New title: Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm about 25% through Anne Gracie's A Perfect Rake, book 1 of the Merridew Sisters series. I laughed out loud 3-4 times already. This was my wife's favorite series so far, before Heartless/Silent Melody took her top spot.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm about 25% through Anne Gracie's A Perfect Rake, book 1 of the Merridew Sisters series. I laughed out loud 3-4 times already. This was my wife's favorite series so far, before Heartless/Silent Melody took her top spot.
It's hilarious, I haven't laughed so hard in a long time, better than any comedy that I know of. I think the second and the third books were my favorites in that series.

I finished The Wagers of Sin series recently, and it's really good and well written. Below are my impressions:

This is a story where we have a supposedly cold and aloof hero. But in fact he's not really,
it's his persona, he uses it because responsibility has been pushed onto him since the death of
his father, and his unfeeling mother and brother are also partly responsible for that.
He adopted this persona because he didn't really want to deal with them. It was easier to cave
in to ridiculous demands of his manipulative mother, then to challenge her. And that of course,
leads him to diminish his own self, and to hide behind the facade, and deny the truth of the situation.
And then one day, he meets the heroine, and all hell brakes loose, his persona caves in, and his
real self partly comes through. He's not really the dreary, cold person, but a caring and kind one.

The heroine had a plan to gamble to earn for a good life, and marry somebody with whom she would be comfortable.
But all this goes down the drain when she meets the hero. As she slowly falls for him, all these plans and schemes
fall away. She realizes that she doesn't even really want these things now. And she drops her calculating, scheming
persona. With the feedback from her friend, after she reluctantly admits to her what has been
happening, she decides to tell the hero the truth about herself, about her past. A point is made that nothing can grow
without honesty and truth.

We don't tell the truth about ourselves, since we fear the reactions of others, we might lose them, we might lose what we have with them. We fear looking like a fool. But what they had in the start was basically just an affair, if things stayed on that level then they would just remain stuck, so to speak. In other words, something that wasn't really worth keeping in the first place was sacrificed, so that real love, or however you want to call it, can grow.

In this story we have a hero that wants to protect his family at all costs, he shoulders all of the burdens alone.
He did everything, supposedly, with his family’s best interests at heart, but that also lead him to be dishonest. So he doesn't speak the truth until the heroine confronts him and tells him to man up and tell his sister the truth (about the breakdown of her betrothal), since not telling the truth is worse, and it can lead to even more interpersonal damage than he feared. A point is made that marriage means sharing of burdens.

A lot can be learned about external considering from the way the heroine worked to build a relationship with her husband's family. She placed the burden of getting his family to like her on herself. She didn't whine that they were hard and unreasonable and prejudiced, but did what she had to do. She was genuine, thoughtful, kind, caring and brave.

The heroine's scheming father is another interesting character. His scheming and blackmail lead to the hero falling for a shy and introverted heroine, so it's hard to judge his actions and to write him off as a despicable character, even though he partly is that.

In this one we have a rakish hero who gets hit on the head (literally), which then leads to him falling in love with the heroine. In the course of the story he repents for his previous behavior, and becomes more caring and thoughtful towards others. In the end, he realizes that getting into an accident was a beneficial thing. It's also a funny story at times, with interesting scenes and dialogue.
The heroine is another caring and loyal character who falls for a person whom she thought was despicable at first.

Overall a great series.


FOTCM Member
As a mention: one clothing item for men that comes up time and again in all these stories, are those darn 'Hessian Boots'. They always sound so nice (hard to take off). So what do they look like - military version or otherwise? What is their history? For between $300 and $500 one can own a pair :whistle: - a valet or batman is an additional cost to help take them off (especially the military version) and polish. Having a title and money may help.

Yeah, I guess these things got a bit out of fashion even in the "noble class" LOL. If you want to read a bit about what the descendants of our beloved dukes and earls (and the wannabe-descendants from the bourgeois class too) are up to today, I can warmly recommend "The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook: The First Guide to What Really Matters in Life" (remember Sloane square from the books?). It is not only about clothing, and it's extremely funny. It also features Lady Di as the archetypical Sloan Ranger. (Although it is from the 80ies and postmodernism has made its inroads even into that milieu since then...) It's a great book to read to understand this milieu and learn to recognize them :)
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Jedi Council Member
I´ve updated the excel sheet with most recent novels Laura recommended:

Anna HarringtonThe Secret Life of Scoundrels1Dukes Are Forever
Anna HarringtonThe Secret Life of Scoundrels2Along Came a Rogue
Anna HarringtonThe Secret Life of Scoundrels3How I Married a Marquess
Anna HarringtonThe Secret Life of Scoundrels4Once a Scoundrel
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles1If the Duke Demands
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles2When the Scoundrel Sins
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles3As the Devil Dares
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles4How the Earl Entices
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles5What a Lord Wants
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles6After the Spy Seduces
Anna HarringtonCapturing the Carlisles6.5If a Lady lingers
Eloisa JamesThe Wildes of Lindow Castle5Say Yes to the Duke
Eloisa JamesPleasures Series1Potent Pleasures
Eloisa JamesPleasures Series2Midnight Pleasures
Eloisa JamesPleasures Series3Enchanting Pleasures



FOTCM Member
Masks, or false personalities, also cover pain. I've seen that I cover my pain and don't always express it in a group setting. I grieve solo. Partially this is because I don't necessarily trust other people - the mess of a social situation where I live has bred that in me. So this is reasonable. Partially it is simple fear of vulnerability, which is rooted in vanity - wanting to appear that I have it together.

