Some Enchanted Evening: pamelad reads romance

Keskustelu2023 Category Challenge

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Some Enchanted Evening: pamelad reads romance

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 29, 2022, 12:42 am

My historical romance addiction started with a re-read of Georgette Heyer and intensified during the pandemic lockdowns. I read so many, and they're so distinct from my other reading that they deserve their own thread.

Very happy to receive recommendations from fellow addicts, and here is the very useful bookfinder from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 18, 2:12 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls. Heroes with war injuries, deafness, blindness, dyslexia, melancholia, a family history of insanity.....

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath
The Return of the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Every Rogue Has His Charm by Susanna Craig
To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Making of a Gentleman by Shana Galen

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 1, 5:38 pm

2. What Price for This Heroine? Heroines escaping evil fathers and guardians and depraved suitors. Heroines left destitute by fathers and brothers who gambled away the family fortune.

Never Less Than a Lady by Mary Jo Putney
Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney
An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 5:50 pm

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 5:27 pm

6. Good for a Laugh , or at least a smile or two. Authors who don't take themselves too seriously.

Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase
Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 5:37 pm

7. Why did I Bother? I've read some real rubbish. It goes here. This is another public service.

To All the Earls I've Loved Before by Fenna Edgewood Full of waffle.
A Duke's Sinful Arrangement by Sally Vixen Damaged duke refuses to fall in love and will sleep with a woman only once. Not really practicable, and very risky. Who'd go near him?
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson Dull. Unfinished.
Heir to Edenbrooke Julianne Donaldson. Also dull, but much shorter.
The Boxing Baroness by Minerva Spencer. Female boxer with mysterious parentage and scandalous past falls in love with duke, who becomes her trainer.
Rogue Countess by Amy Sandas
The Heart of an Earl by K J Jackson

All Steam, No Plot

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas Revolting heroine and boring hero spend most of the book in bed.
Lady Hathaway's Proposal by Suzanna Medeiros

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 1:14 am

Lord of Scoundrels I like the French cover best.

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

A Rogue's Downfall by Mary Balogh
Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 5:52 pm

lokakuu 28, 2022, 8:03 pm

I like your categories! I will suggest as I am able.

lokakuu 28, 2022, 8:56 pm

What a great theme!

lokakuu 28, 2022, 10:11 pm

I'm looking forward to following along!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 12:31 am

>12 LadyoftheLodge: >13 Tess_W: >14 DeltaQueen50: Welcome! If you like your romances frothy, there should be something here for you.

lokakuu 29, 2022, 6:43 am

Happy to follow along. I'm working my way through Heyer's romances and hope to make more progress on those this year.

lokakuu 29, 2022, 7:55 am

Great fun. Good luck!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 8:29 am

I'm impressed by the public service efforts of this thread! Looking forward to following along.

lokakuu 29, 2022, 8:37 am

I'm not a romance reader but I always enjoy reading your thoughtful reviews, so looking forward to following along. And now I have "Some Enchanted Evening" stuck in my head.

lokakuu 29, 2022, 9:01 am

I always enjoy your reviews, thanks for the service!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 2:03 pm

Generally I don't read romance but of course I'll be following along. I enjoyed your Georgette Heyer reviews and you may have made a convert except her books are hard to find. Happy reading!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 2:05 pm

>21 VivienneR: I found a few at the huge book sale I attended a few weeks ago. I also have some on my Kindle, if you like to read ebooks.

lokakuu 29, 2022, 2:10 pm

>22 LadyoftheLodge: Lucky find! I checked Kindle but hesitate paying $10 or more for a book that would probably be my last choice to read. Now if it was a mystery...

lokakuu 29, 2022, 7:24 pm

>16 Helenliz: Enjoy Georgette!
>17 majkia: Thank you!
>18 NinieB: Thank you. I'm here to help!
>19 rabbitprincess: This original version by Giorgio Tozzi is so good!
>20 MissWatson: Thank you!
>21 VivienneR: Good luck with finding some affordable Georgette Heyers. I borrowed a lot of them on Overdrive and CloudLibrary. They're also available on the Open Library. The hourly borrow can be annoying, but there are so many interesting books there, some you can't find anywhere else.
>22 LadyoftheLodge: Good find!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 8:08 pm

>23 VivienneR: Georgette Heyer wrote some mysteries too!

lokakuu 29, 2022, 10:57 pm

I do love all the older romance covers - so dramatic!
My mum had all those old Georgette Heyers with the purple on the covers - I devoured them and have been meaning to reread some.

lokakuu 30, 2022, 3:23 am

I am quite new to this genre, so I am looking forward to getting some BBs from this thread!
I an currently listening to my first Georgette Heyer novel, The Black Moth.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 30, 2022, 10:08 am

lokakuu 30, 2022, 5:03 pm

>25 LadyoftheLodge: I liked her mysteries, but some of her contemporaries wrote better ones, whereas for romances she's unparallelled.
>26 JayneCM: If you add all the Georgette Heyers to your wish list, you could almost get it to 7000! They're worth moving to the top.
>27 MissBrangwen: I've enjoyed all the Heyers with a single name title: Frederica, Arabella, Venetia.

A non-Heyer recommendation is Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm.

lokakuu 30, 2022, 5:28 pm

>29 pamelad: I will have to look and see how many my library has. I know they have reprinted a lot of them, not sure about all as she was such a prolific writer.

lokakuu 30, 2022, 5:51 pm

Why wait for 2023?

4. Steamless

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

Julia Wychwood's awful parents are selfish hypochondriacs who inflict dangerous medical procedures on their daughter and treat her as though her only reason for being is to look after them. Poor Julia is anxious and withdrawn and hates the social grind of the ton's marriage market.

Jasper Blunt, a hero of the Crimean War, has a reputation for brutality and licentiousness and has three illegitimate children living on his crumbling estate. He needs a wife with a big dowry and a family that takes no interest in her. Julia seems perfect, but she'd have to be desperate to accept his proposal.

I liked this, despite being a bit annoyed by the big secret that's obvious from the beginning, and the tedious misunderstandings that threaten to derail Jasper's and Julia's happy ending.

My favourite Mimi Matthews so far is The Matrimonial Advertisement.

lokakuu 31, 2022, 1:52 am

>31 pamelad: I like this category as I too prefer my romance with less!

lokakuu 31, 2022, 5:18 am

>29 pamelad: Thank you, I will have a look at Flowers from the Storm!

>31 pamelad: The Matrimonial Advertisement was the first book of this kind I read (or rather listened to), it was a BB from Christina_reads. I enjoyed it so much and it made me want to read more of this genre. I think I will get to The Belle of Belgrave Square sooner or later. Great review!

lokakuu 31, 2022, 12:12 pm

I am SO on board for this challenge theme! I'll be eagerly checking in to see what you read. >31 pamelad: I had similar thoughts on The Belle of Belgrave Square; Jasper's big secrets were indeed obvious, but I liked the book anyway. I thought The Matrimonial Advertisement was a better version of the same basic plot idea.

lokakuu 31, 2022, 6:05 pm

>34 christina_reads: A cheerful, well-written historical romance is so comforting to read. Your threads have supplied some really good ones!

I've added another category, 8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands There's likely to be some cross-over with the Damaged Dukes category, because some of these men have become rakes because of their tragic pasts.

A Rogue's Downfall by Mary Balogh fits into the new category. This is a collection of three novellas, each with the theme of a rake finding the one woman for whom he will give up his wicked ways. Balogh's rakes fit in the "whore with a heart of gold" category, and these stories are all quite similar. Pleasant enough.

lokakuu 31, 2022, 9:33 pm

Great idea for a challenge although I'm not usually a reader of historical romance novels.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 3, 2022, 2:28 am

>36 dudes22: Welcome! If you can ignore your internal literary critic, Historical Romance Land can be a comforting place to escape to.

6. Good for a Laugh

Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase

The third book in The Dressmakers series, which is about the three Noirot sisters. Their lineage is aristocratic, but their parents were irresponsible adventurers and the sisters had to survive on the streets of Paris in the chaotic aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars 1832 cholera epidemic. They arrived in London penniless and set up a dressmaking salon. Leonie is the youngest sister, and with her two older sisters occupied elsewhere, is managing the business. While subtly touting for clients at a Boticelli exhibition she runs into the gorgeous Lord Lisburne, recently arrived from the continent to support his equally gorgeous aristocratic cousin, Lord Swanton, a poet. Lisburne and Swanton inadvertently create havoc in Leonie's well-ordered life.

No angst, no melodrama. Light, cheerful and amusing. It's not as exuberantly ridiculous as Don't Tempt Me and the characters don't have the depth of those in Lord of Scoundrels, but I enjoyed it.

Other writers I've liked, who don't usually take themselves too seriously, are Eloisa James and Laura Kinsale.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 3, 2022, 2:27 am

6. Good for a Laugh

Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

The first book in The Dressmakers series. Marcelline, a widow with a small daughter, is the oldest of the three Noirot sisters. She's in Paris, stalking the Duke of Clevedon who has been there for three years sowing wild oats. He and his family assume he will marry a beautiful young woman he has known since childhood, and Marcelline wants her as a client. From their first meeting, Marcelline and Clevedon are madly attracted to each other, but there are so many apparently insurmountable obstacles to a future between them that they deny feeling anything more than a passing infatuation. We shall see!

Nothing special, but I enjoyed it.

It's a stretch to describe The Dressmakers series as good for a laugh, but the books raise a smile or two, and they're cheerful. I'm trying to think of a new title for a broader category.

It's set around 1835, which is post-Regency. William is on the throne. Many members of Marcelline's family died in the 1832 cholera outbreak.

marraskuu 3, 2022, 7:37 am

>37 pamelad: - I hope you don't think I was being critical. Who knows - I've probably read some and just didn't realize that they were historical romance. There's just so much to read!! I'll still be sticking around to see what's interesting.

marraskuu 3, 2022, 7:46 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

marraskuu 3, 2022, 4:33 pm

>39 dudes22: Not all all! Just acknowledging that they're a guilty pleasure. If someone asks me what I'm reading, I'm more likely to volunteer The Colony and mention that it was on the Booker longlist than to say The Siren of Sussex.

marraskuu 3, 2022, 7:57 pm

>41 pamelad: I get that! I don’t generally reveal that I am reading Countess by Christmas or The Brides of Bath.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2022, 6:36 pm

7. Why did I Bother?

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Last year I read the first two books in The Ravenals series and liked them, so I thought I'd enjoy Devil in Spring. The ghastly heroine is a collection of ailments and idiosyncracies. The boring hero is a characterless duke who is tediously perfect, and inexplicably attracted to the gruesome heroine. There are chapters of graphic sex scenes, and a sudden drama late in the book involving Irish anarchists, home office traitors and a narrowly averted bombing that would have destroyed the Prince of Wales and most of the haut tonthat appears to have been included to increase the page count.

Big disappointment.

And there's flatware!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 2:52 am

7. Why did I Bother?

To All the Earls I've Loved Before by Fenna Edgewood

Sorry Willy and Julio. Fenna has let you down.

The characters behaved strangely for the sake of the plot. Sentimental, with too many steamy insertions, and really dull. Unnecessary misunderstandings keep the hero and heroine apart, despite their deep and instant love. I tried this author because her books are on Kindle Unlimited. There's a family of daughters and it looks as though each one will get her own book, but I won't be reading them.

The hero is a duke, as usual.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 7, 2022, 6:42 pm

I've abandoned a horde of Kindle Unlimited romances for bad writing. Rain thundering heavily? Unless you're making a tautology collection there's no need to continue.

I'll replace the abandoned category with another that will make itself known.

I have fond memories of Alexander Buzo's book, Tautology: I Don't Want to Sound Incredulous but I Can't Believe It, which is very funny. Some misery gave it one star. Perhaps I will give it a nostalgic five to even things up, despite having read it forty years ago and it not being in print.

marraskuu 7, 2022, 4:42 pm

>45 pamelad: Laughing here!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 7, 2022, 6:57 pm

>46 LadyoftheLodge:

I've given Buzo's book five stars and located a library copy. Looking forward to indulging my nostalgia for the past (2) by reading this timeless classic (3).

marraskuu 7, 2022, 8:43 pm

>45 pamelad: Hysterical!

marraskuu 13, 2022, 4:27 am

Another tautology, the title of an email I received from Qatar Airways: Rediscover the world again.

marraskuu 14, 2022, 3:56 pm

I'm dropping a star and look forward to following your romances. I haven't read much romance in recent years because there are so many out there and I have a hard time choosing! Heyer I loved, I read most of them years ago but I'm probably due for a reread!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 14, 2022, 4:26 pm

>50 clue: Welcome!

I'm adding a category for hybrids, books like Sheri Cobb South's John Pickett series and perhaps Karen Charlton's Detective Lavender series, which are light mysteries that feature ongoing will they, won't they romances between the main characters. Romantic suspense like Mary Stewart's books would fit in too. They're usually Steamless.

marraskuu 14, 2022, 10:26 pm

Not much of a romance reader, but following hoping to be inspired to read the large collection I have.

marraskuu 15, 2022, 7:33 am

I also like historical romance and Steamless. Great themes.

marraskuu 15, 2022, 3:32 pm

>52 lowelibrary: I hope you find something - an easy read on a rainy day, total escapism.

>53 mnleona: When they're too steamy I feel like a voyeur and skip those bits, so it's good to know which books are safe to read!

marraskuu 16, 2022, 1:22 pm

>54 pamelad: Well stated. I do the same thing if there are steamy bits. Sometimes those scenes feel as if they were dropped in from nowhere and don’t add to the story at all.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 19, 6:01 pm

2. What Price for This Heroine?

A Christmas Affair to Remember by Mia Vincy

Sylvia has been left almost destitute by the death of her charming, selfish husband, who was a reckless, self-deceiving conman. She is struggling to support herself by making and selling medicinal cordials and has become friendly with a customer who has invited her to a Christmas house party. There she meets Isaac, who went to sea at ten years old and has had very little to do with women. Sylvia is about to marry a miserable hypochondriac just to have somewhere to live and enough to eat, while Isaac wants to find a wife but has never even successfully kissed a woman. An affair would suit them both. Sylvia will have some happiness and excitement before marrying a man who wants nursemaid rather than a wife, and Isaac will get the experience he needs to court a wife and make her happy. Sylvia is seven years older than Isaac, and not at all the woman he is looking for, so they do not contemplate falling in love.

It's not steamless, given the theme, but neither is it a detailed "how-to" manual with pages of graphic detail. Light and cheerful with a lively writing style.

This longish novella is free for subscribers to Mia Vincy's newsletter, which I am because she's Australian and living in Victoria. It is part of the Longhope Abbey series, and a few of the characters from the other books make an appearance, so it's probably best to read them first. The first one, A Wicked Kind of Husband was a bit of a mess, but had potential so I read the others, which I liked more.

A Dangerous Kind of Lady is on sale for about $1.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 26, 2022, 4:43 pm

10. Everything Else

I've created a new category for books that don't quite fit into the existing ones. Might re-jig the categories later on.

A Day for Love by Mary Balogh

Three novellas, all taking place on Valentine's Day. Not quite long enough to introduce the unlikely potential couple, have them fall in love, and marry them off. (Can't find the touchstone, so will try to fix it later. Fixed.)

