This week you have the chance to win a digital copy of Joanne Renaud’s A Question of Time as well as an awesome Baggu bag. [NOTE: The winner of the bag is restricted to readers in the continental US due to cost of shipping overseas]
HERE IS HOW YOU WIN THESE THINGS:
This week, there will be four posts related to this contest (one each day, Monday – Thursday). They will all be labeled “WEEK-LONG CONTEST” in the post title. As long as you leave one comment on one of the posts before Thursday night at midnight (central time US), you will be included in the contest. Joanne will randomly pick on one of the names on Friday morning and we will announce it on the blog later that day.
Yesterday’s post introduced the contest and has an image of the bag.
Today, in honor of Renaud’s time-travel novel, she reviews another time-travel romance: Judith O’Brien’s 1995 work, Ashton’s Bride.
Gone with the Wind—it’s an iconic movie, and arguably one of the greatest movies made during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The imagery of southern belles, soaring plantation houses and tragic yet scrappy Confederates fighting for a doomed Lost Cause are seared indelibly into the collective American memory. It’s also influenced a metric ton of books, especially in the romance genre. One of the strangest books influenced by GWTW is Ashton’s Bride by Judith O’Brien, a time travel romance published in 1995 (although the book is set in 1993).
Now, when I was growing up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Old South and the Civil War was everywhere. You had miniseries like North and South in 1984; North and South II in 1986; you also had Alex Haley’s Queen in 1993, and Scarlett, the misbegotten sequel to GWTW, which became a miniseries in 1994. References to southern belles and the antebellum south were also frequent in the books I read. Atlanta socialite heroine Amber in the teen spy series Charisma Inc. was frequently compared to Scarlett O’Hara, and both my favorite YA paranormal series, Swept Away and Teen Witch, featured time travel stories where the heroines are accidentally whisked back to the Confederacy. The books were called (respectively) Gone with the Wish and Gone with the Witch. Cheesy, but I ate it up. I especially loved when the girls, after their weird vacations in the past, returned to their comfortable 1980s existences. The past might be fun to visit, but who the hell would want to live there?
Of course, when I moved to the Atlanta metro area, this pop culture phenomenon of my youth was the first thing I thought of. But I quickly discovered that many people there were beyond fatigued with Gone with the Wind and its ilk. It seemed to me that Gone with the Wind was no longer a hot property; in fact, it seemed that it was no longer relevant or interesting to most people. I remember meeting a librarian at a party, and I tried to discuss just this with her, but her eyes glazed over, and she changed the subject to The Hunger Games.
I was exasperated, but in a way this perfectly illustrates my point. Zombies are all the rage in Atlanta now, what with the runaway success of The Walking Dead, and the Georgia settings for popular zombie games like Left 4 Dead 2. One may wonder about the significance and symbolism of the former heart of the Confederacy becoming (according to the New York Times) “The Zombie Capital of the World,” but this is a subject for another blog post.
Suffice to say, Ashton’s Bride was written at the height of Antebellum nostalgia, and it shows it. I have been a fan of Judith O’Brien’s books for years, but Bride is easily the weakest (and oddest) of her books.
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