Sunday, August 21, 2011

Golden Oldies: The Kensington Chronicles by Lori Wick

The Kensington Chronicles, by prolific author Lori Wick, are my most frequent escapist re-reads. In the middle of winter (or fall, or spring, or summer) when I'm sick and miserable and feeling ugly and gross, these are the books to which I turn. They brighten my heart with dashing, but faulted leading men (okay, Brandon isn't all that faulted, but he is yummy), strong, but faulted young women (okay, they aren't all that faulted, but they have heart), adventure, romance, and redemption (yep. everyone we care about comes to Jesus. I'd call that a spoiler, but that was the way it was across the board in this genre when these books were new!) And when I most need it, these novels provide me with the feel-good sighs of visiting a fairytale-like depiction of Medieval (Book 4, but chronologically book 1) and Regency (Books 1, 2, & 3) England.

Here are the quickie (but somewhat pzazz-lacking) blurbs I found on Amazon.com:






The Knight and the Dove: When the King commands Bracken to marry, high spirited Megan is chosen to fulfill the edict. Unskilled in the ways of love, Bracken finds Megan captivating, yet cannot seem to voice his feelings until he almost loses her forever.








The Hawk and the Jewel: Everyone thought little Sunny had perished with Lady Gallagher in storm tossed seas off the Arabian coast, but the beautiful toddler had been found, taken to the palace at Darhabar, and raised as the ruler's own child. Now the emir, Ahmad Khan, is sending her home, and Sunny's uncertain new life is completely in God's hands.






Who Brings Forth the Wind: Tanner Richardson, the volatile Duke of Cambridge, finds his wife with another man. Misinterpreting the situation, he erupts in a rage and throws her and their unborn baby out. Tanner's rage smolders until the night he is shot...










The Wings of the Morning: Victoria "Smokey" Simmons stands silently on the deck as her father's body is lowered into the Atlantic, asking God for the strength she will need to command the Aramis alone. Not wanting to remain at sea forever, Smokey dreams of the time she can trade her life aboard ship for a home and family. When she meets another Captain, Dallas Knight, Smokey believes her dream will finally come true. But circumstances beyond their control and schemes of a cunning pirate threaten to destroy the young couple's hope for the future.

Yes, I love these sweet, silly books. When I first read this series it was the edgiest new thing in the squeaky-clean Christian Romance genre.

BUT...

Back-in-the-day, these novels had waayyyy different covers than what's currently available. And, although I know mine are dated, I fell in love with these particular books (and, to some extent, the characters depicted on their covers) a long time ago. Therefore, I feel justified in "pshaw-ing" and "Huh--wha?!-ing" at the cover designs of the new editions. I mean, really, check it out -- compare my books (below) to the new covers (above):

Yes, I know mine are kind of dated and cheesy, but I still can't quite come to terms with the new (still cheesy!) covers. They bug me.

Here's why:

The Knight and the Dove: On the new cover, Megan doesn't appear remotely Medieval. She looks like a contemporary college girl.

Who Brings Forth the Wind: On the new cover, Stacy looks cold and rich -- so unlike her character. She looks a bit too modern, too; like she should be on some new show like "The Real Housewives of Upper Manhattan"

Wings of the Morning: This is the worst, in my opinion. On this new cover, while Smokey looks ready to celebrate her 4oth birthday right after she closes a corporate deal, she doesn't at all resemble the 20-something Captain of the fastest ship on the sea portrayed in the book.

But the most important lack of all these new covers: WHERE ARE THE BOYS???? None of the hunky gents from the books are to be seen ANYWHERE on these new covers. (Although, in all fairness, I thought the illustration of Bracken on Book 4 (book 1 chronologically) made him look like a medieval cave man and not-at-all attractive.) Maybe I'm biased, having dipped the corners of these cheesy, early-1990s illustrated covers in my bathwater so many times, but... really?

Still, if you're not embarrassed to be seen reading them (and lets face it, girls: that's a hurdle we have to jump quite frequently when reading romance novels -- specifically Christian romance novels) you can probably find them at your local public library; or, if you are lucky enough to be able to get them on an e-reader (all are available on Kindle, but much more risky to take with you into a bubble-filled tub than a print copy), then, by all means, give yourself permission to read these indulgent yet redemptive escapist romances.

Although there is nothing in these novels to make your brain hurt (or even strain), they are fun, quick reads of pure indulgence and, in my opinion, Golden Oldies. I recommend pairing these books with soft piano, good chocolate, and a candlelit bubble bath.

