This week I have packed off author Lucy Morris to my virtual desert island to kick back, relax and indulge herself in reading five of her favourite books to her heart’s content. Let’s see which five titles she has snuck on to her raft, shall we?
Book One – Dune by Frank Herbert
Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.
Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.
When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.
In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.
And his journey will change the universe.
I love this book, and I’m super excited for the new film.
I first read it when I was fifteen. I’d stayed up late one night, and the David Lynch 1984 adaptation suddenly came on the telly. I was entranced! The beautifully earnest Kyle MacLachlan, not to mention the sweaty and incredibly sexy Sting emerging from a random tube of steam! Hello first villain movie crush!
So, I gave the book a go…and loved it, going on to read the whole series. Which only gets more bonkers with each book. However, the first book, Dune, will always be my favourite.
I was obsessed with the crazy mix of science fiction, epic saga, and the extensively detailed civilisations described. I love writing worldbuilding to this day, and I’m not happy unless there’s a bit of drama and magic in my stories.
Book Two – Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
Reina seethes with rage over her fate: taken captive by the knight Ranulf — a golden giant of a man — who has pledged to deliver her to the nuptial bed of the despised Lord Rothwell. She will never accept such bondage — and Reina offers herself to her kidnapped instead, offering to make Ranulf a great lord…if he agrees to wed her.
But the brave knight desires much more than a marriage of convenience from this proud, headstrong lady who treats him with scorn yet makes his blood run hotter than liquid fire. She must come to him of her own free will — or Ranulf will take her. For the passion that consumes them both cannot long be denied — even though gravest peril surely awaits them on the heart’s trail to a destines and turbulent love.
This was the first romance I ever read, and it’s still my most treasured book. As well as the Fabio paperback from my mum’s collection, I also own it on my kindle for whenever I might need a comfort read. Honestly, I don’t tend to re-read books, but this one is my go to ‘warm hug’ of a book.
It’s a medieval romance with mercenary, Ranulf (a very viking-style hero), being paid to kidnap the heroine, Reina. She’s a small and pragmatic lady who knows she needs to marry soon to protect her kingdom from those who wish to steal it by force. My latest book ‘A Nun for the Viking Warrior’ is a nod to the ‘look’ of these two characters, as I have a giant softie hero and tiny bookish heroine.
Ranulf is welcomed into her castle when he fights off one such attack, only for him to steal her away in the middle of the night. Reina then convinces Ranulf to marry her —instead of delivering her to the old man who paid him to steal her away.
There’s so much I love about this book. The humour — the heroine’s gay best friend is hilarious, as is Ranulf’s ugly cat. There’s also so many delicious tropes thrown in that you can’t help but read it all in one sitting. Plus, there’s lots of lovely sweet romance, with the hero going from a big brute of a lover to taking the time to learn how to satisfy her properly.
I know Johanna Lindsey books are considered bodice rippers and aren’t very PC by today’s standards, but I love them, they’re pure fantasy and great fun.
Book Three – The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou
From her reflections on African American life and hardship in Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise, and her elegant tributes to dignitaries Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela (On the Pulse of Morning and His Day Is Done, respectively), every inspiring word of Maya Angelou’s poetry is included in the pages of this volume.
I absolutely love the poem ‘Still I rise’, it’s so beautiful and electric.
‘You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.’
It’s like a call to arms for all the downtrodden people in the world, to rise up and be proud despite adversity. I think if I were shipwrecked on a desert island, I would sit and read aloud her poems to keep my spirits up, or commiserate my downfall depending on my mood.
Book Four – Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl.
This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.
Margaret Atwood is a sensational writer, and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ should be required reading for every adult on the planet in my opinion. I find her ‘MaddAddam’ books fascinating to read and love the crazy ideas she comes up with.
But for a desert island, I would take her collection of short stories. Each one is bizarre and fascinating. However, one of her stories from this collection has always haunted me. The girl in the landscape painting, in ‘Death by Landscape’ it’s so poignant and eerie.
“The poems of the Poetic Edda have waited a long time for a Modern English translation that would do them justice. Here it is at last (Odin be praised!) and well worth the wait. These amazing texts from a 13th-century Icelandic manuscript are of huge historical, mythological and literary importance, containing the lion’s share of information that survives today about the gods and heroes of pre-Christian Scandinavians, their unique vision of the beginning and end of the world, etc.
Jackson Crawford’s modern versions of these poems are authoritative and fluent and often very gripping. With their individual headnotes and complementary general introduction, they supply today’s readers with most of what they need to know in order to understand and appreciate the beliefs, motivations, and values of the Vikings.” –Dick Ringler, Professor Emeritus of English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
This is a book/text I’ve only ever dipped in and out of. In my research I’ve read countless books on the Viking era, and read many translations of the old Norse myths. But I’ve never actually read the original text fully. So, as I’ve plenty of time to spare on my desert island, it’d be good to read it. To double check all the other books gave an accurate rendition!
I’ve always loved the old Norse myths and legends, and had a children’s version of them that I read over and over. I love how the Gods are portrayed as real people, with flaws and vices just like the rest of us. They can also die, and Ragnarok (the end of days) is as much of a threat to them as death is to us, and yet there’s a beautiful cycle to the stories. In the same way that the seasons come and go. Ragnarok will lead to everyone’s death, but then all the God’s will be reborn again to play out the same story once again, in an endless turning of the wheel of time.
I also really like how Old Norse myths seem to closely relate to Roman and Greek myths. There’s an interesting familiarity to myths and old religions. As if there’s a shared consciousness that brought them about, or, more likely, they stole pieces they liked and incorporated them into their own tales…much like how they lived raiding from other people, or settling in new lands.
My luxury item
Irn Bru. I love the Scottish pop and couldn’t live without it! Tea would come a close second. Maybe, I should have a tea bush…so I can always have tea? As I think my iron bru would run out very quickly, and I’d just be left with a load of empty cans!
About the Author
Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama, and vibrant characters.
Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s chocolate oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time, she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.
A member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association. In 2020 she was delighted to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval, and Highlander romances.
She hasn’t looked back since.
Lucy’s latest book for Harlequin Mills and Boon, A Nun for the Viking Warrior, is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Forced to wed the warrior
Falling for the man…
Noblewoman Amée Évreux had pledged her life to God, until her father promised her in marriage to thundering Norseman Jorund Jötunnson. After escaping her overbearing father, Amée vows never to fall under another man’s thumb, but her resistance to being Jorund’s wife turns to desire as she gets to know her intriguing new husband. For beneath his fierce exterior she’s glimpsed an unexpectedly pure heart. If only she can penetrate the fortress that surrounds it…
Lucy is currently running a competition with some fabulous prizes, including signed books from an array of Historical Romance Authors. All you need to do to enter is sign up for her website newsletter.
Connect with Lucy:
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