Series: The Daughters of Amhurst

Guest Review: To Win a Viscount by Frances Fowlkes

Posted October 10, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To Win a Viscount by Frances FowlkesReviewer: Tracy
To Win a Viscount by Frances Fowlkes
Series: The Daughters of Amhurst #2
Also in this series: The Earl's New Bride
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

England, 1820.

To gain a certain marquess's notice, Lady Albina Beauchamp aims to win the derby. What she hadn't planned for is the price handsome Mr. Edmund White asks in payment to train her to race: each lesson for a kiss.
A first place finish isn't the only thing worth racing for.

Lady Albina Beauchamp is in love with the Marquess of Satterfield. Unfortunately, his only interest is in horses, and doesn't know she exists. But when the marquess confesses he will bestow his undying admiration on the jockey racing the winning horse at Emberton Derby, Albina sets out to win his affections by training to race.

Mr. Edmund White is a master groomsmen for the Earl of Amhurst in line for a viscountcy, should he abandon his passion for horses and become a respectable sheep owner. But horses are his love--until he meets Lady Albina and her silly notions of racing. When she affirms she will enter the derby with or without his assistance, Edmund not only instructs his student in racing, but seduction as well.

For Albina, a first place finish isn't the only thing at stake. She must decide whether to take her place in society...or follow her heart and love a groom.

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

So Albina thinks herself in love with a Marquess who can’t seem to give her the time of day.  She liked him in book one but he only had eyes for her sister Henrietta – and it seems even though she’s now married he still has eyes only for Henrietta.  Albina overhears the Marquess talking about an upcoming horse race that he will be entering his horse in.  He knows that Albina’s brother-in-law, the Earl of Amhurst, will be entering a horse as well.  When the Marquess states that he will “greatly admire” both the horse and the jockey who wins the Emberton race Albina knows what she has to do.  She has to enter Emberton as a jockey – riding her brother-in-law’s horse and not have anyone be the wiser.  She begs her sister and her cousin to ask their husbands to let her do this but when they do ask the men give an emphatic no.

Quite frankly I should have stopped reading at that point.  I mean, what the everloving hell does this woman thinks she’s doing?  Does she really think that this Marquess who doesn’t even see her will want to marry her because she’s made a spectacle of herself being a jockey? (Not that I think women can’t be jockey’s (or couldn’t back then) but they would have been so ridiculed for it and it would raise quite a scandal. Anyway I kept reading…

Albina tries to take one of the Earl’s horses out of the stables and is stopped by the head groom, Mr. White – Edmund. He’s been instructed that no one will ride the horse but himself, the jockey or the Earl.  She somehow talks him into teaching her to ride properly so that she can win the race and he does…every morning for six weeks.  His payment?  He gets a kiss from her after each lesson.  Now unbeknownst to Albina the Earl and her cousin’s husband, the Duke of Waverly who actually runs Emberton, talks to Edmund and asks if he thinks she can really win the race.  Edmund says yes and the Earl and Duke agree to let her continue and enter the race.

We all know what happens with Edmund because this is a romance – of course she falls in love with him (and forgets the Marquess, thank God) and really, he’s a very nice guy who actually could be a viscount if he accepted his uncle’s ridiculous conditions which include never working with horses again. Completely unacceptable. I really liked him and he was the best part of the book.  Albina wants to be with Edmund and doesn’t care that he’s a groom but they are eventually separated when the information comes out. Can they ever be together?

So that’s the gist of the book.  There are obviously other things that happen – I’m not telling you the entire book by far.   The whole end of the book is when I had an even bigger issue with the book.  When I should have been feeling Albina and Edmund’s love and longing for each other so deeply all I could be was pissed off.  Remember the Earl and the Duke telling Edmund to allow Albina to race?  After she’s actually raced they call her in and act like they had no idea about her scheme and berate her up one side and down the other and put her to tears.  I was so horrified by the way they were treating her when they were the ones that told Edmund to teach her.  I just don’t understand why they couldn’t have kept it all a secret from everyone else and given her a little kudos on a job well done in private.  Would that have been too much to ask? Apparently it was. I really liked the Earl from the previous book but after reading this oneI really don’t like him at all.  What an ass!  I’m sure that’s the way men treated women all the time back then but ugh!  I don’t want to read about men being like that in my romance novels!!

