Review- Someone To Love by Mary Balogh

Someone To Love

Title: Someone To Love (Westcotts Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Berkley, Nov. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 398

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had…   Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…   Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.


Leave it to Mary Balogh to make the Regency era come alive with what feels like true characterization of people of the times.  The orphanage is not a horrid place ala Dickens, it is where our heroine grew up in poverty but surrounded by caring people.  The aristocracy is portrayed with an all-encompassing entitlement and blood lines be damned if you are found to be illegitimate. Our hero, or perhaps he is an anti-hero, is short, slender, “angelic” looking and yet he exudes an aura of danger and power.  The Westcott family is outraged by the turn of events and yet our heroine, Anna (Anastasia), maintains her dignity throughout.

The romance is subtle and more like friendship at first.  There is not any strong attraction only mild interest on both sides.  I was wondering why Anna wasn’t more attracted to Alexander the new Earl instead of The Duke.  There is a rather huge character dump in the beginning of this book and keeping everyone straight was difficult even with the family tree in the front of the book.  This is not one of my favorite books of Ms. Balogh but I did like it, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, SOMEONE TO HOLD, especially since I now think I have all the characters straight.

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Rereading The Bridgertons- An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn

An Offer from A Gentleman

Title: An Offfer From A Gentleman With 2nd Epilogue (The Bridgerton Series book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2015

Source: Purchase for Kindle

Pages: 421

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from         

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?


This is most definitely a reworking of “Cinderella”.  The beginning is so much like the fairytale that I was tempted not to go on.  But I did, and I’m so happy that I did continue reading.  I should never have doubted that the skills of Julia Quinn would transform this fairytale and make it lots more fun.  Benedict is a perfect Prince Charming even if he has a singularly one tract mind when it comes to Sophie.  Sophie is the voice of reason throughout the relationship but she is also in love and when one loves a Bridgerton it is impossible to not follow.  We have here a truly wicked step-mother, some not very nice stepsisters (except for Posy), a very wise Violet Bridgerton, the Dowager Viscountess and Once again the gossip columnist Lady Whistledown who happily reports all ton gossip but especially about the Bridgertons.  We are left to guess who is behind the Lady W. persona but some strong hints come along in this book.

(I have titled this post “Rereading The Bridgertons” but I confess that this is my first reading of this one in the series. I purchased this book in 2015 but never got around to reading it, my loss.  But I’m happy to have finally read this delight of a story.  The second epilogue was a fun read, we finally find out what becomes of Posy Reiling.)

The Bridgerton Series:

  1. The Duke and I (Daphne)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)
  3. An Offer From a Gentleman (Benedict)
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin)
  5. To Sir Phillip, With Love (Eloise)
  6. When He Was Wicked (Francesca)
  7. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth)
  8. On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory)



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RWA Rita Award Finalists in HR

Today the Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for their coveted RITA awards.  Since This blog deals primarily with Historical Romance I’ve chosen to list those finalists here but you can go to the RWA site to see the finalists in all categories. Those reviewed on this blog will be indicated by a red asteriskUse the search box in the left column to find the book or author and read Deet’s review.

Historical Romance: Long

*How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon Books
Erika Tsang, editor

*Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor


Historical Romance: Short

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

*Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

*A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Mary Altman, editor

*The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Romance Writers of America website:


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Romantic Suspense Review-King’s Captive by Amber Bardan


Title: King’s Captive

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Author: Amber Bardan

Publisher: Carina Press, Feb. 2017

Source: Purchase, Kindle $3.99

Pages: 252

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from

For three years, I’ve belonged to Julius King. Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.   Because I’m not here as a guest. Not even close. I’m a prisoner. I’m his. Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous. There are parts of me he wants that I can’t give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too. Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can’t let him have any piece of my heart. I won’t. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me.  


Wow! Hang on to your hat for a wild ride.  At the start this book seems to be a fairly adequate description of Stockholm Syndrome.  But that’s only the start.  We readers are privy to Sarah’s view of events and we learn along the way of Julius’ version which doesn’t always match. There are twists and surprises that I absolutely, positively guarantee will keep you from putting the book down. The sex is sizzling. Truly a very good read by an author who is new to me. I look forward to more adventures in her books.

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Review- My Fair Duchess by Julie Johnstone


Title: My Fair Duchess (Once Upon A Rogue, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julie Johnstone

Publisher: Night Shift, 2014

Source: Purchase (free on Kindle) Audio available, Tim Campbell narrator

Pages: 265

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from         

After years of playing the rogue to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another aristocrat. Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke of Aversley. Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.


