The Ladies of Missalonghi, Colleen McCullough (1987)

McCullough is the author of The Thorn Birds, which became a TV special many years ago. I think I was a teen at the time. I didn't watch it. I haven't read the novel yet, either. Ladies is quite good. Twenty pages shy of 200 and centered round a protagonist who desires above all else to get married, this qualifies as a romance, a genre to which I've only recently devoted more of my reading time. But the fine writing, endearing characters, tasteful love scenes, and absorbing happenings kept me turning the pages. For one, the writing is exquisite; the characters are often witty, and I found myself laughing out loud in a few spots. The twist at the end was both strange and unexpected, but because it was treated so well, I not only bought into it, I found it moving, too. I plan to read more from her. Five out of five stars. PG-13

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