Author: Cathy Maxwell

Guest Review: If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell

Posted December 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name. 

His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.  

However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .

Roman Gilchrist has inherited the title of the Earl of Rochdale.  Unfortunately with that title came the debts that his predecessors had racked up and he’s told that he needs to marry quickly in order to pay them off.  He’s told that there are three heiresses that are called the Spinster Heiresses and that marrying one of them will get him out of debt.  He is more than hesitant as his family has always married for love and he’s a romantic at heart.  He wants that love as well.

Roman is shocked and pleased when he hears that Leonie Charnock is one of the heiresses.  He thought himself in love with her at one time and lost his army commission because of her.  He thinks he has harsh feelings towards her but he may be confusing those with love.

Leonie plans to never marry but her father is insisting.  She tries to put him off as much as possible.  Her father and mother live separate lives so between them hating each other and an experience from her younger days she’s determined to stay single.  That is until Roman comes back into the picture.  She never thought to see him again but when she does, feelings that she thought long buried come to the surface. Her mother long ago offered her brandy to “take off the edge” of anything she was feeling.  Unfortunately Leonie never stopped taking the edge off and she now can’t live without the alcohol to get through the day.  Despite her determination to stay single she soon finds herself married but Roman isn’t thrilled with the woman she’s become.

This was an interesting second chance at love/reunion romance.  It wasn’t my favorite of Maxwell’s books but it was good.  I can’t say that I loved delving into the topic of alcoholism but it happens, so I applaud Maxwell’s decision to write about it.  Unfortunately it turned Roman into a bit of an ass.

The first part of the book was really good and I was highly enjoying it until Roman and Leonie got married.  That started a string of events where Roman was just a douche.  I wish I could say he dealt with things well but except for when they were having sex, his attitude annoyed the heck out of me.  I was happy to see him try to deal with Leonie’s alcoholism rather than cast her out, but the way he went about it just got my hackles up.

Leonie was a nice girl who’d had a shitty life.  She was dealing with it the best she could – unfortunately that included alcohol.  Despite her alcoholism she was a kind person and I didn’t feel she truly deserved the horrible things that Roman said to her.  I guess that was his version of tough love but I didn’t care to read about it in a romance novel.

Despite my issues with the second part of the book I did like it.  If you don’t mind delving into a book that might have you wishing you could throw the hero across the room then pick this one up. 🙂

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 27, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Marrying the Duke #2

Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

Charlene is an orphan who lives with her aunt Sarah.  Sarah is an actress and takes as many jobs as possible to make ends meet.  Charlene’s uncle (not related to Sarah) had been paying Charlene’s expenses until a few months prior and then all money just stopped coming.  One of Charlene’s good friends (her deceased mother’s godmother) taught her how to pick pockets and Charlene had been doing that and telling Sarah that the money had come from her uncle.  On one of the days she is out picking pockets she decides on a gentleman to rob but doesn’t plan on his friend chasing her when he sees she’s escaping.

Charlene gets away from her pursuer but not before they get a good look at each other.  Though Charlene is dressed as a boy the man, Jack Whitridge, sees that she is a woman and from that point on cannot get her out of his head.

Charlene, though penniless, has impeccable bloodlines and her aunt arranges for her to attend a ball where she can meet the Duke of Baynton who is looking for a wife.  She doesn’t believe anything will come of it but she attends anyway and the duke is completely taken with her.  Unfortunately, the ball is interrupted when the duke’s long lost brother, Jack, shows up.  Charlene manages to hide from him but soon he discovers that his twin is courting her.

Jack left England when he was press-ganged into service.  He managed to leave the ship eventually and landed in America where he has lived and worked since that time.  He’s now a lawyer and is back in England to try to talk to the powers-that-be to try to stop a war between England and America (which would eventually become the War of 1812) but no one wants to talk.  No one takes the American’s seriously and they even look at Jack as a bit of a turncoat as it seems he’s turning his back on England by defending America. Jack knows that he must do his best for his adopted country but his duties don’t stop him from confronting Charlene and then falling for her.  Despite how much he likes her, however, he can’t take her from his twin – or can he?

