Tag: Olivia Drake

Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Posted January 29, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest...

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

Abby and Max were once in love. Abby was 15 and Max just 16 years old.  Unfortunately, after the death of Max’s mother, his father took Max and his sister to live in London.  It’s been 15 years and Max only came back for a very short time to bury his father. Abby though they’d be together forever but since she wrote multiple times and received no reply she got on with her life.

Abby is the youngest of 5 siblings. They were all older and out of the house by the time she was born and it was her pleasure and duty to take care of her aging parents.  She loved them to pieces!  Now that they’re gone, her siblings are all gathered to decide who Abby should live with – basically planning her life.  Abby isn’t having it.  She was happy to take care of her parents but she’s now 30 years old and knows that she’ll never have a husband or family.  It hurts that she can’t control that, but there is something she can control – where she lives.  She heads to the estate next door and applies for the job of governess to Max’s younger sister, Gwen, and gets the position.  She has no fear of Max showing up because he hasn’t been there in 15 years. Of course, he shows up.

Max is on his way to a friends house so that is pugilist champion can have a match with America’s champion.  Unfortunately when they arrive at the friend’s estate they discover that all of the servants have the measles.  Since Max’s estate is so nearby, they decide to stay there.  Max isn’t thrilled to see Abby as he doesn’t have fond memories from 15 years ago. He also wanted to seduce a woman he’d brought with him but he suddenly is only interested in Abby.  The pair soon start to talk and discover a few things about their past.  The question is, can those revelations make a difference for their future?

While I always find Drake’s books enjoyable, this one wasn’t my favorite.  From the moment that the letters are mentioned I knew immediately what had happened.  Despite this misunderstanding there wasn’t much angst except on Max’ part. I felt his reasons for not falling in love again were weak, but maybe that’s just me.  The story was more to the tune of Max and Abby getting to know one another again and rekindling the love they once shared.  It was cute but pretty basic.

Overall a decent read but nothing I haven’t read before.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Unlikely Duchesses

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Posted December 23, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 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

I love Reunited Lover stories. I’ve read several books by Olivia Drake in the past and look forward to this one very much.

Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia DrakeThe Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses, #1) by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Also in this series: The Duke I Once Knew
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars


First love is always the sweetest.

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.

Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?

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Excerpt

The sounds of cooing and kissing mortified her. Good heavens, would they never stop? Anyone might walk into the library! They ought to have the decency to take their amorous activities upstairs to a bedchamber.

But, of course, Rothwell did not possess a shred of decency. It made her cringe to recall that she herself had once fallen prey to his allure.

She risked another look over the edge of the table. Her eyes goggled.

The duke was delving beneath the hem of his paramour’s gown, sliding his hand up her ankle and out of sight. The ladybird squirmed and squealed in a frisky attempt at evasion. He leaned down and silenced her playful protests with a masterful kiss.

Abby sank back down again. Her pulse pounded and a blush heated her inside and out. She oughtn’t be so scandalized. Rothwell had a reputation as a notorious rake. Over the years, she had heard many a tale whispered among the neighbors of his disgraceful doings.

Yet it was one thing to listen to idle gossip and quite another to actually witness him in the throes of depravity.

And here she was, trapped. What was she to do?

If she made her presence known, the duke would find out that Miss Abigail Linton was the new governess. She could not be absolutely certain that he had forgotten her. And if he did remember, he surely would dismiss her on the spot, for he wanted nothing to do with her.

Her spirits fell into a fit of the dismals. That would mark the end of her little adventure out into the world. Oh, she could apply for a position elsewhere, but who would hire her if she’d been summarily discharged from her previous post? She would be forced to return to her brother’s house and resume her predictable life as the maiden aunt, growing withered and gray, shuttled between relatives, with no real say in her future.

The very thought was suffocating.

Nevertheless, she could not continue to crouch here while the two lovers were smooching and whispering. What if their intimate activities escalated? What if they did the deed right here, right now?

The horrid prospect spurred Abby to action. She must try to sneak out of the library unobserved. It was her only hope.

