Tag: Wendy Soliman

Guest Review: Romancing the Runaway by Wendy Soliman

Posted May 2, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Romancing the Runaway by Wendy SolimanReviewer: Tracy
Romancing the Runaway by Wendy Soliman
Series: The Forsters #4
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 28th 2014
Genres: Romance, Historical
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four-stars

England, 1816

Miranda Cantrell is desperate to escape the confines of her overbearing guardian and return home to Cornwall. She's certainly not going to marry his ridiculous son. What she doesn't anticipate is finding herself stranded, wedged between several bales of hay in a stable, nearly freezing to death.

Relieved to have escaped the madness of London, Lord Gabriel Forster comes home for some much-needed tranquility. Inexplicably fascinated by the lovely young woman he finds on his estate, Gabe rightly assumes there's more to the story—why is her guardian so intent on seeing her married to his son? He'll take her to Cornwall himself to find out.

When they discover her childhood home has been stripped of all its valuables, Gabe uncovers more to the old house than either of them had imagined. And with Gabe's safety hanging in the balance, Miranda is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice…

 

Tracy’s review of Romancing the Runaway (The Forsters #4) by Wendy Soliman

Miranda is an orphan being cared for by her guardian – who was once her father’s business partner. Miranda was at school for years and pretty much did her own thing on holidays, going to friends houses, etc., anything to avoid returning to her guardians abode. Suddenly the guardian, Mr. Peacock, calls her home, sits her down and tells her that she’s to marry his quite odious son (her term, no Mr Peacock’s). Well, Miranda refuses so the guardian locks her in her room until she agrees. Miranda decides to take matters into her own hands and escapes. Unfortunately her horse injures himself when she’s in a field trying to avoid the town, and since she hurt her ankle previously she finds a barn and hides in it with her horse and dog.

Gabe Forster is out riding when a dog crosses his path. He’s not familiar with the dog so he follows it and finds a half frozen Miranda inside the barn. He takes her back to his home and brings her back to her former self. When Miranda tells Gabe, eventually, about the demand from Mr. Peacock and her escape, Gabe decides to help her. He believes there’s a deeper reason to Peacock wanting Miranda marrying his son and he wants to know what it is. Gabe helps Miranda head to her childhood home in Cornwall but soon the guardian, along with her family solicitor is hot on their trail and not about to give up on Miranda marrying Mr. Odious. :0)

I have to say this was definitely a lively book. Truly there was really never a dull moment to be had and it had me turning page after page to see what happened next. The story was most certainly a romance but it had a bit of intrigue and of course the age old need for an arranged marriage – greed.

Miranda was a pretty independent soul. She really wanted to do things on her own and for the most part she had accomplished that, but there was only so far she could really go. She needed Gabe to help her and though she enjoyed his company it irked her that she needed assistance at all. While she recognized that she did she still disliked it. These thoughts of Miranda’s really made me see her in a different light and not too flattering of one, either. She could be very mature and quite brilliant and then turn around and blow off her mouth and be completely immature. She was only 18 but her character was a bit inconsistent.\

Gabe was a wonderful hero. Yes, he did take over things once they got to Cornwall and almost became Lord of the Manor, but he was really only thinking of making things better for Miranda so I forgave him. Back then men did that all the time and though it wasn’t always right at least Gabe had Miranda’s best interests at heart. He fell in love with the girl even though he tries everything to ignore his feelings. I thought Gabe and Miranda were very cute together and their banter back and forth had me laughing a few times. Soliman’s sense of humor definitely came through in this story.

I didn’t read any of the books in this series prior to reading RtR but I didn’t need to at all in order to know what was going on. It was a very good standalone and one I very much enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This title is available from Carina Press. 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

What I Read Last Week

Posted April 28, 2014 by Tracy in Features | 4 Comments

It was a hot one in So. Cal last week, lemme tell ya.  Cooler in the mornings and then got up to the 80’s and even the 90’s.  Yikes.  It’s not even MAY!  This is NOT supposed to happen. lol  It makes me think we’re gonna have a viciously hot summer and frankly that’s not something I’m looking forward to.