This was a sweet story that was a bit different.  At first I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win Charlene – Jack or his twin, Gavin the duke. I liked them both at first but Gavin proved to be a stick in the mud, which I didn’t really care fore.  Also, once he found out about Charlene and Jack he did some pretty rotten things to his twin and I really didn’t like that.

Charlene was a great heroine.  She was very responsible and though she went about finding fund for their household the wrong way I had to admire her for trying.  She really did want to make her family happy and if that meant marrying the duke then she would do it.  Unfortunately, she had had met Jack before the duke and had already started liking him and that put the big kibosh on any feelings she might have had for Gavin in the future.

I very much liked Jack’s character.  He was trying to do the right thing for his adopted country and though I could see how he was troubled by people thinking of him as a traitor I was happy that he stood his ground and continued on his original goal.  He was a good man and I liked that he stood up for what he believed in.

I have to say that I would have liked to have seen more of a romance between Charlene and Jack.  It seemed like there was infatuation and that it was starting to turn into more and then boom!  They were in love and nothing could tear them apart.  I was more than a bit surprised by the progression of the relationship as it just didn’t seem like the pair had spent enough time in each others company to feel the way they did.  IDK, maybe it’s just me, but I really needed more in the build-up between the two of them.

The story overall is romantic and a good read but was lacking a bit in that relationship build-up that I needed.  Even though Gavin was a bit of an ass in this story I’m curious to see what happens with this conservative fuddy-duddy when it’s time for his romance.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 12, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Married in Haste by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Holly
Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Marriage #1

Publication Date: November 14th 2006
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

A scandalous gamble . . .
With her exceptional beauty, heiress Tess Hamlin has been dubbed "the Incomparable" by the lords of the ton. Though she can have her pick of suitors, Tess has no desire to wed. She'd rather delight in the intoxicating effect she has on men when she enters a room. But when she makes a daring wager and must secure a marriage proposal in one evening, she plays a dangerous charade with the first man who's ever set her pulse racing.
Leads to the most unexpected passion . . .
As the new, impoverished Earl of Merton, Brenn Owen needs to find a wealthy wife—and fast. He can think of no better woman than Tess. She's stunning, intriguing— and rich! Utterly captivated by Tess, Brenn vows to have her. When news of Tess's wager breaks, her brother, who hopes to avoid the ensuing scandal, accepts Brenn's offer to marry his sister—much to Tess's dismay. Now will a marriage made in haste lead to disaster . . . or the most blissful desire?

Married in Haste is the first book in Cathy Maxwell‘s Marriage Series.

This book is the perfect example of how good writing and interesting characters can make up for plot devices that are generally avoided. It features one of my most hated plot devices: The Big Misunderstanding

I think that blurb sucks, so I’m writing my own.

Warning: Mild Plot Spoilers Below!!

Tess is the most sought after women of the ton. Even though she’s been out for several seasons, she’s beautiful, has a large fortune and for the most part, she’s been allowed to run wild. While at a ball, she makes a bet with the other diamond of the first water for the season to see who can be the first to receive a marriage proposal that evening.

Tess sets her sights on Brenn Owens, an Earl from Welsh who has just come to town, not realizing that he’s there in search of a bride…a wealthy one. And he’s set his sights on her, too. When the matchmaking mama’s at the ball catch wind of the bet (which also involved several other ladies of the ton), Tess’s older brother and guardian, says he’s had enough and agrees to a betrothal between Brenn and Tess, despite Tess’s refusal (she didn’t really want to marry him, she just wanted the proposal).

What Tess doesn’t know however, is…her fortune is gone. Her brother claims to have invested all of it in an Italian inventor and lost every last cent. All 50,000 pounds of it. Crushed and desperate to help her brother, Tess reluctantly agrees to the marriage. But her brother makes her promise that she won’t tell Brenn the truth about her fortune until they’re well settled together.