A Fool Again by Eloisa James

Genevieve's elderly husband has just died, and his peculiar will has given her almost no choice but to marry his business partner, Lucius Felton. Fortunately, Genevieve finds him very attractive, but unfortunately, he's a cold fish. Genevieve's father forced the marriage with the old man because he'd apprehended his daughter on the way to Gretna Green with the highly unsuitable Tobias Darby, who subsequently fled to India. Now that Genevieve is free, Tobias is back.

Another novella, but almost long enough to be a novel. Will Genevieve and Tobias end up together, or will misunderstandings keep them apart?

I read these because these two books because they're on Overdrive and their writers are fairly reliable. OK, but I wouldn't bother if they weren't free.

What I'd really like to find is an author I haven't come across before who has written lots of entertaining, grammatical books, all of them available on Overdrive or CloudLibrary. I might even have to branch out into a different time period. Mediaeval has never really appealed, but perhaps it's worth a try.

marraskuu 26, 2022, 5:05 pm

>57 pamelad: Sounds like a good category.

marraskuu 29, 2022, 3:34 pm

10. Everything Else

Midnight Pleasures by Eloisa James

The heroine is madly attracted to hero but rejects him because she doesn't want a husband she loves. Her parents' disastrous marriage has led her to believe that her father's extreme philandering is the norm, so she becomes engaged to a good-natured thick wit, but the rejected hero refuses to accept defeat. The pair are driven apart by the usual tedious misunderstandings, mis-hearings and lack of communication that stand in for the plot in second-rate romances. There is a secondary plot that involves spying, but it seems like filler.

Eloisa James is hit or miss. This is one of her misses, but the writing is OK, so it doesn't belong in the Why Did I Bother category.

>58 mnleona: It's turning out to be very useful.

marraskuu 30, 2022, 12:48 am

I just decided to finally get Kindle Unlimited as it is two months for free at the moment. There are a TON of Regency romances!

marraskuu 30, 2022, 3:35 pm

>60 JayneCM: A lot of them aren't worth reading, which didn't stop me. I quite liked Clare Darcy and Alice Chetwynd Ley who wrote Georgette Heyer knock-offs and Seeing Miss Heartstone by Nichole Van, all of which are fairly steamless.

Kindle Unlimited is better for vintage crime than for romance: Anthony Berkeley, Dorothy Bowers, E C R Lorac, Shelley Smith, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Hilda Lawrence.


marraskuu 30, 2022, 4:05 pm

4. Steamless

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Winner! Good writing, humour, well-drawn, appealing characters. Kitty Talbot, the eldest of five sisters, has just been jilted by her rich fiancé. She doesn't love him, or even like him very much, but needs his money. Her parents died of typhoid, leaving the girls with an enormous mortgage payment due in a few months and no way of paying it. Kitty calls on an old friend of her mother for help. The retired "actress", who has re-invented herself as a respectable widow, invites Kitty to London and requests that she bring her prettiest sister. Charlotte, the vague and boring intellectual, is certainly not Kitty's favourite sister, but she is the prettiest, and has the advantage of having spent a couple of years at a school for young ladies. Through Charlotte Kitty meets the de Lacey family and launches a ruthless campaign to marry the younger son, Archie. But Archie's older brother James, Lord Radcliffe, who has been hiding from the world on his country estate since he returned from Waterloo, descends on London determined to save his brother from the fortune-hunting parvenu.

marraskuu 30, 2022, 4:08 pm

>62 pamelad: I really liked that one too! I think I saw that Irwin is coming out with another book sometime in 2023, and if so, I'll definitely be reading it!

joulukuu 1, 2022, 1:26 pm

>62 pamelad: Oh, this one sounds very enticing!

joulukuu 2, 2022, 1:37 am

>61 pamelad: I did see there were a lot of vintage mysteries on KU, including lots of the Agatha Christies that my library doesn't have.

joulukuu 2, 2022, 12:12 pm

>65 JayneCM: There are some audio books on You Tube by Agatha Christie.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 4, 2022, 5:49 am

I might have to re-jig the categories because too many books are going into

10. Everything Else

The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney is the first book in The Bride Trilogy. It features my least favourite type of heroine, the whimsical, ethereal sprite. Her name is Meriel, perhaps to recall Ariel in The Tempest? Meriel's parents were murdered, along with many others, when an Indian castle was besieged by bandits and set alight. The five-year-old Meriel was saved and taken to a harem. After a year she was returned to her English uncles. She does not speak, and flits around in the flowers in a distracted way so that her relatives believe she is simple, and perhaps insane. Even so, an uncle has arranged a possible betrothal to Kyle, the heir of the Renbournes, because if he died her other uncle would put her in an asylum, so a husband could protect her. Kyle has been invited to spend a few weeks on Meriel's estate to get to know her, but he has an important duty that cannot be postponed, so he sends his identical twin brother Domenic, in his place.

This was far too long and, as I mentioned, has a revolting heroine. However, by the end of the book she has undergone a total personality change. There are some interesting bits about mental asylums and how easy it was to incarcerate an inconvenient wife. I'm trying to think of the title of a book written by an American journalist who faked a mental illness in order to expose the treatment of women in asylums and will add it here when I find it.

Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nelly Bly - well worth reading. Briefly reviewed here.

The China Bride by Mary Jo Putney is the second book in The Bride Trilogy, and features Kyle from the first book. He's in China and has met a Eurasian woman who is masquerading as a man and destined to become his bride, but not for long because it appears he is going to be executed, or at least everyone will think so. You can't really kill off the hero. Sounds exciting, but it's not at all. So very long and dull that I had to give up on it.

To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn

Pros: Light, breezy and amusing.
Cons: The characters speak contemporary, colloquial American and I just can't bear it!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 4, 2022, 5:52 am

2. What Price for This Heroine?

Never Less Than a Lady by Mary Jo Putney

Julia was married at sixteen to an evil, violent man. He died during a drunken attack on his wife, and his father, an earl, blames Julia as does her own father, a duke, who has disowned her. She is living incognito and supporting herself as a midwife when her father-in-law's paid thugs abduct her. Fortunately, Major Randall, who had met Julia in the first book of the Lost Lords series, is in the vicinity. I haven't read the first book because it sounds too ludicrous, not in an amusing way because Putney doesn't have a sense of humour.

Randall proposes marriage to Julia in order to protect her from the earl, even though she thinks she is barren and has been so turned off by her husband's violence that she doesn't want to marry again.

There are lots of Putney’s books on Overdrive, but I'm not much of a Putney fan. Too gushy, too sentimental, too long, too dull. Too many evil men, and women who need protection from them.

joulukuu 4, 2022, 8:34 pm

2. What Price for This Heroine?

Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

I wasn't going to read another, but this was on my Kindle. It must have been a Daily deal or a freebie. The story is not quite identical to Never Less Than a Lady, but close enough. The heroine is married at sixteen to an evil, violent man. When it seems that her past will catch up with her, she marries the hero for protection.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 5, 2022, 4:58 pm

10. Everything Else

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

The sixth book in The Lost Lords series, preceding Not Always a Saint and featuring the saint's saintly sister Laurel. At seventeen Laurel married an earl, saw a side of his character she couldn't deal with, and left. For ten years she has been living with her saintly brother, managing a free clinic and a home for battered women. (She's sitting in the office doing the accounts and wondering why England doesn't have decimal currency. As if!) Battered women are a recurring theme in Putney's books.

Laurel is too holy for my liking and talks too much about her faith. The plot is more than usually ridiculous. The hero, James, Lord Kirkland, suffering a malaria attack, is robbed, beaten and left unconscious in an alley. Good Samaritans deliver him to the free clinic where he is treated by his estranged wife. In his delirium he forgets that he and Laurel are estranged, and she misses him, so they have a quickie in the surgery. James doesn't remember and Laurel doesn't tell him, but she ends up pregnant.

I keep reading these because they're available, which is not a good enough reason. Perhaps I should clean the windows instead.

joulukuu 6, 2022, 5:41 am

>70 pamelad: Clean windows are overrated! :)

joulukuu 6, 2022, 4:33 pm

>70 pamelad: Yes! Better to change genres than to clean windows. Another Mary Jo Putney and I might contemplate cleaning the oven!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 19, 6:05 pm

5. Second Chances

Ruined by the Reckless Viscount by Sophia James

The hero kidnaps the heroine, thinking she is someone else. The resulting scandal destroys her hopes of marriage, and she isolates herself in the country where she becomes a renowned painter, under a male name. The viscount was almost killed by the heroine's father and, after a slow recovery, left for America, so he has no idea that he has destroyed the heroine's life. The heroine wants to know more about her abductor, so she dresses as a man to paint his portrait.

This was nothing special, but quite readable and shows some attention to historical detail. Sophia James is from New Zealand.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 19, 6:09 pm

Slightly Married and Slightly Wicked by Mary Balogh are the first two books in the Bedwyn series, and possibly the best. I'd borrowed the rest of the series from the Open Library, but these two weren't available. Ebooks of the series aren't available in Australia, which is a shame because in paper copies the print just keeps getting smaller. Anyway, these paperbacks, which were fortunately available in a library not too far from home, encouraged me to break in my newish prescription reading glasses which I'd used without enthusiasm for a chapter months ago, then abandoned.

3. Must We?
Slightly Married is about Aidan, the second Bedwyn son, heir to his brother, the childless duke. Aidan, an army colonel who fought at Waterloo, swore to a dying comrade that he would protect the man's sister. When Aidan arrives at the woman's estate, he finds that she is about to lose her home unless she marries within a week, so he proposes a marriage of convenience on the understanding that after the wedding they never see one another again. All very unlikely, but this is a romance novel! I enjoyed it.

10. Everything Else
Slightly Wicked is about Rannulf, the third Bedwyn son. On his way to his grandmother's house he comes across Judith, who has been stranded, with her fellow stage passengers, when a wheel came off the stage. She is on her way to be an unpaid companion at the house of an unpleasant aunt and, pretending to be an actress, has a fling with Rannulf so she will have something to look back on during the rest of her miserable life. Both she and Rannulf are using false names so are unlikely to meet again, but in romance land that's not a possibility. The awful aunt is the mother of a vain, empty-headed twerp who lives near Rannulf's grandmother, who is desperate for Rannulf to marry soon. I enjoyed this one too.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 14, 2022, 3:35 pm

I could do with a Marriage of Convenience category, so might combine the What Price for This Heroine and Father was a Gambler categories. Thinking of a new title.

3. Must We? is for marriages of convenience. Slightly Married fits here.

joulukuu 14, 2022, 3:50 pm

3. Must We?

Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant begins with a marriage of convenience. The heroine needs to marry so that her step-brother can get control of his fortune. The unwilling hero promised the heroine's father years ago that he would marry her and hopes she will release him from the obligation. They were once in love, but a psychopathic sister-in-law kept them apart.

This one is Georgian. The writing is OK (apart from a couple of jarring incidences of "play nice") and the hero and heroine deserve a happy ending, but I'm not a psychopath fan. I prefer froth.

It's free on Kindle.

joulukuu 15, 2022, 5:39 pm

>75 pamelad: I love a marriage of convenience plot, so I approve of your new category. :) Glad you're enjoying the Bedwyn books!

joulukuu 18, 2022, 7:03 pm

Stopping by with best wishes for your 2023 reading! While I do not typically read romance, I do enjoy your reviews (especially for the books that fit the Why did I Bother? category).

joulukuu 18, 2022, 8:38 pm

>78 lkernagh: Welcome! The Why Did I Bother reviews are definitely the easiest and most entertaining to write. Being fair and positive is much more of an effort.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 19, 2022, 4:01 pm

3. Must We?

I'm including forced marriages, e.g. hero compromises heroine and must make amends, in this marriage of convenience category.

Now that I've broken in the reading glasses, I'm finding print copies of books that aren't available as ebooks, or are too expensive. (I can't afford to buy too many $12 ebooks at the rate I read). I've started a Mary Balogh series from the nineties, The Four Horsemen, and have read the first two. The four horsemen are comrades from a cavalry regiment that fought at Waterloo. They all sold out at the same time.

Indiscreet by Mary Balogh

The beautiful, mysterious young widow, Catherine Winters, has been living for five years in a small cottage in the village adjoining the estate of Claude Adams, twin brother of Rex, Viscount Rawleigh. When Catherine smiles at the viscount, mistaking him for Claude, he thinks she is signalling her interest in an affair. His relentless pursuit compromises the reputation that she has tried so hard to establish.

I enjoyed this, though I wish that Balogh's editors would remove the many repetitions.

Unforgiven by Mary Balogh

At the end of Indiscreet another of the horsemen, Kenneth Woodfall, Earl of Haverford, receives a letter that gives him no choice but to marry a woman he has known since childhood, but who is now an enemy. If they hate one another, how on earth did she become pregnant to him? When Moira Hayes escaped a ball and fled into a snowstorm, she took shelter in a huntsman's shed where she was found by Kenneth. He convinced her that they needed to "make love" in order to keep warm! Kenneth and Moira were once in love, despite their families being enemies for generations, but each of them believes that the other has betrayed them. Until their recent meeting, they had not seen one another for 8 years.

Can Moira and Kenneth overcome this unrealistic plot and rediscover their love?

I quite enjoyed this, despite the annoying plot. Miscommunications and misunderstandings keep the hero and heroine apart. Tiresome.

joulukuu 20, 2022, 3:44 pm

10. Everything Else

Irresistible by Mary Balogh is the third book in The Four Horsemen series and marries off the remaining two horsemen, Nathaniel Gascoigne and Eden, Lord Pelham. The romance between Eden and Nathaniel's ward, Lavinia, is an amusing sub-plot, with the main romance between Nathaniel and the widow, Sophie Armitage.

Sophie is an old friend from campaign days when she followed the drum with her husband Walter. Theirs was an unsuccessful marriage, for a secret reason that is obvious from the beginning, and Sophie sees herself as dowdy and undesirable. Walter died performing an act of bravery which gave him such posthumous fame that Sophie was rewarded with a house and a pension, but Sophie is being blackmailed because of Walter's secret life. She has secretly (so many secrets!) loved Nathaniel for years so offers to be his lover.

The blackmailer and Sophie's lack of confidence postpone Nathaniel's and Sophie's happy ending. Tiresome miscommunications again! Even so, I enjoyed Irresistible.

I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to tell you that there's a happy ending!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 23, 2022, 5:17 pm

4. Steamless

Aurora by D. G. Rampton

Aurora and her brother Percy, a missing marquess, are on their way to London when Aurora holds up the hero. A start like that takes a lot of getting over, and I didn't quite manage it. The heroine is modelled on The Grand Sophy, but her behaviour is unbelievable because the author lacks Georgette Heyer's lightness and her familiarity with Regency mores.

I found out, on finishing this book, that the author has re-written Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South for a modern American audience, which demonstrates her appalling lack of taste. Here it is on Amazon. How arrogant! How exploitative! How crass!

joulukuu 23, 2022, 10:32 pm

>82 pamelad: I had read that and couldn't believe it, though I don't know why. Its pushed me to a rereading of North and South in 2023 which I've been meaning to do for years!

joulukuu 26, 2022, 1:03 am

>83 clue: I suppose it's marketing, but I thought the author's comments on the shortcomings of the original and on the ways that her re-write improved it demonstrated her questionable literary taste. As for the Dickens complaint, well he was a competitor, and not known for brevity himself! I'm glad you re-read North and South and think I will too.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2022, 1:45 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

Scoundrel of My Heart, The Duchess Hunt and The Return of the Duke by Lorraine Heath comprise the Once Upon a Dukedom trilogy.

