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Episode 56 - Banner O'Brien by Linda Lael Miller

Banner O'Brien is the worst possible lady doctor in 19th century Washington State, which I guess also makes her the best lady doctor around (but no, she is not good at this doctoring thing.)  Adam Corbin is the biggest assholes in 19th century Washington State and he does have plenty of competition.  They yell.  They slap.  They do it, a lot.  They keep truly amazing secrets from each other.  It's a ride! This book has some pretty serious content warnings - a pretty awful abusive relationship in the past, lots of slapping, disciplinary spanking, racist language and portrayals of racist attitudes towards indigenous and Asian people (the book doesn't condone it but does use some ill-considered words.)  Family gaslighting!  Secret leprosy!  (Yes I did say secret leprosy, keep up.)  It's got a lot going on, but it's one of those "turned up to 11" books where none of this seems particularly realistic.

Episode 49 - The Leopard Tree by Valerie Parv


 You guys.  We have done it.  We have finally gone so far down the rabbit hole of vintage romance that we have found one that is not on Goodreads.  Welcome to The Leopard Tree by Valerie Parv, reigning queen of Australian romance! 

There's a UFO!  It's Australia!  He's a... he's an ex-military rodeo bronco buster and she makes ugly jewelry and has an awful fiancé and she'd like to pretend that he's from outer space but really there's a sad and sordid little crime story!  I dunno, all crammed into fewer than 200 pages!

This book does have a kidnapping and threatened rape (although not by the hero) and a disabled character who stops needing his wheelchair because he finally realizes his daughter needs him.

And if this is your vibe you are really going to watch episode 3 of season 4 of Midsomer Murders, which has a) crop circles, b) sepia-toned sword fighting, and c) electricity booby traps.  It is batshit and you will not regret it - available for free on that weird Roku channel, IMDB TV, and all of those British subscription packages.

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