Saturday, June 4, 2011

Christina Courtenay's Large Print Novellas and the Hunks She Visualized

First of all, yes, I'm a fan of this author and I have recently become online friends with her. However, I read her novels, Scarlet Kimono and Trade Winds, before I contacted her. Matter of fact, I was so impressed with Scarlet Kimono, I had to find her email address and tell her so and from there, a friendship bloomed.

I have a grandmother who can't see squat. She refuses to use a magnifying glass whilst reading her books (pride) and she loves to read... so... I am forever searching for large print books for her. Thus, when I discovered that one of my favorite authors had three large print novellas out, I was stoked and I said so. Christina Courtenay has kindly provided me with three lovely large print novellas to pass on to my almost blind grandmother.

But of course, I had to read them myself first. I couldn't resist. And I've enjoyed them tremendously and asked Ms. Courtenay to answer one question about each novella. What actor/rock star/mega hottie did you visualize while writing this?

First up: Marry In Haste

Marry in Haste (Dales Romance)The damsel in distress is pretty crafty and brave. She has been escaping her cousin's amorous advances by padding her waistline and waltzing around with dirty hair. (I said she was BRAVE!) I loved this chick! She not only gets her cuz in the crotch with her knee, but escapes out of her bedroom window in the dark of night and rushes off to marry a Viscount she barely knows.

The Viscount had to marry quickly or he probably would not have married Amelia. He doesn't go for fat, dirty chicks, but when she approaches him and asks him to marry her, his need and his desire to help this damsel wins out. Imagine his surprise when the padding disappears from her waistline and the dirty hair becomes clean and shiny! However, the fact that his new bride was hiding her true self raises suspicions in his mind.

Can these two quit tip toeing around each other long enough to make this arranged marriage work and maybe even become friends? Add a horny cousin and a secret scandal and anything can happen!

I found this cute and fun and loved the characters. Five stars. And what hunk did the author have in mind while writing it?

"I wrote this so long ago I'm not actually sure who the hero was based on but I have a feeling it was Keith Duffy, singer in the boyband Boyzone at the time.  I saw a picture of him with long hair, which I really liked (normally he wears it short and spiky, so not very "historical" looking) and I liked it."

Second Up: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Once Bitten, Twice ShyThe damsel in distress is one of a twin set. Ianthe is the good twin, Serena the bad. Serena does everything in her power to try to ensure that Ianthe doesn't land the attentions or courtship of the Marquess of Wycheham, Jason. She even stoops to dealing with shady people. Ianthe wins out only to face more trouble: a cousin who wants the Marquess's title and will stop at nothing, a sister in law who refuses to leave the house, a Frenchman in a smuggler's cave...

She doesn't sit and wait to be rescued, but takes matters into her own hands as much as she can. Very entertaining novella. There were times I thought the evil characters were TOO evil and the good characters TOO good or I would have gave it a five as well. Conclusion: four stars. 

And what handsome hunk did Christina have in mind whilst writing this one? 

"You're going to think I'm crazy, but this hero was definitely Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies (the actor Jason Isaacs in real life).  I loved the way he looks so arrogant and sure of himself, a true aristocrat.  But I also felt that he could have been misunderstood (like the hero of my novel) and he was the kind of guy people would talk about behind his back, but not dare say it to his face.  I imagined he had a sense of humour and didn't give a damn about what people said, because he knew he hadn't done anything wrong.  And the heroine would see behind his facade, unlike everyone else."

Third Up: Desperate Remedies

Desperate RemediesThe damsel in distress in this one is by far my favorite and thus, this is a five star. Though chased and shot at by a highway man at one point, she's not really in distress. She shoots back at him! She also dresses up as a boy and goes on a spying mission. She's spunky, smart, and I'd love to see her in a novel.

"I doubt I would do anything that was against the law, but if it was merely something that society dictated I shouldn't do, then I'd probably do it regardless. I don't give a fig for silly rules made up by match making matrons with nothing better to do."

"... I prefer to go my own way rather than be ruled by a man I cannot respect or like."

The latter quote explains why she turned down three suitors in her London season and now finds herself a governess for her sister. She just may have met her match in her sister's handsome neighbor, however. But just how far can this new romance go when someone wants him dead?

Courtenay had a special hottie in mind while penning this one as well, however, she doesn't wish to reveal his name. Here is what she was willing to reveal:

"not sure you should mention this one by name as he might be offended to be in a romance novel .  Let's just say he was based on the guitarist of a heavy metal band, although I gave him blue eyes instead of brown in the novella.  He too had long hair for a while, so it was easier to imagine him as a hero from the past that way."

Thus, to be on the safe side, we are not posting a picture of the last hottie.. but if you can rack your brain and guess who it is, leave a comment for the fun of it. Be interesting to see if anyone can come up with the name. Perhaps we could get Christina to confirm or deny. :)

Conclusion: I loved these little novellas and if they were not intended for my grandmother, I would keep them and re read them on those rainy, ugly days when I need an little pick me up. They are short and sweet, but worth finding if you can.

Ms. Courtenay, thank you for sending these and thank you for taking the time to answer that question for all three, making a fun blog post. :)


  1. I'm really glad you liked them, Tara - thanks so much for doing this blog about them! :)

  2. thanks for the great reviews, Tara. I will definitely have to try and locate these titles. I absolutely loved The Scarlet Kimono!

  3. ooohh, Desperate Remedies sounds like the one for me! Great post!