I’ve been a fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips since my friend Debby loaned me a copy of Nobody’s Baby But Mine, back when I was in high school. Since then, I’ve read each and every one of her books. Anyways, I’ve read all of her books (except Lucy’s story because personally, I have not yet accepted that she will not be with my beloved Teddy) and loved each and every one of them in various degrees. Some I have read close to 10 times, some once or twice. While some of you regular readers of my blog would be surprised that I love to read romance novels (in contrast for my love for blood and gore in horror and heavy action in film and in real life via MMA), please take note that I am a girl and therefore, its part of my DNA to be partial to these sort of stuff.
Well, since finding out that SEP will be releasing a new book this month entitled Heroes are my Weakness , I got so excited that I decided to spend the entire weekend (yes, the entire weekend) re-reading some of my copies of SEP books. And while I cannot review all of them at once, I decided that I would instead list down why Susan Elizabeth Philips is an author whose books I would buy om the basis of her name alone.
1) Romance and Mischief: One surefire guarantee in a SEP novel is the amount of sweetness (not the cloying kind) and mischief that the characters get into. While there is a certain familiarity in the elements of her writing, she still manages to make it different each time yet evoke the same positive feelings among her readers with every turn of the page. Its always a fun read.
2) Witty dialogue: I don’t know but from the very first time I read SEP, what really struck me was the razor sharp dialogue among the characters. The repartee flows so fluidly that readers would find it hard not to get in the moment and picture themselves witnessing the scenes themselves. Very entertaining and very very sharp. Very very clever. Never a boring moment.
3) Strong characters and a great backstory: One thing all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ female characters have in common — a strong backbone. Even the ones who never knew this about themselves in the beginning eventually find their inner strength to counter adversities. Take the Widow Snopes (Dream a Little Dream) and Francesca Day-Beaudine (Fancy Pants) — rising to the top despite being plunged to the bottom. Yet, from cleaning toilets to hosting shows or doing something extraordinary, these women have proven their mettle and this sense of empowerment is truly inspiring. In terms of heroes, all of them are super macho, oozing with sex appeal and self assured. Most of them have hero complexes and a strong sense of responsibility which landed them with the heroines in the first place. What I love about them however, is that despite being initially set in their ways (read: bullheaded), the vulnerability and compassion when they start to develop feelings for our heroines. What’s really cool about SEP characters are they are never portrayed as perfect. Lead characters and secondary characters alike and that is perhaps the reason why there is never a boring plot or subplot in her books. I mean, in real life, who’s perfect, right?
4) A sense of joy: You could tell by the way she writes that SEP writes from something genuine and perhaps, she draws inspiration from her love for her family. There is a joy in reading her writing because no matter how dire or complicated the situation is for the characters, there is always a sense of family in her books that grounds them and connects them with the readers. I don’t know, but I feel happy everytime I read her work and I could sense that she loves what she is doing each time she brings new life to new characters.
5) A “Great Love Story”: In This Heart of Mine, Phoebe asked Kevin to choose between Molly and his beloved Chicago Stars in order for Molly to have a “Great Love Story” to refer to when he forgets anniversaries or when he does something stupid. For Phoebe herself, Dan saved her life. For Daisy, when Alex humbled himself before Sheba. For Dean and Blue, it was the opposite, but it had the same effect. Each one of her characters had their own pivotal moments to prove their love and its not just one big romantic gesture but rather it was what it stood for that matters. And these are the scenes to really look out for in SEP books, it tugs at your heart and feels like a punch in the gut (well, in a good way).
I don’t know if I did justice to my favorite books with this entry but one thing’s for sure. I will continue to read SEP for as long as she could write and continue to recommend her books to anybody I know. Maybe I could do a ranking of my favorites next time which is really tough because I don’t know how I will choose. Like I said, I’m a fan. A big big fan 😀