Genre: Historical Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire

Posted February 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Seducing the Governess by Margo MaguireReviewer: Tracy
Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire
Series: Regency Flings #4
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A Proper Governess Should Never...

Assist a handsome stranger, alone on an unfamiliar road...unless the rake happens to be her new employer.

Take a position in a crumbling manor...especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.

Allow her young charge entrée to her heart...for once done, it will be impossible to maintain proper distance.

Permit her charge's uncle a breathtaking kiss under a star-lit sky...henceforth she will most certainly lose composure whenever he is near.

And above all, she should never, ever fall completely, irreversibly in love with her employer...for nothing good can possibly come of it.

This review was originally posted on February 19, 2011.

Mercy Franklin was desperate after the death of her mother and decided to advertise as a governess. She only had one reply and so she took off for the Lake District. She’s not exactly sure she can do the job since she’s just a vicar’s daughter and hasn’t done anything like this before but she’s determined to do her best.

Mercy is a bit surprised when she sees the hall for the first time. It’s falling down around their heads, dusty and dirty. Emmaline, her charge and the current earl’s niece is a quiet and reserved 8-year old who hardly speaks. On top of that, the earl himself isn’t a thing like she would imagine an Earl would be like – but Mercy finds him extremely handsome despite the scars on his face. Mercy knows that she needs to stay far away from the man but she keeps finding herself in his presence. The earl is a bit harsh but Mercy finds that she enjoys verbally sparring with him and the tension between the two of them is extremely high. Mercy finds herself falling for the earl while the earl can’t seem to stay away from her either.

There are other issues going on with all of Ashby Hall’s’ residents. The earl is trying to deal with the deaths of his two older brothers, the fact that he’s now an earl and must try to marry to beget an heir, the demise of Ashby Hall and its lands, and the lack of coin to get the whole place back to its shining glory (and a dowry, if he does marry, would come in quite handy). Emmaline despite her young age is dealing with the deaths of her parents as well as the deaths of her uncle and aunt after that. I believe she finds it hard to trust anyone as she feels that they might leave her – just as the earl feels. Then there’s Mercy who is dealing with the death of her mother too soon after the death of her father – but her mother told Mercy, just before she died, that she was indeed not her daughter and they had taken her in when she was three years of age. Even though she eventually reads her “mother’s” journal and is understandably upset by the insensitivity of it she feels adrift not knowing who she really is or where she came from.

Throughout the book there’s also another story going on at the same time. This one is of a dying duke who has decided that he needs to find his two granddaughters who he so callously sent off to be placed with other families as he wanted nothing to do with them after the death of their parents. Now he wants to make amends, find the girls and bequeath to them the monies and lands of his that are unentailed. We follow Captain Gavin Briggs as he seeks to follow a 20-year-old trail and find the girls. But there’s someone else who is looking for them as well and the other person doesn’t want the girls found at all – they’ll stop at nothing to keep them hidden.

This book is really the first part of a two-part story and frankly, I’m very interested to read the second part of the book. Now, because of the two-part issue, I think that there were some things that I would have liked to have seen accomplished in this book…like Mercy (who you know from minute 1 is one of the dying duke’s granddaughters) meeting her grandfather and dealing with that mess as well as coming to terms with the family that raised her, that wasn’t and I can only assume…and hope, that those things will be dealt with in the next book.

That being said I really enjoyed this story. I thought that the tension between Mercy and Nash was wonderful and compelling and I kept turning pages to see what was going to happen next. Once the pair started the sexual part of their relationship – even though they weren’t married (scandalous, I know!) the story moved pretty quickly and things were wrapped up in about 30 pages but that was ok – it worked!

A quick, easy read that was quite enjoyable. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for the second part!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Regency Flings

four-stars


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Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

Posted February 25, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie HowardReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Series: Everleigh Sisters #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.

Lady Astrid Everleigh is desperate to save her sister from an unwanted marriage to the man who ruined her own reputation. So desperate, in fact, she hatches a plan to get the Duke of Beswick to marry her. Whatever it takes.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, who came back from the war horribly scarred, is doing his best to live up to his reputation as The Beast of Beswick. He knows marriage is not for him, but Astrid is nearly irresistible.