Scoundrel of My Heart Griffith Stanwick is a duke's spare, ignored by his father who was interested only in his heir, Marcus. Griff is in love with Kathryn, whose grandmother has left her a cottage, but only if she marries a peer, so Griff is ineligible. Plus, he's a gambler, and Kathryn doesn't like them. Unfortunately she's very much attracted to Griff, despite his short-comings and, when his father is hanged for treason for plotting to kill Queen Victoria she sticks by him, though now he believes he is not good enough for her. Another complication is that she's being courted by a duke whom Griffith wants her to marry.

The Duchess Hunt The duke from book one is still looking for a bride. He believes he has no love to offer, so wants a woman who won't love him. What he hasn't realised is that he is in love with his secretary.

The Return of the Duke Marcus lives in the shadows. He is trying to find his father's co-conspirators and bring them to justice so that he can restore the family honour. His investigations lead him to a woman who was thought to be his father's mistress. You can probably guess most of the rest, but might be surprised when the widowed Queen Victoria turns up as a character accompanied by John Brown with whom she waltzes at a ball despite being in deep mourning for Prince Albert.

I was looking for mindless escapism, and this series delivered. All three couples are instantly lust-struck, which is not my favourite thing, but is to be expected in Lorraine Heath's books. Her main advantage is that her writing is grammatical and easy to read though, from time to time, people say "It's complicated," eat "baked goods" (pies, do you think? It's an oddly general term.) and live in "town homes".

joulukuu 27, 2022, 9:31 am

Hope you have a great year of reading!

joulukuu 27, 2022, 3:48 pm

>82 pamelad: I got all excited for a minute, thinking that Rampton had done a modern retelling of North and South (which I would 100% read). But then I clicked the Amazon link and realized the error of my ways. Appalling!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2022, 5:57 pm

>86 thornton37814: Thank you.

>87 christina_reads: Appalling is right!

2. What Price for This Heroine

Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath is the last book in the Sins for All Seasons series. The heroine, Althea, is the sister of Marcus and Griffith Stanwick from the Once Upon a Dukedom trilogy, and the hero, Benjamin (Beast) Trewlove is an orphan who was fortunate enough to be left with a woman who nurtured the children left in her care and made them into a family.

Since her family's estate was confiscated by the crown, Althea has been working in a tavern and living in a slum. Benjamin, aka Beast, is a rich man, having earned enough working as a labourer on the docks to buy his first ship (!) and ploughing the profits into his shipping business. He lives in a brothel because he wants to protect the women who work there (!) and to help them find other work. Beast employs Althea to train the women in ladylike behaviour. Because Althea has decided that life as a courtesan would give her more independence than she had as a daughter or would have as a wife, she persuades Beast to train her in seduction.

I've come across a useful romance classification - closed door vs open door. Heath's books are too open door so I skipped bits. But there are lots of Heath's books on Overdrive, so I read a few more.

10. Everything else

When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

Gillie Trewlove runs a tavern. One night she finds a man, who turns out to be a duke, being robbed and stabbed. She turns away the attackers and nurses the duke back to health. Their love can never be because dukes cannot marry tavern keepers, and anyway, Gillie doesn't want to give up her independence. This book is just as silly as it sounds.

I appreciate Heath's efforts to use British English and am highly amused by the women whose knees turn to jam. Jelly in that context is not jam: it's the quivering refrigerated dessert set with gelatine.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 5:36 pm

10. Everything else

Two more from Lorraine Heath's Sins for All Seasons series: The Scoundrel in Her Bed and The Duchess in His Bed.

Finn and Aiden have the same father, an evil earl with multiple mistresses, and were born within six months of each other, so they're even closer than the other orphans in the Trewlove family. Finn fell in love with an earl's daughter who, ten years on, is the woman who ran away from the duke in When a Duke Loves a Woman. I skipped the chapters about their youthful love affair, and the open-door bits as well, but half a book was enough. Similarly, in Aiden's story, where he falls in love with a widowed Duchess, I skipped the open-door bits which were the majority of the book. So now I've caught up on the lives of all but two Trewlove orphans and am happy to assume that, as with the others, all will end well for them.

4. Steamless

One from The Elizabeth Chater Regency Romance Collection: Gamester. I'd forgotten the two Elizabeth Chater books I'd read and given two stars to. All the characters in this story are annoying, and the writing is bland, so it can have two stars as well and I won't read the rest.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 1:27 pm

>89 pamelad: Bummer! That was a freebee on Amazon and I just downloaded it.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 5:36 pm

>90 LadyoftheLodge: You might like it more than I did. I've read too many romances in a row and am a bit jaded.

I've changed its category to Steamless.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 1, 5:52 pm

7. Why Did I Bother?

A Duke's Sinful Arrangement by Sally Vixen

I read this because it's free on Amazon Prime, which is not a good enough reason. The duke only ever sleeps with a woman once because he was hurt in the past and doesn't want to fall in love. The widowed Sophia is looking for excitement. Will the duke break his rule?

Very risky behaviour on the duke's part. Stay away, Sophia.

This was the last romance of 2022. I hope to make it the last entry in the Why Did I Bother? category.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 5, 4:16 pm

Normally I'm very frugal with the stars for romances, but now that they have their own category they could do with their own rating system. I'll compare like with like and rate them on the basis of how much I enjoyed them. I don't think I can give a romance five stars, but who knows?

5 stars - reserved for something absolutely exceptional

4 - 4.5 stars - hugely entertaining; witty; authentic historical detail

3 - 3.5 stars - entertaining and well-written, but missing something

2 - 2.5 stars - readable

.5 - 1.5 - not worth finishing

I'm taking points off for: anachronisms; Americanisms; bad grammar; unfunny humour; incorrect vocabulary; too informal a register; depravity and violence; too much sex; lack of, or incorrect, historical detail; excessive, gooey sentimentality; preachiness.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 5:10 pm

10. Everything else

Nice Earls Do by Susanna Craig

This Regency romance novella is the prequel to new series, Goode's Guide to Misconduct. It provides the background to the setting up of Goode's Guide.

Kit, Lord Stallbridge, a bachelor, has to set up a nursery for his brother’s orphaned children, so his housekeeper contacts Mrs Goode, of the “Guide to Housekeeping” for advice. Tabetha, the pseudo Mrs Goode, widowed after twenty unhappy years of marriage, arrives at Kit’s estate with her male secretary, Oliver, in order to oversee the nursery renovations. She is shocked to find that Kit is an old friend, the man she would have married had her father not forced her to marry nasty Lord Manwaring.

The novella is too short to establish any depth of character for Kit, Tabetha and Oliver or to give more than an inkling of their back stories, but all three are kind, generous people who deserve a happy ending. A cheerful, angst-free read.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

Thinking of adding a second chance romance category.

tammikuu 5, 10:06 am

>93 pamelad: Interesting post (especially the criteria for taking off points)!

tammikuu 5, 4:14 pm

>95 MissBrangwen: Adding more. Points off for sentimentality and preachiness!

tammikuu 5, 11:00 pm

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

The Lady Knows Best by Susanna Craig is the first book in the new series, Goode's Guide to Misconduct.

Daphne is the second-youngest member of the Burke family from the Rogues and Rebels series and is overshadowed by her brilliant siblings. When Lady Stallbridge offers her the advice column in Mrs Goode's magazine for independent young women, Daphne assumes the offer was made because of her family connections but takes it on with enthusiasm all the same. In her very first column she advises a young woman, betrothed against her will to a rake, to break the engagement. On meeting the rejected fiance, Miles, Viscount Deveraux, who has wagered that he will be married by the end of the season, Daphne is attracted despite herself, but plans use the experience for an instructional pamphlet on identifying and resisting the attractions of a rake. In order to spend time with Deveraux, and to prevent him from revealing her role on the magazine, she offers to marry him herself, fully determined to humiliate him by breaking the engagement.

I've read all the Burke family books and, unfortunately, Daphne is the least interesting sibling. Miles doesn't stand out either. Sterling qualities lurk beneath his rakish facade, and it doesn't take long for Miles and Daphne to recognise each other's worth. We need more backstory for these two so that we can become more engaged with their romance.

Overall, this was a cheerful, entertaining read, with pleasant characters and not a lot of drama. It ends with hints of a romance between two other characters we've met in this book: Miles's reliable friend and a frizzy-haired ironical illustrator. I'm already interested, but the character I really want to find out more about is Oliver, the stepson of Lady Stallbridge and the original Mrs Goode.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

tammikuu 6, 9:34 am

>97 pamelad: I hate/love how some romance novels may not be that great, but the secondary characters are intriguing enough that they lure you into reading the sequel!

tammikuu 6, 3:50 pm

>98 christina_reads: I read that this book was available on NetGalley, so I joined up, but writing fair and balanced reviews is a bit of a trial.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 7, 12:38 pm

>97 pamelad: Found and acquired the ARC on NetGalley! Thanks for the review.

I have found that sometimes publishers like shorter reviews too. I once posted a review that I felt was incomplete and went back to change it, only to find that the publisher had already used it, even though it was so short. I also looked at some of the reviews posted by other reviewers and found that some are very short, maybe a sentence or two, but I do not think those are fair and honest reviews.

tammikuu 7, 3:24 pm

>100 LadyoftheLodge: It isn't steamless. I left a few criticisms out of my review because I didn't want to be negative!

tammikuu 7, 3:49 pm

Good luck with your 2023 reading! I'm hoping to read a few Georgette Heyers myself this year. I like both her romances and her mysteries.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 5:26 pm

>102 mathgirl40: You can't beat Georgette Heyer for historical romances.

The Runaway Viscount by Darcy Burke

The widowed Juliana Sheldon and the bachelor Lucas Trask, Viscount Audlington, spend a passionate night together in a snowbound inn, but she wakes the next morning to find that he has left. Two years later they meet again at a house party organised by the matchmaking Lord and Lady Cosford. Juliana has neither forgotten nor forgiven Lucas, so she sets out to torment him and make him jealous. Lucas regrets leaving Juliana the way he did and thinks of her often, so he is determined to renew their liaison. Marriage does not seem a possibility to either Lucas or Juliana but, as well as the enormous lust they feel for one another, they enjoy each other's company.

This short book is written in bland, simple language using a narrow vocabulary. There's a lot of sex, not a lot of plot, and not much tension.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 12, 5:14 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

Every Rogue Has His Charm by Susanna Craig

Maximilien Grant, Lord Chesleigh is heir to a duke, his grandfather, who is a truly vicious old man. Maximilien is so very damaged that when he begins to fall in love with Caro, the woman he married to save from ruin, he abandons her for her own good and resumes his job as a spy. On the death of the old duke Maxim returns to England. He plans to drop in on his wife just to check she's OK, but circumstances result in him staying a good deal longer.

I enjoyed this one. Spies, treachery, attempted murder, a wicked father. There's a truly nauseating epilogue, but that's par for the course. I liked Caro and Maxim, and I'm always pleased when a damaged duke finds the one woman who can fix him. There's another romance going on as well between the spies who are watching Maxim, a sub-romance between the sub-spies.

This was the only Susanna Craig book I hadn't read. I preferred it to The Lady Knows Best.

tammikuu 12, 10:56 am

>104 pamelad: Ooh, that one does sound fun! I am enjoying the Love and Let Spy series...nothing groundbreaking, but reasonably enjoyable. Next up for me is Better Off Wed.

tammikuu 12, 2:52 pm

>105 christina_reads: And they're literate! I often give up on romances because of grammatical errors on page 1. I liked Better Off Wed.

tammikuu 15, 12:19 am

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

Four Christmas Kisses: A Scandal in Mayfair by Anna Campbell
Her Christmas Earl by Anna Campbell (Novella)

I like Anna Campbell because her writing is lively and cheerful, and she's Australian. The first book is quite short. Anthea Bryars finds a very attractive unconscious man in the snow, on the point of freezing to death. She manages to get him back to the manor house she shares with her three younger step-sisters and her governess. They're about to lose their home because it has been inherited by Wicked Cousin Christopher, whose solicitor has notified them that they must leave. When the patient, the anonymous cousin, wakes up, he hears the girls talking about him, so he decides to pretend amnesia for a while.

A pleasant, predictable little story.

The second book won prizes. Philippa Sanders is inadvertently locked in a dressing room with a wickedly attractive rake, Lord Erskine. He's not a bad man at heart, so when they're discovered he offers to marry her. Another pleasant, predictable little story.

10. Everything Else

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Shana Galen and three others.

Four short stories, linked by the annual Christmas party held by the matchmaking widow, the Dowager Countess of Winterson. This is a Kindle freebie.

tammikuu 16, 5:10 pm

>107 pamelad: Thanks for the tip! I found A Grosvenor Square Christmas and downloaded it.

tammikuu 17, 1:32 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

Heartless by Mary Balogh

Lucas Kendrick duelled with his brother, who had seduced and married Lucas's betrothed. Lucas shot his brother by mistake and his father threw him out without a penny. Now, ten years later, after Lucas has made a fortune in Paris, his father and brother are dead and he is the Duke of Harndon. Family problems and his responsibilities to the dukedom have brought Lucas back to England where, unwilling to face his ex-fiancee on his own, he marries Lady Anna Marlowe who is almost on the shelf because she has been looking after her younger brother and sisters. Lucas tells Anna he has no heart and acts as though he doesn't. Anna has a terrible secret involving a man who is obsessed with her.

I enjoyed this despite the ludicrous plot.

Silent Melody by Mary Balogh

The sequel to Heartless. Ashley, brother of Luke, loved Anna's deaf-mute sister, Emily, in a brotherly way. She was only only fifteen. So, when Emily kisses him goodbye on his departure for India, he is taken aback by his feelings for her and feels so uneasy that he puts her out of his mind for the whole seven years he is away. He marries and has a child, but a tragedy befalls them, and he returns to England alone, a sad and damaged man. Ashley and Emily behave quite oddly for the sake of the plot.

As does Heartless, the plot of Silent Melody turns on a wicked wife and an obsessed stalker, but I enjoyed it too, though both books were a little too dark and melodramatic for my taste. They're Georgian, not Regency, and there are lots of descriptions of clothes.

tammikuu 17, 12:21 pm

>109 pamelad: Oh no - a romance novel with a ludicrous plot!?! (slips book onto TBR list)

tammikuu 17, 3:34 pm

>110 dreamweaver529: So far, my favourite piece of ludicrousness is in one of Jo Beverley's books, where the hero and heroine are trapped in a cellar and going for it in a coffin. He's her brother-in-law but doesn't recognise her because she's wearing a mask. I think it's Something Wicked.

tammikuu 17, 3:36 pm

>111 pamelad: Haha, thanks for that laugh! I needed it today. And I have so many questions...

tammikuu 17, 3:44 pm

>112 christina_reads: It's even better. In the cellar with them is the stolen Stone of Scone, an oblong block of red sandstone that has been used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland, which is about to be shipped to France.

tammikuu 17, 3:57 pm

>113 pamelad: I mean, it makes at least as much sense as the coffin.

tammikuu 17, 4:02 pm

>112 christina_reads: Ditto that! I could imagine the movie in my mind . . .

tammikuu 17, 4:11 pm

10. Everything Else

Web of Love by Mary Balogh

Ellen Simpson loves her much older husband, but after he dies at Waterloo, she falls in love with his friend, Lord Dominic Eden, whom she has nursed back to health. Appalled by what she sees as her disloyalty to her husband, Ellen sends him away. There's a sub-plot involving Dominic's sister, Madeline, who also falls in love with a soldier she's nursed. Madeline is very irritating, unlike Ellen who is almost perfect.