Ok, I’m calm now (not).  So those are my thoughts on the book.  I really like Fowlkes’ writing but this story was not to my liking.  It did have more moments of good than bad but I couldn’t get over Albina’s decision to race and since that was the whole basis of the book well…there ya go.  I am looking forward to Sarah’s book as she’s much more level-headed than her twin Albina. I’m crossing my fingers that there won’t be any crazy hair-brained schemes to get a man to notice her in that one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

(The story gets a 1 star rating and the writing gets 2 stars.)

three-stars

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Guest Review: The Earl’s New Bride by Frances Fowlkes

Posted September 16, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Earl’s New Bride by Frances FowlkesReviewer: Tracy
The Earl's New Bride by Frances Fowlkes
Series: The Daughters of Amhurst
Also in this series: To Win a Viscount
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: September 7, 2015
Genres: Historical
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

England, 1819

The Earl of Amhurst has returned to his estate in search of a wife and, more importantly, an heir. Simon Devere isn't interested in some comely, simpering creature. A beautiful woman only brings heartbreak and ruin, and Simon's disfigured visage is proof enough of that. No, he wants a wife who is unattractive and undesirable-and the homelier, the better.

But nothing about Lady Henrietta Beauchamp is homely. She is lovely and sweet... and struggles to mix with polite society when she would so much rather have plants for company. And yet Simon is her only hope for keeping Plumburn Castle in her family's possession. Even if it means marrying a man she doesn't love.

It's an impossible and unlikely match... unless this awkward beauty can bring hope back into a solitary beast's life.

Tracy’s review of The Earl’s New Bride by Frances Fowlkes

The Earl of Amhurst is throwing a party at his country home to try and find a bride. He invited several women including the daughters of his distant relative – the daughters of the man he inherited his title from. He really doesn’t want to marry at all as he’s been betrayed by every woman he’s ever loved or even cared for. The only reason he’s marrying is because he needs an heir so that his brother won’t get his hands on the title…ever.

Henrietta is a woman on a mission. She wants to keep her family estate in the family and the only way to do that is to marry the new earl. She’s more about her family home than she is about the man but she can’t deny that he is quite handsome and she finds him interesting. Sadly she is more comfortable with plants than she is with people and with her constantly battling her nerves she fears that he’ll never take a serious look at her.

Simon doesn’t want to be attracted to Henrietta as she’s too beautiful and too dark-haired. All of the women who betrayed him in the past were all dark-haired and he doesn’t trust any of them. Except that Henrietta, despite her clumsiness and stutter, catches his attention from the first moment he lays eyes on her and he can’t seem to get her out of his head. Then she goes and starts taking care of him with her herbs and her kind words and he’s very confused. Unfortunately the women in the house keep getting sick and when they find out that herbs are to blame Simon thinks he’s got his proof that all women are horrid – including Henrietta.

This was an unexpectedly good story. I really liked the characters, the story and the writing and that was wonderful.

Simon was a bit of an enigma for most of the story. He was in the papers constantly – having been accused of killing his mistress and then disappearing for five years. He had been exonerated but that didn’t stop people from thinking the worst of him. He was a good man with a good heart and had been betrayed so many times by women I felt sorry for his past. I loved that his determination to stay away from Henrietta crumbled under her ministrations of his headaches. He was also a bit of the jealous type (which worked out perfectly for Henrietta) as his friend was making a play for her as well.

Henrietta was really a book nerd. She loved plants and books and reading books about plants and their healing properties. She wasn’t good with people at all and having to put herself out there to get Simon to notice her went against everything in her. She did a good job though and I enjoyed her personality – both when she was with him and when she wasn’t.

The book would definitely be categorized as a light historical and it was a fast, easy read. I would love to read more from this author in the future – maybe even get the stories of Henrietta’s twin sisters. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Entangled Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

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