Tag: Madeline Hunter

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries

Posted February 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Duke Dynasty #1.5
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: two-stars

This winter, steal away with the reigning queens of Regency Romance... plus one or two dukes, one heiress, and one headstrong beauty—to a surprise snow storm, the comfort of a blazing fire, and the heat of a lover's kisses...


Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection.

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Whisked away from a wintry ball by a commanding colonel, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for Lord Heywood. For he is a man sworn to marry only for money—and Cass is an heiress who will accept nothing less than love.

I only read the first two stories in this novella.


Adam, Baron Thornhill gets abducted by a woman. He thinks he’s been abducted as revenge because his cousin put their family’s breeding horses down after illness swept through them. Only, no. It’s actually because he supposedly seduced her sister and got her with child. She plans to force them to marry. Adam is pretty sure he’s never met her sister, but he can’t be sure because he is something of a rake.

The premise of this story was interesting. It started out well but then went downhill when the MC’s started lusting after each other. They’re attracted to each other. Okay, I can buy that. So they keep kissing. How is this a thing? You think he’s a rake who seduced and abandoned your sister. You are literally holding him hostage to marry her, but you let him kiss and fondle you anyway? Gross.

View Spoiler »
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 (the .5 for the first few chapters)

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries

Cass is an heiress who is determined to keep her fortune a secret so she can marry for love. Lord Heywood needs a fortune to restore the property he inherited. He intends to court her cousin, Kitty (also an heiress), but after they spend time together, it’s Cass he wants.

I really disliked the fact that Cass hid her fortune for as long as she did, but more importantly, I disliked how Heywood reacted when he found out about it. I wasn’t loving the story up to that point, and his giant man-tantrum didn’t help matters.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Duke Dynasty

After I read those two stories I was done with this anthology and skipped the Mary Jo Putney. I may go back and read it at some point.


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Guest Review: The Counterfeit Mistress by Madeline Hunter

Posted December 23, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

17347632Judith’s review of The Counterfeit Mistress (Fairbourne Quartet #3) by Madeline Hunter

From the beloved New York Times bestselling Madeline Hunter comes this riveting historical romance, in which a darkly handsome nobleman is determined to unmask a delicate and mysterious young beauty…

A refugee from the war in France, Marielle Lyon has established herself at the fringes of London society. Claiming to be the niece of an executed aristocrat, Marielle welcomes the gossip that she is a spy. The more eyes she has watching her, the better protected she is—and the better chance she has of saving her father’s life.

A warrior at heart, Alban Norwood, Viscount Kendale, would still be in uniform if not for his older brother’s untimely death. After all he’s seen, Kendale doesn’t trust the French—or their femmes fatales. He has set up a surveillance network to ferret out undercover agents, and he believes he’s found one in the delicate, mysterious Marielle.

Ready to pounce on his tempting prey, Kendale arranges a meeting with Marielle, who is more beautiful and more cunning than he anticipated. But the Viscount is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask her—even if it means playing a game of seduction.

First off, I haven’t read any of the first two novels in this series.  That being said, this book worked its own brand of magic and worked just fine without knowing any of the characters from the first books.  Suffice it to say that the best part of any book written by Ms Hunter is just that–it’s written by one of my favorite writers.  Such a tapestry of literary effort:  a warm and witty and sexy love story interwoven with the politics of the Napoleonic Era, with deft brush strokes of history overlaid with the creative efforts of a writer who quite simply knows her craft to the expert level.

This story is about a determined woman who will use any of her charms, her talents and abilities, her expertise and education as well as her considerable brains to find and rescue her father.  Whatever it takes she will do.  And if a sexy and equally determined nobleman gets in her path, she’ll take care of him, too, and you can take that however you like.  She lived on the fringe of polite society anyway simply because she was French and the odor of a “fallen woman” served her well in her information gathering.  It also put her squarely in the suspicions of Alban Norwood and even though that made things a bit uncomfortable at times, Marielle was a creative thinker and managed to make the best of many difficult situations.

If you like espionage and history and this particular era in English/European history, you will definitely like this book.  And if you have read the first two novels, I am told by other reviewers that will make reading this novel just that much better.  It is a story that will keep you reading non-stop, possibly on into the wee hours of the morning, just as it did for me.  It was a complicated tale and that is part of its fascination for me.  I like a “meaty” tale and one that doesn’t give up its secrets easily.  I think you’ll like both Marielle and Alban because they will string us readers along just as deftly as they did to one another.  And if you like Hunter as well as I do, you’ll probably be getting the first two books in this series as well as putting them all on your favorites list.

Be sure to pick this one up and give it the time and attention it demands and most definitely deserves.  You’ll not be sorry.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5

The series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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

This title is available from Jove Books.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter

Posted May 9, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Judith’s review of Dangerous in Diamonds (The Rarest Blooms #4) by Madeline Hunter.