I enjoyed this and was relieved that there were no evil people in it.

Must change some categories. Fabulous Finds is empty and there might not be many more candidates for Good for a Laugh. Thinking of a Second Chance category for widows, widowers, lovers who were separated years ago and have found each other again.

tammikuu 18, 4:22 pm

>115 LadyoftheLodge: It's part of the Mallorens series, so a TV miniseries could be a very good thing. Much more drama than Bridgerton!

I much preferred the first series of Bridgerton to the second, and don't hold out much hope for the third. The book was a bit dull, and Colin didn't impress me much. But I'm hoping to be proved wrong.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 20, 5:25 pm

3. Must We?

Under the Wishing Star by Diane Farr

This isn't quite a marriage of convenience because the hero, Malcolm Chase, and heroine, Natalie Whittaker, are in love with one another but due to misunderstandings (yawn) are unwilling to declare themselves. They meet when Natalie befriends Malcolm's daughter, and their friendship grows as Natalie takes on the position of unofficial governess. Natalie lives with her horrible half-brother and his ghastly wife, so she is in dire need of something useful to do that will get her out of the house.

This was a pleasant little romance, a bit too tidy and sentimental for my taste.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 28, 5:19 pm

4. Steamless

The Ladies in Love Series by Marion Chesney aka M C Beaton

I've read Ginny and am now reading Tilly. There are seven books in this series, which was a Kobo cheapie. I've skipped the first one, Polly, because it seemed a bit too modern. They seem to be set in the 1910s. Like most of the Marion Chesney romances I've read, these are bland and simple, but I wanted something undemanding that wouldn't keep me awake, and these fit the bill.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 5, 4:22 pm

3. Must We?

Ruined by Rumor by Alyssa Everett

It's always worth trying a new author and I was suffering from historical romance withdrawal, so after reading christina_reads' review I gave Alyssa Everett a try. The beautiful Roxana has been betrothed to George, a soldier, for five years, but soon after their betrothal ball he jilts her. She's inappropriately consoled by her old, boring friend Alex Ayersley, who has loved her forever and offers marriage. Misunderstandings derail their romance.

I quite liked this, but the protagonists don't really behave like Regency English people, and I'm never keen on the "misunderstandings keep us apart" plot device. I'd read more of Alyssa Everett's books if I could find free copies.

helmikuu 6, 10:06 am

>120 pamelad: I'm glad you liked this one despite the caveats...and I'm with you in hoping that some of Everett's other books will show up as free e-book deals!

helmikuu 6, 7:46 pm

10. Everything Else

Reckless Griselda by Harriet Smart

I enjoyed Smart's Northminster Mysteries, so decided to try a romance. Griselda has run away from her father's home in Scotland and is travelling on foot, dressed as a boy, to her brother, an army major who is convalescing in a small seaside town. On the way Griselda meets Tom, and they spend an afternoon together in the bedroom of an inn. Griselda runs away while Tom sleeps and they don't expect ever to meet again, despite their deep and instant attraction, but of course they do. Tom is genuinely betrothed to one young woman, while his mother is determined that he marry the daughter of her lover, so Griselda is his third entanglement.

I quite liked the book, but it's all very unlikely. It's available on KindleUnlimited.

helmikuu 7, 3:03 pm

>122 pamelad: Do you have Kindle Unlimited? I have been tempted to try it, but wondered if it is worth it.

helmikuu 7, 4:27 pm

>123 LadyoftheLodge: Sometimes there are special offers for KindleUnlimited, which are worth a try. I join for a month here and there when I see a few books on Kindle Unlimited that I want to read. I've just read a lot of books by Harriet Smart, for example. Books come and go, so if you see a pile of books by a favourite author, it's a good idea to hop in straight away.

You might like D E Stevenson, some classic crime by Anthony Berkeley and E C R Lorac, vintage historical romances by Clare Darcy, mysteries by Shelley Smith.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 6:04 pm

3. Must We?

A Tempting Proposal by Harriet Smart

Will Urqhuart and Adela Ross first meet at Macreadie's Supper and Song room, where Will helps Adela escape a crowd of leering drunks. Will needs to marry within a month in order to secure an inheritance (this only ever happens in Historical Romance Land) so when he meets Adela again he proposes. She accepts because she's desperate to support herself and her sisters. She and Will plan to marry, then separate for good, but circumstances throw them together for weeks. Will denies his growing fondness for Adela because he is determined never to fall in love again.

I liked this one. It's set in the early days of Victoria's reign.

10. Everything Else

The True Value of Pearls by Harriet Smart

This one is set in the aftermath of WWII. I read it because it's in a box set, Harriet Smart: The Romances. I don't usually read WWII books that weren't written at the time, or by people who lived through it, so even though this was an engaging enough romantic suspense, it didn't really appeal. To me there's something exploitative about setting a romance during WWII. It's too recent and too terrible to be trivialised.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 9, 7:28 pm

10. Everything Else

The Heiress Bride by Madeline Hunter

Nicholas Radnor became the Duke of Hollingburgh when his uncle died unexpectedly. Nicholas inherited the entailed properties, but not his uncle's personal fortune, so he is resigned to marrying a suitable debutante with an enormous dowry. His uncle left his fortune to three young women who are unknown to his family. Two were introduced in the first two books in this series, A Duke's Heiress, but investigators had failed to find the third woman, Iris Barrington, until she turned up unexpectedly at the duke's home demanding that he fulfil a promise made to her by the previous duke. She is a book dealer and is looking for a valuable book that her grandfather was accused of stealing.

There are three mysteries: the mystery of the missing book; the family secret for which Nicholas's father fought a duel and died; the suspicious death of the previous duke. There's also the romance between the Iris and the duke, which seems doomed because Iris is neither rich enough nor aristocratic enough to become a duchess. All the threads eventually link up tidily. There's plenty of mystery and romance, a couple of potential villains, and many appealing characters, including the heroes and heroines of the first two novels in the series. You don't have to read the first two to enjoy this one.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this ARC.

helmikuu 9, 8:14 pm

>124 pamelad: You named some of my fave authors! When we moved and weeded our books, I kept all my D.E. Stevenson paperbacks and my Clare Darcy books (all of which I read many moons ago). I recently picked up a few Lorac books on Kindle (did you notice her name is Carol spelled backwards?) but Shelley Smith is new to me as is Anthony Berkeley.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 5:20 pm

>127 LadyoftheLodge: There could be some books that are available in the US but not in Australia and vice versa. E C R Lorac has popped up on a few threads recently, which makes me wonder whether she's a new addition to the US site. Her books have been available on the Australian site for years. Have they been recently re-edited for American audiences, or is the British terminology and spelling still intact?

I'm currently reading The Countess Invention by Judith Lynne, an author I haven't read before. It's going very well, and is a Kindle freebie.

helmikuu 10, 6:50 pm

>128 pamelad: Lorac's books are new to me but have popped up on Amazon Kindle for decent prices. Post After Post-Mortem was just released under the British Library of Crime Classics series, which is how I obtained it. I will have to check about the British spellings and terms as I did not pay attention to that (I guess I am familiar enough with the Brit spellings and terms that I did not notice!) I just downloaded Murder in Vienna today.

helmikuu 10, 10:07 pm

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

The Countess Invention by Judith Lynne

The hero is a retired army surgeon with PTSD and an awful family. He drinks himself into oblivion every night and has slept with half the women in the ton. The heroine is hard of hearing, not quite deaf, and supports her household of damaged servants by designing aids for amputees and other injured people. She has been corresponding with the hero who thinks she's a man. Her father wants her to marry an earl and has delivered an ultimatum. She wants to find a husband who'll leave her alone to carry on her business and won't want to sleep with her because she tried that and didn't like it.

I liked this, although it's too long and parts of the plot are more ridiculous than usual. I'll probably read another in the series, which is available on KoboPlus. This book, the second in the series, is a Kindle freebie. The third book is less than $A2, so I might read it, but the heroine is a blind servant who is courted by a duke, which is not promising.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 11, 8:00 pm

4. Steamless

Marguerite and the Duke in Disguise by Alicia Cameron

This is the last book in the Sisters of Castle Fortune series. There are ten sisters, all at risk of being sold off in marriage to the highest bidder by their greedy, thoughtless father, a baron, who is abetted by their nasty brother George. Marguerite, the identical twin sister of Leonora who married in the previous volume, has been deposited at the house of strangers because her father wants to save the cost of another London season and marry her off to Mr. Dysart, younger brother and heir of Sir Peregrine, a baronet. Mr. Dysart's first wife is dead, and his brother is dying. The compassionate, affectionate Marguerite secretly befriends Sir Peregrine, whose controlling wife has isolated him from friends and family. Something is very wrong on the Dysart estate and Marguerite is at risk.

In a house on the edge of the Dysart estate is the mysterious Mr Fairfax, who has rented the place for a shooting holiday. Margeurite came across Fairfax under another name when he saved her from a molester at an inn, where her father and brother had failed to protect her.

This is a fairly frothy romance due to the Marguerite's cheerful silliness and another thread involving a family friend, Sir Justin Faulkes, and a princess. Although Marguerite gets a bit wearing, I enjoyed the book. It's written in British English which is a very big plus for a book set in England.

The whole series is available on KindleUnlimited.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 12, 4:38 pm

4. Steamless

Beth and the Mistaken Identity by Alicia Cameron

Beth is a lady's maid, unfairly turned off without a character. At an inn a Marquis and his sister, a princess, mistake Beth for a young lady who is running away from school. In the end, Beth plays along because she is desperate.

I was in two minds about reading this because of the maid and marquis fall in love theme, and should have listened to myself, but at least I can use it for a Bingo square.

helmikuu 16, 11:03 pm

Must We?

Heiress in Red Silk by Madeline Hunter

The second book in the Dukes' Heiresses series. The third is in >126 pamelad:.

The heroine, Rosamund Jameson, is a milliner and the hero, Kevin Radnor, a man who is single-minded in his interests and far too direct for society. Rosamund has been left a half-share in Kevin's company, to his disgust, but the beautiful Rosamund is pragmatic and business-like so could be an asset if Kevin would let her.

Light and entertaining. I liked it. The series improves as it goes.

helmikuu 19, 12:50 am

Series: The Rarest Blooms by Madeline Hunter

Ravishing in Red 3. Must We?
Provocative in Pearls 3. Must We?
Sinful in Satin 10. Everything Else
Dangerous in Diamonds 8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

Daphne Joyes is a woman with a secret, and the other women in her house have secrets too. Together the four of them run a business, Rare Blooms. They grow and sell flowers and other plants and do floral decorations for occasions like weddings and balls. Their house and garden is in Middlesex, not far from London.

The heroines are the women from Rare Blooms, and the heroes are all friends from school and university. Only one of them is a duke. There's an awful lot of sex, but I skipped most of it. The women are beautiful and the men are impossibly handsome. The writing is lively and grammatical: too many likes and gottens, but none of that heavy-handed ironical use of contemporary American cliches.

I can recommend Madeline Hunter for a pleasant Regency escape.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 19, 1:11 am

3. Must We?

Secrets and a Scandal by Jane Maguire

This one is on KindleUnlimited, by an author I haven't read before. There's a sad earl who escaped to France after the death of his wife and returned to England when his father was dying, a bankrupt estate, a rich heiress with a horrible father, a marriage of convenience.

A bit dull, but readable.

helmikuu 20, 6:22 pm

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls
The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands
A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter

3. Must We?
Never Deny a Duke by Madeline Hunter

Three devilishly handsome dukes (is there any other kind?) have been friends since their school days.

The dangerous duke has killed two men in duels because they have insulted his family. His father, who committed suicide, was accused of treachery and a neighbouring earl, now dead, was the main accuser. There has been a feud between the duke's family and the earl's for generations and in order to settle it, the duke is offered the earl's younger daughter in marriage. He's far more attracted to the unsuitable older daughter, who secretly publishes a women's journal.

The devilish duke is a notorious Lothario. He meets a mysterious, fascinating woman at a masquerade. She has a plan he is not aware of and that would horrify him if he were, but she needs help, and he can't keep away.

The third duke presents a reserved and proper facade to society. He owns a Scottish castle, the site of a secret tragedy that has blighted his life. After Culloden, the king confiscated Scottish estates and gave them to Englishmen, but now, a few decades later, some estates are being returned to their original owners. The heroine has a claim on the duke's Scottish estate, which the duke is determined to keep.

All three heroines are linked by their participation in the writing and publication of the women's journal.

I liked these. I'd prefer the heroes weren't dukes, but they so often are. The characters are appealing, the happy ending is never in doubt, there's a bit of humour and enough going on to hold the attention, and they're available on Overdrive. The middle book is my least favourite because the plot is more than usually farcical and the heroine spectacularly unsuitable to be a duke's wife.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 4:33 pm

I'm still on the Madeline Hunter binge and have started yet another series, the Wicked Trilogy.

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

His Wicked Reputation

Gareth Fitzallen is the bastard son of a duke. When the old duke died, the vicious, evil Percy succeeded to the dukedom. Percy has just died, possibly murdered, so now that they can, his two other half-brothers, Lance the new duke and Ives a lawyer, have accepted him into the family. Ives has recruited Gareth to investigate the loss of a cache of paintings. Five years ago, a group of nobles, fearing revolution, had sent their art works out of London for safe-keeping, and now they are lost. In the course of his investigation, Gareth, a notoriously charming man who is pursued by many women, meets Eva, who has resigned herself to spinsterhood.

I enjoyed this and have started the third book. The second was out on loan. Curses!

A small problem with American terminology. Madeline Hunter makes a real effort to write neutral English, so uses far fewer Americanisms than most US Regency romance writers, but I was waylaid by "teamsters". I've had to look this word up before, so am aware of the Teamsters Union and Jimmy Hoffa, and that a teamster is some variety of truck driver. There were no teamsters in Regency England. Not sure what to call the men who transported goods by horse and cart. Perhaps carters? Definitely not teamsters.

helmikuu 21, 5:48 pm

>137 pamelad: Teamster is usually used in the USA just in the union context. But it does have old timey connotations since it would be a team of horses or oxen, so perhaps that's why Hunter used it?

helmikuu 21, 6:16 pm

>138 NinieB: Perhaps, but only in America. She must have been stuck for a word.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 3:11 am

3. Must We?

The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter

Lance the Duke has been accused of the murder of his evil brother, Percy, and a fellow peer with a grudge is pushing for a trial. For unlikely reasons, Lance marries the niece of the local magistrate.

I enjoyed this one too and since the middle book in the Wicked trilogy is still out on loan, I started The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, the first book in the Fairbourne Quartet. I gave up on it.

helmikuu 22, 2:22 pm

Gave up on another book, The Saint by Madeline Hunter. It's the second in The Seducers series and I started with it because it has a higher LT rating than the first book. It could be the American heroine that raises the rating. I've made a study! Romances tagged Christian also get high ratings, not that Hunter's books could ever fit that classification.

