Nerd in Shining Armor
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Nerd in Shining Armor tops my list of all-time, desert-island favorite romance novels. I rate it up there with The Bride of Black Douglas and Eternal Nights. It’s that good.

I’ll admit that I have a healthy affection for nerds, but that isn’t the only reason why I loved this book; the characters are accessible, the love scenes are steamy, and the plot is actually halfway plausible. At first, I didn’t think I would like the book, and I’d written Vicki Lewis Thompson off as not a “serious” romance writer—but it only goes to show that you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

Thompson never gives an actual time period for the book, but, judging from her descriptions of the characters’ wardrobes and vocabulary, I’d place it somewhere in the 1990s. Genevieve Terrence is living in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her mother and younger brother. Gen and her family originally hailed from rural Tennessee, but her mother moved them all to Hawaii as a way of escaping the family’s cycle of poverty and teenage pregnancy. In reading the details of the family’s move to the islands, the reader first sees Thompson’s wit and imagination: the Terrence family heirloom happens to be a pair of Elvis Presley’s boxer shorts—and their sale earns the family the money needed for the move.

Gen works as a secretary for a successful computer software company, and she works very hard at her image, trying to distance herself from her “hick” beginnings as much as possible. One of the software engineers, Jack Farley, has been head over heels in love with Gen since she started working there, but she seems to be such a sophisticate that poor nerdy Jack doesn’t seem to have a chance. But then fate steps in by way of an embezzling boss and a plane crash. Genevieve and Jack find themselves marooned on an island, and they have to turn to each other for survival and, yes, comfort. The love scenes are steamy and endearing—Jack is so obviously in love with Gen that the reader can’t help but go “awww” at his enthusiasm for their lovemaking. While waiting for rescue, the two learn a lot about each other—but even more about themselves.

Thompson keeps the plot exciting, throwing in some twists, but the whole story always seems believable (heck, if they can make a wildly successful TV series about a plane crash, it’ll work in a book, too). And as the story goes on, Thompson never allows the characters to slip at all; they always stay true to what she intended them to be. You really find yourself falling in love not just with Jack and Genevieve but with many of the other characters as well. And I have to admit that it’s refreshing to read a romance novel dealing with “normal” people who do “normal things” (plane crashes not withstanding) instead of the usual swashbuckling historical plots.

Nerd in Shining Armor really does have it all: romance, adventure, great characters, and wonderful dialogue. I’d recommend this book to anyone—but especially to people like me, who just happen to love nerds. Heck, I love them so much, I married one!

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