Dropping to her hands and knees, she crept along the carpet, weaving a path between the tables. Her long skirts hampered her progress, forcing her to inch along at a snail’s pace. Rothwell’s black boots were visible through a forest of chair legs. At least he was too distracted to notice her, judging by the amorous sounds emanating from across the room. To be safe, she made a wide berth around the couple. Feverish plans raced through her head. If only she could reach the door and slip out, then all might be well. Perhaps she could convince Lady Gwendolyn not to mention the new governess to her brother. And what of Lady Hester? Was there a chance that she could be persuaded to bide her tongue, too? Should Abby confess the truth and enlist her help? Was it possible to stay out of sight until he departed the Court?

Sweet heaven, how long did he intend to stay?

In the midst of her meditations, she couldn’t help overhearing the syrupy drivel of their tête-à-tête.

“Your Grace, you are too bold! Such a naughty boy you are!”

“I left boyhood behind long ago. Shall I demonstrate?”

“Mm, no. You mustn’t . . . ah, yes. Yes!”

Abby grimaced under a tide of acute embarrassment. As she crawled closer to the door, she glared in the direction of the lovers. She could just see Rothwell’s legs pressed against a froth of cream skirts. Blast him and his debauchery! He was the worst of rogues, the king of scoundrels. A more wicked man had never been born—! Too caught up in remonstrations to watch where she was going, Abby bumped her hip hard against a mahogany pedestal. A little squeak escaped before she could clap her hand to her mouth. At the same instant, a faint clanking noise drew her attention upward.

The globe atop the pedestal wobbled precariously. As she watched in horror, the sphere toppled from its perch and clunked onto the floor, where it rolled straight past the chairs and tables to land at Rothwell’s heels.

“What the devil—!”

Frozen in concealment, Abby watched wide-eyed through the maze of table legs as his boots shifted around. A large male hand flashed down to stop the spinning of the globe. Any faint hope that he might assume it had fallen of its own accord vanished in a millisecond.

Rothwell strode forward, his footfalls sharp and decisive. He came straight to her. To her great consternation, she found herself gazing at the polished black leather of his boots only a few inches away.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “What are you doing in here?”

Abby raised her chin only slightly, keeping her face averted. It was best that he didn’t gaze fully at her — or hear the normal pitch of her voice lest it trigger his memory. “I’m just a servant,” she whispered, “tending to my duties.”

“Speak up! Why did you not make your presence known at once?”

His dictatorial tone shredded her better judgment. “I was trying to leave discreetly,” she flared. “It didn’t strike me as wise to interrupt your tryst.” She paused, then added in a more servile tone, “I do beg your pardon, Your Grace.” She felt his gaze boring down like a physical force that threatened to smother her. She wanted badly to look up, to glare into his face and tell him in no uncertain terms exactly what she thought of him.

But that would be highly imprudent.

With lightning swiftness, he clamped his hands around her upper arms and hauled Abby to her feet. She found herself staring up into a pair of wintry gray eyes set in a face of unabashed masculinity. Although a dissipated life had hardened his expression and etched faint lines on either side of his mouth, he was more disturbingly handsome than ever. He also seemed taller and tougher, his chest broader and his shoulders wider.

She hated that he still had the power to make the breath catch in her throat. Worse, she hated that he had the authority to dismiss her with a snap of his arrogant fingers. As she racked her beleaguered brain for a way to convince him not to do so, something flickered in those icy eyes.

“Abby?”

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 2018

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: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

Posted November 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
Series: Cinderella Sisterhood #6
Also in this series: Abducted by a Prince
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Scandal begins with just one kiss. . .

Aurora Paxton was once the belle of the ball, the most sought-after debutante of the season―until a scandalous mistake ruined her. Shunned by her family, Rory was banished to the country to live in disgrace. Now she’s been summoned back to London by her stepmother, who is being blackmailed by the least likely person Rory can imagine: Lucas Vale, Marquess of Dashell.

Lucas is someone Rory’s known for years―a man as devastatingly handsome as he is coldly disapproving of her. What in the world could he want from her or her family? Rory intends to find out as soon as she comes face to face with her old foe. What she never expects, however, is that the icy aristocrat has a soft spot for her―and a secret plan to redeem her status. Could it be that Lucas has been in love with Rory all along. . .and has finally found a way to win her heart?

Aurora Paxton had it all.  Beautiful, vivacious – having the time of her life during her first season.  That all came to a crashing halt when she was found in a compromising position with an Italian diplomat, Stefano.  When her father demanded that Stefano marry Rory, Stefano admitted to having a wife back in Italy.  Rory was devastated that the man she thought loved her had lied to her.  Then her father and stepmother banished her from London and off she went to live with her aunt in Norfolk.  That was eight years ago.