The Madeline Hunter books don't take long to read because there are plenty of sex scenes to skip or skim through. In the two I abandoned, the hero begins lusting over the heroine early in chapter one, which is tedious. Also, in The Saint everyone spoke American, including the narrator. It's one of her early books, so she must have improved with practice.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 4:58 am

10. Everything Else

Tall, Dark and Wicked by Madeline Hunter

The middle book of the Wicked Trilogy. The middle brother, Ives, is a lawyer and a friend of the king. King George used to be the Regent, so we're post-Regency, but in historical romances the Regency extends much further than it did at the time. It's a bit like middle age. The heroine, Padua, is a tall mathematician. Her father is in Newgate Prison for a crime he didn't commit, so she tries to hire Ives. A quick read because they spent whole chapters in bed.

helmikuu 27, 8:35 pm

Seducing a Stranger by Kerrigan Byrne was a Kindle freebie. It's an historical romance, set in Victorian London and rated 4.15 stars on LT. I'm up to chapter 2, in which I have managed to stagger past "humungous" only to be accosted by this sentence:

He'd broken up a domestic brawl that'd spilled out onto the streets, and gave a boy on the cusp of manhood a pence to sleep beneath a different roof than his ham-fisted father.

This reads as though the brawl gave the boy a pence (this should be a penny - pence are decimal) and that the boy's father is a roof.

helmikuu 27, 8:46 pm

>137 pamelad: Regarding the word "teamster" -- it was first used back in 1758 and refers to someone who drives a team. So a different definition than the American one, but not a new term.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 9:48 pm

>144 RidgewayGirl: You automatically think of the Teamster's Union, so you're transported from Regency England to modern America. I've come across "team" in that context in British books, but never "teamster". Perhaps it wasn't often used. Then again, I'm currently reading Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot and it's full of words I've never come across.

This list of occupations from the 1921 census has teamsters. Now I need to find one from the early 1800s.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 2:54 am

Abandoned Seducing a Stranger for Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas. It was first published in 2003 so fits a Bingo square. I'm happy with the grammar.

helmikuu 28, 3:50 pm

2. What Price for This Heroine?

Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas

Charlotte's parents have virtually sold her to a mad, depraved earl, but she escapes before the wedding and finds a job under a false name as a companion to an old lady. The earl pays Nick Gentry, a Bow Street runner who was once a criminal at risk of being hanged, to find Charlotte but Nick, who until quite recently has shown no evidence of compassion, decides to save her from the earl by marrying her himself. Can Nick and Charlotte overcome their terrible histories and learn to love one another?

Not much plot here, apart from the threat of the depraved earl, but it was competently and grammatically written, so I enjoyed it.

It's the third book in The Bow Street Runners series, but the first I've read. It was first published in 2003, and I chose it for a BingoDOG square.

maaliskuu 1, 3:57 pm

10. Everything Else

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

Aline the earl's daughter and McKenna the orphaned stable boy have been friends since childhood and have fallen in love. When the earl finds out, he threatens Aline that he will destroy McKenna, so in order to convince him to go away, she tells him that she could never love a servant. Years later, having made his fortune, McKenna returns to take revenge on Aline. Meanwhile, Aline's scandalous sister, Olivia, who has withdrawn from society, falls in love with a rich American alcoholic.

This was a bit boring, but there are over 1000 copies on LT, so it fills a Bingo square.

maaliskuu 3, 5:22 am

10. Everything Else

Once a Duchess by Elizabeth Boyce

A duke's wicked mother manipulates him into divorcing his young wife who, cut off by her brother, works as a cook in an inn to support herself. All very unlikely, but not in an interesting way. No historical detail. No humour.

The language makes this more suited to an American readership.

maaliskuu 8, 4:16 pm

10. Everything Else

I've abandoned quite a few historical romances lately, most for ungrammatical writing but some for sameyness, that "I've read this before, only better" feeling, so I returned to an old stand-by, Mary Balogh, and read Lord Carew's Bride. The two main characters deserved a happy ending and got one. The villain was punished by a humiliating public beating at the hands and feet of the disabled Lord Carew, which I could have done without. This is an early Mary Balogh so it's nice and short.

maaliskuu 8, 4:34 pm

Thinking of replacements for some empty categories. Fabulous Finds is empty, so I'll change it to fit authors I hadn't read before whom I'd like to read again. The hybrid mystery/romances are in my other thread, so that category could go. 10. Everything Else is filling up, so there must be some missing categories. Possibilities are:
Second Chance Romance for couples who once loved but were separated; for heroines whose lives have been derailed by scandal, or who had unhappy first marriages.....

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 9, 10:23 pm

10. Everything Else

Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory started well with two tough-minded characters who didn't take themselves too seriously. Stuart is a viscount who has spent most of his adult life in Eastern Europe avoiding his evil father. On the death of the old viscount Stuart's uncle, Leo, had tried to have his nephew declared dead and had managed to clear the estate of valuables and spend a lot of money, so now Stuart is in a temporary financial and legal mess. When his carriage runs over Emma Hotchkiss's lamb, he doesn't have the spare cash to pay compensation and tries to intimidate her, but Emma used to be a con-woman so she takes him on. Unfortunately, or not, depending on what you're looking for in an historical romance, there's a lot of semi-consensual sexual activity, which starts with the heroine tied to a chair, and a lot of chit-chat about Stuart's sexual interests.

So, I liked the characters and the humour, and was entertained by the plot about swindling Stuart's uncle but disliked the "I know you want to" aspects. Also, despite being in Victorian England, the characters speak and act like 21st century Americans.

I've just bought two vintage romances that I expect to be steamless. They keep popping up on my LT recommendations: The Cockermouth Mail and Lady Bliss.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 2:19 am

4. Steamless

The Cockermouth Mail by Dinah Dean was first published in 1982 and is now available as an ebook.

Dorcas is on her way to a governess position in the north of England when the mail coach veers over the edge of the road and is too damaged to continue. She and her four fellow passengers make their way, with great difficulty, to an inn where they are snowed in for five days with two other guests. The mail passengers clients are a soldier who has been invalided out of the army, his servant, a solicitor, and a mysterious man from London. Already at the inn are an unpleasant man who says he is a Bow Street Runner, and a rich young man who is quite full of himself. Dinah and the soldier, Richard, are very much attracted to one another but she thinks she's too poor for anyone to want to marry her, and he thinks no woman would want him because of his damaged leg.

A nice, predictable, cosy little romance with a bit of humour. I liked it.

I am now reading Lady Bliss, first published in 1979.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 12, 5:54 pm

3. Must We?

Abandoned Lady Bliss and read Duel of Hearts by Anita Mills. The unappealing hero and heroine both throw temper tantrums, so it seems that they are well matched. I wouldn't want to know them. Semi-steamless - much more lustful than Georgette Heyer, but we're spared the details.

First published in 1988.

I'm now reading a Kindle freebie, Chills by Heather Boyd, because the author is Australian.

Recommending The Literature Map. You put in an author's name and the map supplies suggestions for similar authors. The more similarities, the closer the names on the map.

ETA Works best for popular authors. I just put in Sheila Simonson, who wrote Lady Elizabeth's Comet and received only two seemingly irrelevant results: Bill Bryson and Fannie Flagg. Tried again with Loretta Chase who threw up, among others, Connie Brockway. I've borrowed As You desire which, from the blurb, looks to be as exuberantly and enjoyably ludicrous as Loretta Chase's Egyptian novels.

maaliskuu 12, 10:25 pm

Abandoned Chills half-way through because I'm not interested enough to continue, and As You Desire because although it's set in Egypt and hero has just saved the heroine who was abducted by tribesmen, it's dull! Lots of talking and none of the humour I was looking for. I'm in the mood for a cheerful, frothy romance, so will keep looking. Shame about Connie Brockway because there are lots of her books on Overdrive. Perhaps there's a better one.

Heather Boyd's book seems to have been translated into American English, which defeats the purpose of reading an Australian writer. Wrapped around her pinky finger? Odd.

maaliskuu 13, 5:44 pm

Two novellas: The Wolf of Westmore by Amalie Howard and Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James. Both of them were too steamy for my taste, particularly The Wolf of Westmore. I think the perfect length for an historical romance is around 250 pages, give or take 50 or so. Novellas are too short, especially those with lots of sex scenes because if you take those out there's hardly anything left. Many romances are too long, over 400 pages with long, boring misunderstandings in the middle.

Looking for light, frothy, witty, short books with minimal steam.

maaliskuu 17, 11:57 pm

3. Must We? Marriages of convenience.

Wedded Bliss by Barbara Metzger

A cold-hearted earl is devoted to his voluntary job of diplomat and translator and relies on his sister and his employees to manage his estates and look after his young son. He rarely reads the reports from his estates, so when he realises that his sister has eloped and the nanny and nursemaid have left he races home to remedy his neglect, only to find that his son is living with a woman the earl has never met.

The earl proposes marriage and the woman accepts because all her other options are worse. She needs protection from local lechers and money to support her sons. The marriage begins badly because the earl is an idiot.

This was OK. The writing is lively, and the story is cheerful, though I found to be too heavy-handedly heartwarming. It's full of small boys.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 18, 7:22 pm

5. Fabulous Finds was empty, so I've replaced it with 5. Second Chance Romance which is for people who were cruelly separated from the loves of their lives and forcibly married to others; people whose marriages were terrible and have decided never to marry again; young women whose lives were ruined by scandal.......

5. Second Chance Romance

The Stanforth Secrets by Jo Beverley

The secrets are bizarre! A British spy in France sends his communications to the War Office in wax fruit. He has chopped up a message into tiny pieces and hidden them in wax cherries, but a cherry fell from the hat where it was hidden in plain sight, and part of a message has been lost. The lost bit contains part of a list of French spies operating in England and is now rumoured to have been hidden in a wax apple and delivered to Stephen, Earl of Stanforth. But Stephen had just died in a carriage accident and been succeeded by his idiot Uncle George, so the message had been lost. Julian, cousin of Stephen, is now the Earl and has been given the job of finding the message. Stephen's widow, Chloe, is Julian's long lost love and she is his, but both were too honorable to admit their love, even to themselves, while Stephen was alive.

>111 pamelad: This plot rivals the masked in-laws in a coffin for ludicrousness. The message turns out to be in a wax potato, not an apple, due to a confusion between pomme and pomme de terre. Who has ever come across a wax potato? It was hidden in a jar of pot pourri. I quite like deliberately ludicrous plots - it's the inadvertently ludicrous ones I don't like, the badly researched books full of anachronisms and mistakes.

I enjoyed this. It was silly, well-written and not too steamy.

maaliskuu 19, 5:50 pm

10. Everything Else

The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie

Jane and Abby are sisters left destitute on the deaths of their parents who had been disowned by their families when they eloped, so Jane is determined on a sensible marriage. She'll choose a wealthy man who can provide security for their children. She doesn't count on falling in love with the unsuitable Zachary, who appears to be a gypsy but is actually an earl who is charged with a murder he didn't commit.

This is the third book in the Chance Sisters series. The sisters are Abby and Jane, who really are sisters; Damaris, who escaped with Jane from a brothel; and Daisy, a servant in the brothel who helped the girls to escape. The four young women are living with Lady Beatrice, whom they saved from unscrupulous servants who had been keeping her prisoner and stealing from her.

A pleasant read, not too steamy. The author is Australian.

maaliskuu 22, 5:46 pm

5. Second Chance Romance

Decimus and the Wary Widow by Emily Larkin

Decimus Pryor is a rake who specialises in young widows. The beautiful Eloise, Dowager Viscountess Fortrose, known to the ton as "The Fortress" has never shown any interest in Decimus, but that changes when Decimus single-handedly fights off three men who attack Eloise's carriage. This is a Baleful Godmother novel, so Decimus has a magical skill: levitation. I'm not big fantasy fan, but the magic doesn't intrude too much.

Eloise was married off at fifteen to an old man who controlled every aspect of her life, so she doesn't want to marry again, and Decimus doesn't plan to marry for years yet, so when they fall in love neither admits it.

This was a nice, warm. cosy little romance. Decimus is lovely.

Emily Larkin is a New Zealand writer. Her books are available on Kobo Plus.

10. Everything Else

Claiming Mister Kemp by Emily Larkin

This was the only one of Larkin's books I hadn't read, a romance between two men, Tom and Lucas, who have been friends since Eton. They've never admitted their attraction for one another, but Tom, a soldier, barely escaped death in battle so he's determined to declare himself to Lucas. In Regency England, sodomy is a hanging offence, so a relationship between two men entails enormous risk.

I had great sympathy for Tom and Lucas, but doubt that I'll read another M to M romance. Maximum voyeur factor.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 4:53 pm

I've replaced the hybrid category (historical mysteries with a bit of romance) with 9. All Steam, No Plot Another public service.

The first candidate is Hathaway Heirs, a collection of four novellas by Suzanna Medeiros. I read the first one, Lady Hathaway's Proposal, but didn't bother with the rest.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 25, 4:41 pm

4. Steamless

The Stolen Bride by Jo Beverley

Nothing special, but pleasant. Family and friends are gathering for the marriage of Randal and Sophie. There are too many characters fro a short book, and everyone seems to be related to everyone else, so I gave up trying to follow and just concentrated on the main characters: Sophie and Randal; the wicked Piers Verderan; Beth the tiny governess and man-mountain Sir Marius (there's a romance between these two). On the way to the family castle of Randal's ducal brother Beth comes across Marius, whose carriage has lost a wheel? horse has thrown a shoe? (I forget) and gives him a lift. A few miles further on they come across a damaged carriage containing a damaged middle-aged lady, so they convey the woman to the castle. She's an important part of the plot. Sophie is getting anonymous letters telling her that her marriage will never go ahead, and Randal is receiving death threats.

The book is available in the Open Library. It was first published in 1990. I like Jo Beverley's writing style, so whenever I come across one of her books, I read it. There are a few exceptions: a couple of books with too much depravity and violence; some mediaeval romances; anything with magic.

Perhaps I'll have to expand into the Middle Ages. Better a well-written mediaeval romance than a badly-written Regency.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 27, 11:11 am

>159 pamelad: I just read The Spring Bride as well! I agree, a pleasant read, and I will definitely seek out more by Gracie.

>162 pamelad: I haven't read many medieval romances, but I remember quite liking Roselynde by Roberta Gellis. And Katherine by Anya Seton is a classic, though I'd call it historical fiction with strong romantic elements rather than a full-on romance.

maaliskuu 28, 4:43 pm

>163 christina_reads: Katherine is definitely on my list. It would be a good choice for the remaining two slots in the Historical Fiction Challenge: a real historical figure; over 500 pages. Thank you for the reminder.

Anne Gracie's books are a good standby, but I think they're missing something. The writing is a little dull, not enough verve and wit.

maaliskuu 28, 10:24 pm

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale

Captain Sheridan Drake isn't a nobleman, but he's definitely damaged. Since being tricked into going to sea at ten years old, he's been trying to survive and is loyal to no one except the men under his command. When Her Serene Highness Olympia of Oriens, a tiny little country on the verge of revolution, tries to persuade him to help her get to Oriens via Rome, Sherry doesn't think twice before betraying her, but the naive Olympia persists in believing that he is a hero. Olivia and Sherry find themselves in peril many times, separated, then unexpectedly reunited, growing close, then apart. There are shipwrecks, kidnappings, a secret society of murderous Brahmins, mutinous convicts, violent mobs.

