Thoughts After Reading:
Once in a great while, I'll read a romance book that seems to be in an entirely different league from most of the novels I've read. Not because the romance development is any more authentic than in other five star reads, nor because it has a greater overall entertainment value. In fact, these aren't usually my favorite reads. But the storyline will have an intensity and multi-layered complexity that just blows me away. These stories aren't just romance novels... they're romance literature. The romance is a fundamental element of the plot, but the story surrounding the romance is an element that is almost as essential, if not more so. On of these books, of course, is Susan Wiggs's At the Queen's Summons. Its a revised version of the the fifteen year old story Dancing on Air and is set (I believe) during the Elizabethan era. I don't feel I could do justice to the storyline by writing an overview, so I'm not even going to try. Instead, I'll just share a few details. The unlikely romantic pair consists of a street performer and an Irish chieftain. The hero is constantly amazed at the heroine's spirit and innate candidness that she has maintained even with living on the streets. She ends up traveling with the hero, and their complicated relationship deepens steadily over the entire novel. There is an epic adventure plot that is intertwined with this romance, as the couple explore England and try to reason with the queen. The ending is ultimately very happy, romance-wise, but the story that precedes it is a rollercoaster of emotions as you wonder how the characters will ever get there. At the Queen's Summons is a book I would definitely recommend, and I plan to read the other two books in the series at some point. Just be sure you're in the mindset for an intense read and a winding journey.