When a Lady Milford shows up at her aunt’s house unexpectedly and tells Rory that her stepmother needs her help, Rory is skeptical as her aunt dislikes her intensely.  Then Lady Milford mentions that not only is her stepmother being blackmailed but that Rory’s sister, Celeste, is getting married to a duke in a month – a man that Rory thinks is way too old for her sister.

Rory heads to London and after talking with her stepmonster…uh, I mean stepmother, she heads off to work as a companion to the Marchioness of Dashell, the current Marquesses mother who is bedridden.  Rory’s stepmother believes that the Marquess, Lucas Vale, is the one that stole the letters and is blackmailing her. While working as a companion Rory will be able to search the house for the missing letters. Rory remembers the Marquess as being a stuffy prig and he proves he still is – for a bit. The longer that Rory is in the household the clearer she sees that Lucas isn’t as stuffy as she originally believed.  When Rory determines that Lucas isn’t behind the blackmail he agrees to help her find the true culprit which pushes the pair together.

The Scandalous Flirt is a book inspired by a fairy tale.  Lady Milford has enchanted slippers that supposedly bring the wearer to their true love. When Rory heads back to London Lady Milford hands over the shoes for Rory to wear.  Now, I know that the whole premise of the fairy tale is that the enchanted slippers were supposed to bring Rory to her true love but that was mostly Lady Milford and the stepmother pushing Rory toward Lucas.  Yes, Rory wore the shoes but really, I didn’t feel they had anything to do with it and they were only mentioned a couple of times in the book.  Lucas had been smitten with Rory eight years earlier and with them in close contact constantly they were bound to get closer.  Since this is based on a fairy tale I just wish that it had been more fairy tale-ish.  But that’s me. 🙂

While I liked Lucas by the end of the story, he wasn’t a soft man and for most of the book I was on the shelf as to whether I actually liked him or not.  I did believe he truly loved Rory and was happy they ended up together in the end.

Rory and I had a love hate relationship.  There were things I liked about her, definitely, but sometimes her stubbornness and I-am-woman-hear-me-roar ways drove me a bit batty.  I understand she was a feminist and that was awesome but there were occasions in the book where what she thought of as feminism was her just being reckless and yes, I’ll say it, stupid.

The romance wasn’t typical in this book but it was good.  I liked Rory and Lucas together and they played well off of each other.  I was happy that Lucas went for the poor, scandalous girl in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Abducted by a Prince by Olivia Drake

Posted January 22, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Abducted by a Prince by Olivia DrakeReviewer: Tracy
Abducted by a Prince by Olivia Drake
Series: Cinderella Sisterhood #3
Also in this series: The Scandalous Flirt
Publisher: Macmillan, St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She's not waiting for her prince. He's not looking for a bride. But sometimes the most unlikely love stories end in ‘happily ever after'...
SHE WAS STOLEN AWAY
Ellie Stratham gave up her childhood dreams of a fairy tale romance long ago. To repay her late father's debts, she's forced to serve her spoiled cousin, Lady Beatrice. But Ellie has devised a secret plan to escape her life as a drudge. A plan that is thrown into jeopardy when she's abducted by a mysterious stranger.
BUT CAN HE STEAL HER HEART?
A notorious seducer of women—and a scoundrel to boot—Damien Burke has earned his nickname as the Demon Prince. But his plot to kidnap Lady Beatrice to make her brother return a priceless heirloom backfires—and he ends up with their penniless cousin Ellie as his hostage. By the time Damien realizes his mistake, he and his fiery-willed captive are trapped in a remote castle during a wild winter storm. And he soon finds that the true hostage may be his own heart.

Tracy’s review of Abducted by a Prince (Cinderella Sisterhood #3) by Olivia Drake

Damien Burke was at Eton on what he thought was a scholarship when he was attacked by bullies. The boy in charge of the group was Walt Stratham and he took something precious from Damien. Damien believes that that item will lead him to whoever his parents are – whether they be paupers or royalty. He has waited years for his chance to get the item back. Damien now owns a gaming hell and Walt has lost a ton of money. Damien tells Walt that he needs to return the item or he will hold his young sister for ransom. Well, Walt’s an idiot and doesn’t return the item and Damien kidnaps Beatrice. Only, it’s not Beatrice he takes but her cousin Ellie.

