A long time ago, when I was working in bookstores in Maine, I had a coworker friend (you know who you are) -- a smart, educated, interesting woman -- who was hooked on Regency romances. One of the perks of working there was that you could borrow books to read, ostensibly so you could sell them better, but really because they paid us so little that they felt they had to offer something, anything, to make it a little bit better. Well, I thought, here's a person with a brain who loves these books, so let me give them a try. And they were fun -- silly, but fun, and many of them were quite well written. Time passed, life changed, and I hadn't read one for literally decades.
Then, about 5 years ago, another friend let me borrow Lauren Willig's first book, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. It took me back to that era of English history, but so much better! The historical adventure/romance is framed by a contemporary plot involving an American grad student desperately in search of material for her dissertation, a handsome Englishman, a mysterious family archive. . .
I gobbled up each of the subsequent books the minute it came out. But I'd kind of forgotten about them until a Facebook friend "liked" Lauren Willig and led me to her newest, The Orchid Affair. Completely satisfying. I think it's the 7th one of the series, and you really should read them in order, if possible.
Willig knows how to tell a story; these books fall firmly in the category "intelligent fluff," and are a far better use of your time and brain cells than TV.
So confess -- what are your guilty pleasures (we're talking books here).