It was a slow reading week for me as I had some lovely oldest daughter issues.  Aren’t teenage daughters fun?  Ugh. Not. If I could stop my 11 year old from getting any older I’d do it in half a heartbeat.  Who needs to age anyway. 🙂

I didn’t get much read but this is what I did read…

First up was What Happens in Ireland by Whitney K-E.  The story follows Australian Kate as she takes a job in Ireland.  She loves it there but she really enjoys her boss, Jack.  There are sparks flying all over the place and Jack pursues her persistently but Kate pushes him away.  She was burned by a previous relationship and isn’t willing to trust again.  She almost lets a good thing get away.  I liked this first novel by Whitney.  It was well written and nicely descriptive without overdoing it.  I didn’t really care for Kate holding back so much.  Jack did everything he could think of and Kate still wasn’t willing to budge.  I guess I thought she held out for way too long.   3.75 out of 5  (read for Book Binge)

Next up was When a Laird Takes a Lady by Rowan Keats.  Scottish Laird kidnaps a woman who he believes has information that can lead to the clearing of his name.  He’s accused of stealing from the King and his clan has been kicked out of their home and off of their land – many killed.  Of course the pair fall in love but I really enjoyed the getting there.  4 out of 5

Survive to Dawn by PJ Schnyder is the third story in the London Undead series. This story is about werewolf medic Danny who gets involved with human scientist Deanna.  Deanna is there with a team to try and figure out a vaccination for the zombie virus as well as trying to find her twin sister.  She finds more than she thought she would and finds love as well.  This was cute and pretty entertaining.  The couple fell in love quite quickly, which is normal for this series, and that was ok but the romance didn’t have that extra spark the other books had.  3.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Romancing the Runaway by Wendy Soliman was last for the week.  Miranda runs away from her guardian after he insists that she marry his odious son.  She tries to escape but almost dies from the cold.  She’s saved by the brother of a marquess and he ends up helping her in her quest to get her childhood home back.  It was a very cute story and I liked it a lot.  I did have an issue with Miranda at times as she was just 18 but acted like she was 14 at times.  Wanting to be independent but then acting rashly and immature instead.  Frustrating.  Still a good book. 3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid

Happy Reading!

Guest Review: Beguiling the Barrister by Wendy Soliman

Posted August 22, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

{7FD5F5DA-EC34-4BB3-953C-21688D246420}Img100Judith’s review of Beguiling the Barrister by Wendy Soliman.

While it has been known to happen, it is not often that decisions made in childhood persist and significantly impact a person into adulthood. But that is exactly what happened to Lady Felicity . . . she made up her mind that she was going to marry her neighbor and childhood friend, Darius Grantley, and that was all there was to it!! Flick, as Lady Felicity was called by her near and dear, was a woman of strong heart and stubborn will but never more so than in this issue of not only liking and being childishly crushed on Darius, but now as an adult woman knowing that there was no other man who could ever hold her heart as he does. Only one problem: Darius was a Barrister, and in American parliance, he was an attorney who was pretty much at the bottom of the heap in importance as well as income. He had been loaded down with his father’s debts, had used skill and limited resources to bring his inherited estates, small as they may have been, back into financial balance, but he lived simply and sparsely, and he was a proud man. Loving Flick was one thing; providing for a woman of an aristocratic family as his wife was quite another.

So we have a story of two very stubborn individuals, both of whom have “right” on their side and both of whom are determined that their point of view will prevail. Yet within this romance tale is a mystery of major proportion. Darius is torn between two very wealthy and powerful men who each want an opposite result from an upcoming trial. Each wants two young men to be found guilty and executed, but for very different reasons. None of that helps Darius and Flick, however, as their future is null and void unless Darius can pull off the impossible, move up in the legal world of 19th century Britain, gain an income that will make it possible for him to be able to support a young woman of Flick’s background and upbringing, and still feel that he was saving his pride and proving his own worth as a provider.

Ms Soliman writes wonderful stories and that is the long and short of it. Whether it is a contemporary tale or a historical one, she puts together gritty and edgy tales that involve people who don’t usually inhabit romantic fiction, people who bite into life with enthusiasm or are bitten by it. She has a way of constructing a story so that the reader is hooked on the mystery and is teased along with a clue here or there, a moment of sizzling romance, or a glimpse of the inner workings of a character’s mind–all in a balanced and well-thought-out fashion. Her work is such that I only have to see her name on a book and I have confidence that it will be something that will educate and entertain all at the same time.

