All’s Faire in Fall

bristol-Renaissance-FaireFall is here again, and with it comes Fair season – Church Fairs, Grange Fairs, State Fairs, Harvest Festivals, and perhaps the most fun of all – The Renaissance Faire.
Renaissance Faires are  newer than you think. The first official “Renaissance Faire” traces back to Los Angeles in 1963, when a school teacher named Phyllis Patterson put one on for a weekend fundraiser for radio station KPFK, and more than 8,000 people showed up. A fall staple was born (because, let’s face it, NO ONE wants to be buried under that many yards of wool, satin, and leather in the middle of July).

Why the Renaissance? Why not Roman Bacchanalias with chariot races? Why not the 1363839072Dark Ages? Why not Pompeiian pageants? Celebrating the gruesome deaths of a city of people might be just a tad morbid. The Dark Ages were – well, Dark. We don’t know much about them, because following the fall of Rome civilization was illiterate, spread out, and little was going on beyond warfare and survival. And Rome? Rome certainly had a lot going for it, but not many speak Latin anymore, and togas, while simple and fun for frat parties, just don’t have the suave flair of swashbuckling boots, rapiers, and villains’ pointed beards and mustaches. The Renaissance has far more possibilities.

Robin-Hood-Men-In-Tights-dracula-and-robin-hood-in-tights-and-loving-it-22205932-320-240Rising up out of the depths of the Black Plague, the Renaissance means, literally, a rebirth. Disenchanted with a church that did not save them from the plague, men turned to science to keep them safe, resulting in great advancements in learning, science, art, music, and warfare. Stretching from 1300 to 1600, the Renaissance saw the rise of DaVinci, of Galileo, Columbus, Martin Luther, the printing press, Magellan, Henry VIII, William Harvey,  the advent of gunpowder, muskets, and the waning of armor and swords. Most Renaissance Faires throw in the likes of Robin Hood (earliest tales date to 1377), and sometimes evejeffpiraten King Arthur, who, although Malory’s history of Le Morte D’Artur is published in 1470, the story from which The Once and Future King is taken,  is believed to have lived, if he’s not merely legend, sometime between 600 and 800. Herein lie the tales of valor, not long before the Three Musketeers, the tales of actual pirates Barbossa and William Kyd, of Dutch corsairs and privateers, and let’s not forget Shakespeare (though Shakespeare’s plays, though written and performed around 1600, were often taken from history much older: King MacBeth actually lived in the 1000’s). That’s a lot of romanticized history to be able to play with, a lot of possibilities for actors to delve into. Hence Renaissance Faires are full of LARPers (live-action role players) and SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, hard-core medieval recreationists) members running about. Your inner Dragon Master can run amok, and no one will ever know.

unspecifiedSo pull on your hose, strap on your broadsword, lace your corset, and get ready for an imaginative adventure back in time, and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something. Faires can offer a diversity of activities such as Birds of Prey shows, sword forging, glass blowing, theater, jousting, live chess tournaments, musicians, and more, as well as authentic foods, drink, clothing, crafts, and entertainments.  Check out the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, or if you like a drive, try the larger ones like King Richard’s Faire in Massachusetts, or my favorite, The New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, New York. They’re worth the trip!  For a more in-depth experience, check these great books out as well:

Linda reads: Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves

After surviving a horrific childhood, Luke Dawson leaves Rainbow Valley, Texas determined to forget the past, including a childhood friend, Shannon North.  Luke becomes a bull rider and is destined for the world championship.  He decides to come back to town for the funeral of his father and maybe some closure on his past.

Shannon North left a high power, high paying job as a CPA to return to her roots in Rainbow Valley and take over the Rainbow Valley Animal Shelter.  She worked there during her teens and it holds a special place in her heart.  The shelter is now run down, overcrowded and dependent on donations.  Shannon is hoping her experience in the finance world will help pull her beloved shelter from ruin.  She and Luke have a past that ended badly, and she avoids his father’s funeral.

Luke’s plans are to leave town as soon as the funeral is over, but decides to take a look at the property and home his father left behind.  Maybe if he goes into the house, he can erase some of the demons plaguing him.  But as he tries to take that first step onto the worn porch, he crashes through and injures his knee.  Luckily, Shannon drives by and suddenly they are thrown together whether they like it or not.

What follows is a painful, inspiring, hopeful journey where both Luke and Shannon have to overcome obstacles from their past and try to build on the feelings they reluctantly still feel for one another.   Luke grows from an obstinate, juvenile delinquent to a charismatic, caring adult.  He’s determined to show everyone in town that he is not his father’s son.  Shannon struggles with her perception of him (helped along by an overbearing mother) and some of her own issues from her past.  You can really feel this couple’s pain and will find yourself holding your breath for a happy outcome.

This story also includes some wonderful secondary characters in the towns’ people, an interesting legend, and the animals that are housed at the animal shelter bring an added extra dimension to the story.

This book fits in perfectly with the popularity of small town romances.  It is heartwarming, inspiring and very entertaining.

There’s Just Something About A Cowboy!

Contemporary Western Romances  have become very popular reads.  That cowboy drawl, the tight jeans, the muscular body, the slightly long and unruly hair, chaps,  the “yes ma’m, thank you ma’m”, the tough exterior with the soft and gentle heart – it stirs a woman’s heart!  The Cheshire Library has many titles to choose from that will get your heart afluttering.  Listed below are some of our most popular.

Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves.  This is the first in her new series Rainbow Valley, Texas.   She also has several other titles on our Romance paperback shelves, including the very popular series Plano, Texas featuring Hot Wheels and High Heels, Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, Black Ties and Lullabies, Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.

Katie Lane has a popular series, Deep in the Heart of Texas.  Titles in this series include: Trouble In Texas, Catch Me A Cowboy, Going Cowboy Crazy, Make Mine A Bad Boy.

Carolyn Brown’s final book in her Spikes and Spurs series, Cowboy Seeks Bride, will be out in August (we’ll be ordering it when the new fiscal year starts).  The other books in the series are: Love Drunk Cowboy, Red’s Hot Cowboy, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas, One Hot Cowboy Wedding, Mistletoe Cowboy and Just a Cowboy and His Baby.

C H Admirand has a hot cowboy series – The Secret Life of Cowboys.  Titles are:  Tyler, Dylan and Jesse.

Emma Cane has a cute series – Valentine Valley.  True Love at Silver Creek Ranch is the latest.  A Town Called Valentineis the first.

Cardwell Ranch Trespasser is book number 3 in B. J. Daniels series Cardwell Ranch.  Book one is Unforgiven.  Book two is Redemption.

Joanne Kennedy’s newest cowboy book is Cowboy Tough.  She also has several other titles on our shelves.

Laura Moore has a new series, Silver Creek.  Book one is Once Tempted.  Her Rosewood Trilogy was very popular.  Book one is Remember Me.  Book two is Believe in Me.  Book three is Trouble Me.                                                                            cowboy sunset

Other popular authors that write Contemporary Western Romances are:  Janet Dailey, Joan Johnson, Jodi Thomas, Debbi Macomber, Kat Martin, Linda Lael Miller, Diana Palmer and Jodi Thomas.  Come  in and check out our extensive collection in the Romance Paperback section of the library.