Tag: Historical Romance

Guest Review: When the Marquess was Mine by Caroline Linden

Posted December 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: When the Marquess was Mine by Caroline LindenReviewer: Tracy
When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden
Series: The Wagers of Sin #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the game of love…

Georgiana Lucas despises the arrogant and cruel Marquess of Westmorland even before learning that he's won the deed to her friend Kitty's home in a card game. Still, Georgiana assures Kitty the marquess wouldn't possibly come all the way to Derbyshire to throw them out—until he shows up, bloody and unconscious. Fearing that Kitty would rather see him die, Georgiana blurts out that he's her fiancé. She'll nurse the hateful man back to health and make him vow to leave and never return. The man who wakes up, though, is nothing like the heartless rogue Georgiana thought she knew…

You have to risk it all

He wakes up with no memory of being assaulted—or of who he is. The bewitching beauty tending him so devotedly calls him Rob and claims she's his fiancée even as she avoids his touch. Though he can't remember how he won her hand, he's now determined to win her heart. But as his memory returns and the truth is revealed, Rob must decide if the game is up—or if he'll take a chance on a love that defies all odds.

Georgiana Lucas is visiting her friend Kitty and her family when they receive a message from Kitty’s husband.  It just says that by no means are they to let the Marquess of Westmorland into the house.  The family has no idea what’s going on as Kitty’s husband is non-specific as to why.  When Georgiana is out riding with a groom, she sees a man being attacked and insists on scaring off the attackers and helping the man back to Kitty’s house.

When they finally get the man back to the house, some of the mud from the road rubs off and Georgiana sees that it’s the Marquess of Westmorland.  Georgiana knows that Kitty can be vindictive (at least she could be when they were in school together) and since her husband told her not to let Westmorland enter the house, Georgiana knows that Kitty might not help him, even though he’s injured.  Georgiana panics and tells Kitty that the man is her fiancé Robert Sterling.

Georgiana stays with Westmorland day and night while he fights for his life, and the family is touched by how dedicated she is when in fact she’s just scared he’ll wake up and utter his true identity.  Fortunately for Georgiana, Westmorland wakes up and has no idea who he is.  Before Georgiana can tell him the truth, the doctor spouts that he is Robert Sterling and that he’s Georgiana’s fiancé.  Oops.

So begins the romance of Georgiana and Rob. Rob believes that Georgiana is his fiance, so he treats as he would a fiance – with kindness, compliments and love. He’s also amazed that the beautiful woman by his side is his.  I loved watching Georgiana fall in love with Westmorland and learn that he wasn’t the complete ass she believed him to be. He’s actually very sweet and kind and I loved him to pieces! Yes, he liked to gamble and drink, but what young buck of that time didn’t?  Their time spent together was lovely and Linden did a great job with this couple.

When Rob gets some of his memory back, he’s not upset at Georgiana for not telling him the truth – he’s too in love with her by that time.  He’s encouraged by his family to forget her, but he just can’t.  He heads back to London and his friend reminds him how he had agreed to help him catch a smuggler.  This was subtly mentioned at the beginning of the book but not in any detail.  Though there was that mention, it still felt as if this part of the book was tacked on and I didn’t really care for it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  When I read a Linden book it reminds me of how much I like her as an author and now I need to go read more of her stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Wagers of Sin

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

Posted December 29, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Forever My Duke by Olivia DrakeForever My Duke by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #2
Also in this series: The Duke I Once Knew
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Series Rating: three-stars

“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent
Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.
But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?

Excerpt

Excerpt from Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

Reaching up, the boy tugged the tablecloth back down to conceal himself. Hadrian was tempted to haul him out by his ear and frog-march him out of the room. But it was too late, for the door was already opening. A woman stepped into the parlor.

His heart rocked in his chest. The world faded as he stared at the vision standing before him.

Pretty seemed too tame a word to describe her. Appearing to be in her mid-twenties, she had a frank gaze and an aura of distinction that set her apart from the ladies of his acquaintance. She was tall and willowy, her chin held high, as if to take pride in her height. In the glow of the firelight, several curls of dark sable hair had escaped her chignon to frame her face with its pert nose and rosy lips. Her skin had a healthy glow as if she’d spent a good deal of time outdoors without a parasol. The cinnamon-hued gown with its long sleeves and plain scoop neckline would be considered pitifully drab by London standards, yet it skimmed her feminine curves in a way that lent her a natural flair.