Holly: I’m a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When our book club suggested we read this for our February book, I was all about it, even though historicals have been hit or miss for me lately.

Rowena: I didn’t know that I was a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings until I read this one. I’m not that interested in reading historicals these days but I’m glad that I read this one. It took me a while to get into this story because I kept letting myself get distracted by any and everything else but once I buckled down, it took me no time at all to get this one read.

Holly: This started out really well for me. I loved Astrid and her determination to save herself and her sister. The way she stood up for herself and decided to take her future into her own hands for the sake of her sister was great.

What did you think?

Rowena: I enjoyed both Astrid and Thane. Their individual stories and their romance kept me interested from beginning to end. I love how she kept thinking of him as the naked duke. LOL.

Holly: The Naked Duke made me laugh. Her embarrassment when she walked in on him in the bath was hilarious.

I really enjoyed their romance. The way they understood each other and tried to care for the other on the down-low was cute.

Rowena: When did things start to go bad for you?

Holly: It started to go bad for me when Isobel, Astrid’s sister, decided to take off with the evil aunt and uncle. You?

Rowena: To be honest, I was much more interested in Astrid and Thane so I didn’t pay all that much attention to Isobel. Was I annoyed that she took off without telling Astrid? Yeah. I also wasn’t a fan of the way that she kept Astrid out of EVERYTHING. It read more like Isobel knew better than Astrid and I didn’t like that. I guess I was a little interested, haha.

Everything that Astrid did for Isobel, I felt like they did together. They were a team but when Isobel took off, it was like she left the band to be a solo artist and yeah, not a fan of that shit.

Holly: I think that’s what bothered me the most – that Isobel seemed to think she knew better than Astrid. It made it seem like she didn’t have any faith or trust in her sister, which was frustrating after everything Astrid did for her. For her to leave a note and take off was so cowardly. Plus, the way she was determined to “manipulate” (her word) everyone into getting what she wanted was so immature. Honestly, I have no desire to read her book. You?

Rowena: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not even a little bit interested in reading Isobel’s book because I agree with everything you said. I’m more curious about Isobel’s husband and what he thinks about their marriage and if he knows about Isobel’s plot. I hope someone I know reads it so they can tell me instead of me finding out for myself, haha.

Holly: I read the blurb for the next book and her hero? He married her to fulfil the terms of a will so he could get his inheritance. He didn’t care about her at all. Not when they married anyway. So yeah, count me out for that one.

Rowena: Astrid was my favorite in the entire book. I loved how smart she was, how unapologetic she was in what she liked and what she wanted. She fought hard for the things that mattered to her and I loved when she slapped people down (especially Beaumont) with her words.

Holly: Astrid was my favorite part of this book, too. I loved how she decided who and what she was about. She didn’t let anyone cow her, and she didn’t bow to anyone. I really loved how she put herself out there while staying in charge of her own fate. It was great.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that even though Astrid was terrified to put herself completely out there, she did it anyway because she truly wanted to make her relationship with Thane work. I also loved her relationship with Thane’s Aunt. She was the freaking best! I love how Astrid went chasing after Thane to have it out with him when he was being an ass at that last ball they were all at.

Holly: I also loved how Thane supported her and championed her, even if it was from the background.

Holly:I wasn’t really bothered by him pushing her away. I understand it had more to do with him than her. What about you?

Rowena: I thought that I would be a lot more annoyed with the back and forth that Thane did where Astrid was concerned but I wasn’t. Not at all. I completely understood why he was the way that he was and why he acted the way that he did. He’s human and I loved that Amalie Howard showed his struggles with his appearance and being out in public. I also loved that he really understood and accepted Astrid as she was. He didn’t shower her with jewels and flowers, he knew what would win her over and gifted the things that were just so…her. That was so great.

Holly: I really loved the gifts he gave her. They showed how thoughtful and caring he was, and how much he paid attention to her.

Rowena: Oh, I also really loved Thane’s servants. They were so freaking cute!

Holly: Thane’s servants were the best. I loved how he kept threatening to fire them but they were just like “eh, whatever. So, like I was saying…”.

