RESTOREE A Fond Look Back

004I’m not by any means a book reviewer – I like what I like, and I don’t dissect the components too much. Conversely, if I don’t like a book, it becomes a Did Not Finish and I won’t waste time talking about it either. But for a while now I’ve been wanting to pay affectionate tribute to Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree, which was probably the first true science fiction romance  I ever read.

And reread. And read again. I’ve worn out three paperback copies, although I kept my original (seen to the left) for sentimental reasons. It lives on my kindle too. This is one of my favorite books of all time, people.

Andre Norton was actually my favorite science fiction author and she occasionally had hints of glimpses of glimmers of romance (squint hard) but when I found Restoree I was enchanted to have the SF and the R in one place, with no need for me to privately expand the story in my head.

I think the competent heroine Sara is every ordinary Earth girl who gets abducted by aliens, makes her way admirably through the complicated alien society, finds true love and a lofty place for herself at the center of the new civilization. (The sex was much tamer in that era though!). I LOVED that she was a librarian. I was enchanted at her modesty, not just assuming the Warlord Harlan would ever really fall in love with her. (Spoiler Alert: he does.) She has a great sense of humor too.  At that age, I liked to test myself against SF heroines – could I manage to do the things they did? With Sara, I felt I could probably manage it.

I really liked the character of Harlan, and the worldbuilding of the planet Lothar, although I remember being a bit annoyed at all the politics.

I didn’t exactly understand all the “restoree” stuff when I was younger, although I get it now. I didn’t let it distract me from the story when I was a kid.

I was ALWAYS – and still – frustrated that there was never a sequel. I didn’t appreciate that Harlan disappears offstage at the end of the book, leaving the final pages covering Sara’s fight more or less alone against  Monsorlit, the is-he-evil-or-not physician. (I never really was satisfied with how things turned out re Monsorlit. HE got off too lightly IMHO.)

Nowadays of course, there’d be a sequel for each of the brothers, Jokan and Jessl. There’d be a sequel for Ferrell. There might even be a sequel for one of Sara’s brothers, come to Lothar to check on her maybe, and falling in love with a Searcher of his own. Although as her brothers were described in the early going, not sure they could be made sympathetic enough. Perhaps she had a Navy SEAL cousin who could volunteer to go to Lothar to fight the Mil and check up on her…..

But it’s pretty much a little jewel of an SFR story as it is and one I’ll always have deep affection for.

Yes, I went on to become a total addict to Ms. McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and other series, but nothing will ever take the place of Sara and Harlan in my bookloving heart.

(I never liked this cover but here it is anyway…)002



Five Favorite Books

871147_98968988I was asked my friend Teresa Cypher to play in the “Five Favorite Books” meme and I’m always game for a challenge so I said yes. Of course the problem immediately becomes HOW do you pick only five books??? (When you look at her post, you’ll see she gracefully “bent the rules” a bit LOL.) I decided for today I’d just take the first five that float up into my consciousness because there must be something especially wonderful about them, for my busy brain to offer them immediately.

Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. This YA story of a slave girl who got caught up in the intrigues at Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s court, fell in love with the dashing spy who recruited her, endured hardship, found her courage, has a Happily Ever After ending….all set in Ancient Egypt, with a faint touch of the gods looking on – WOW. I’ve said before that this book was a huge inspiration to me, both in developing a love for ancient history and as a writer.

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. This was my first ever Regency and it took me three tries to read it, because I was totally new to the ???????????????????????????????language, the pacing, the humor…but once I “got it” – I was hooked. I LOVED Alverstoke. Watching him become unstuffy – if only for Frederica and her engaging family – was hilarious and wonderful. The whole Baluchistan Hound escapade made me laugh out loud…I’ve read ALL her other Regencies (wish there were MOAR of them), and many by other people as well! Cotillion, Talisman Ring, Unknown Ajax…ummm, ok, I’ll stop…but These Old Shades is actually my favorite. I WANT to marry Justin Duke of Avon. One waltz with him will NOT be enough.

The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky. I can’t say I completely relate to the heroine BUT I have relatives living on an island off the coast of Maine and the setting of this book, and the characters completely drew me in and I could not put it down. I go back and reread parts of it fairly often. Her Three Wishes reduces me to tears every time (and I normally NEVER put myself in a position to be made to cry so the fact I do reread this one tells you how much I love it).

Restoree by Anne McCaffrey. Of course I love her Dragonriders of PERN series with a love brighter than the sun but this older, single title remains one of my favorites. I always wish there was more to the book, a sequel….but I’ve worn out multiple copies of this and have it on my kindle. I so enjoy the relationship between Sara and Harlan…

Wicked Ways by Cynthia Eden. This one is actually a novella and it’s on my list today because I was reading this when the light dawned for me that I was NOT a writer of technical science fiction (which trust me, I wasn’t good at but that’s what I thought I had to write, very long story, not for today)…I was a writer of paranormals and science fiction romance. OK, it’s hard to explain, even to myself, but you know how sometimes a light bulb just goes off in your head and you have some self realization you needed? Well, I had it that day. I immediately sat down and wrote the easiest 40,000 words I EVER put on paper (which means into the computer) of the WORST paranormal romance you ever read (still unpublished & probably always will remain so). It was amazing, it was FREEING and I kept working at it, improved my skills, wrote my paranormal novella Priestess of the Nile, which Carina Press bought…and went on from there. It was a happy day for me when I was able to tell Cynthia Eden what her story had done for me.

So there’s my list of Five for today (it might change tomorrow LOL) and here are five of my friends who I hope will play along and share their five:

Susanna Fraser

Brighton Walsh

Bev Diehl

Steve Vera

Angela Campbell