Limbricht Castle (Kasteel Limbricht)
Public Domain (link)
Six years ago, I created SOS Aloha while living in Hawaii. Yet it was an other overseas assignment which introduced me to romance. In 2002, we moved to the Netherlands when my husband received an assignment to NATO's Joint Forces Command Brunssum (link). I found myself in the perfect storm to spurn my interest in historcal romance novels:
- We lived across from the Limbricht Castle, a medieval home complete with a moat, tower, and modern duck pin bowling alley!
- I enjoyed afternoon tea with the British Delegation.
- Military families jumped aboard Ryanair to visit London, Dublin, and Edinburgh - home of castles, castles, and castles!
Shortly after our arrival, NATO troops deployed as peacekeepers to Kabul, Afghanistan. The international staff adopted an orphanage in Kabul and asked the America Spouse's Club to collect donations. So we rolled up our sleeves, cleaned out the long neglected thrift shop (link), and sent boxes with clothes, blankets, and toys. We also received an anonymous donation of $1500 to purchase a generator for the orphanage.
Once the dust settled, I looked around the thrift shop to see what was left - books written in the English language. One paperback caught my eye with its blue cover and tartan sash:
Journey with Cathy Maxwell to nineteenth-century Scotland...a land of romance and dreams. There, away from the stifling ballrooms and idle gossip of London, a debutante hopes to find a life she could only have imagined...and a noble Highlander discovers that the truest love of all awaits him in the form of an unexpected bride-to-be.
After consuming every historical romance from the thrift shop shelves, I moved onto the Army's library where I discovered romantic suspense from my fellow Floridian, Heather Graham:
I also cultivated a friendship with the manager of the Stars N Strips bookstore. She raved about Bertrice Small:
There has never been a woman like luscious, raven-haired, hot-tempered Skye O'Malley. She is the courageous seafaring captain of her own mighty fleet, and intelligent enough to win a battle of wits with Queen Elizabeth herself. Follow along as Skye O'Malley is swept up in a journey filled with romance and passion that takes her from glittering Ireland, to lush Algeria, to the heart of London in pursuit of a unique and eternal love.
I would later meet Cathy, Heather, and Bertrice once we moved back to the US ... Cathy is a Navy veteran, Heather has participated in a USO tour, and Bertrice's beloved husband, George, was an Army veteran from the D-Day Landings in WWII.
How did you discover romance? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, March 12, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 13.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City
Next week: SOS Aloha's 6th Anniversary (part 2) - An Old Fashioned Tea Party with Military Spouses and Romance Authors.
The Tea Party by Frederic Soulacroix