I found this story to be pleasantly frustrating. By that I mean that I know Darius is one of those guys that has not had it easy–no ample allowance, no cushy exxpectations of a heavy-duty title that will ensure his future. He has had to struggle for nearly everything he has accomplished, and he is never, and I mean NEVER going to live off a woman, no matter how much he loves her. He is the kind of guy who will never compromise and would rather walk away from a relationship before he would sacrifice his sense of who he is. Likewise, Flick is a woman who stubbornly hopes that Darius will look past her upbringing, will accept that her love will be enough to sustain them no matter how limited Darius’ resources. On the one hand I think she is a very plucky woman who will do anything to get and keep her man. On the other, I really do think that she is somewhat naive in believing that she can go from her well-appointed, well-cared-for life to that of being the wife of a barrister whose income barely sustains him. So my frustration is that, as the author has set up the story, the reader comes to the conclusion early on that these two are going to have a very rocky road to tread if they are ever to make it to the HEA. So the crisis in this tale is a multiple layered one as I see it. First you have the impasse between these two would-be lovers. Then you have the tension created by these two wealthy and powerful government and society figures who are putting Darius in an impossible position both legally as well as personally. He stands to lose everything that is important and precious to him. And lastly, you have the obvious mystery wherein two young men are accused of a crime they strongly declare they didn’t commit but cannot prove otherwise.

Again, I think this book is a winner. Like many Soliman tales it starts off rather slowly and builds to the point where all the tensions seem to explode in one great cacophony of noise and action. It’s a truly great book and one that will please historical romance fiction fans with its wit and clever repartee, its balance as a well-written novel, and its enormous entertainment component. I think it’s one that shouldn’t be missed.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

Guest Review: The Perfect Imposter by Wendy Soliman

Posted April 29, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith’s review of The Perfect Imposter by Wendy Soliman

Struggling to escape her past and make ends meet as a modiste, Katrina Sinclair hopes the daring new wardrobe she’s designed for her childhood friend Julia—now a marchioness—will attract the business she desperately needs. But Julia’s help comes at a price: Katrina must take her place at a house party. They look enough alike for the ruse to work…until Julia’s handsome former fiancé arrives.

Leo Kincade has been tasked with catching a traitor who steals from house parties to fund Napoleon’s armies. Three women are suspected—including Julia. But when Leo intercepts her at the party, he finds an impostor who stirs an attraction stronger than anything he felt for Julia.

The mysterious woman shares Leo’s interest, even if she won’t trust him with her true identity. He should expose her at once, but he’s too tempted to play along and see where her deception—and their passion—will lead…


They had grown up together:  Julia was the earl’s daughter, and Katrina daughter of the earl’s steward.  Yet the earl had insisted that Katrina be educated with his daughter and that they be allowed to play together and share their growing up experiences as pals.  Often their surprising similarity in looks had been at the root of the fun they had fooling their governess–they looked so alike that people often thought they were twins.  Now they are grown and their lives are truly moving in different directions.  Julia is married and unhappily, it appears.  Katrina is struggling to become a designer and maker of fine garments for the women of the ton–a modiste as they were then called.  And Julia, her life-long best friend, has asked a favor of Katrina that will probably be the greatest strain on their friendship they will ever face.
This novel is not your usual poor-girl-meets-rich-aristocrat kind of historical romance.  Rather, it is a story about thievery, possibly misplaced trust, mysterious personal agendas, and the lengths to which one friend will go to be a friend.  There are twists and turns, surprising actions on the part of several of the characters, a very confused and increasingly angry and upset heroine, and a hero who is having a difficult time processing what is really going on, even though he knows that Katrina isn’t Julia, but he along with everyone else, can’t figure out what lies at the root of all this subterfuge.
I am a great fan of historical romance and thought the underlying premise of this book to be fascinating to begin with.  But when I got into the story I was dragged along because nothing was playing out the way Katrina expected, and Julia’s maid who was supposed to be a guide and a help to Katrina, just doesn’t seem to be “on the same page.”  This is perhaps one of the first clues that all is not as it initially appears.  I think I was most taken with the character of Katrina–a woman who was not unhappy with having to make her own way in the world, but one whose inner strength of character, her faithfulness to her friend, her willingness to engage in this duplicity just for the sake of her friendship with Julia, made her a person of honor and who stands out as one stellar human being.   And I really liked Leo–a man who had been “burned” in the arena of romantic love, whose cynicism about people in general and women in particular was fairly significant and yet it didn’t blind him to the differences he saw in Katrina.  His attraction to her confused him, but he still knew the “real thing” when he saw it.  Best of all, I think this author made this story “work” on so many levels and I responded to its action and to the characters involved quite profoundly.  It was a massively entertaining story.
I have read several of Ms Soliman’s writings and found all of them to be quite good.  This work is, by far, one of her best I have encountered.  It’s just one terrific read!!  I hope you will seek it out and if you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: Scandalous Proposition by Wendy Soliman

