If You Like

The topic of today’s post is “Better Together”. There are books I tend to read in pairs, simply because something in one makes me think of the other. Sometimes it’s theme, other times it’s location, and still other times it’s just personal association.

Here are some of my reading pairings:

— L.M. Montgomery’s The Blue Castle and Colleen McCullough’s The Ladies of Missalonghi, both splendidly satirical novels about poor relations who come into their own once they (mistakenly) hear they only have a year to live.

— Kate Ross’s The Devil in Music (Julian Kestrel Mystery) and Susanna Kearsley’s Season of Storms, one Regency, the other modern, but both about an unsolved murder, both set in Venice and at a villa on the shores of Lake Como.

— Elizabeth Peters’s Borrower of the Night and Helena Dela’s The Count, both told by witty first person narrators, both set in medieval castles in Germany/Austria and revolving around ancient family curses and their resulting ghosts.

— Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series and Patricia C. Wrede’s Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward. This one is harder to explain, since the one is modern and Vicky Bliss-esque and the other is Regency and quite Heyer in tone. I think it’s because both feature spunky, YA female protagonists, dealing with magic and magic-borne enemies in an otherwise unmagical world. The Wrede books also read well with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which, like the Wrede books, takes place in an alternate Regency England in which magic is recognized and used.

— Judith Merkle Riley’s The Master of All Desires and Diane Haeger’s Courtesan, both set at the court of Henri II, but with very, very different portrayals of the primary actors. (For people who like a dose of humor with their history, I can’t recommend Merkle Riley’s books highly enough.)

— Susanna Kearsley’s Mariana and Mary Stewart’s Thornyhold. Both are “house” books. In one case the heroine inherits a house, in the other she buys it, but both make you want to find a house in a small village in the English countryside, preferably one with a gently magical mystery about it.

What are your reading pairings?


  1. Joanne M. on August 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Why, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation paired with The Scarlet Pimpernel, of course!

    The Betrayal of the Blood Lily goes nicely with M. M. Kaye’s Shadow of the Moon.

    Mischief of the Mistletoe paired with anything by Jane Austen.

  2. Alice on August 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    “The Grey Beginning” by Barbara Michaels and “Nine Coaches Waiting” by MAry Stewart. They both have similar plots though rather different hero and heroione.

    “The Anatomists Wife” by Anna Lee Huber with “Silent in the Grave” by Deanna Raybourn. The heroines are strong women who break society molds and I like how the romantic tension stretches out past the first book.

    “The Sugar Queen” by Sarah Addison Allen with “Mischief of the Misteltoe.” Both put me in a holiday mood.

  3. jeffrey on August 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Do I ever. I’m a sucker for a good Christmas story so this pairing would be an ideal ‘now and then.’ From ‘then’ I would read The Mischief of the Mistletoe and from ‘now’ I would read Christmas With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly. We know all about ‘The Mischief’ but Ms. Connelly’s book takes all of your favorite characters from her Darcy Trilogy (Dreaming Of Mr. Darcy, A Weekend With Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy Forever) and throws them all together at Christmas in ancient English manor house for some hilarious fun, hijinks, and a bit of a mystery. Great stuff!

  4. Vanessa on August 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    When it’s Fall I like to put myself in a spooky mood, usually reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse and then the Ghost Writer by Harwood sets me scared straight!

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