroes of all-time, but let’s not forget the magnificence that is Isobel Beckinhall. She’s a widow in a time when there are few excuses for women to exercise and embrace their sexual agency, and boy, does she make good on her opportunities. I won’t give away too much of the sexytimes but let’s just say there’s a scene in which she does her best to remind us that being assertive and confident in your sexuality (while happening upon the Ghost of St. Giles in a compromising position) is absolutely, gloriously wonderful and is also, yes, an inherently political statement.
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Pandora Ravenel is my favorite heroine of all-time so there’s no way I wouldn’t sneak her onto a list somewhere! (I named my car after her. That’s some serious devotion right there. I’d post a picture but it’s pollen season in Texas and I don’t want to do her a grave injustice.) I know that a lot of readers have a love/hate thing going with her (she’s a wee bit obnoxious in earlier instalments of the series) but I adore her. Plus, there’s an interesting subplot involving her desire to create and market boardgames, and her inability to exert control over her own finances because of laws in existence at the time. But Pandora does what she wants, when she wants, which sometimes means she gets into trouble, but I enjoyed every moment. Plus, there are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments during her first meeting with the hero.
Only A Kiss by Mary Balogh
The Survivors’ Club is probably my favorite Balogh series, which is saying a lot since so many of her books are spectacular. I read them in order and was so eager to get to Imogen’s story, because I knew she had a tale to tell. In a lot of ways, she’s like Christine, the heroine of Songbird. Both lost their husbands during particularly harrowing circumstances, both have tried to ignore their grief rather than confronting it, and both of them meet much younger men who help them learn to process their emotions and learn to love again. Also, the ANGST in the payoff scenes in this book. Some of the best I’ve ever read. Wow.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Yep, I picked yet another book/heroine you either love or hate, if Romancelandia Twitter is any indication. I ADORE this book and would argue that shooting the hero after he ruins you in public and tarnishes your reputation is a pretty damned overt political statement. (Of course, then he kind of tricks her into marriage, but that’s part of why the book is worth reading. Their neverending banter and battle of wills.) Jessica is one of my favorite bluestockings, and I love how Sebastian eventually becomes less of a scoundrel and more of a man under her influence. Also, I have a copy with this old school cover and it’s even more impressive in person.
Christine Sullivan isn’t an easy person to love. She knows how the world sees her – aloof, standoffish, cold…perhaps even bitchy. After a lifetime in politics, including a stint with an expat government in exile, President Sullivan has taken her share of body blows, but now she’s back in Philadelphia…a widow, a recovering Republican, a former public servant seeking a quiet, private existence.
On her to-do list – rebuild her relationship with her estranged daughter and invent the rest of her life. She has her best friend Caroline, her brand spanking new condo, and her ever frustrating Secret Service detail to keep her company. That should be enough for anyone, right?
Until Alexander Guardiola comes along… liberal, emotionally unguarded, younger. A lot younger. Everything Christine isn’t. And isn’t ready for.
But opposites attract, don’t they? And hearts and minds can always be changed…
Author: Cecilia London
Series: Standalone though technically is #7 in The Bellator Saga
Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 14, 2020
Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words
Subgenre: Women’s Fiction/Mainstream Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements
Warnings: content warnings for death, violence, psychological trauma
About the Author:
Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life – licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball and footy fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series, and its spinoff, Songbird. You can most often find her causing trouble on Twitter or, less frequently, on Facebook.
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