Rowena: Overall, this story worked for me. It was entertaining, it had great villains that I loved to hate and the romance was pretty steamy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: While I really liked the romance, some parts were slow and I did get pulled out of the story a couple times by certain things. I’m going to give this 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Everleigh Sisters

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Posted February 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 382
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Desperately seeking a husband...

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow—handsome, titled, single . . . and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for—it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive . . . while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

This review was originally posted on February 15, 2011.

I confess I read these books out of order. Even though this is the second book in the series, I read it first not realizing it. Because it runs parallel to the first book, The Countess, I didn’t enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did this one, since I found it rather redundant. I think had I read The Countess first, I would have liked this one less than I did. Just a warning for those of you who want to read the series.

I’ve been referring to this book as a historical Weekend at Bernie’s. With a zany plot, silly antics, and a corpse that turns up in the most unfortunate places, this is a fun romp.

Suzette, Lady Madison is in a bind. Her father has gambled them to the edge of ruin – for the second time in a year – and she must marry in order to save the family. She’s only got two weeks before her father’s markers come due, which doesn’t leave much time to find someone. She isn’t interested in marriage in the least, so she devises a plan to give her as much power as possible in the union: In exchange for the bulk of her dowry (which is rather substantial) her new husband must agree to give her a portion and her freedom. She figures if she finds a titled gentleman desperately in need of funds she should be married in no time.

Daniel Woodrow is only trying to help his friend, Richard, reclaim his identity, so he’s shocked when Suzette proposes marriage to him. To put her off he claims to be poor, but that only seems to make him more perfect in his eyes. Determined to keep her from marrying for the wrong reasons, he agrees to consider the proposal while he and Richard investigate the death of Richard’s twin and the circumstances behind Suzette’s father gambling all their money away.

But there is more going on than meets the eye, and between corpses, murder attempts, family obligations and an overwhelming passion neither could have foreseen, they’ll need all their wits about them. This is rather unfortunate since good sense seems to disappear when they touch each other.

Suzette really made this story. She is honest and forthright and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter how unflattering the truths she reveals. The word that kept coming to mind to describe her was termagant, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Daniel is a stand-up kind of guy, the type many women dream about. Where others might have been horrified by the heroine, he adored her. Though he isn’t sure he wants to marry her, he does want to ensure her future is secure, one way or another. I thought it was hilarious that he wouldn’t let anyone tell her the truth about his financial state for fear she’d decide not to marry him, even when he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage.

Though I enjoyed it, this novel requires the reader to suspend a huge amount of disbelief in order to make it work. This was hard at times because the plot was so unbelievable. The basis of the plot is so flimsy I really struggled to accept it. The antics of the characters were amusing, but Sands pushed it too far on several occasions.

I will say, despite the lighthearted nature of the book, there’s enough depth to keep it from being over the top. The love story is shaded with flashes of the deep emotion that reel the reader in.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, I recommend this. Just remember to go into it expecting a plot on the unbelievable side.

3.75 out of 5

Madison Sisters

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Hit Me With Your Best Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Posted February 8, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Hit Me With Your Best Scot by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
Hit Me With Your Best Scot by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Wild Wicked Highlanders #3
Also in this series: It's Getting Scot in Here
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The MacTaggert brothers have one task:Find English brides or lose their land!

Coll MacTaggert, Viscount Glendarril, is a big, brawny Highlander who doesn’t like being told what to do—not even by his exasperated English mother who is determined to see her eldest son wedded and bedded. However, when he comes to the rescue of an irresistibly beautiful woman, Coll discovers that he may have found his perfect match…

The challenge isn’t that Persephone Jones is famous, wealthy, independent, and smarter than anyone he knows. The problem is that she is not interested in marrying any man---especially not a hot-headed Scot—even if he is the only man who seems to understand who she really is even when she’s not sure herself. When Coll learns that Persephone is actually a lady-in-hiding and someone is willing to kill her for what she stands to inherit…Well, Coll has never been one to turn down a fight. When hearts are involved, nothing comes between a Highlander and his lady.

