I have decided that as a stay-at-home mom and housewife, I need to be the voice for the esteemed and timeless genre of trashy romances. Among my people, Lavyrle Spencer is William Shakespeare, so I’ve decided to go with her classic novel, Years. I recommend setting aside skepticism or pre-conceived notions about trashy romances, and instead, just jump in with both feet. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a literary masterpiece. It is supposed to be fun. The point is not to give you something to think about. The point is to give you a break from thinking. Trust me, it’s a beautiful thing.
Between pregnancy brain and approaching-end-of-school-year lethargy, I decided April would be a great month for me to read something mindless.
Years was not the first romance novel I’ve read (grad school is also a time in your life when mindless reading becomes important for your mental health), so I had a general idea of what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised that Kalyn’s “trashy romance” was not nearly as “trashy” as others I’ve read. It was fairly predictable, of course: a young, sheltered woman is drawn to an older, hardened-by-life man who resists the relationship due to the years between them; many pages of conflict and misunderstandings ensue before détente is reached.
Yet the novel was also quite enjoyable. The story takes place in a small, Norwegian farming community in North Dakota during WWI, and I enjoyed the barn dances and family gatherings throughout the book. The heroine, Linnea, comes to the community as a novice schoolteacher, so I could easily empathize with the ups and downs she experienced in her first year as a teacher.
I gave the romance 4 stars on Goodreads, as I found myself caught up in the story despite my admittedly somewhat-cynical view of it at the outset. Kalyn refers to Spencer as the Will Shakespeare of her genre, and I can see why. Spencer’s writing is solid and without the silly flourishes that other romance writers find so necessary. I’d second Kalyn’s recommendation of Years to anyone looking for a fun escape.