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Friday, August 12, 2016

Flashback Friday: Women of Glory...Review

Confession:

When I was in college, I read romance novels voraciously. I was an English major taking Russian classes, so I had a pretty heavy workload with scads of required reading. Since reading was also my love, I needed a way to still read for fun and enjoyment. Enter the romance novel phase of my life.

My roommate and I discovered a used bookstore not far from our apartment that would do trade for credit. We'd walk over there about once a week with our bags stuffed full of books, trade them in for credit and walk out with refilled bags. We'd then read those books in our free time and return to the bookstore the next week.

Romance novels were cheap and easy to read. The Harlequin and Silhouette novels are still short and can be read in about an hour to an hour and a half. They required little thought or effort and it was never necessary to write an essay!

I quit reading romance novels in general years ago when the sex scenes became more graphic. I read the occasional romance novel now, but it is not my favorite genre.

My mom had kept some of my old favorite series' from years ago and I pulled out a set to reread last weekend. I think it took me about 3 hours total to read all three books.

WOMEN OF GLORY 
Dana Coulter, Maggie Donovan, Molly Rutledge--three daring, valiant women of glory. Fighting for life and country against impossible odds, in the name of friendship, honor--and love.

NO QUARTER GIVEN
U.S. Naval graduate Dana Coulter had one dream: to earn her wings. Yet from the moment she clashed with her handsome new flight instructor, she felt hopelessly grounded. Lieutenant Griff Turcotte bullied, browbeat and awoke a hungry passion in her that was impossible to deny. But the jaded fighter pilot was convinced Dana didn't have what it took to make it in the tough Navy world. Until the day she risked her life in an act of heroism that captured his heart for all time....

THE GAUNTLET
Family tradition deemed Molly Rutledge should excel in the Navy. Yet sensitive Molly was all at sea when faced with the competitive jet jocks at flight-engineer school especially steely Captain Cameron Sinclair. The sexy widower and the lovely ensign were drawn together like magnets, but Cam doubted Molly would last...still, he couldn't help taking her under his wing - even though putting her through her paces was making his heart run the gauntlet.

UNDER FIRE
Brash, independent Navy pilot Maggie Donovan never dreamed her career --- or her heart --- would come under fire. But when she teamed up with sinfully sexy Wes Bishop, Maggie had met her match. From the first, Wes was enraptured with the fiery Maggie ... and he suspected there was a wealth of womanly tenderness within her just waiting to be tapped. Yet when heart-stopping danger put them both to the test, Wes realized that Maggie's courage and passion reached beyond his wildest imaginings ...

This 1991 series by Lindsay McKenna was fun to reread. I know the books were reissued a couple of years ago and have new covers of just shirtless men, but I don't know if they were updated in text/context.

Even though they are formulaic, I loved revisiting these stories. Dana, Molly and Maggie are strong women, pioneering the way for women fighter pilots in the Navy. In the early 1990s, this scenario was completely plausible. There is a lot of sexism and too many stereotypical women-haters in the books. The three must go up against sexist, bullying men in order to overcome and gain their dreams of flying. Each woman meets a man who, while at first being convinced that a woman is too soft for the job, eventually comes to love her and see her potential. None of them immediately jumps into bed. The dialogue is cheesy and the clothing descriptions are dated. But, problems are easily overcome, families are reunited and love conquers all.

This was a fun way to spend a few lazy weekend hours. Reviewing these from my original 1991 perspective, I'd give them all 4 stars. Not knowing if the books are updated or not would affect a review from today's perspective.

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What about you? Do you read romance novels? Do you have old favorites from years ago?

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I read them. It's funny, I started with nurse romances in the 70's and I'd skim the romance part and slow down at the nurse part--I liked the strong capaable women having adventures, and the guy was just sort of an accessory as far as I was concerned. I quit reading those short romances, or really a whole lot of anything that wasn't assigned when I was in college--those were magazine/journal years where I'd spend an hour between classes in the periodical section of the library reading both popular magazines and professional magazines, with a journal article or two thrown in. I went through a Christian fiction stage when I started blogging and I still read a little of it; now I read a lot of women's fiction and romance---but those short Harlequin-style romances really don't do it for me. I don't really care about the sex scenes but I find them too formularic and cheesy.

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    1. They don't don't do it for me either. I'll reread books from the past simply because they require no effort, but I haven't picked up a new Harlequin or Silhouette in literally years. Formulaic and cheesy was good when I was in college and needed something light and stupid. These days, I relish good storytelling, with strong women and great characterization. I was in a used bookstore last week that was going out of business and as I perused the "romance" section (looking for a new copy of "Coming Home" by Rosamunde Pilcher), it amazed me that Harlequin is still churning out these cheesy, tacky novels. The titles were enough to make me laugh out loud. But, obviously, there is a market!

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