A really good read packed with drama and some violence.  I’m warning up front that there is an attempted rape scene.  The romance is slow to develop and feels very natural that Amelia and Colin should fall in love.  The bet seems a bit convoluted and I had to read about it several times to fully grasp what it was about but this could have just been me.  That Amelia’s brother Robert was so prideful was really disappointing and once again in a HR novel I’m wishing that these characters would just be upfront and honest with each other, especially Amelia’s mother.  Now the Duke of Scarsdale was certainly an interesting character and I see that he gets the girl in book #2 of this series. Although I did want to shake a few characters out of their misguided actions, I truly enjoyed this book.

( I also listened to the Audio Book of this title and Tim Campbell does an excellent job of giving each character their own voice.  He is such a terrific narrator that it upsets me when he is disparaged by other reviewers because he occasionally gets a word mispronounced in the British accent. (He is an American actor and as far as this American is concerned he rates an A+ and his accent is perfectly okay for me.)


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Rereading The Bridgertons book #2 Review- The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn



Title: The Viscouint Who Loved Me (The Bridgerton Series, book #2)

Genre: Historical romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, 2000

Source: My Keeper Shelf

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

My review from 2011 (it would still be the same today):

( last week I mentioned in my review of book#1 in this series, THE DUKE AND I, that I thought Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton, was a bit overbearing and actually quite stuffy.  Well he is certainly redeemed in this book where he becomes a truly wonderful Hero.)

For me, there is no romance more delicious than the kind where the H/h are truly disliking each other and then fall in love.  It is wonderful to see them transform from antagonists to lovers and Julia Quinn has written the perfect story in this theme with her delightful THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME.

Kate Sheffield is the older, plainer of two sisters at their first London Season.  It is imperative that the sisters find marriage partners who are, if not wealthy then at least well off since they cannot afford to come to London for another season.  Edwina the younger sister is considered the beauty and most likely to attract a proposal.  Because of this Kate is devoting her attention to her sister’s cause and screening likely suitors.

Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton, has a reputation as a rogue and a rake of the first order.  He is the head of a large family that relies on him for their protection and wealth.  He is 29 and he feels it is his duty to marry and produce an heir and this is the Season he intends to do just that.  Edwina Sheffield seems to be the ideal candidate.  For him it will be a marriage of convenience and certainly not love.

The fun of this book starts with Kate’s determined attempts to thwart Bridgerton’s pursuit of her sister since she does not want Edwina marrying a man with his reputation. They are like cats and dogs and of course they are both strongly attracted to the other but refuse to acknowledge the attraction.

There is humor and pathos in this book which makes for a totally satisfying read.  This book was rated by readers of as # 9 out of 100 (2013)all-time top romance novels in print.  It is truly deserving of the distinction.

(This book is now available for purchase with a second Epilogue that was not in my keeper-shelf book)

The Bridgerton Series ( H or h)

1.The Duke and I (Daphne) reviewed on Monday July 25,2011 & Wed., March 1, 2017

  1. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)
  2. An Offer From A Gentleman (Benedict)
  3. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin) ]
  4. To Sir Phillip With Love (Eloise)
  5. When He was wicked (Francesca)]
  6. It’s IN His Kiss (Hyacinth)
  7. On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory)




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Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some info

Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some Info originally posted back in March, 2013.  But still interesting information. (comments are 2 from the original posting.)

Historical Romance Th 2

The modern day romance novel can be attributed to Georgette Heyer who wrote Austen-like novels in the 1930’s.  The Grand Sophie being one of her most famous. From that time until the  early 1970’s there were novels with romantic elements like Forever Amber and  Gone With The Wind to name just a few.  All of these were published in hardcover editions, paperback books being somewhat confined to pulp fiction offerings.

In 1972 all that was about to change when Avon published Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and The Flower in paperback. It sold over 2 million copies and Woodiwiss followed up in 1974 with The Wolf and The Dove.   Also in 1974 Rosemary Rodgers came on the scene with Sweet Savage Love.  These early  paperback original novels usually had Alpha Males and helpless females with sex often of a violent (rape) nature.  Since the covers often pictured scantily clad women with dominating men leaning over them they were often referred to as “bodice rippers”. This term is not appreciated by current Historical Romance fans and writers.