As we get to know Sherry we see the effects on him of the unnecessary battles he had to fight, the deaths of his comrades and the brutal actions he took for survival and revenge. There's a message from the author at the end.The book is dedicated to the combat veterans of Vietnam with respect and love and hope for healing.

This wasn't what I was looking for, but it certainly held my attention.

maaliskuu 30, 4:58 am

10. Everything Else

The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie is the fourth book in the Chance Sisters series. Daisy, the heroine, is the maid who helped two Chance sisters escape from a brothel. She falls in love with Flynn, an Irishman who was also brought up in poverty but is now a successful businessman. He thought he wanted an aristocratic bride but realises he wants Daisy, but Daisy won't marry him because, amongst other reasons, she wants her own dressmaking business and, if she married, he'd own it.

This was a bit dull, a bit too tidy, a bit too saccharine. It's steamier than The Spring Bride, but as far as I'm concerned that's not really a good thing. It wasn't bad, just nothing special.

The Summer Bride is available in the Open Library and can be borrowed for a fortnight, which is much more convenient than hour by hour.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 1, 5:42 pm

2. What Price for This Heroine?

An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley

I didn't read this one on my first Beverley binge because it starts with a rape, but it's on Kobo Plus and I like Beverley's writing. It's the first book in the Company of Rogues series and is a bit too sordid for my liking, but not as much as I thought it would be. Nicolas Delaney marries Eleanor Chivenham to get his twin brother, the earl, out of trouble, but he has a pre-existing obligation to continue as the lover of a French brothel madam who is part of a conspiracy to free Napoleon from Elba. Problematic for the marriage!

I put it in this category because it was Eleanor's evil brother who engineered the rape. It could also fit in the marriage of convenience category.

huhtikuu 3, 5:00 pm

5. Second Chances

Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas

Venetia Townsend is astoundingly beautiful, and the young soon-to-be Duke of Lexington falls in love with her on sight, only to find out that she is married. She becomes a fixation, despite Lexington's encounter with Townsend, her husband, who maliciously slanders her. Disgusted with himself that he could be attracted by a woman's beauty, even though she is, as he believes, selfish, mercenary and cruel, at a scientific lecture in New York he denounces her without naming her. To punish him, Venetia decides to make him fall in love with her, so under a false name, she books a passage back to England on the same ship. She manages to prevent Lexington from seeing her face!

Beguiling the Beauty is very, very silly and not overly steamy. I really enjoyed it. I like Thomas's writing style and humour, and she reminds me a bit of Laura Kinsale, which is high praise.

Beguiling the Beauty is available in the Open Library as a 14-day loan. I'm now reading the second book in this Fitzhugh series, Ravishing the Heiress.

huhtikuu 3, 5:04 pm

>168 pamelad: I really want to try Sherry Thomas's romances! I have His at Night on my shelves, but this one sounds fun (albeit bananas) too.

huhtikuu 4, 5:32 pm

>169 christina_reads: Now that I've read so many historical romances, I'm going back and increasing the ratings on some of them, including His at Night. I liked it, and Sherry Thomas is a better writer than some I've recently rated higher. When I first started I was rating romances relative to Georgette Heyer, but I've become more open-minded. The Luckiest Lady in London is another good one.

3. Must We?

Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas

The second book in the Fitzhugh series. George Fitzhugh, known as Fitz, has inherited a debt-encumbered earldom and must marry for money. At nineteen, he has to give up Isabelle, the woman he loves, to marry Milly, the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer, who is only sixteen. Milly loves Fitz on sight, but his heart belongs to Isabelle. The sensible Milly makes an arrangement with Fitz that he can have his freedom for eight years, and only then will they consummate their marriage. Over the years Milly and Fitz become close, but they stick rigidly to their eight-year contract, which is silly but not in an amusing way, so I didn't like this book as much as Beguiling the Beauty. Even so, it's an entertaining read.

huhtikuu 5, 10:21 am

>170 pamelad: Makes sense that most historical romances are going to suffer by comparison to Georgette Heyer!

huhtikuu 5, 7:59 pm

10. Everything Else

Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas

David Hillsborough, Viscount Hastings, has been in love with Helena Fitzhugh since they first met at 14, but she is unaware and actively dislikes him because he goes out of his way to insult her. Helena is in love with an old flame, who is married, and is carrying on an affair, at great risk to her family's reputation and her own. When Helena and her lover are on the point of being discovered, David steps in to save Helena's reputation.

I liked Tempting the Bride, which has lots of amusing repartee, but there are some drawbacks: Helena acts like an idiot and it's hard to accept that she would undergo such risks for a weak and vacillating old boyfriend who keeps letting her down; David writes erotic fiction, which features in the plot; David's illegitimate daughter, whose role is to show us what a wonderful person David truly is, with an utter lack of subtlety.

There's one more book in the series, The Bride of Larkspear, the erotic novel that David wrote to woo Helena. Not my cup of tea, so I'm stopping with Tempting the Bride.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 6, 5:08 pm

4. Steamless

A Woman of Little Importance by Sheila Walsh

Charity's sister was married to a soldier, a duke's heir virtually disowned by his father. On the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law Charity is left to look after her niece and nephew and, since her nephew is now the heir, she takes him to see the duke, who is gratuitously cruel. She also meets the duke's youngest son, who is supercilious and dismissive.

Some characters undergo enormous personality changes, while others reveal their hidden psychopath, all for the sake of the plot. Mediocre.

ETA Walsh's A Highly Respectable Marriage won a RITA award and is worth a try. I liked it much more. It's available on Kindle Unlimited.

huhtikuu 12, 5:12 am

4. Steamless

The Counterfeit Lady by Daisy Vivian

Susan Archer, a vicar's daughter, is companion to the elderly Lady Wycombe, the owner of an enormous and elaborate wardrobe which she bequeaths to Susan, along with an annuity. Susan, with her friend Tibby, Lady Wycombe's lady's maid, decide to try their luck at a spa resort where, with the aid of her new, magnificent clothing, Susan presents herself as an aristocratic widow.

A pleasant read. Some humour. No angst. It was first published in 1986 (before historical romances became overladen with sex, irony and bad grammar) and is available from the Open Library.

huhtikuu 13, 7:23 pm

7. Why did I Bother?

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Well, I haven't really bothered because I've given up at 36% read. Too boring to continue. Also, why is there overstuffed furniture in Regency England? I know what that is now, because I've Googled it before and have been disappointed to find that an overstuffed chair isn't so hugely and undesirably inflated with padding that it's bursting but is merely an upholstered chair.

There's also a prequel, The Heir of Edenbrooke, which is very short.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 14, 6:23 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, has just been left at the altar when Melisande Fleming, who for many years has loved him from a distance, offers to marry him. Since this is Jasper's second broken betrothal and he suspects that no woman wants to marry him, he agrees. Unfortunately he can't give his fiancee his full attention because he is searching for the man who betrayed him and his fellow soldiers to the French seven years ago when the English were fighting the French in Canada. Most of the soldiers were killed, and the rest were captured and tortured by Indians. (This sounds very suspect and racist to me in 2023. The book was written in 2008, which is surely too recent for this level of xenophobia?)

In my opinion, To Seduce a Sinner is remarkably tasteless. Hoyt wallows in the torture and its effects on the men left behind, and on top of that, there's a lot of sex and sentimentality. Hoyt's books get lots of recommendations, but I don't think they're for me.

I borrowed To Seduce a Sinner from the Open Library.

huhtikuu 14, 10:30 am

>175 pamelad: I liked Edenbrooke more than you, I think -- my review from several years ago said it was "pleasant" -- but I can't remember much about it now, so I'd say you're safe to DNF. :)

huhtikuu 15, 8:02 pm

>177 christina_reads: When there is a lot of US terminology, the story has to be really good to make it worth persevering because I think, "This writer isn't trying."

In >176 pamelad: the hero looked at his Georgian clock and read the time as 8:32!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 15, 8:34 pm

I've borrowed a Shana Galen Bundle from Overdrive, all three books from the Sons of the Revolution series: The Making of a Duchess, The Making of a Gentleman and The Rogue Pirate's Bride.

10. Everything Else

The Making of a Duchess

When the country estate of the Duc de Valere, soon to be guillotined, is attacked by peasants, Julien, the oldest son, escapes with his mother to England. He never stops looking for his twin brothers, Armand and Bastien, even though his mother believes they are dead. Julien's trips to France put him at risk of being executed as a traitor. Sir Northrup of the Foreign Office compels his children's governess, Sarah Smith, an orphan, to masquerade as a French aristocrat and move in with Julien and his mother in order to gather evidence of his treachery.

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

The Making of a Gentleman

Armand has been locked up in an attic for twelve years. Despite being fed only twice a week on bread and water, and being allowed out for exercise once a year, within a month of his rescue he's a tall, strong, handsome young man. I would expect him to be small, bent with rickets, and with no teeth due to scurvy, but it turns out that his only problems are that he has forgotten how to speak, or is unwilling to, and is unaware of society's rules. Julien and his wife hire a tutor, Felicity Bennett, to help Armand regain his speech and to teach him the rules of the ton. Felicity and Armand fall in love instantly, but their path to happiness is beset by obstacles which include the difference in station between Armand and Sarah and a multiplicity of villains.

The discovery of Armand's twin, Bastien, is foreshadowed. He is a pirate known as Captain Cutlass!

huhtikuu 16, 3:45 am

>176 pamelad: I listened to Once Upon A Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt last year and decided that I wouldn't read anything else by her. While I liked the story and the general atmosphere, the characters were very flat and the steamy scenes felt off and were too explicit for my liking.

huhtikuu 18, 2:09 am

>180 MissBrangwen: I agree. Something was off.

10. Everything Else

The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen is the last book in the Sons of the Revolution trilogy. The hero is Bastien, brother of the Duc de Valere, now a privateer known as Captain Cutlass. Bastien thinks his whole family died in the French Revolution. The heroine, Raeven, the daughter of a British admiral, has been living with her father aboard ship since she was four. She is a hellion, therefore my second-least favourite type of heroine. (My absolutely least favourite is the fey sprite.) Raeven was born with a head of black hair, so her dying mother named her Raven, but added an extra 'e' so she wouldn't be confused with the bird.

There are sea battles and sword fights. At first Raeven plans to kill Cutlass because she blames him for the death of her fiance, but first she must fight off the attraction she feels. Bastien is wanted by the British and is seeking vengeance on a pirate who killed his mentor. There are many obstacles in the path of true love!

I've been away for a few days, so I read this because I had it with me. I also started Blackthorne's Bride, but that's far too much Shana Galen.

I enjoyed this author's Survivor series, which started with Third Son's a Charm, and the first book in the Sons of the Revolution series, The Making of a Duchess.

huhtikuu 19, 7:34 pm

5. Second Chances Reuniting with long lost loves; finding Lord/Lady Right after a terrible marriage to Lord/Lady Wrong

Infamous by Minerva Spencer

Spencer's books keep popping up as recommendations but I've avoided them because I thought they were ultra-steamy and full of bondage and discipline, but they're the books written under the author's other nom de plume, S. M. LaViolette. This one was medium-steam, and only towards the end. I enjoyed it and have started another in the same series, Rebels of the Ton.

Celia used to be a nasty young woman who used her vicious wit to ridicule vulnerable members of the ton, in particular the anti-social entomologist Richard Redvers, twin brother of Lucian who is on the point of proposing to Celia, and Richard's friend, Phyllida Singleton. One evening she goes too far and, manipulated by an evil duke who hates Richard, she causes a scandal that sees her banished from the ton. Lurking in the background is an evil duke who has manipulated Celia into her downfall. When we meet her again, she is Mrs Pelham, companion to and demanding old woman. She has to accompany her employer to a Christmas house party, held to celebrate the marriage of Antonia, the half-sister of Lucian and Richard. She is betrothed to the evil duke and has no idea what a mistake she is making.

In the ten years since the scandal, Celia's life has been hard, and if her past comes to light she will lose her position and any shred of respectability she has managed to hold onto. She is quite a different person now - tolerant, kind, and madly attracted to Richard, who reciprocates - but the duke threatens to destroy her.

huhtikuu 20, 9:57 am

>182 pamelad: Hmm, Minerva Spencer is an author I keep hearing about, but like you I've been hesitant to try her. Glad to see you enjoyed this one!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 6:58 pm

>183 christina_reads: The whole series, Rebels of the Ton, is available on KoboPlus, so I read all three books. Infamous is the pick of them because it has fewer sex scenes and its characters are more believable.

3. Must We? Marriages of convenience.

Notorious by Minerva Spencer

Drusilla, an enormously wealthy debutante whose father was a merchant, has been in love with Gabriel Marlington from the first day she met him, five years ago, but she hides her feelings with barbed, witty repartee. Gabriel is the step-brother of Drusilla's best friend from school, Eva de Courcy. He is the son of a Berber sultan and a duke's daughter who was captured by corsairs and sold into his father's harem. The problem with Gabriel is that it's far too easy to forget that he's the son of a sultan, because he's not clearly distinguishable from the usual perfect Regency hero.

Gabriel is being pursued by a mad earl, a returned soldier with a tragic background. Drusilla is also at risk because of her connection to Gabriel and because of her wealth. She runs a charitable foundation, so she spends time in seedy parts of London with questionable people.

An entertaining read, but there are too many sex scenes and Gabriel, while an engaging hero, isn't believable.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 25, 4:52 pm

Duplicate post.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 21, 1:51 am

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls. Heroes with war injuries, deafness, blindness, dyslexia, melancholia, a family history of insanity.....

Outrageous by Minerva Spencer

Eva, Drusilla's friend, is the daughter of a woman who went mad, so despite her enormous dowry and aristocratic heritage she is resigned to never marrying. Her behaviour doesn't help - she throws tantrums and acts on impulse. As the book starts, she's in a carriage with Godric Fleming, Earl of Visel. He's the mad earl from the previous book, and Eva has abducted him to keep him away from Gabriel and Drusilla. But Godric has already snapped out of his mad obsession with Gabriel and is behaving like a normal person. He realises, before Eva does, that the pair of them will have to marry, so he is determined to continue their journey to Scotland and turn Eva's fake elopement into a real one. Godric's tragic past has left him empty and, he believes, unable to love, so even though he lusts after the annoying Eva, he thinks she deserves better than him.

I enjoyed this book too, despite a few problems: Godrick's background is ludicrously tragic; Eva is extremely tiresome; the pair of them are kept apart by misunderstandings and noble sacrifices, which are always tedious.

huhtikuu 24, 7:06 am

7. Why did I Bother?

The Boxing Baroness by Minerva Spencer

This was tripe. The hero is a duke known as Lord Flawless. The heroine, Marianne, is an orphan who is a boxer in her uncle's female circus. She's notorious not just for the boxing, but also because she was tricked into marriage with Baron Strickland, who turned out to be already married, so she's known as Strickland's whore. Marianne's best friend is Cecile the Sharpshooter, and there's a mysterious blonde knife-thrower, Jo, who's always accompanied by her raven. Lord Flawless has two good friends, who I daresay will end up marrying Cecile and Jo in the next two books of the series.

