It’s a running joke here at TSR that when Ingrid reads a book, she remembers it for as long as she’s reading it, and then it’s gone from her head. This came up recently when we all decided to put together a list of Old School romances we barely remembered (here and here) and Ingrid didn’t remember anything. So, without further ado, here’s a list of books that Ingrid does remember.
This one’s formatted a little differently than usual because Ingrid actually remembered something first and then went hunting for the book.
Ingrid Remembers: She’s a newly divorced mom living in a beach house and the guy next door has a hammock she can’t keep her kid out of?
Ingrid Remembers: It’s a really buttoned-up, recommend it to your Grandma series but then this one involves a woman who’s doing something that stirs up the townsfolk (but I don’t remember WHAT?? Maybe she’s just a redhead) and he’s trying to be Frank Lloyd Wright in the smallest pioneer town ever?
In honor of our Old School reading this month, we decided to look at our reading archives and see what turned up. Unfortunately, we read these books so long ago, we don’t remember much. Luckily, this week we found some books that at least two of us read, so you’ll have just a little more information. Maybe we can interest you in these books based on what we do remember?
Erin: …Oh. My. God. Holly and I read this book twenty years ago and still remember all the highlights. Skye gets married and then ends up in a harem and then somehow gets back to England but then Niall is married and I have no idea how they manage to finally get married but I think Niall’s sex addict wife dies of the pox?
Holly: …there is so much sex in this book. The bit that stands out to me is Neil’s wife (who looks like Skye) (also, this is probably the only book in which I remember the MCs’ names, including books that I read last week) is a nymphomaniac who can’t get enough luvin’ from her husband so she starts working in a brothel and has a book of sex positions. Men come in, pick a position, and she’ll do them. She and another whore have a sex-off one night. She dies of syphilis. It’s very convenient because now Neil is free to finally marry Skye as husband #4.
Also the scene where Skye’s amnesia goes away is very striking. Husband number #3 and Neil get in a fight at court and when Neil falls down she remembers *everything.* So much drama!!!!
Also also, Skye’s nails are always buffed to a beautiful pink.
Erin: …they have an interlude at a masquerade party and are parted for years. When they’re reunited, she remembers him, but he doesn’t recognize her, though they do fall in love and marry. When she says that the wedding night sex is better than before, he gets all ragey that she’s 1) not a virgin and 2) apparently had sex with his twin brother (she didn’t). Also the climactic moment is YIIIIIIKES because even though he said he was over the whole her sleeping with his brother thing (she didn’t and he wasn’t), when he gets home from a trip he finds out she’s pregnant, assumes it can’t possibly be his, and sends her off to the country where she nearly dies. It’s a lot.
Holly: …I REMEMBER THIS ONE. Just that he gets all ragey, and then finally recognizes her when she appears at a ball in her masquerade outfit from the very beginning and he realizes it was her the whole time because of course he’s really been looking for his mystery whore for years.
Holly: …I was horrified at how *old* the heroine was (she’s 30). She hires a sex worker for a 30th birthday present to herself. (It seems, from the blurb, that there’s some mistaken identity stuff that happens, but I don’t remember that part.) She was curvy and had red hair so I pictured my high school principal and was horrified and did not enjoy the reading experience. Might like it better if I read it now that I’m not 16 anymore.
Erin: …I read this one, too! All I remember about this one was that she hired herself a delicious man treat because she was so old and things did not at all go the way either of them planned.
Ingrid: …he’s real hot at nighttime and during the day he’s disgusting and pompous.
Erin: …the hero returns to town and gets himself out of a pickle by pretending to be fat, stuffing his clothes with pillows, and has to keep up the charade whenever he goes out. The heroine thinks he’s ridiculous and disdains him, but he’s secretly a dashing spy attacking the British. Also something happens at a bucolic lighthouse-y spot at the dramatic climax.
Holly: …the reading experience stuck out to me more than the actual book. I distinctly remember the chair I was sitting in when I read it (the blue armchair that used to be by the fireplace). My sister got it from her sister-in-law, who was a McNaught superfan. And my reaction was: what even is this utter rapey garbage? The titular Whitney is a doormat and the hero is terrible and leaves her in his country house and then thinks she’s cheating on him but she loves him anyways.
Erin: …OMG he’s so sexy on the stairs! OMG, she’s so daring standing on the horse! OMG, her dad is terrible. Something about chess. OMG, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN?! OMG, HOW IS SHE GOING TO FORGIVE HIM? I guess the baby scene at the end was kinda sweet?
Holly: Of course she stands up on her horse. That’s like, bodice ripper heroine behavior rule #23.
Heat Factor: It slipped in. Consent optional. Do you need consent if you’re married?
Character Chemistry: He is large, grumpy and swarthy, and she is fair, smol and pure. How can they not fall in love?
Plot: One damn thing after the next, caused by miscommunication and stupidity.
Overall: They’re mad at each other, but they don’t know why they’re mad at each other, and they won’t stop doing dumb things to each other.
The Bride by Julie Garwood (1989)
Heat Factor: It’s the sexiest one we’ve read so far in the Old School read-a-thon
Character Chemistry: It’s The Taming of the Shrew, but who’s taming who?
Plot: Jamie’s like, “You told me to handle it! So I handled it.”
Overall: This book is absolutely delightful.
Content Note: These books contain rape, ablism, and racism and we discuss this content in our review. Also, sorry, Ranulf of The Black Lyon is not actually a Hottie McScottie, but he’s got highlander energy.
Heat Factor: For two people who hold off on hanky panky, this sure got scalding hot.
Character Chemistry: I can’t handle how much I wanted them to get together
Plot: Terri ends up unexpectedly shacking up with Nate, a new resident to her sleepy lake resort town and fiance to the town golden girl. Terri’s a strong, capable woman who has shouldered the weight of her mother’s poor reputation as well as the loss of her mother as a young child. There’s mystery. There’s a sexy friendship a-brewing. There’s humor. It’s wonderful.
Overall: Despite an early on aversion, this book was straight-up satisfying.