Over on the Risky Regencies blog, there's a post about favorite "comfort reads" people go back to over and over again. I posted about some very old favorites of mine, and I started thinking maybe they count as "guilty pleasures" of a sort. I started reading them in about the 6th or 7th grade, a line of YA historical romances called "Sunfire Romances". They were my first intro to romance, along with Cartland and Heyer, but these were different from those. They dealt with young women in historical periods (they even had some vague historical detail sometimes), but these girls were very modern in their attitudes and ambitions.
Some of my favorites were ELIZABETH (Puritan girl), NICOLE (girl on the Titanic), EMILY (Gilded Age New York girl), and VICTORIA (girl at the Alamo). All of these women, despite their widely varied settings, faced some of the same problems--she was restless, smart (purportedly), and stuck in some kind of restrictive situation. She was always faced with 2 suitors, one who wanted her to stay with the traditional roles her background offers, the other who encourages her to break free. Guess which she chooses (BTW, if you look at the cover, the "right" suitor is always on the righthand side). Anyway, I really loved these books and collected them obsessively, but I lost them in a move. In recent years, I've been trying to rebuild my collection via Ebay and library booksales. (I still need a copy of the HTF KATHLEEN, btw, if you happen to see one around!). I guess I liked the idea that you could stand up for yourself, follow your own dreams and talents, and be more succeseful and happy than you could imagine. You could also find your very own hunky cowboy/doctor/American patriot militiaman/Creole pirate.
I've felt very much in need of some comfort in the last few days, and pulled a couple of these books off the shelf. It was fun to pretend to be 12 again for a little while, even if the books were not, er, quite as erudite and well-written as I remembered. I might even tackle a Cartland book next. Or maybe not. :)