Yes, yes, we’ve all heard of Fifty Shades and the rise of the erotic romance. But what of those love stories that don’t spell it all out in anatomical detail?
If you like “closed door” romance, you’ll probably like….
— Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, still the champion after all these years. There’s nothing quite like that bit when Rhett carries Scarlett up the stairs and kicks closed that door.
— M.M. Kaye’s three epics, The Far Pavilions, Shadow of the Moon, and Trade Wind. The scene in Trade Wind where Rory tells Hero he doesn’t play fair (and then carries her into the room and kicks the door closed behind them) still gives me goosebumps.
— Anything by Georgette Heyer. The sexual tension between Judith and Lord Worth in Regency Buck is so thick you could cut it with a quizzing glass, but we’ll never know for sure.
— Dorothy Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon. So what if these are technically mysteries rather than romances? The Dorothy Vane/Lord Peter relationship is one of the best romances out there. For several books, it’s been building, and, in Busman’s Honeymoon, they’re together at last. The book, rather daringly, opens on their wedding night. We never know exactly what goes on in that bedroom, but we do know that it inspires Harriet, where nothing else has, to refer to Peter as “my lord”.
— Pretty much anything by Eva Ibbotsen, but particularly A Company of Swans, which manages to create an incredibly erotic effect without being the least bit vulgar (and extra points for managing to make jokes involving odalisques).
— I can’t leave out Victoria Holt’s Secret for a Nightingale, which manages to imply a great deal without actually spelling it out (hello, Hellfire Club!).
— And, of course, there’s Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting.
Which are your favorite closed door romances?