There are a few things in romantic fiction I don’t care for; they include spies, people eating steak and salad in contemporaries (why is it always steak and salad?!?), children who do not act like children, and telling a story using time period shifts.

But forget the kids and the food; I am currently reading Joanna Bourne’s The Black Hawk, and damned if I’m not liking it, despite it being about spies and using time period shifts to reveal the story.

Bourne’s use of language and description is incomparable–it’s as close to Kinsale and Ivory as it can get without being anything like either of those. Plus I like that her hero isn’t hugely tall or overly buff without reason:

The muscles of his belly, his shoulders, his arms, were stark as rocks jutting from a hill, smooth as peeled wood. He was a fierce and violent simplicity, like a force of nature. There was not the least softness upon him anywhere.

I have had to tell myself to be patient as the story unfolds. But it’s worth it. And shows me that all rules–even my own!–are meant to be broken, if the circumstance is extenuating enough (I have to say, though, that the cover guy looks very little like how I picture Hawker. But I’m reading on my e-reader, so I don’t see the cover a lot).

What are your reading idiosyncracies?