Outrageously wealthy, the Duke of Castleford has little incentive to curb his profligate ways-gaming and whoring with equal abandon and enjoying his hedonistic lifestyle to the fullest. When a behest adds a small property to his vast holdings, one that houses a modest flower business known as The Rarest Blooms, Castleford sees little to interest him…until he lays eyes on its owner. Daphne Joyes is coolly mysterious, exquisitely beautiful, and utterly scathing toward a man of Castleford’s stamp-in short, an object worthy of his most calculated seduction.

Daphne has no reason to entertain Castleford’s outrageous advances, and every reason to keep him as far away as possible from her eclectic household. Not only has she been sheltering young ladies who have been victims of misfortune, but she has her own closely guarded secrets. Then Daphne makes a discovery that changes everything. She and Castleford have one thing in common: a profound hatred for the Duke of Becksbridge, who just happens to be Castleford’s relative. Never before were two people less likely to form an alliance-or to fall in love…

The three previous novels in this series have introduced a panoply of characters that continue to play an important role in each succeeding novel. First and foremost, the women of The Rarest Bloom are each one, in their own right, the heroines of their own stories. All are women with a past, a euphemism often used in that historical time period for either a woman of questionable morality, or who had become disgraced by unwise social practices of one sort or another. Some were haunted by evils perpetrated against them by others, while others were hiding from spouses or relatives seeking to do them harm. Some were both haunted and hunted. Daphne Joyes has her own secrets and has opened her home to these women for whom society has no place. All of them together have entered into the flower business which brings in sufficient income to maintain their home and provide for their needs. It is a household free of men–at least that has been the case in the past until the Duke of Castleford shows up to examine the property which has been bequeathed to him by Daphne’s former landlord. Being a distant relative of the now deceased landlord, Castleford assumes that the property was important because the tenant was one of the old duke’s “soiled doves.” He couldn’t be more wrong, but Castleford, instantly desiring Daphne, determines that she is now fair game for him.

And so the romp begins . . . and Daphne is pulled into the machinations of Castleford, but she is no fool, either. Their encounters are full of humor and sexual tension, their attempts to outwit one another fascinating and in many ways endearing, their attraction growing and on Daphne’s part it is unwanted on some levels but compelling in others. Castleford is enthralled with her but his behavior puzzles his friends because he appears to be changing the way he lives–something he has never, ever done before for an object of his lusts. Wanting to see how all this was resolved had me rushing from one page to the next. And then their Latham, a man who has been Castleford’s best friend in the past and who is now the object of his derision, a man who has some hidden participation in Daphne’s past and for whom she has only loathing. When no other aspect of their growing relationship seems to be bringing Daphne and Castleford together successfully, their mutual hatred of Latham appears to the one thing on which there is no disagreement. And Castleford comes to believe that Daphne, naked and clothed only in a king’s ransom’s worth of diamonds is a dangerous woman indeed.

This is a truly enticing historical romance, full of wit and winsome love scenes, characters that almost jump off the pages, and filled with the tidbits of living in this historical period which make such novels so interesting for historical romance fans. Hunter keeps the pressure on, keeps the reader involved in the story to such a degree that it was painful when I had to put the book down to go pick up a grandchild from school or take a granddaughter to her martial arts lesson. When I got home, I was back in my room with my nose in the book and it didn’t come out until I was done. It was somewhat of a miracle that hubby got his dinner! It was delightful to become re-acquainted with characters that had populated the previous novels in this series, to read how their relationships were evolving sort of as an epilogue to their stories, and to find them to be continuing their involvement with The Rarest Bloom. All in all, it is one of those books that I set aside to go back and re-read, revisiting characters that have become friends, and taking the time to savor the story, more the second time since I know how it all comes out but enjoying the way it plays out just the same.

I think historical romance fans will enjoy this book alot, and Hunter fans will not be disappointed. I give this book 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 Jove. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

Posted October 12, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith‘s review of Sinful in Satin (The Rarest Blooms, Book 3) by Madeline Hunter.

When famed London courtesan Alessandra Northrope passes away, her daughter Celia Pennifold inherits little more than a hopelessly contaminated reputation, a house in a middle class neighborhood, and an education that prepared her to take her mother’s place the way Alessandra intended. Celia hopes to make her own life on her own terms, however, and moves into the house only to discover one more legacy—an enigmatic, handsome tenant who knows her mother’s plans for her future rather too well.

Jonathan thinks he is on a simple mission to discover whether Celia’s mother left accounts of her lovers that might embarrass important men. Instead he finds himself embroiled in a mystery full of dangerous betrayals and secrets, old and new, that touch on his life as well as Celia’s.