Coll McTaggert is trying to escape his mother’s matchmaking, once again, at the theatre.  He escapes backstage after greasing the doorman’s palm.  There he witnesses the amazing Persephone Jones.  The couple of times he’d been to the theatre he’s been running away from his mother so had never seen a production. Viewing it from the side stage gave him an interesting view of the woman he can’t take his eyes off.

Coll soon finds out that she’s “spoken for” but when he finds that she’s not as spoken for as the gentleman made it seem, Coll comes to the rescue.  He then devises a plan to protect her from her many admirers and keep his mother off of his back by telling her that he’s engaged to an actress. Oh, the horror!

What starts off as just a bit of a jest ends up turning to true protection when Coll and Persie find out that someone’s trying to kill her.  Not only do they have to find a killer but Coll has to figure out what his true feelings for Persie are the more time they spend together.

Ms. Enoch did not disappoint in this book.  I have to admit that throughout the series I wasn’t a huge fan of Colls.  I mean, I get why he’s so upset.  He’s being forced into marriage in order to save his people, which might be fine if it didn’t have to be an Englishwoman!  That’s the part that sticks in his craw.  Maybe if it was a Scottish woman he would be slightly less antagonistic, but probably not. Lol  Despite the fact that he wasn’t my favorite McTaggert, I liked this story a lot.

Persie and Coll were great together and their story was intriguing.  Their relationship and the mystery of who was trying to kill Persie kept me turning pages.  Top that with Coll’s mother’s reaction to Coll and an actress?  Fireworks. 😊

In the end I was quite happy with how the story turned out and I had a very enjoyable time reading it.

Rating 4 out of 5

Wild Wicked Highlanders

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted January 28, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Rowena
Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Abandoned at the Altar #2
Also in this series: Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 372
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

ONE TRYST WAS ALL SHE WANTED ...

From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.

ONE TRYST JUST WASN'T ENOUGH ...

Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?

This review was originally posted on January 25, 2011.

This is the second book in the Abandoned at the Altar series and I ate this book up. As much as I enjoyed the first book, Wedding of the Season, I enjoyed this book a little more. I knew that something was going on between Julia and Aidan in WotS and I knew that it was going to be a good story and boy was I not disappointed.

Julia wants a divorce and she’s desperate enough to go to any lengths to secure a divorce and when Aidan gets caught in the middle of it all, she’s sorry for it but she doesn’t regret it. Aidan, on the other hand, is furious but because he’s a gentleman, he doesn’t give Julia the cut direct like she was expecting.

After Julia finally gets her divorce, she’s faced with a freedom that she’s always craved and while she’s excited about that, she’s also trying to clear up the debt that she racked up while being married to Yardley. She got the divorce for herself but she’s turning her life around for her family. She’s put them through the wringer with her antics during her marriage and she’s determined to make things right for them. She’s starting with cleaning up her debt problems, only she has no idea what she’s going to do about it because the small allowance that Paul gives her won’t put a dent in it. So she goes to the one person who would know what to do but who probably wants nothing to do with her.

She goes to the Duke of Trathen, of course.

I loved how Julia was the one woman that Aidan could never have but the one woman that he always wanted. I loved how he disapproved of everything she did and judged her but deep down, he craved her like a pregnant lady craves cake. I enjoyed watching both of them fall for each other and I thought that Julia and Aidan were so perfect for each other.

This pairing is my favorite of the two books and I thoroughly enjoyed the romance, it was cute and steamy and I ate it up. I loved getting to know both Julia and Aidan separately and then getting to know them together. They were interesting characters and my heart went out to both of them. To Julia for what she went through with her first husband and to Aidan for feeling helpless to help her.

My one gripe with this story was Julia’s reasons for not wanting to marry Aidan. Ugh, that whole thing made me want to smack Julia upside her head because to put Aidan in the same catagory as Yardley made me want to smack some sense into her but in the end, it worked out so I wasn’t too unhappy with that part of the story.

I really enjoyed this story and am anxious for more from the other characters in this series. I’d love to see more from Paul as I am very fond of her character. I think the set up between him and his wife would make for a wonderful story. All in all, this was a great story and I thoroughly recommend it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Abandoned at the Altar

four-half-stars


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