In this book, I saw that there is much more work to do - and also, that the shedding of masks and programs and false personalities can lead to a deep love.
I think that's beautifully put, iamthatis and I can only say that I have noticed the same kind of programmes and false personalities in myself. Shedding them requires strength and courage and it basically represents a deeply felt desire to show our loved ones and the people we can trust who we really are despite our flaws. When we can get over ourselves and our fear of showing our vulnerable side it can set us free and yes that paves the way for feeling a deep love, not just for others, but also for ourselves.

I could be wrong, but these romance novels and Laura's aim were instrumental in bringing about a wish or perhaps even a need in myself to show others who I really am. At the same time I am also gaining self-respect for keeping it together when I had to and for showing my vulnerability when I decided it was time to do so.

I have almost finished Mary Balogh's The Courting Julia Trilogy and finished her Web (Dell Historical Romance) series. I am going to take a break from Balogh and continue with two more books of Jennifer Ashley's MacKenzies & McBrides (I miss these Scots!). On my kindle I have lined up Caroline Linden's Wagers of Sin series and a few books of Jesse Michaels' s The 1797 Club. I have also purchased Grace Burrowes's The Laird and its French translation Le Chef du Clan (so I can brush up my French:-D).


Padawan Learner
Finished with Mary Balogh, Dark Angel Lord Carew's Bride. I disagreed with the fight at the end. The writer must have ran out of story telling. Mr. Wade character should just have left with his new Bride back to the estate at Highmor. There would have been maturity and the right ending instead of a cheap ending like a 1980's film. Well, the author attempts to make up for this at the end with overly affectionate feel good touch me I'll touch you. That energy spent on physical tousling with his cousin Lionel. Mr. Wade love would have developed if he would have went back with his love as Samantha implored, there would have been more of a story in keeping in touch with all that past between them. Instead, we get an immature ending. No one wins in a fight one just lose sooner than the other. Or lose something that could have been gained. Like precious time with his wife. Loss his compassion?. let he lose meaning amongst the others whom relish in the mere movement of contrôle customs , conventions out of habit fine words and beautiful things appealing to the senses. Lionel disgruntled will be on Mr. Wade. Was the relationship between him and his cousin or the young beautiful bride whom became a wife? I didn't expect the Miss Newmann to care after she received her husband into her arms rested assured no more harm would come. Woman don't usually see past there men at that young age there eyes are glimmering with emotions veiled by passion and lust or the hopeful well and spring of perfected love to be continued.
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The Living Force
FOTCM Member
There are more volumes of the Wildes of Lindow Castle series, I just didn't mention them. You can include them.
Thank you for letting us know. I updated with 2 missing books ( yet to be released the last one. It was little confusing with these book numbers as different web pages have a different number of books on the authors webpages and distributers.


Jedi Master
I just wanted to say a big thank you for this thread :flowers: I have amost finished Mary B's Survivors Club series and its been quite a journey! It has been a wonderful shield to all the other things going on around. I look forward to the next series (not sure which) from the spreadsheet :lkj:


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I finished The Wagers of Sin series recently, and it's really good and well written.
On my kindle I have lined up Caroline Linden's Wagers of Sin series and a few books of Jesse Michaels' s The 1797 Club.
I enjoyed the Wager's of Sin series, and book 2 An Earl Like You was my favorite of the series. I've also enjoyed the first 3 books of the 1797 Club, and expect to go back and forth between that and Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters series.


Padawan Learner
The visionary artistry on Mary Balogh book covers to have them in hand are beautiful as if the visionary artistry quest beholds a hidden treasure of another realm; vivid, alive and lovely. STO art covers., "Only Beloved" to start ß I will sit for a little while taken in à likeness before reading.


Jedi Council Member
Speaking of which, what does "fit of the vapors mean?"
Usually I put the whole phrase in browser and type „meaning“ next to it, and you get pretty much good descriptions of those phrases.

To me most complicated concept is this 1st/2nd/.. cousin once/twice/.. removed - no idea what is the relatioship there!!! 😂😫

I found this site with a description
And when one looks at the diagram, i.e. 1st cousin twice removed can be number of relatives starting with grandparents or great-grandparents and so on...

Now I‘m at the beginning of the „Unforgiven“ by M.Balogh and this guy is 3rd cousin once removed... 😧
...whatever that means... 😂


Padawan Learner
Well, a picture saids more than the story itself. Already a disappointment into the read. I suppose my unconscious expectation identified with a heart mind vivification experienced; inspired by the book covers. Reading novels like getting caught up in someone third density existence/classy drama. Like having a real dream and waking up back on Earth. This is why I prefer knowledge. Has Taking me beyond heights. However, I shall keep an open mind and discipline the patience. Five books I think. 👳
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