This is the third novel in a series about four women who have been trammelled by society and life, all of whom were housed in a country estate called “The Rarest Bloom.” The owner of the property opened her doors to these other three because there really was nowhere any of them could hope to find some kind of shelter, not only for the forces of nature, but from the anger, wounds and gossip of a wicked society, and from financial ruin. All had agreed that their reasons for taking up residence there would remain their own secret unless they chose to reveal it. There was to be safety and security and freedom from social pressure. Now Celia Pennifold must come forth from this “cocoon” and begin to take charge of her mother’s estate and to face the gossips and the inuendoes that not only surrounded her mother but try to establish a life for herself as an independent woman. The plush town house where he mother entertained has gone to repay debts. Celia takes up residence in a quiet neighborhood in a house her mother owned, a place where she could be hidden and quiet and unknown. It is here that Celia tries to establish herself as a business woman in partnership with her friend Daphne of The Rarest Bloom, acting as a London distributor. It is her hope that she will be able to take her small savings from her living allowance, merge it with some income from the partnership with Daphne, and be able to support herself, her house, and a few tenants/assistants who will cook and clean–both of whom are former whores who have been abused and who are without any resources now.

I found Celia to be a fascinating woman–one who had learned the hard way that having a good reputation and character, intelligence and beauty made no difference to “people of quality.” The only facet of her life that mattered was her relationship to a famous “lady of the night.” Her mother had groomed her to be the shining star of the demimonde or “the half world” where call girls, mistresses being supported by “protectors” and street walkers lived. At age 17, Celia’s mother had even chosen her first “protector” and it was then that Celia realized that no marriage, no children, so socially accepted life awaited her. It was then that she ran away to Daphne’s establishment in Middlesex and lived there for five years. In spite of her disappointment and her disillusionment, Celia had grown up in many ways, and now she knew that two of her former companions who had married titled gentlemen could no longer welcome her into their homes. She accepted this with grace, knowing that this was the reality of her life. Even after she fell in love with Jonathan she knew that there could never be anything between them other than an affair of the heart. How could he ever hope to regain his title and be accepted by the ton with her as his wife? Even so, Celia was just so unflappable. Only when she thought Jonathan had betrayed her or when her previously unknown father refused initially even to see her or speak with her for more than five minutes, was her spirit crushed and her heart broken.

Here is where the reader should never assume–never sell a character short. Jonathan, mysterious and enigmatic figure that he is, has seen every facet of life and human society–the best and the worst. He is living in Celia’s house because of a verbal arrangement with her mother, and he is in no hurry to leave. There is far more to this man than meets the eye. Even when Celia initially tries to get him to leave, he retains his rooms in her house, protecting and assisting, just being a presence whenever someone came calling, and from time to time working on her behalf through his contacts with old university chums, some of whom have been featured in the two previous novels in this series. He has been seeking acknowledgement as the illegitimate son of the Earl of Thornridge. For eight years he has also been an investigator for the British Home Office and is even now seeking some evidence that Celia’s mother did not act treasonously during the Napoleonic War. He comes across as a kind, generous, caring, genuine gentleman, one who knows who he is, has accepted this, but who is not afraid of pursuing truth on his own behalf and that of his friends.

This novel explores the world of the demimonde, the society that tolerates sexual excesses on the part of men and refuses to accept the same for women. It is a world that tarnished everything it touched, and in Celia’s case, it mattered little that she had never taken a lover. It was assumed that she would one day be a courtesan as was her famous parent. The daily life she experienced and in which her two women assistants had lived were filled with raw hurt and self-destroying disregard for them even as human beings. They were used and when they were used up, they were thrown away. Jonathan’s friend, the Duke of Castleford, has a whore in his bed-maybe even several in one day, for six nights a week (he abstained on Tuesdays). His attitude was typical of those who had way too much money and way too much time on their hands.

Once again Ms Hunter has demonstrated her well-known story-telling ability in this novel. The plot is different, the characters are forceful and real, and the conflict that Celia encounters from numerous sources rings true to the times. These are people I don’t think any of us would mind knowing in real life. They were people who lived realistically, made decisions that not only represented their values, but also tried in everyway to be sensitive to the lives and reputations of the people about whom they cared deeply. Yet they seemed to be able to take whatever society threw at them. I think one could say they had “pluck.”

So I recommend this novel to historical romance lovers. Hunter’s two previous books were excellent and I believe that this book carries on that level of exceptional novel writing. It is well-worth the time and effort to read.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

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

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

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Guest Review: Provacative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter

Posted May 7, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Provacative in Pearls (The Rarest Blooms #2) by Madeline Hunter

The Earl of Hawkeswell has been living in limbo ever since his bride, heiress Verity Thompson, disappeared on their wedding day. As she hasn’t been declared deceasaed, Hawkeswell cannot legally remarry or access his wife’s funds, either of which would settle his dire financial crisis.