Hadrian tried to put his finger on precisely why she fascinated him. He had seen plenty of other lovely women over the years, but none of those others had affected him on quite such a visceral level. Perhaps it was her eyes. They were a deep, vibrant green that lit up like sunlight on emeralds when she smiled.

As she did now. “Pardon me for intruding, sir. I’m looking for a little boy.”

Her melodious voice held a faintly foreign flavor which he tried to place. Not Welsh or Irish or Scottish or even Cornish. It was as mysterious and appealing as the woman herself.

As she gazed inquiringly at him, Hadrian realized he was still sitting and gawking like a dolt. He shot to his feet. If that scruffy imp belonged to her, he could not imagine she was one of the upper ten thousand, yet he felt compelled to show her the respect afforded a lady.

He bowed. “Ma’am.”

She gave him a distracted look and then ventured closer, gazing around the small parlor. “Leo? I know you’re in here. I saw you go through this door when I was coming down the stairs.”
Hadrian held an inward debate. As much as he admired this splendid creature, he had a gentleman’s distaste for tattling. It was an unwritten rule that males did not betray one another’s secrets. Especially not to the female of the species.

Or did that honor exclude disobedient cubs like Leo? Fortunately the dilemma was resolved without any duplicity on his part. With a small cry, she sprang forward and lifted the edge of the tablecloth to peer underneath it.

“There you are, you naughty child!” she said on a trill of laughter. “That’s quite the clever hiding spot.”

“It wasn’t very clever since you found me,” Leo griped. “Well, come out of there at once,” she said, watching as he scrambled to his feet. “And next time, mind that your toes don’t stick out.

Now, pray make your apologies to the gentleman for disturbing his dinner.”

“Sorry, mister.”

“There’s no harm done,” Hadrian said, forgetting that he’d chastised the lad for that very thing only moments ago.

“Sometimes Leo doesn’t stop to think about his actions,” the woman said ruefully. “It is a trait we are working on modifying. In the meantime, I must thank you, sir, for being so understanding.”

Her mouth curved in that appealing smile, she leaned over the table and extended her hand to Hadrian.

Startled, he realized that she meant for him to shake it as a gentleman would do to his equal. Not even the grandest grande dame of society would commit such a faux pas with a man of his rank. A lady might offer the back of a gloved hand to be kissed, but only after having curtsied to him. Nevertheless, he found himself clasping her hand, keenly conscious of the warmth of her slim fingers.

“It was my pleasure,” he murmured.

The feel of her bare silken skin heightened the intensity of her effect on him. He felt as giddy as a school- boy meeting his first pretty girl. It made no sense, for he prided himself on being a man in firm control of his emotions and somewhat jaded by the allures of the fairer sex.

She must have sensed his reaction, for her gaze widened slightly and a rosy blush tinted her cheeks. Her expression held a frank curiosity about him, as if she, too, were puzzled by the unseen energy of attraction. As they stared at each other for timeless moments, Hadrian felt as if he were drowning in those gorgeous eyes. He had the strongest urge to reach out and unpin her hair, to see those sable tresses tumble around her shoulders and bosom.

It was only when she gave a tug that he realized he was still gripping her hand. He loosened his hold, and she stepped back, the sparkle of warmth on her features dimming to a mask of politeness. She lowered her gaze to the boy, who had wandered to the hearth and picked up a stick of kindling to poke at the fire.

“Put that away, Leo, and come along. Your bath is growing cold.”

He abandoned the stick, but dug in his heels. “Don’t want no bath.”

“Proper grammar, please. And the bath is necessary, for tomorrow you are to meet your grandfather.” She took hold of Leo’s hand and guided him away, pausing only to toss a quick, heart-stopping smile over her shoulder. “Good evening, sir. Do pardon us again for the intrusion.” A moment later, they disappeared out into the corridor and shut the door. The muffled grumble of Leo’s protests gradually died away.

It took a moment for Hadrian to feel like himself again. A trace of her alluring feminine scent lingered in the air. Now that she was gone, it seemed ludicrous that a stranger could affect his equilibrium to such a degree. Her poised manner did not fit the lower orders, so he had been wrong about the boy being the offspring of servants. Rather, she must be an overnight lodger here, another traveler stranded by the freezing rain. He hadn’t noticed a wedding ring, yet it seemed reasonable to assume that a husband awaited her upstairs.