The book goes on forever, with Flawless and Marianne spending many chapters in bed or talking about it. I skipped a slab and found that everyone was in France and that Marianne was the illegitimate daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Crown Princess of Sweden.

I will not be reading the rest of the series.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 25, 5:34 pm

10. Everything Else

A Dangerous Deceit by Alissa Johnson is the third book in the Thief Takers trilogy but the only one available on KindleUnlimited, so I've started the trilogy at the end. Jane Ballenger lives in a cottage with Mr and Mrs Harmon, who have been looking after her for seventeen years, since she was ten. Jane has a problem with processing what she hears: she mishears words and phrases and often has trouble making sense of what people are saying; she mixes up words when she speaks; she has got into the habit of pretending that she understands what people are saying when she doesn't, so she sometimes comes across as half-witted. This is the Victorian era, when many conditions are misdiagnosed as mental illness and people can be locked away in asylums indefinitely, so Jane stays away from other people. He only relative, an older half-brother, has just died in Russia and has sent Jane his belongings, including a mysterious list that puts Jane at risk from spies and traitors. Sir Gabriel Arkwright, the famous thief taker, is searching for the list.

I liked A Dangerous Deceit. Lots of action, and both Gabriel and Jane are appealing characters. I'd definitely give the other two books a try if they were free!

Alissa Johnson has other series in KindleUnlimited, so I'm going to give The Providence Series a try and have borrowed As Luck Would Have It.

huhtikuu 26, 5:33 pm

5. Second Chances

Dangerous by Minerva Spencer

Mia was kidnapped by corsairs and sold into a sultan's harem. She has escaped and found her way back to England, where she is an enormous embarrassment to her father the duke who is prepared to marry her to absolutely anyone, even the Marquess of Exley who is shunned by society because he is thought to have murdered two wives. Spencer tells us that the earl is cold and dangerous, but keeps showing us that he isn't, so he's not a believable character. Neither is Mia, who has to be the thirty-two years old for the sake of the plot but doesn't act anywhere near it. She has a secret son, Jibril, who is seventeen.

Despite being very silly, Dangerous was an entertaining read. It's the first book in the Outcasts series. The characters from Outcasts reappear in the Rebels of the Ton series, including Mia's son, who is the hero of Outrageous.

Two Abandoned Books

Scandalous by Minerva Spencer is the third book in the Outcasts series. The hero is an ex-slave from New Orleans, who is now a privateer, captain of his own ship. The heroine is the daughter of missionaries. There are too many sex scenes to read past and no one is believable, so I had to give up.

I'm Only Wicked with You by Julie Anne Long is the third book in the Palace of Rogues series. Although it's ostensibly a Regency romance set in England, there's a lot about America, so it's clearly aimed at an American readership. Long has a serious problem with British currency, which I've come across in her other books. She has introduced decimal currency to Regency England, calling a penny coin a pence and stating that there are 100 pence in a pound. There are 240. I suppose it's confusing if you're not brought up with it. Pre-decimal, the currency was pounds, shilling and pence. A pound contains 20 shillings. A shilling contains 12 pence. Pence is a plural, abstract term, and the coin is called a penny. There were also half penny coins, called ha' pennies and quarter penny coins, called farthings. But a sixpenny coin is called sixpence and a threepenny coin is thruppence.

huhtikuu 29, 5:48 pm

4. Steamless

The Sandalwood Princess by Loretta Chase

Amanda Cavencourt, sister of a viscount, has spent most of her life in India but on her brother's marriage she decides to return to her family's ancestral home in England. Her great friend, the Rani Simhi, gives her a parting gift of a sandalwood statue. The statue has a very complicated history, most of which Amanda is unaware, and is being sought by an old lover of the Rani. He has offered a thief, the Raven, 50,000 pounds to steal the statue. It's not the Raven's usual line of work because normally he is more noble than that, but 50,000 is a great deal of money. (I suspect it would be many millions in today's GBP, so it's a ludicrous amount.)

The plot is ridiculous and the Indian characters are stereotypically exotic victims of Orientalism, but it's Loretta Chase, so I enjoyed it. Close enough to steamless. There's a lot of sexual attraction, but no detailed descriptions of sexual congress. The book was first published in 1990, and won a RITA Award.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 6:14 pm

3. Must We? Marriages of convenience.

Miss Amelia's Mistletoe Marquess by Jenni Fletcher.

When Amelia Fairclough seeks refuge from a snowstorm, she ends up spending the night in a gatehouse occupied only by a handsome man who says he is an estate manager. He's actually Cassius Whitlock, Marquess of Falconmore, and when news gets out that he and Amelia have spent a night together, she is irretrievably compromised so he offers marriage.

Cassius was a soldier in Afghanistan (the era is Victorian, in the time of the Great Game, as described in Peter Hopkirk's books and Rudyard Kipling's Kim) and is riddled with guilt. He believes he will never love again, so it doesn't matter whom he marries. Amelia is a dutiful young woman who believes that happiness is selfish.

I read this because it won an RNA Award (a British Romance award), but it was bland and dull, and Amelia was excessively tiresome. It's not very steamy - closed door and not graphic - which is a plus for me.

huhtikuu 30, 5:25 am

I read today that the Stone of Scone has been moved from Edinburgh Castle to be used for Charles's coronation. We should be grateful to the amorous couple who shared a crypt with the Stone of Scone in Jo Beverley's Something Wicked and prevented its removal to France. >111 pamelad:, >113 pamelad:

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 7:20 pm

5. Second Chances

When You Wish Upon a Duke by Charis Michaels

In the afterword Michaels says that her book, like many Regency romances, walks a fine line between history and creative license. The heroine is a travel agent, specialising in European trips for women in the days when there were no female travel agents and no all-woman trips. Because she has spent time in Iceland, she is recruited by a duke whose cousin has been kidnapped by Icelandic pirates. The rescue depends in part on her disguise, her skill with a dagger, and on poisoning the pirates, so it is fortunate indeed that in an isolated Icelandic village she comes across a new and unusual shop, run by an Englishman, where she is able to purchase everything she needs disguise, poison, dagger .

By design, all of my books are a wild ride, but this one is particularly over-the-top. Perhaps that's because it was written entirely in quarantine during the pandemic.

When You Wish Upon a Duke has potential because the characters are appealing, there's humour, and the writing has verve. Unfortunately it's too long and too messy. I don't mind a ridiculous plot, but it has to have its own logic and this didn't.

toukokuu 3, 7:18 pm

5. Second Chances with a pinch of Damaged Duke and a smidgeon of What Price for this Heroine.

Barbarous by Minerva Spencer

Heroine: Daphne, an earl's widow with twin ten-year-old sons and a murky past. She's at risk from a wicked cousin.
Hero: Hugh, the long-lost heir of the dead earl. He was captured by pirates, a slave to a sultan then a privateer. He has one eye and is missing a finger.
Sex scenes: Far too many and much too graphic, mainly in the second half of the book.
Plot: Sex, violence, treachery and pirates. Will I, won't I tell him my dreadful secret?
Era: Regency.

I read Barbarous because I'd read about Daphne, Hugh and the twins in Infamous, which takes place when the twins are adults. I had no patience with Daphne's secret and wanted her to just tell Hugh and stop moaning about it. I could also have done without being bombarded by the characters' lustful thoughts, which are generic filler.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 6, 7:34 pm

5. Second Chances

Two Secret Sins by Anna Campbell

No touchstone. I'll add the book and see if it appears. Done!

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

The Worst Lord in London by Anna Campbell

These two books are related, although they are in two different series. In Two Secret Sins, Eliot Ridley, a viscount with a spotless reputation and a promising political career, is in love with Verena, a notorious widow who is determined never to marry again. Eliot and Verena send a lot of time in bed together, and the entire plot consists of, "Can Eliot persuade Verena to marry him?"

The Worst Lord in London is Verena's childhood friend, Leighton Anstey, Earl of Shelbourne. He's competing in a carriage race with Eliot Ridley and invites a young woman to ride with him. Kate Starr, a wealthy mill owner, has loved Shelbourne from afar for fourteen years, even though she has never spoken to him and he has no idea who she is.

Anna Campbell's writing is patchy. I enjoyed her Sons of Sin series, and her Dashing Widows series, but these two books are disappointing. Too steamy for my liking and there isn't a lot else going on.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 7, 6:54 pm

I've read two more by Anna Campbell, an Australian writer of Regency romances. I've enjoyed the verve and humour of some of her books, so when I come across one I haven't read I'm prepared to give it a try. She's tossed off quite a few books over the last couple of years, but none of them so far have been up to scratch. At least they're short!

2. What Price for this Heroine?

Three Times Tempted

No touchstone, so I'll have to add the book. It's the third in the A Scandal in Mayfair series.

Heroine: used to be selfish and thoughtless but is kind at heart and is doing better; not bound by convention; her wicked father is trying to marry her off to a man who will further his own political ambitions, with no regard for her preferences, and is prepared to commit murder to get his own way; interested in landscape gardening.
Hero: an American landscape gardener; a self-made man who is not bound by British class prejudice and wants to marry the heroine.
Sex scenes: too many
Plot: will the hero and heroine be able to escape her evil father and live happily ever after?

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

The Trouble with Earls

Another missing touchstone.

Heroine: a bluestocking, overshadowed by her two older sisters.
Hero: thinks he's a terrible person because nothing he did could meet with the approval of his cruel, overbearing father, who punished him brutally for being alive.
Sex scenes: too many
Plot: heroine is compromised by hero, so they have to marry. She loves him, but he believes he does not deserve her love. Can he overcome his fears so that their marriage can succeed?

Both of these books read as though they were tossed off in an afternoon. Quite a few contemporary Americanisms, even though the author is Australian. For shame!

ETA Snicker versus snigger. I think of snickering as something horses do but have read that it's the American word for snigger. Is this correct? A snigger is a sardonic, knowing laugh.

toukokuu 8, 11:14 am

>196 pamelad: Yes, Americans would use "snicker" to mean "sardonic, knowing laugh" -- though I think we'd also use "snigger." Both words are familiar to me. The thing horses do is "whicker," at least in my brain.

toukokuu 9, 5:53 pm

>197 christina_reads: Thanks, Christina.

toukokuu 10, 6:25 pm

>197 christina_reads: Another horse word for snigger is nicker/nickering. It is defined as a soft neighing sound.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 12, 5:30 pm

>199 LadyoftheLodge: I haven't come across nicker but am familiar with whicker which has a similar meaning.

I recently came across blaggard. Is this a recognised American spelling of blackguard?

toukokuu 12, 5:31 pm

>200 pamelad: It is NOT! I will die on this hill, lol. Merriam-Webster does have an entry for "blaggard," but it just redirects you to "blackguard."

toukokuu 12, 5:34 pm

>201 christina_reads: What a relief! For shame, Charis Michaels!

toukokuu 14, 5:27 am

5. Second Chances

The Dueling Duchess by Minerva Spencer is the second book in the Wicked Women of Whitechapel series, which is set in a female circus, Farnham's Fantastical Female Fayre. Cecile Tremblay is a sharp-shooter, still extraordinarily beautiful at thirty-six years old. Twenty-two years ago, in the uncertainty of the French Revolution, she was secretly married to an elderly duke in order to preserve his property, but the documents have been lost and Cecile has kept the marriage a secret. In the previous book, The Boxing Baroness, Cecile fell in love with Gaius Darlington, Marquess of Carlisle and heir to a dukedom, who, unwilling to realise how much he loved Cecile, had insulted her by inviting her to become his paid mistress while he financed his impoverished estates by marrying an heiress. Gaius, known as Guy, has now come to his senses and is determined to marry Cecile, but she will have nothing to do with him, so he joins the circus. The timeline leaps back and forth between Cecile's and Guy's love affair a year ago, when they were travelling through France in a circus caravan in search of another character's kidnapped younger brother, and the present in which another heir has turned up to usurp Guy's title and property and Cecile is being manipulated by a wicked cousin who knows her secrets. There are numerous minor characters and plenty of drama and plot twists.

Cecile is a few years older than Guy, which is a departure. I liked both main characters and was keen for them to sort out their many problems and end up happily together. I also liked the humorous repartee and the lively writing.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this ARC.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 14, 5:45 am

I've read A Talent for Trickery by Alissa Johnson, A Duchess by Midnight by Charis Michaels and The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen. Listing them here until I'm ready to review them.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 8:44 pm

10. Everything Else

A Talent for Trickery and A Gift for Guile by Alissa Johnson are the first two books in the Thief Takers trilogy. The thief takers are Owen Renderwell, a viscount who is the hero of the first book; Samuel Brass, a reticent man-mountain who is the hero of the second book; Sir Gabriel Arkwright, the hero of the third book, A Dangerous Deceit. I started with the third book, which turned out to be the one I liked best. Its heroine has an interesting medical condition and isn't a criminal. I really do prefer my heroes and heroines to be law-abiding: no highwaymen, preferably no pirates, definitely no thieves.

A Talent for Trickery

The Walker siblings are living incognito in a country village because their father was a thief and a cheat whose enemies would take revenge on his children. Lottie, the elder daughter, with the help of her sister Esther, has brought up their young brother Peter in ignorance of his father's crimes, so when the thief takers come looking for Walker's journals they're not at all welcome. Eight years ago Lottie had been on the verge of falling in love with Renderwell, who had been working with her father on a case involving missing diamonds and a kidnapped duchess, but she believes that Renderwell betrayed her father, so has returned his letters unread. Even if Lottie can overcome her mistrust, she's still the daughter of a criminal and much more heavily involved in her father's crimes than Renderwell realises. She's not a suitable wife for a viscount.

(The author calls the duchess Lady Someone, which is a really basic mistake and quite off-putting. You'd think a writer of historical romances could be bothered to get the titles correct.)

A Gift for Guile

Esther, the second sister, isn't even Walker's. She's come to London, disguised in widow's weeds to avoid Walker's enemies, in search of her real father George Smith. She thinks she can look after herself because she's a skilled knife-thrower. Sir Samuel Brass is horrified by the risks Esther is taking and offers to help. There is much bickering and misunderstanding between Esther and Samuel, but underneath it all they are very much attracted to one another. Esther believes she is unsuitable ......See above.

These two are steamier than A Dangerous Deceit, which is not a plus.

ETA Something I forgot. In A Talent for Trickery the hero is insisting that the heroine needs to have guns for protection, which struck me as Not Very British. In an historical romance set in England, guns belong on the hunting field and in duels and there's usually a bit of babble about the manufacturer e.g. Manton duelling pistols, Purdey's something or others.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 15, 8:35 pm

10. Everything else

A Duchess by Midnight by Charis Michaels

I almost returned this book to the library without reading it because I couldn't get past the heroine's name, Drewsmina. She's known as Drew, a common name in Regency England I don't think. Anyway, she's the once-upon-a-time ugly step-sister of a Cinderella clone, Cyne, who is married to Prince Adolphus, the seventh son of King George. After an ill-fated love affair that left her devastated, Drew was consoled by her kind-hearted step-sister and realised the error of her ways. Now in her late twenties, Drew's aim in life is to forge a career helping other young women who don't fit in. Her first paying client is the Duke of Lachlan, who has assumed responsibility for his nieces. He wants them to have a season, but they have no idea how to manage in society and his own reputation is not the best.