As they travel to Brenn’s estate, Tess falls in love with Brenn, but fears what will happen when he finds out about her fortune, never realizing that he’s only married her for his money. For Brenn’s part, he seems to be coming to care for Tess and doesn’t want to tell her what a state of disrepair his estate is in, so he decides it will be best if he let’s her see for herself.

And this, well this is where I started liking the book. Hard to believe since the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING plots generally drive me insane. Especially when the hero or heroine (or both) are keeping things from the other.

You know what saved this novel for me? Tess. Rather than running back to London with her maid, or falling into hysterics or even wallowing in self-pity, she decides to stick it out and do what she can to help Brenn and his village.

That very night – after she kicks Brenn out of the house – she comes up with a plan to raise the money they need. Then sets out to make nice with villagers and learn to care for herself. It was wonderful watching her find herself and seeing Brenn fall all over himself to please her as he watches her change.

Plus, she shut Brenn out of bed and didn’t let him back in, which was a refreshing change.

I really enjoyed Brenn, too. He was such a typical man, saying things without thinking of how they really sounded. It was really cute how he decided to buy Tess’ love back by sending her flowers, etc, though I love that Tess didn’t cave in. It was a treat when he realized what he’d done and that it needed to be fixed.

The only thing I truly hated about this book was Tess’ brother. Though we don’t see much of him in person, it finally becomes clear that he isn’t the person Tess thought he was. That was so frustrating to read about, because Tess so wanted to believe in him. My biggest regret in this novel is that he didn’t get his just deserts.

Otherwise, it was a great read. The beginning frustrated me, but I found myself sucked in despite my issues with the plot, and I’m very happy I stuck it out.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in eBook format.

The series is as follows:

Married In Haste
A Scandalous Marriage
The Marriage Contract

four-stars


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Review: Temptation of a Proper Governess by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 4, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Temptation of a Proper Governess by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Holly
Temptation of a Proper Governess by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Cameron Sisters #1
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

Society dictates that a governessshould be modest, quiet, and keep to herself.
She should never contradict her employer.
And, above all, she must not attract the attention of any male in the household.
But Michael Severson doesn't see Isabel Halloran as a governess—he sees her as a woman, one whose lush curves cannot be hidden behind a dowdy gown ... and whose efforts at hiding her sparkling intelligence are betrayed by her wit.
Years before, Michael had left Regency England, falsely accused of a crime. Now he is back, dedicated to seeking retribution—but not to taking a bride. But when his scandalous actions compromise Isabel's reputation, he does the unthinkable and offers her his hand—a marriage in name only.
But although his bride's passions are untried, Isabel's sensuality clearly matches his own. And with each day, and night, that passes, Michael becomes determined that every kiss, every caress, will be made with one goal: to seduce his proper wife into tender submission.

I think it was Romance Lover from Where’s My Hero that said this book turned her off of Cathy Maxwell for good, so I wasn’t expecting a great read when I picked it up, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Isabel is the bastard daughter of an Earl who’s working as a governess. During a country party, she finds out that her employer is scheeming with his 17-year-old daughter, her charge, to trap the wealthy Michael Seversen into marriage. While trying to retrieve the bracelett the daughter left in Michael’s bed, she’s found in a compromising position and dismissed.

Michael is back in England from Canada to finally clear his name of the murder of his former mistress. When he finds out that Isabel is the daughter of the man he thinks commited the murder, he marries her hoping to draw his quary out. Only Isabel doesn’t know that’s why he married her, and when she finds out, she’s extremely unhappy.

While attempts are made on both of their lives and they search for the real killer, they fall in love.

Overall it was really good. I was all kinds of salty in the beginning when they pratcially fall into bed within seconds of meeting each other, but I got over it as the story progressed. I liked the vicar and his wife and loved Michael. Isabel didn’t irritate me much, either, which is always a bonus for me. Kudos to CM for not making me hate the heroine.

Not a must read, but still good.

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

This is the first book in the Cameron Sisters trilogy:

Temptation of a Proper Governess
The Price of Indescretion
In the Bed of a Duke

three-half-stars


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