Karen (Kinda) Does Bonnie Dee's Seasons Of Love...
I read Bonnie Dee’s Seasons of Love yesterday, and I have to say, what an unusual and delightful selection of stories.
I really love Bonnie's voice, and I love the way she’s able to draw me into her books, and really capture my imagination. I think that she, out of all the new-to-me authors, who I’ve read in recent times, has managed to take the idea of the stereo-typical romance hero, and totally turn it on its head.
Her heroes are deliciously flawed, heart-breakingly tortured, and are generally beta males, rather than the ever popular alpha heroes. Whilst her heroines are surprisingly strong-spirited, without being painful or stupid.
Seasons of Love is a collection of stories, which represent all four of our seasons.
The first story is called Maypole Dance – This is the spring offering, and here’s the blurb from LSB:
Britain, 1568. Coll is a young man with an artistic soul who doesn’t fit in his mining village. He’s too dreamy and different to interest the local girls. When he walks away from the spring fair and deep into the forest, he encounters a primal spirit who appreciates his attractions and is happy to initiate him into the spring rite of fertility. But will she let her mortal pet go afterward and does Coll wish to be released?
This story moved me actually. It was very poignant and sweet, and I suspect if anybody else had attempted to write it, it just wouldn’t have worked. I’m not really into sprites, faeries, or any other cutesy other-worldly beings, so I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this story, and the sorrow that I felt when the hero and heroine had to be parted, especially taking into consideration that I wasn’t particularly fond of the heroine in the first instance.
The next story was called Amish Paradise, and was the summer story:
Indiana, 1956. Rachael and Joe are from different worlds although they live in the same small farming community. She is Amish and her people have chosen to live a plain life. But Rachael is a young woman brimming with curiosity about the rest of the world and especially the handsome young man who lives the next farm over and who shares her desire to escape familiar patterns.
Loved this one. It was very Romeo and Juliet-esque. Raging passions galore, familial differences, clash of faiths, great internal conflict, identity crisis struggles, and a hero who picked out the Plain Jane, saw beyond her plain clothes, naked face, and un-stylish hair, and fell head over heels in love with the girl beneath the white cap. What could be more romantic?
The autumn story was called Crisp Apples:
Connecticut, Present Day. Kate is recovering from a painful divorce and creating a new life for herself when a hated blast from her high school past re-enters her life. At first she is bent on revenge, but her encounters with former bad boy, Alex leave her shaking with lust as much as fury. Perhaps fall is the time to let the past die and blow away like dry leaves.
I didn’t like this one as much as the others. It was definitely the weakest of all the stories for me, mostly because I didn’t like the premise, and the hero and heroine were a little dull. But it was still beautifully written.
The winter story was A Lily For Christmas:
England, 1915. The Great War drags on and no one is left untouched. At the Carrington estate one son is dead and the other returns home physically wounded and emotionally scarred. Lily, a maid who works at the manor, brings the rebirth of spring into the winter of Jonathan’s life.
I’m very partial to the Maid-Having-It-Off-With-The-Lord-Of-The-Manor-type stories, (Which would probably explain my penchant for an eighties Spanish/Mexican drama called Isara The Slave Girl) and this was no exception.
I loved the ambience and the settings of each of the stories. I really did.
Whilst reading Amish Paradise, I could literally feel the heat of the sun on my skin, the flies buzzing round my head. I could see myself sitting in a car at a drive-thru movie theatre, eating pop-corn, whilst watching a surly James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, and listening to Elvis Presley playing on the radio. Now that’s talent.