Coerced into marrying Hawkeswell by her duplicitous cousin, Verity fled London for the countryside. With no interest in the earl’s title or status, she was willing to forfeit her inheritance in exchange for her freedom. Now that her ruse has been discovere, Verity is forced to return to a loveless marriage.

Hawkeswell strikes a bargain with Verity: in return for three kisses a day, he will not insist on his conjugal rights. But Verity discovers there are kisses . . . and then there are kisses . . . as she begins to learn the true meaning of seduction at the hands of a master.

Verity Thompson is the daughter of an industrialist who died when she was only half grown, and her care and guardianship was given into the hand of a cousin and his wife, people who were greedy and ambitious, who resented Verity’s inheriting her father’s business and his money and who are seeking to remove her from the control of her own inheritance. They treated her with disdain and cruelty and even when arranging a marriage with the Earl of Hawkeswell, an aristocrat of ancient lineage but little fortune to maintain his properties and to support his family, they essentially blackmailed her into the marriage by threatening some of her closest friends with loss of home and hearth. Following the marriage ceremony, Verity learns that her cousin has not been true to his oath and has carried out the heinous acts anyway out of shear cruelty. Since the “bargain” has been violated, Verity ran from the marriage, intending to apply for annulment and to present a financial “deal” to the Earl which would give him some of her trust fund in perpetuity in exchange for retaining her independence and influence over her father’s industrial legacy.

The Earl of Hawkesville was indeed a consummate aristocrat, but his interest in Verity’s money was not something out of the ordinary in the upper eschelons of English society, but was not for the maintenance of his rich lifestyle so much as it was for the preservation of his properties and the preservation of the livelihood of those families who had depended on his family for generations. Because Verity’s remains had never been found, she was never declared dead, so the Earl had never received any portion of Verity’s fortune. He has made no bones about his reasons for marrying, and even after finding Verity alive where she was living with friends in Middlesex, he is unwilling to allow annulment in any form. His growing desire for her and for the consummation of the marriage continues to wreck havoc with even his more philanthropic urges to grant Verity her independence. As he uncovers the truth of her cousin’s cruelty, as he becomes more and more informed about her cousin’s greed and ambition that was working against the long-term prosperity of her father’s business, Hawkeswell begins to realize that Verity is important to him for herself as a person of strength and purpose as well as one who cares deeply for her father’s employees and for the well-being of her childhood friends who had extended the only kindness she had known in her lonely growing-up years.

Madeline Hunter is a truly experienced writer who has a gift for telling a good story. This is the second in a series, and while I am only just now reading the first book, Ravishing in Red, this is not a difficult series to begin reading out of sequence. As a mark of a skilled writer, Hunter gives us books that are not only connected through the continuing stories of the characters, but she writes stories that can also stand alone on their own. The characters are believable and their presence in the story is balanced and in proportion to the other persons in the tale. Hawkeswell is a very interesting character–a man who knows his place in society but who has moved past the wildness of his early youth and takes seriously the responsibilities his title and holdings are placing on him. He feels deeply that the families who depend on him for their welfare are being made to suffer because of the bad behavior of his father and grandfather, and wants to change the direction of his life and theirs for the foreseeable future. He shows great patience with Verity, even as he seeks to change her opinion of him. His attempts to expose the perfidy of her cousin is the mark of a man who values his own honor and reputation. Under his sharp exterior lies the heart of a kind and loving man.

Verity becomes more and more likable for me as the story unfolds. At first I thought of her as just a stubborn and intractable young woman, set and determined to do “her own thing” and convinced that no person of aristocratic bent could be interested in her for any reason other than her money. She insists that Hawkeswell was in on the “con” that got her into the marriage in the first place. However, as Hawkeswell consistently and patiently refuses to allow her to run, is caring and concerned for her welfare, allows her to travel to her old home and be with her long-time friends, and acquiesces to her need to help other young women who have been misused and abused, Verity begins to experience a change in attitude toward her husband, seeing beneath his rather gruff exterior, owning up to her own rather hefty physical response to his masculinity, and ultimately allows the marriage to be consummated. There is still lots to learn about each other as their marriage moves toward a loving relationship.

Hunter has also always been so very good at giving us truly despicable bad guys. She understands that the conflict in a story is not just between the hero and heroine but can and should involve some truly evil people. And she gives us some real “baddies.” The conflict between good and evil will always pique our interest and keep a story alive, and this book is a prime example.

I like Hunter’s writing and I liked this book. It is written in the classic Regency style, but there is a freshness here that is almost always present in Hunter’s writing. Several of Verity’s friends have considerable presence in this story and will have their own stories in the future. Lovers of historical romantic fiction will find lots to like in this series and in this book in particular.

I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series:

Ravishing in RedProvocative in Pearls

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

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

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