…and my poor TBR pile has now reached disastrous proportions. Oh well. I received an email from a blogger pal saying she was going to be in my neck of the woods and where could we meet to swap books and fool that I am suggested my favorite local UBS, Browser’s Books. Here you’ll find your usual fantasy/detective/cookbooks/true crime sections, along with the more mainstream fiction shelves (lots of historical fiction goodies to be found if you look closely). But the best of all is an entire wall (and then some) of floor to ceiling, double stacked MMPB’s classified by Browsers as romance. Yes, there are a lot of romances there with some hilariously cheesy covers, but don’t let that frighten you away as there are some amazing treasures just sitting there waiting to be discovered, including a shelf full of old Victoria Holts, MM Kaye and more. Besides, some of those old *romances* from the 70’s and 80’s can turn out to be pretty darn good reads with a lot more history than sex so I’m not afraid to bite the bullet and experiment. Here’s my damage this week:

I remember the TV-mini but for the life of me I can’t recall if I ever read these or not. Nice to find a good used HB which I prefer to MMPB (my hands cramp holding them open). 

Three women of wealth and privilege are the pawns in a battle for power. Where money is the glittering reward – and love is the ultimate revenge.

In the elite world of Boston’s rich and powerful, tycoon Nikos Dobias is its uncrowned king. His three daughters are his heiresses apparent-pampered and privileged-until he makes a shocking decision that will plunge them into a race for exclusive control of his multimillion-dollar empire.

GISELLE…The eldes, as ruthlessly driven as her celebrated father, she vows to do whatever it takes to inherit it all-including betray her own flesh and blood.

RENA…The too-trusting middle child, she will do anything to save her marriage, even reveal the Dobiasses’ most scandalous secrets to a seductive stranger bent on her wealthy family’s ruin.

CORE…Nikos’ youngest and most beloved daughter, she stuns her father-and society-by refusing to compete in his cruel game of money and power. Cut off without a cent, the beautiful heiress must rebuild an empire from nothing. Only one man can help her, the man who has vowed to destroy Nikos Dobias, the man Corey now passionately loves.

Sounds delightfully smutty, no?

STORYVILLE. Transplanted Yankee Julia Randsome was a blue-blooded suffragette who wanted to close it down. Beautiful, naive Kate Cavanaugh was a prostitute who wanted to survive. Af fifteen, Kate had joined “the life” at an opulent, high-priced brothel in the steamy red-light district. She also fell in love with Julia Randsome’s son. Now each woman must make a devastating choice. And what happens next will bring them both face-to-face with the truth about each other and themselves…

Love the inside of the jacket,

As a child, beautiful, red-haired Mary Beecham was plucked out of poverty and placed in the lap of Victorian luxury. But her illegitimate birth branded her as a woman apart–and her brains and spirit made her reject playing a woman’s role in a world of wealth and power run by men. This is her spellbinding story … of her rise to rule the vast spice trade that united mighty England with the romantic East … of her searing passion for a man whom it was scandalous to desire… of a marriage that turned into the greatest trial a woman could face … and of the gamble she took and reward she reaped when she staked all on a love she had never dared dream would be hers.

Cinnamon Wharf is going straight to the top of the pile (after the library holds and the Vine books that is ;)). Had to buy that just for the cover alone.

Enter a Hidden World. Travel back two hundred years to an era of magic and sensuality. Lose yourself in the blossoming lives and loves of Colin and his twin sister Bea as they Journey from Switzerland to the Emperor’s court in China, bringing Colin’s extraordinary talent, – his ability to create precision clockwork machines that looked human, drew pictures, played music and were the rage of Europe. And pass through the gates of golden-spired Ayuthia where, in a world of passion and opulate splendor, brother and sister meet their astonishing and tumultuous destinies.

Enchantress could be a dud, but I’m willing to take a gamble.

Ernest Barbour — The bold, brutal munitions king, he wanted two things: power over his destiny – and the beautiful woman who was his brother’s wife.

Martin Barbour — Ernest’s handsome younger brother who walked in his shadow – until he claimed Amy Sessions and became Ernest’s most bitter enemy.

Amy Sessions — Aristocratic, lovely, she was coveted as a treasure too rare to be touched – but she dreamed of a man with fire in his kiss…a man who denied his passion for her…a man named Ernest Barbour.

Been years since I’ve read a Taylor Caldwell novel and thought it was time to fix that.

Sir John Danesfield, captivated by his illegitimate daughter’s spirit, takes her to Regency London to live with his mistress. At fifteen, Mavreen falls in love with the Vicomte Gerard de Valle, an impoverished French nobleman. Believing him lost to her, she enters a loveless marriage arranged by her father. When her husband dies she seeks Gerard across the Napoleonic war-ravaged wastes of Europe. It is finally to the snowy battlefields of Russia that Mavreen, passionate, headstrong, and courageous, goes in search of the man she loves.

I was surprised when I got home and started loading this on Goodreads it was already on my list after being recommended by a friend there. Apparently the first of three set in Napoleonic era and set in both France and Russia. Woohoo.

Her blood racing with desire, her heart pounding with the fulfillment of a thousand dreams, beautiful New York debutante Elsie Cooper pledged her life and love to darkly handsome Count Alexander Martynov. After a whirlwind courtship, he swept her away from home and family, to Imperia Russia. There she discovered a world in which incredible opulence coexisted with grinding poverty,and the Imperial Family, indeed the entire Court, lived in fear of the evil monk, Rasputin. Plunged into this royal circle of madness and treachery, Elsie soon realized that her marriage to Alexander had placed her very life in danger, and only by thwarting Rasputin’s awesome power could she hope to save herself and the man she loved.

I’m thinking this will be a cheesy romance, but one never knows just by judging the cover. Nice haul, and Browsers is a do not miss if you’re ever in the South Seattle area – right on Meeker Street in Kent, Washington.

PS, the store is for sale if anyone’s interested…