Logic dispelled the remainder of Hadrian’s undue reaction. She was the very opposite of his preferences, for he liked women who were dainty and sophisticated. Her appeal perhaps could be explained away by the fact that he’d discharged his latest mistress a fortnight ago and had been on the lookout for another to catch his interest. But he strictly confined his liaisons to willing widows and discreet courtesans.

Not mothers with young children.

He resumed his seat at the table and took up his newspaper, though the printed words failed to hold his attention. Instead, he frowned into the dying flames of the fire while his mind continued to mull over the intriguing encounter. Despite the faint accent, she had a refined mode of speech, possessed a natural grace, and displayed a charming blush.

Yet the handshake was curious behavior, indeed. She was clearly a rustic who was unfamiliar with the protocol of curtsying to a gentleman. Even if she was unaware that he was the Duke of Clayton, she ought to have recognized him as a man of consequence. He wasn’t offended, only baffled as to what it might reveal about her background.

Devil take it. She would have to remain a mystery. Tomorrow, they’d each set forth to different destinations, never to cross paths again. He wouldn’t waste another thought on a fleeting encounter with a nameless beauty.

Especially not when he was on his way to acquire the perfect bride.

Unlikely Duchesses

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Olivia Drake

Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Olivia Drake sold her first novel two weeks after sending it to a publisher. She now lives in Texas in a cozy cottage with a feisty cat, a loving husband, and two wonderful daughters who still come back whenever they want a home-cooked meal.

Many of you already know Olivia as Barbara Dawson Smith, author of 24 historical romance novels. She is a New York Times bestseller and winner of numerous honors, including the Golden Heart Award and the coveted Rita Award for excellence in the historical romance genre.


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Guest Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted December 18, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Devil You Know #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 440
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees...

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

Alexandra is an archaeologist and is living a good life.  She has an issue with men due to a trauma while she’s at school.  She truly wants nothing to do with them but when she finds out that one of her best friends is marrying a man Alexandra’s never heard of or met, she’s concerned!  Alexandra is being drained financially from her family and a blackmailer who knows what happened to her 10 years earlier when she was traumatized at a boarding school and took matters into her own hands.  She needs money to keep her family’s good name and not be in the poor house.  Despite her distrust of men, she offers to marry Piers in place of her friend. (Her friend didn’t want to marry Piers, she was just trying to get info on the murder of her family.)

Piers is shocked that the woman he’s so attracted to is taking his fiancé’s place. He can’t wait to get her into bed, but when he finds out she’s not a virgin he’s devastated.  His previous fiancé betrayed him and he insists that they wait 10 days before sleeping together.  (The ten days is when her period is due.) During this 10 days the pair get to know each other and fall in love. 

There are other things happening during the story – Piers’ previous fiancé’s betrayal, someone trying to kill either Alexandra or Piers, Alexandra’s friends Francesca and Cecilia and their issues – there was a lot going on.  Even though this was all A LOT, I really liked the story and how it unfolded.  The friendship between Alexandra and her friends was heart-warming and I loved how they had stuck together through all of their many horrid trials. 

I wasn’t a fan of the end of the book, unfortunately.  It started dragging at the end and the revealing of the villain was a bit OTT for my liking.  Despite my issues with the ending, I really liked the story and definitely recommend it.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks

Posted October 17, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Never Seduce a Scot by Maya BanksReviewer: Ames
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Series: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.


*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on October 19, 2012.

I enjoy Maya Banks’ historicals and Never Seduce a Scot is no exception. I was initially drawn to it because the heroine is deaf and I was utterly charmed by this whimsical story.

Eveline is the daughter of the Armstrong Laird. The king has just informed her family that she must wed their clan’s most hated enemy, Laird Montgomery, to foster peace in the highlands. The Armstrongs are furious because Eveline is daft following a riding accident three years ago and sending her off with a Montgomery is the worst thing they can imagine. Graeme, the laird of clan Montgomery, knows about his bride’s infliction and is not impressed. However, both families realize that to deny their king’s wishes makes them outlaws. Graeme must marry Eveline, even if it’s a marriage in name only.

Eveline is not daft. She’s deaf. But because of a situation out of her control, she decides to let her family believe she is daft to protect herself. She never imagined that she would marry, but she’s becoming somewhat hopeful when she figures out what’s going on, that the king has commanded she marry. Eveline may be deaf, but she is also extremely smart and she has taught herself how to read lips. And when her bridegroom shows up, Eveline is first drawn to his voice. She can’t hear it but she can feel it. The deep timbre of his voice creates very pleasant vibrations that Eveline can feel. And after a few interactions, she can tell that he is kind. Not the monster her family has made all Montgomery’s out to be. Eveline is hopeful for her future.