Posted October 17, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of A Scandalous Proposition by Wendy Soliman.

When a beautiful woman bursts into Lord Adam Fitzroy’s room at an inn seeking refuge, he assists her. His curiosity is piqued when he later spots her entering the local house of ill repute. The next day he is shocked when his mother introduces the woman as her new paid companion. His mother adores Florentina, so Adam agrees to keep her nightly activities a secret…on one condition: she must spend one wicked night with him.

Florentina Grantley is both scandalized and intrigued at the prospect, but she worries that the dashing war hero will quickly discern her lack of experience. True, she’s no innocent—but she’s a widow, not a whore. Yet she can’t explain the true reason behind her alliance with the brothel’s madam, or the danger she faces if exposed.

As their initial tryst grows into something deeper, the stakes become higher. What will Adam do when he discovers Florentina’s deception?

This is a novel that seems rather straight forward initially but ultimately has turned out to be a really complicated, multi-layered story of intrigue, undercover activity against the “white slave” trade during the Napoleonic War, and the inner family politics made messy and difficult by a woman whose greed and self-interest seeks to use even a grieving widower to further her social goals. Florentina and Adam are never out of the central spotlight as hero and heroine, but this author has crafted a solid and impressive cast of secondary characters that all play an important role in the flow of the story and the resolution of the novel’s crisis.

Not only is Florentina a mystery to Adam almost from the first, but even as he begins to unravel that mystery he keeps on discovering that she is never truly who he believes her to be. Her activities give him one idea of her identity while her behavior leads him to believe something else all together. Enter the Dowager Duchess, Florentina’s sponsor and the woman who has hired her as companion–a woman of intelligence, caring, perception about people, and a sense of self-worth that refuses to be compromised by her new daughter-in-law. Adam is close with his mother and her opinion and counsel on a number of related issues is important to him. As a “second son” Adam is hampered in some of the activities he aspires to. The duke, his older brother, is ailing and has been for quite some time, so much so that he has not been able to manage the estates. His current duchess has interfered and her direction has had a negative effect on the prosperity of the estate and on the well-being of the tenants. Add in the greed of the current duchess–pregnant by a lover, wanting the money and position as a duchess, but also wanting Adam who was, at one time, her fiance. She wants Florentina out of the picture as well, believing Adam’s attraction to Florentina is keeping him from succumbing to her charms.

I found this novel to be the kind that always had something going on, a kind of story that never let up on its intensity and one that kept me right on the edge all the way through. I even found the madam to be a person I could feel kindly toward–a woman who had been put into an impossible position as a very young girl and one who had made the best of her bad situation and who now was trying to do some important things with her influence. Her long association and “friendship” with Adam certainly had an impact on issues and situations that were important to Florentina. I have always been far more satisfied with novels that are a challenge intellectually as well as emotionally, and I think this is that kind of book. While set in the early 19th century with all its social limits on women, Florentina was inventive and creative in using her friendships and meager social contacts to do important work against some truly heinous criminals.

This novel is beautifully written, well-edited, and put together in a way that carried the reader forward consistently toward the resolution. I have not read any previous work by this author but I was impressed with her quality of research, her awareness of the politics of the times, her sense of humor, and her ability to put all these strands together into a cohesive story line. That’s a challenge some writers can’t seem to overcome. Ms Soliman has done it here. Readers who enjoy historical fiction that makes the mind work will like this story. Yet there is also some very hot loving and a sense of grand romance throughout. Adam and Florentina manage to light up the skies on a few occasions. All in all, it is a really fine read.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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