When I only begin to read, I forget I’m on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts.
Anzia Yezierska

Summer is a time to kick back, stretch out in the hammock or on the beach, and escape.Young woman reading a book lying in a hammock

Escape through the pages of a good book.

An ability to escape, at least in the imagination, is important. Escape into a well-told story has helped many a person meet life’s challenges with a little more perspective, insight, encouragement and hope. And after the events of the last few weeks and months, I would bet that, like me, you are ready for an escape.

With a book, you don’t have to go far. But whether you are traveling by plane, car, train, or just by foot to the nearest seat, here are a few of my favorite escape artists, er, authors:

1. Eloisa James. This is the pen name for a tenured professor of English Literature at Fordham University, and the daughter of poet, Robert Bly, and short story author, Carol Bly. James, one of my favorite authors, writes intelligent, often thought-provoking Regency historical romances with well-crafted plots and engaging characters. One of my favorite series of hers is based on fairy tales and includes When Beauty Tamed the Beast, A Kiss at Midnight, The Duke is Mine, The Ugly Duchess, and Once Upon a Tower. If you love escaping to other times, then James promises you many happy hours.

2. Julia Quinn. A friend and colleague of James, Quinn also writes historical romances. I love her books for their crisp, witty dialogue and smile-inducing sense of humor. Her novels have been translated into 26 languages and she has appeared on the NY Times bestseller list 18 times. One of my favorite of her many delicious novels is Ten Things I Love about You. For those of you who love lists and romance…enjoy.

3. Janet Evanovich. If you haven’t read one of her books yet…what is wrong with you? If I really need to get out of my head, if I really need the good medicine of a belly laugh, then I read one of Evanovich’s books in the Stephanie Plum series. Plum works at catching criminals who have jumped bail. She has two hunky guys ready to jump her bones, one of whom might even consider marriage. Her friend, Lulu, inevitably does something to make you laugh. Then there’s Grandma Mazur. Find your escape in any Plum book from One for the Money to Turbo Twenty-Three.

4. Juliet Marillier. This award-winning, New Zealand author writes fantasy novels that are rich tapestries of character, time and place. And she isn’t afraid to mine the shadows for details and elements that add to the power of her stories. I discovered her work when I read Daughter of the Forest which was the first book in her Sevenwaters Trilogy. The series was inspired by one of my favorite fairy tales, “The Seven Swans”. Her stories often have a foundation in fairy tale, folktale and myth so you can see why I enjoy reading it.

5. Jayne Ann Krentz. Under this name, the author writes edge-of-the-seat romantic suspense. I just finished reading her most recent book, Trust No One. Under the name, Amanda Quick, she writes historical romance still with that edge of suspense, her newest one ‘Til Death Do Us Part. But if you like more of a futuristic bent to your reading then look for her work published under the name Jayne Castle. Under any name, in any of her books, summertime escape is on the way.

I am a voracious reader and obviously listing only five escape artists here is just skimming the very top of all the great reading available this summer. So whether you like the pleasure of turning pages or touching screens, these authors provide you the opportunity to escape back in time, forward in time, and everywhere in between.

Happy reading.

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