Reading for High Fliers

What do you read on those long flights or while waiting for your next connection? Dominique Browning in her article for the New York Times – High-Brow Lit for High Fliers? Not Me – suggests you forget about catching up on the heavy classics of great literature or “back issues of sobering magazines.”

Instead, she recommends riveting best selling authors like Scott Turow and John Grisham; plot driven mysteries by P.D. James; thrillers by Ruth Rendell. Browning advises…

Next time you are facing a long flight (and predictable delays) swap out those classics for these entertaining paperbacks. At least your trip will feel shorter.”

I still catch up on my pile of New Yorker magazines on my trips, but some of my favorite flying companions are Roald Dahl’s BFG, teen vampires from the Twilight series, and handsome dukes from romances by Catherine Coulter (but I usually hide the steamy cover).

What do you read en route?

American Heiress

Do you ever wonder what happened to the Prince and Sleeping Beauty after “they live happily ever after”?  Daisy Miller’s American Heiress marries her heroine to the Duke of Wareham in the first 100 pages; the rest of the book is devoted to what happens next. Mix in a stout Prince of Wales, some upstairs/downstairs shenanigans and the glamour of the 1890s Gilded Age, and the story becomes worthy of Masterpiece Theater.

Cora Cash, heiress to her father’s Newport, Rhode Island fortune, sets sail for England with her mother to capture the castle; her mother is determined to marry her into a lordly title.  Within the first month, Cora obliges by conveniently falling off her horse on a hunt and is rescued by the earnest Duke of Wareham, who has the title and the looks, but no money.

They marry, and should live happily ever after – except for all the obstacles Miller throws in: a replication of the Charles/Camilla/Diana British intrigue; the American artist who loves Cora; the flirty British mother-in-law; the rich American mother breaking into society.  The story roughly follows the same formula as a Catherine Coulter swashbuckling British romance, but Miller adds her own brand of spice with characters that follow the code of an Edith Wharton novel – so embroiled in correctness that the obvious sometimes eludes them.  It’s fun to watch.

A fast easy read, The American Heiress is a  nice respite from all those books that make you think.

The Valcourt Heiress

Whenever I read a Catherine Coulter romance, it seems familiar – as though I’ve read it before.  The Valcourt Heiress follows the same formula that has brought success to Coulter who churns out at least two books a year – specializing in medieval romance and FBI thrillers.

Her romance formula works well:  feisty, beautiful, young heroine with glamorous locks (blond, raven, or red) who is smart, talented, independent, strong-willed, knows how to heal with herbs, and is the exception to the usual simpering, ignorant, compliant type of that era – meets a young, virile, handsome, equally strong-willed hero who is the exception to the brutish clout of the era. She asserts her will; he asserts his.  Eventually, the conflict is resolved in bed.  Usually, an outside villain tears them apart – she is rescued – and then they live happily ever after.

The Valcourt Heiress adds a mother with magic powers, and a heroine who has more wealth than the hero.

My favorite part – other than the bed scenes – is the wording.  Mayhap we still talked about byblows, used fragrant rushes on the floor, and cursed with “by St. Timothy’s teeth.”

On a rainy day – give me a box of chocolate and a good romance.

Books to Read When You Are Snowbound

Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil saw no shadow –  Spring is around the corner – maybe.

Authors I can cozy up to – whatever the weather…


Elizabeth Berg –  The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation –  a book of short essays.  The title essay is the first and funniest, but they will all give you a good laugh and permission to enjoy the comfort you need – whether or not you can get out.

Catherine Coulter –  historical romances: usually a tall handsome Duke who pursues and eventually marries a feisty heroine.  Any title will do – they are pretty much the same –  but Rosehaven tops the list.