Some of H. Laurence Lareau’s favorite authors, in no particular order:
This list-making exercise is frustrating. Since I read dozens of books a year and enjoy most of them—in many genres, from classical literature to crude, lowbrow slapstick like Robert Bevan and everything in between—it’s kind of a fool’s errand to pick favorites. How does A. S. Byatt not make my list? Or C. S. Lewis? (Am I prejudiced against authors who use initials instead of their given names (oops; that includes me, I guess!)
• Jane Austen. She’s the greatest novelist in our language. Her characters are subtle, their problems are real (for the period), her humor sparkles, and the precision and polish of her language is flabbergasting. (Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet is a favorite book-girlfriend.)
• Lindsey Fairleigh, particularly the Echo in Time trilogy (including other stuff). Echo in Time’s Lex has it all: she’s smart, strong, vulnerable, and overcomes odds similar to Dresden’s. Her time-traveling romance with the hero-of-many-names (shaped by a completely fictional type of bond) deals with the difficulties and rewards of genuinely self-giving and mutual intimacy. (Book girlfriends are becoming a theme here that I didn’t anticipate.) The books are page-turners, too, driven by a complex time-traveling plot that twists and turns through countless wonderful surprises.
• Jim Butcher, the Dresden Files. Chicago’s only professional wizard, Harry Dresden, is a glorious mix of Bugs Bunny and Charlie Brown. Always fighting monsters or magical things that are way out of his weight class, Dresden somehow saves his city, the world, or just his friends from certain doom. His dialogue is consistently laugh-out-loud hilarious, especially in the middle of terrifying battles. Even though he always comes out a winner, Dresden’s self-image is captured in Charlie Brown’s never-ending belief that Lucy won’t yank the football away just before he can kick it. Dresden’s tragic romances—which seldom get much traction and always end in disaster—involve two of my favorite book-girlfriends. (When the first of them died horribly, I wept. But no spoilers here, just in case!) His characters are vividly drawn—from Bob, the sex- and romance-obsessed but incorporeal magic spirit, to the polka-inspired forensic pathologist, to Molly, his multi-layered and deeply troubled apprentice—each one could walk off the page. Like all great fiction, the Dresden files address profound issues in deeply thoughtful ways. My brilliant younger son and I have had a number of hefty conversations about our Catholic faith and how Butcher’s characters grapple with questions of faith in his books. The audiobooks are masterfully performed (all but one by James Marsters; George Guidall did a fantastic job with his one effort, Ghost Story).
• Robert Harris and Robert Graves. Historical fiction, particularly set in ancient Rome, has always called to me. (Ruth Downie gets and honorable mention in this category for her Medicus series—Tilla is another favorite book girlfriend!) Graves set the standard with I, Claudius, Claudius the God and Count Belisarius, all of which build towering stories on historical foundations. Harris’s Pompeii and his Cicero trilogy stand tall in that tradition of historical intrigue. Most recently, Harris’s Conclave treated politics and faith issues surrounding the near-future election of a new pope with great responsibility—though with a resolution that fell short of the book’s overall excellence. (My son loved that book, too!)
• Peter Clines, 14, The Fold, Paradox Bound. Gosh, these are fun books. Each is a standalone, though they are loosely connected contemporary . . . fantasy? sci fi? speculative fiction? novels with vivid characters, great wit, compelling mysteries, and some minor romantic bits. In the last of them, the main characters spent seemingly endless hours driving all across the country in search of a Holy Grail-like artifact, The American Dream. I hate driving. My son loved the book. I told him the driving made me crazy, especially because it never seemed to arrive much of anywhere. Being a sage reader, he gently pointed out to me that most of the American Dream is tied up with cars, driving, being driven, and arriving nowhere better than you started. That son of mine seems always to strike the nail’s blunt end, even when I can’t see it!
• Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t been to the Discworld, you need to go. Pratchett addresses fundamental, real-world issues—crime, commerce, journalism, gender roles, diversity, faith, you name it—with uproarious humor and deep insight. Even his throwaway lines—like his observation that marriage is a union of two people convinced that only the other one snores—are simultaneously silly and somehow deep. Tiffany Aching is a young woman coming of age in a trilogy set in the Discworld, and her piece of that world is especially true. Samuel Vimes, policeman and aristocrat and diplomat and husband, encounters any number of mid-life pressures that all resonate with life’s experiences. The audiobooks are all supremely well performed, too, and bring new shades of meaning and great humor to each book.
• Sophie Kinsella. If you like your romance to bubble up out of humor, this is the only author you need ever know about. I’ve Got Your Number had my sides aching from—and gave me yet another book girlfriend!
The Newsroom Romance series tries to address real issues with the thought and wit these great authors all bring to their work. Please enjoy them and give me your feedback directly at email@example.com, visit hlaurencelareau.com, or find me on Facebook. Here’s to your own happily ever after!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Love. Local. Latebreaking.
by H. Laurence Lareau
GENRE: Contemporary romance
Professional passion in the tradition of Julie James, Love. Local. Latebreaking. is a page-turning romance shining a spotlight into television news.
"Heart-tugging relational tension but with a sophistication that raises it above the romance genre." -- Jlaird, verified purchaser
"Mr. Lareau manages humor beautifully--I was able to envision certain scenes/situations/people so clearly that I was chortling into my coffee. I highly recommend this novel as a light-hearted (and sexy) diversion." -- Sarah K. Clark, verified purchaser
"The heroine had a career that she worked hard for and that she didn't give that career up simply because she'd found love" -- A. Geek, verified purchaser
Local TV news reporter Karli Lewis has one goal: escape Iowa's cornfields and podunk local news scene to hit the bright lights of the Chicago's newsrooms. Karli’s career is on the rise, thanks to her talented, dizzingly handsome, yet enigmatic news photographer, Jake Gibson, a dedicated hometown boy who is staying put. Will Karli listen to her heart, or will she choose a dateline over her favorite date? Can she reconcile her unbridled ambition and her longing for the man she could lose forever?
“Um, Karli, I don’t think you need any more to drink,” Mary Rose said. “Or maybe you need a lot more. Come to think of it, that always makes for a better story. Let’s have more.” She clapped her hands together and rubbed them in anticipation, then raised a hand to catch the bartender’s attention and gestured for a new round.
Bailey’s frustrated glare conveyed to Karli that her explanation had somehow fallen short of expectations. “So I was pissed because he was sleeping with her after he kissed me on the bridge. . .”
“What bridge?” Bailey was interested but genuinely confused by now, and it showed in her tone and face.
“Ooh, I love stories with trolls,” cried Mary Rose.
“You know, the covered bridge outside of Winterset,” Karli said. “Where the book is set and where they did the movie.”
“WHAT?” Bailey nearly shrieked. “He took you to a covered bridge in Madison County and kissed you there? That is probably the most romantic thing ever!”
“Well, he didn’t kiss me,” Karli said. “At least, not at first. I sort of started with the kissing. Then he kissed me back. Really well.” Again, Karli’s memory transported her to a moment of intense passion. Again, she felt the coiled tension inside of her—the aching wetness between her legs, the tightened flesh of her nipples—crying out for release. Again, she lost the thread of the conversation.
“On a covered bridge, no less.” Bailey sighed wistfully.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
H. Laurence Lareau fell in love with romances the first time Pride and Prejudice came home from the library with him. Since that high school summer, he has earned an English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked as a television and print journalist, built a career in law, and has remained a Jane Austen junkie through it all.
The Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.
Real life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee simple estate in land.
Modern women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill women as people.
Strong, modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the people they serve.
Then love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.
When he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial arts and music.
Available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/author/hlaurencelareau
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