The Art of Comfort Reading
September was a tough reading month for me. I had some stuff going on in my personal life that meant that I was having a hard time concentrating on anything new. So I did what a lot of readers do, I turned to comfort reading for entertainment. While I was reading it struck me that comfort reading is a peculiar thing.
As a voracious reader, I have a ton of books that I consider to be “comfort reads”. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something dark and angsty, and I turn to Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelly or Dark Lover by JR Ward. Generally speaking though, if I’m comfort reading, I’m looking for a lighter romance that is guaranteed to make me heave the “big sigh”.
In the last month, I’ve read the entire Chesapeake Bay Saga by Nora Roberts, which is a guaranteed feel good series for me. I also read the Travis Family Series by Lisa Kleypas, which feature larger than life heroes, and I read Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh, because I adore Wulfric Bedwyn and still maintain that his slow thawing is one of the most compelling hero journeys I’ve read in romance. But what struck me was how I chose the books. In the case of the Nora Roberts series, it was because at some point, Rising Tides (Ethan’s story) was on sale and I had it on my Kindle. I opened it on a whim and then had to go back and buy the entire series, which I read in about three days.
The Lisa Kleypas books I had been buying as they went on sale. I just hadn’t opened any of them. After finishing the Chesapeake Bay Saga, I decided I needed more high octane heroes, so I went straight to Jack Travis from Smooth Talking Stranger. He’s probably my favorite contemporary romance hero. He’s dominant and bossy and also wonderfully evolved, and he never fails to make me happy. He’s so thoroughly focused on helping Ella and is very romantic in wooing her. It’s a book that makes me do the internal swoon.After I’d read Jack’s book, I wanted to go back and read Gage’s (Sugar Daddy) and Haven’s (Blue Eyed Devil).
After reading the Travis family, I was looking for another deeply romantic book. I’ve read Slightly Dangerous probably 30 times. Truthfully, I don’t really like the rest of the series. But for some reason, Wulfric Bedwyn’s love story gets me every time. He’s so buttoned up, so contained. It makes him falling in love, somewhat a la Fitzwilliam Darcy, so remarkably compelling. Not to mention that Mary Balogh’s prose in that book is beautiful, conveying the emotion and deep waters just under Wulfric’s surface.
I found as I was reading these books that one kind of led to another. I’d finish one series, and think, “OK, now I’m going to read a new book” and would end up instead opening a well-loved romance. I wondered if other readers do the same? When you hit a lull in your reading, or you have a life event that makes you long for a comfort read, which authors do you turn to? What are your guaranteed comfort reads?