My rating:






20 comments:

  1. I absolutely love Lori Wick books! I know they are cheesy, but they are a wonderful comfort food to turn to in times of need. My favorite series by Lori Wick is The Californians. I wanted to re-read it in July when I was doing my re-read month but ran out of time. I have to say I agree with you, not a fan of the new covers. Not just for this series, but also for her other series. But still great stories! Great post! And glad I'm not the only one that needs to go back to my favorite comfort reads.

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  2. I have to say that Lori Wick is one of my all-time favorite authors. I own every single one of her books - they are also my go to books when I need a great read. I think I have reread every book about 10+ times. I love hearing that someone else shares my love for lori wick.

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  3. Oh and I also agree that I love the older covers tons more than the newer ones. I searched and searched to buy only the older covers. ha

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  4. I have a Lori Wick book on my shelf called The Princess. I haven't read it yet. Any good? I've never read anything by her before.

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  5. Oh wow! You just brought back some fond memories and a desire to go out and buy these again! The Knight and the Dove and Who Brings Forth the Wind were my absolute favorites and you're right, they were quite edgy. That said these are pretty much the only Lori Wick books that I liked other than The Rescue which was part of her English Garden series I believe. I've had my copy of The Rescue since it first came out and have to say that I prefer the old covers for that series too.

    XOXO~ Renee

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  6. Joy, I love The Princess!!! You must read it!

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  7. Laughing so much -- I was afraid you all would hate me for dissin' the new covers -- who knew we were so of one mind on this!!!! Funny. Maybe the pubber should take note, eh?

    Joy: The Princess is Sweet and Wonderful and Romantic and Worth It. Perfect bubble-bath lit. (and you know how I love a fairy tale!)

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  8. Oh man, great post - back in the day when I first started reading Christian fiction I wore out my copy of The Hawk and the Jewel (still have it!).

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  9. RUTH --I know, right? The spine on my copy is totally thrashed and there are smears of chocolate all over the pages. Not that I eat that much chocolate. Seriously. I can quit any time I want.
    ;-)

    Serena

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  10. I would have to agree about The Princess- It is awesome and probably one of my most favorites of lori wick along with White Chocolate Moments.

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  11. Wow. She sounds really really cool. I need to try her work.

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  12. Oh. My. Goodness. I grew up with these books. The Hawk and the Jewel was by far my favorite...read that one several times. Brandon and Sunny made my teenage heart go pitter patter. Wings of the Morning came in at a close second. I don't read much Christian fiction anymore, but I should borrow these from my mom and re-read them :) Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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  13. Great post; yes, I love her books! When we started up church library...back then...we got her books and never failed to get her future books! Everyone loved them!

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  14. I haven't read any Lori Wick books, but I'm definitely going to see if my library has any of these. Your comment about Smokey looking like she came from the boardroom was hilarious- I got a very 90s businesswoman vibe from that cover too! Who thought the slightly fuzzy covers with the heroines staring into the distance were a good idea?!

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  15. I have not read these but I do love Lori Wick. Pretense was my first Christian read and there was no stopping me from there.

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  16. Jackie S: Great staples for a church library. Nothing to offend (unless you're that dude who thinks women shouldn't read Christian romance -- whatever.) and lots to sigh about! -- plus a salvation/redemption message in each one.

    Roving Reader: Wings of the Morning, new cover: It's like "Angela Bower" (from Who's the Boss) went brunette and took a cruise.

    Kelli: If you liked Pretense, you'll like these. Different time, but...

    And all who've read them: Didn't you ever wonder why there wasn't a 5th book detailing Miles's (Holly's brother) mysterious romance? I was going to email Lori Wick and ask her to write it, but I can't find a viable website for the author. ;-)

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  17. I had these books recommended to me about a year ago, and I still haven't read them!! When I went to look them up, I admit I was turned off of them because of the covers(the new ones). I much prefer the older ones, too! :)

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  18. "...Smokey looks ready to celebrate her 4oth birthday right after she closes a corporate deal..." ROFL. I'm totally with you; at first glance, I liked the older covers better and I've never read the books. The dated covers reveal more of the story then the new ones.

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  19. My comfort read is Lori Wick's Californians - I re-read them every year around Thanksgiving :) I've not read The Kensington Chronicles, but I have to concur about the older covers for her other titles. I have a soft spot for the old illustrations over the more tasteful photographs. The illustrations just scream "comfort read!" to me.

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  20. I absolutely love The Princess! If it weren't in storage, I'd be devouring it right now. I'm really in the mood for a great romance.

    I agree about the old covers vs new covers. The old covers are definitely better. Why mess with something that works?

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