And things are fine between her and Graeme when they return to his keep, but it’s his clansmen and women that make things difficult. Graeme doesn’t hold who she was born to against her, knowing she had no control over being an Armstrong. And he doesn’t like how his people are taking their anger towards the Armstrongs out on his innocent wife. But Eveline wants to win his people over on her own. She knows she cannot get Graeme to command they respect her, she has to earn it.

I really enjoyed this novel. I liked that Eveline was deaf. I thought it was believable that she would feel vibrations and very loud noises. I also thought her reasons for acting daft around her family made sense. She was supposed to marry a MacHugh but when she met her intended, he was a real monster. She lost her hearing in a riding accident, trying to run away to avoid marrying him. But after marrying Graeme, she felt safe and she told him what happened. She also felt safe enough with Graeme to speak, something she hadn’t done in 3 years.

I liked how Graeme realized almost from the beginning that there was more to Eveline than what she presented. And he was very patient and kind with her. At first, thinking she was daft, he knew he would never be able to consummate his marriage. And even after ‘speaking’ with her before the wedding and realizing she was smarter than she let on, he still wasn’t planning on making his marriage real. He even put her in a separate room when they got to his keep. There’s a cute scene where Graeme’s sister helps Eveline move into Graeme’s room.

I really felt for Eveline when the women of Graeme’s clan were cruel to her. They did it in a way that was not obvious to Graeme, but I did love his reaction when he found out what was going on.

There’s a bit of a mystery when someone shoots Graeme and goes after Eveline…but I guessed almost right away who it was. Overall, I enjoyed the relationship between Graeme and Eveline and I liked how Banks handled Eveline’s deafness. Refreshing and sweet!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Montgomerys and Armstrong

four-stars


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Guest Review: A Healer for the Highlander by Terri Brisbin

Posted September 20, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Healer for the Highlander by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
A Healer for the Highlander by Terri Brisbin
Series: A Highland Feuding #5
Also in this series: The Highlander's Runaway Bride, Claiming His Highland Bride
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

She can save his son

But can she resist the Highland warrior?

In this A Highland Feuding story, famed healer Anna MacKenzie is moved by Davidh of Clan Cameron’s request to help his ailing young son. She wants to help—and the commander has unknowingly provided the introduction to the clan she’s been looking for. But Anna has a secret, one that could jeopardize the fast-growing, heated passion between them…


Anna and her mother live in a small house above a waterfall – her mother is sometimes called the witch of Caig Falls. Anna is learning everything her mother knows so that she too could be a healer one day. She falls in love with Malcolm Cameron, the chieftain’s son and hopes to marry him one day. When her mother discovers that Anna’s pregnant she moves them to live with her mother’s family, far away from Malcolm.

Now it’s 13 years later and Anna has returned to Caig Falls. She has become the healer her mother hoped she would be, but she is sad because she learned not long after a bearing a son that the father, Malcolm, had died. Now Anna wants her son, Iain, to take his rightful place as the chieftain of clan Cameron.

Davidh Cameron was Malcolm‘s best friend. Thirteen years ago he knew something was up with Malcolm, but he never learned about Anna. When he searches out the healer of Caig Falls to heal his son, he never expects a beautiful young woman to be the healer. Malcolm’s son Colm, named after Malcolm, is terribly ill and Davidh would like Anna to treat him. The longer Davidh and Anna spend together the more she starts to fall for him. He eventually finds out about Iain’s existence and recognizes immediately that he is a Cameron, but he still doesn’t know that he is Malcolm‘s son.  Anna is not sure how she can take care of her son, take care of Colm, fall in love with Davidh, and still get her son to take his rightful place when the current chieftain seems to be such a good guy.

This book wasn’t great, let me just say that. I didn’t really like Anna all that much. I didn’t like that she kept her plans from Davidh even after he married her. I was almost disgusted when both of their sons get kidnapped, because nothing keeps a couple together like a good kidnapping, right? The whole thing kind of just left a bad taste in my mouth. Anna pissed me off on a regular basis and that’s never a good thing. Davidh seemed to be a good guy which was a plus.

I’ve read a few of Brisbane‘s books and really enjoyed them. This one just did not work for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

A Highland Feuding

two-half-stars


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