Sunday, July 4, 2010

more raunchy regency romance in anna campbell's my reckless surrender

Anna Campbell is described as the 'Queen of Regency noir' on the blurb of her latest book, My Reckless Surrender, and that's exactly what she is. 
The Australian writer has built a reputation for herself for a certain kind of racy, historical romance, centred on the Regency period in England. Her books are peopled by Dukes and Duchesses, Lords and Ladies, well-bred but poverty stricken heroines, and dark, brooding heroes.
In My Reckless Surrender, they're all there. You have Mrs Diana Carrick, a well-bred widow who needs to sell her soul to ensure the comfort of her aging father, thanks to the machinations of a nasty, dying Marquess.
Her anti-hero is the jaded Earl of Ashcroft, an excruciatingly handsome rake who happens to have something the threatening Marquess of Burnley wants.
Right from the start, My Reckless Surrender leaps into the raunchy sex, as Diana throws herself at the Earl attempting to get him to sleep with her. As the story continues, you discover why she's doing something that's completely against her upbringing, but the whole ridiculous scenario never seems entirely justified.
On her website Campbell points out her views that there's nothing wrong with a good romance book, she feels they are empowering for women and doesn't hold with modern feminist views that this sort of thing is 'supporting the patriarchal state'.
I'm not entirely sure I can agree with her on that point. All her heroines are supposedly strong women, trying to make their way in the world, using whatever wiles they have, but the moment a lord of some sort kisses them, they're all weak-kneed and tumbling into bed.
Romance novels like Campbells are fantasy – not a vampire or werewolf in sight, yet they are as unlikely as any supernatural story. There should be a genre of romantic fantasy or fantasy romance to describe books like My Reckless Surrender.
Not that there's anything wrong with a well-written, raunchy love story. It is, after all, just as escapist as any fantasy or science fiction work. But one would hope that some of the independence of urban fantasy heroines would rub off on these historical gals.
Still, Campbell is the queen of this genre. The historicity of her books can't be denied, nor can the sensuality. My Reckless Surrender is, like all her books, a quality escapist read for anyone who wishes some handsome Earl would come along and sweep them off their feet – even if it's just for a little while.

My Reckless Surrender by Anna Campbell is published by Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins, and is available from good book stores and online. 


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