Overall, this is cheerful, lively and humorous and I enjoyed it, although the writing is a sloppy in places with vocabulary mistakes and misspellings, including the dread "blaggard" for "blackguard." It needs a good editor. Sometimes when writers get further into a series, they forget they're supposed to be in 18th Century England, so they end up writing strange mixture of pseudo-historical formal English and twenty-first century cliches.

This is the third book in the Awakened by a Kiss series, where the heroines are based on minor characters from fairytales.

toukokuu 15, 7:25 pm

The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen

A novella. The heroine has a terrible past, not her fault, but beyond ruinous, so she's not received by society. She digs the hero's curricle out of the mud, so he invites her and her family to dinner with the people he is staying with, the first step in her rehabilitation. The fall in love but she is not worthy etc.

toukokuu 15, 7:38 pm

7. Why did I Bother?

Rogue Countess by Amy Sandas

The hero was trapped into marriage with the sixteen-year-old heroine, and doesn't realise that she was as innocent a victim as he was. He deserted her on her wedding day and she has made a life for herself but now, after eight years he has returned and she wants to make him suffer. I'm not at all keen on revenge themes, so I didn't have a lot of sympathy for these two. Plus, the book is full of grammatical and vocabulary errors.

toukokuu 16, 3:47 pm

I've been looking for new authors.

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh - abandoned. I read 19% and decided I was too bored to finish. It was going to be a "madly attracted but kept apart by lack of communication and misunderstandings" with a touch of "I am not worthy."

3. Must We? Marriages of convenience.

A Match for the Marquess by Lillian Marek

The heroine, Anna, is compromised when the hero, Philip, climbs through her window thinking the room is empty. Her screams wake the rest of the house party. Anna is the daughter of an earl, but when her parents died in a carriage accident her wicked uncle appropriated her inheritance, isolated her from her parents' friends, and treated her as a servant. While her uncle was away, she had received a letter inviting her to a house party and persuaded her aunt and cousin to accompany her. Both Anna and Philip resent being forced into marriage, but things are looking promising until the wicked uncle goes off his head.

This was a pleasant read with a bit of humour. Warning: there's a nauseating epilogue. It's there to set up the rest of the Victorian Adventures series, which features Anna and Philip and their children.

toukokuu 16, 3:52 pm

Ah, the nauseating epilogue -- a staple of historical romance!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 3:33 pm

>210 christina_reads: Mary Balogh is the exemplar. The sun shining on the picnic; hordes of happy children; the siblings reunited; the once-wicked relatives, now reformed.....

10. Everything Else

Lady Emily's Exotic Journey by Lillian Marek

Hero: heir to a French Comte; estranged from his family; pretending to be an adventuring nobody
Heroine: daughter of the earl and countess, the Tremaines, from A Match for the Marquess; travelling through Turkey and Mesopotamia with her parents and her sister-in-law
Sub-heroine: the sister-in-law, beautiful and rigidly correct due to scandalous parentage
Sub-hero: handsome diplomat and translator, also rigidly correct due to the racism he endures because his mother is an Arab (sister of a sheik)

Parts of the book are dramatic, with danger and betrayal, but there are whole chapters where the hero and heroine muse separately on their impossible love, which are tedious and annoying.

Pros: humour, acceptable grammar; interesting details about travel in the middle east; the sex scenes are brief and not graphic.
Cons: whole chapters of nothing; hero and heroine are kept apart by not much.

A pleasant enough read. I skimmed the dull bits.

3. Must We?

The Debutante's Secret by Sophia James

For tautology fans: it's a hidden secret.

Hero: a gorgeous but dissolute man whose mother was mentally ill and father a blustering bully
Heroine: a beautiful young woman whose drug-addicted mother abandoned her respectable life and chose danger, depravity and penury, dragging her daughter with her.

The hero and heroine meet the first time on a snowy night. The twelve-year-old girl is trying to protect her mother who has been beaten up by a violent lover. They're a long way from home and the hero gives them a lift in his carriage. They meet again when the heroine is the most beautiful debutante of the season. She's been rescued by her father's brother and adopted into his respectable, happy family. The hero and heroine recognise one another and are drawn to each other, but she is looking for a respectable husband and a calm, orderly life, and he wants what's best for her.

Nothing special, but I liked it. Sophia James is a New Zealand writer.

Whenever I click Save Message, the touchstones disappear.

toukokuu 18, 3:34 pm

>211 pamelad: It's so true...I'm a big Balogh fan, but those epilogues are a lot.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 3:37 am

>206 pamelad: That series sounds fun and I added it to my audible wishlist. I like the idea that the stories are loosely based on fairy tales.

toukokuu 20, 3:35 pm

>212 christina_reads: The epilogues I have been encountering lately feature happily married couples and they have babies, which completes their lives! (Really? Not being cynical here, just seems like an overused trope. Maybe if I was a biological mom I would feel differently. . . )

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 20, 4:20 pm

>206 pamelad: Charis Michaels is worth trying. I liked A Duchess a Day, the first book in her fairytale series, Awakened by a Kiss.

>214 LadyoftheLodge: There is no such thing as an overused trope in historical romance fiction! The hero and heroine are always fabulous parents, as well.

toukokuu 20, 5:06 pm

Gentlemen of Honour by Sophia James is a collection of two books from the Gentlemen of Honour series: A Night of Secret Surrender and A Proposition for the Comte.

A Night of Secret Surrender

Major Summerly Shayborne is in France, spying for the English, when a woman in disguise warns him that he has been discovered and must flee. She is Celeste Fournier, left to survive alone in the murky, violent world of espionage when her father was murdered. Celeste and Shay had fallen in love in England, where she was brought up, so even though her respectable British life is over and she believes that she is degraded beyond repair, she is desperate to save him. This is a bit dark and violent, but there's a happy ending, I like James's writing, and she's from New Zealand.

A Proposition for the Comte

Aurelian de la Tomber, Comte de Beaumont, is a French spy, a good friend of Major Shayborne. He's in England searching for gold that was donated to Napoleon's campaign. Lady Violet Addington is a widow whose violent husband was mixed up in a conspiracy to defraud the French government of the donated gold. She's now caught up in the conspiracy and her life is a risk. On her way home from a ball she stops her carriage to pick up a wounded man, who turns out to be Aurelian. They're madly attracted to one another despite being unsure of whether they can trust each other.

I liked this one too, despite the violence and murky spy morality. James provides historical context and lots of drama.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 22, 5:52 pm

The Arrangement by Sylvia Day is a collection of three books: Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day, The Duke's Treasure by Minerva Spencer and The Inconvenient Countess by Kristin Vayden. The first two were quite readable and entertaining, though I remember nothing about them and probably had to skip a lot of graphic sexual encounters, but the third, despite a promising story, is ruined by atrocious grammar.

I need a new category for the damaged heroines in >216 pamelad:. Thinking.

I have a comma problem which I only see after posting, so I often have to edit my posts to remove a few.

toukokuu 23, 5:30 pm

7. Why did I Bother?

I found The Heart of an Earl by K J Jackson on my old Kindle. It's the first book in the Box of Draupnir series.

The box, which appears mid-way through the story, is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because it magnifies business profits and a curse because the quest to own it drives men mad. I wish the box had appeared earlier, but by the time it did I was interested enough in the hero, the mysterious Des, and the heroine, Julianna, to want to see that they had a happy ending. Des was press-ganged onto a ship and has spent seven years trying to remain alive so that he can return to his much-loved wife. He's on his way home when he receives a letter telling him that his wife is dead, and the vessel is attacked by pirates. Julianna, a young woman travelling with her parents, is abducted by the pirates. Des, who now has nothing to live for, risks his life in an attempt to save her, and is about to be killed for it, but the pirates let him go. Years later Des, who is now a crewman on a British privateer, finds Julianna aboard the pirate ship and saves her. They fall in love, but every time it looks as though they might achieve their happy ending something awful happens, usually because of the box. I lost patience and skipped to the end.

I cannot recommend The Heart of an Earl. The story is ludicrously far-fetched, even for an historical romance, and the writing is poor. The box theme is just silly.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 5:40 pm

Making All Steam, No Plot a sub-category of Why Did I Bother?

Expanding the What Price for this Heroine? to include other damaged heroines and trying to think of a good name for it.

These are very important problems!

I've created a category for romances with adventurous plots: spies, criminals, pirates

toukokuu 24, 12:33 pm

>219 pamelad: Thanks for making me laugh today!! I like that "All Steam" category. Carry on!

toukokuu 25, 3:39 am

>220 LadyoftheLodge: Time spent on these great philosophical questions is never wasted.

toukokuu 27, 4:16 pm

4. Steamless

Miss Fleming Falls in Love by Emma Melbourne

This appears to be the author's first book and it's a good start. It's a Regency romance with appealing characters, lively writing, and humour. The heroine is a young woman whose father, a viscount, drowned himself when he lost a fortune at cards, leaving a huge debt of honour to an earl, who is the hero. The heroine's brother is in the process of losing everything that remains. The book begins with the heroine impersonating her brother to the earl in an attempt to negotiate a way of settling her father's debt.

This is a standard story done well. It's available on KindleUnlimited.

toukokuu 30, 1:49 pm

>222 pamelad: Taking a BB on this. I read the sample book on my Kindle app. Another draw for me on this one is the heroine's name, which was mine too before I got remarried. Fleming with one "m" is an unusual spelling. I enjoyed the scene where Miss Fleming was playing chess against herself in the library before our hero the earl enters to find her there.

toukokuu 30, 11:28 pm

>223 LadyoftheLodge: I was also Miss Fleming (one m) before my marriage.

toukokuu 31, 3:09 pm

>222 pamelad: BB for me as well!

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 1, 5:02 pm

Greetings to the Miss Flemings. I hope you like Miss Fleming Falls in Love. You too, Christina.

I read the next book for BingoDOG - a best seller from 20 years ago. I couldn't find an Australian bestsellers site, so used a site for books published in 2003 instead. Stephanie Laurens is a popular writer of historical romances, so I'm assuming that her book sold a respectable number of copies.

10. Everything Else

A Gentleman's Honor by Stephanie Laurens is the second book in the Bastion Club series. The club members are titled men who operated as spies during the Napoleonic Wars and, now that they are back in England, need to find wives. I've read the first book in the series, The Lady Chosen, remember nothing about it, and gave it a mediocre 2.5 stars. I would give this one the same, mainly because of the ludicrously overwritten sex scenes. Laurens's books start off OK, but once the attraction blooms between the hero and heroine there are whole chapters of transcendental sexual encounters. They often start with "he took her mouth" which always makes me laugh because I think, "Where?" However, Laurens is a competent writer so her prose is grammatical and readable. Although she's Australian, only the Americanised versions of her books are available here so, while I'm inured to the spelling changes, I'm annoyed that a cricket game has been changed to a generic, baseball-like game and see no need to change a British term like "barman" to the contemporary American "barkeep".

Heroine: Alicia is capable, twenty-four-year-old woman who is pretending to be a widow in order to launch her younger sister, Adriana, on the ton. There are three younger brothers and no money, so Adriana needs to find an amenable, wealthy husband who will help her brothers and pay their school fees.
Hero: Anthony Blake, a viscount. He discovers Alicia in the garden of a house where a ball is being held. She is standing next to a dead man while holding a dagger.
Plot: The dead man is a traitor whose killer is trying to blame the murder on Alicia. The romantic plot is hard to credit because a woman as dutiful as Alicia just wouldn't behave the way she does.

ETA I'd already filled that square! It's like when you forget to buy something at the supermarket e.g. bay leaves, then you buy them every time you go shopping and end up with a year's supply.

kesäkuu 2, 4:24 pm

>224 lowelibrary: It is always nice to meet another Fleming!

kesäkuu 3, 3:43 pm

5. Second Chances

A Lady of His Own by Stephanie Laurens, third in the Bastion Club series.

Hero: Charles St Austell, Earl of Lostwithiel. Like the other members of the Bastion Club he's an ex-spy. He's searching for a traitor who was selling secrets to the French during the Napoleonic Wars. His suspicions have fallen on a neighbour, now deceased, who was the half-brother of the heroine. He needs to marry but is relieved to have an excuse to quit the London season because superficial debutante's hold no appeal for him. He wants a woman of substance who will understand him.
Heroine: Lady Penelope Selborne. She donated her virginity to Charles thirteen years ago when she was thirteen, but decided he didn't love her and has managed to avoid him ever since. Her half-brother, the suspected traitor, was heir to her father, an earl, and now that both are dead the earldom has passed to a cousin of her father. The cousin's son, Nicholas, is staying at Penelope's home, which now belongs to his father, and is acting suspicously, so she is following him in secret, dressed in breeches and riding astride. (These details are significant in historical romances and demonstrate that Penny is a reckless and independent woman.)
Plot: Penny and Charles join forces because their investigations overlap and because Charles, an interrogator who has been trained to kill, has to protect Penny and Nicholas from an assassin. Charles has always loved Penny and is determined to woo her and marry her, but Penny thinks he's driven only by lust.

I liked this one more than A Gentleman's Honor because Penny's actions were consistent with her character, unlike Alicia's. There are far too many sex scenes, but then again, the book would be far too long if there weren't multiple chapters of purple prose to skip.

kesäkuu 7, 9:32 pm

Waiting on a Damaged Heroine Category.

A Warriner to Tempt Her by Virginia Heath

Heroine: Bella, an earl's daughter, was attacked at Vauxhall Gardens a year ago and has been depressed and frightened ever since. She's gradually gaining confidence by volunteering at the Foundling Hospital. She's an intelligent young woman with an interest in medicine.
Hero: Joe the third son of the notorious Warriners. His family has had a terrible reputation for generations, but Joe and his brothers are restoring their good name. Joe is a doctor, the third son of an earl.
Plot: Bella is threatened with ghastly medical treatments for mental illness. There's a smallpox outbreak.

I read this because the author is British. She must be northern, because she says sat for sitting, stood for standing e.g. he was stood by the fireplace. Readable but nothing special.

8. Reformed Rakes Make the Best Husbands

A Warriner to Seduce Her by Virginia Heath

Heroine: Fliss is a teacher in a convent for wayward girls. She has been brought to London by her wicked uncle. Fliss thinks she's going to see the sights and have a season (despite being already 25) but her uncle is using her as bait for a disgusting old earl he wants to do business with.
Hero: Jake is the youngest Warriner. He's a spy whose job is to seduce Fliss to get information about the wicked uncle.
Plot: Fliss is in danger from the uncle's criminal associates. She's falling in love with Jake despite her better judgement.

This is the last book in the series, so it has a nauseating epilogue. Seventeen children, all with the black hair and bright blue eyes of the Warriners.

kesäkuu 8, 3:49 pm

1. Damaged Dukes and Ailing Earls

This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James

Jemma had been married to Elija for only a few weeks when she surprised him in his office tupping (historical romance word) his mistress on his desk. (There's a reason for this, but not a good one.) She left for France the next day and now, eight years later, has returned to England to provide Elija with an heir to his dukedom. Jemma has always loved Elija, but not only is his life so devoted for duty that he has no time for her, but the stress and long hours are exacerbating a heart condition that promises to kill him within weeks.

Can Jemma make Elija fall in love with her? Is there a cure for his heart condition? Does everyone need to play quite so many games of chess?