Ellie is furious that she’s been taken in Beatrice’s place but due to weather and other circumstances she can’t get back to her family in a timely manner. This gives her time to first: look for an escape – none – and second: to get closer to her kidnapper. She lusts after Damien and ends up giving him her virtue as she knows she’ll never marry and has no need of it. She believes she’ll live on memories for the rest of her life. Ha!

Without giving too much of the plot away we see Damien and Ellie together but while Damien wants Ellie to be with him permanently she still believes that she needs to be on her own and wants to leave. This causes all sorts of issues and makes Damien and unhappy man. Ellie was kind of rude about the whole situation but Damien deals with it. He’s not letting something like Ellie’s actions stand in the way of his love.

I didn’t read the first two books in the series but that ended up not being an issue. Yes, there was a character in the story, Lady Milford, who I would have liked to have known more about but it wasn’t a necessity.

The story was very cute and I liked it a lot but quite frankly Ellie had me confused. She cared for Damien and once they were together could pretty much live her life as she wanted but yet she insisted that she be on her own. Yes, this was what she’d dreamed of for forever – to get out of her uncle’s house and be her own person, but Damien was letting her do that and more. I couldn’t see the issue but Ellie put her foot down, and pretty hard too. That didn’t stop her from caring for Damien but it put a damper on the relationship in my mind.

The story was sweet and it was a very readable book. If you want a bit of a fairy tale love story then this would be the one to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

This title is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Scandal of the Year by Olivia Drake.

Posted August 23, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 6 Comments

Tracy’s review of Scandal of the Year (Heiress in London #3) by Olivia Drake

The youngest of the Crompton heiresses, Blythe yearns to marry into the aristocracy to bolster her family’s place in society. The widowed Duke of Savoy seems to be the perfect choice, yet it’s another man who sets her heart to pounding: the new footman, James. He’s devilishly handsome and far more fascinating than any of her noble suitors. And he alone has the power to stir her romantic dreams.

Little does she know, however, James Ryding is the true heir to the Crompton fortune. He’s posing as a servant in order to find evidence to prove her parents are imposters. By charming Blythe, he hopes to use her to regain his rightful inheritance. But as heat flares between them, he realizes that fulfilling his quest will mean ruining the beautiful, spirited woman who has captured his heart.

James Ryding has been living in Barbados for 20 years when he gets a letter stating that the people who are supposedly his cousins are imposters. James takes it upon himself to try to discover the truth as he can’t quite tell from looking at Edith and George Crompton if they are who they say they are (he was only 10 when he last saw them). He poses as a footman in the Crompton household and sets about trying to obtain evidence. While posing at a footman he has interactions with Blythe the youngest daughter of the Crompton’s. James immediately decides he wants her in his bed but he really wants the truth more – which will get him his rightful inheritance.

Blythe is a bit put off by forwardness of the new footman but since he’s so different she can’t help but notice him and after a bit, converse with him. Blythe is trying to make a advantageous marriage match and since her parents so desperately want her to marry the Duke of Savoy that’s what she decides to do to make them happy. But the duke’s daughter Lady Davina is a snob and wants Blythe no where near her father. Blythe concocts a plan to distract Lady Davina from her guardianship of her father so that Blythe can get near. She fabricates a foreign prince…of course talking James into being the fictitious prince…only her plan backfires and her mother decides that it’s the prince she is to marry.

But what happens when Blythe falls in love with James and what will happen to their marriage when James admits that not only is he not a footman but her parents probably aren’t who they say they are either?

This was a pretty good story but found it to be slow at times. It caught my attention right off the bat but then slowed and it continued on that vein for the rest of the book. I thought that the decision to become a footman was a bit far fetched for James to discover the truth but I went with it and it seemed to be ok. When Blythe decided to add in the prince it was too much. Here we have James acting as a footman, acting as a prince? It didn’t work that well for me. I understand this is romantic fiction but I just couldn’t suspend belief for this story.

The end of the book was interesting when everything…and I do mean everything, was revealed to Blythe – but James’ actions (or non-action as was the case) after the reveal were odd. I know that he grew up during the course of the book and his priorities changed so that made it a bit better but I have to say I felt a bit let down by it all.

Overall a cute story that I had some issues with.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Series:


Seducing the HeiressNever Trust A Rogue (Heiress in London)Scandal of the Year (Heiress in London)

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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