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Through the 1980’s and 1990’s the genre continued to evolve featuring heroines of a more independent nature and although the heros were still Alpha types they often redeemed themselves and the sex became consensual.  Humor was often added as well as suspense and mystery.  Considered a required feature is a happy-ever-after for the protagonists. The New York Times reports that romance novels,  are the fastest growing segment in ebooks, out-pacing general fiction, mystery and science fiction.

Romance Categories:

Ancient: Egypt; Greece; Rome; etc. – the ancient world.
Dark Ages: from the fall of Rome (410 AD) to 1065.
Medieval: from 1066, up to and including the 17th century.
Georgian: from 1702 to 1811 (the age of reason and freedom).
Regency: from 1811 to 1830 (includes the regency and the kingship).
Western: the wild, wild West! Contemporary or historical.
Colonial: early settlements, exploration, and Southern romances (including Americana).
Victorian: from 1830 to 1901 (including William IV’s reign).
Civil War: America – from 1861 to 1865 (the civil war era).
Vintage: from 1901 to 1945 (Edward VII, World War I, World War II, etc.)
 Celtic: historicals / paranormals / fantasies that take place primarily in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, etc.
Time Travel: modern-day heroes and heroines thrown back in time to meet their true loves.
Fantasy: dragons, fairies, wizards, and witches – oh my!
Paranormal: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, shape-shifters, goth, etc. Contemporary or historical.
Anthology: must contain at least one genre from above.

(this blog post was referenced from Wikipedia and Historical Romance


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Recent Release Review-A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran


Title: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (Rules For The Reckless, book#5)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Meredith Duran

Publisher: Pocket Books, Feb 28, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from         

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL… Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart. …NEVER GOES TO PLAN. The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…


That description really doesn’t give you an idea about this book, and I’m not about to take away from you any of the delight in finding out.  This is a most unique plot, there is amnesia, bribery, greed and sensual delights.  Our heroine, Jane, is an orphan in the care of her greedy, overbearing uncle. She strikes a bargain with a villain, Crispin, and from there uses her wits to outwit those after her fortune. Of course there are twists and turns ahead.  We long for some hero redemption and heroine comfort.  What we are given is a page turning, can’t-put-it-down story of action and love. The backdrop of political machinations gives this plot a timely appeal.

This book is number five in the series but don’t let that deter you.  You can read this as a standalone without any problems.  But it will make you want to read more from this wonderful author.


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Rereading The Bridgertons, Review- The Duke and I (book #1) by Julia Quinn



I have just re-read this the first book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton  series.  I intend to reread each and post each review as I go through the series. Most of this review is from my original posting back in July, 2011.  The book currently available has a second Epilogue added that I didn’t have in my edition.


Title: The Duke and I (The Bridgerton Series, book#1)


Genre: Historical Romance Regency


Author: Julia Quinn


Publisher: Harper Collins, 2000


Source: My keeper shelf (available at all booksellers)


Pages: 367


Rating: 4.5


Sexy Rating: 5


Violence Rating: 4


Description from         


Description: Simon Basset, the irresistible Duke of Hastings, has hatched a plan to keep himself free from the town’s marriage-minded society mothers. He pretends to be engaged to the lovely Daphne Bridgerton. After all, it isn’t as if the brooding rogue has any real plans to marry – though there is something about the alluring Miss Bridgerton that sets Simon’s heart beating a bit faster. And as for Daphne, surely the clever debutante will attract some very worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, she soon forgets that their courtship is a complete sham. And now she has to do the impossible and keep herself from losing her heart and soul completely to the handsome hell-raiser who has sworn off marriage forever!




I have been all over reading this series out of order.  It doesn’t really spoil the books but I think reading them in order is more desireable. 


Let me get this out of the way; I am in love with the Bridgerton Series.  There, now you know so that is why I am totally biased about each of the books.  Every time I read one I think “Oh, this is the best one.” And then I read another and think the same thing again.


This first in the series sets the tone for all the ones to follow (see the list below).  Daphne is not a raving beauty, although certainly not unattractive, so all her potential suitors look on her as a pal and not a sweetheart.  Simon the Duke has had a traumatic childhood and has no desire to marry and continue the lineage.  In their attempt to “help” each other they fall in love but not without problems to overcome.


Update added 2/28/2017: Anthony Bridgerton is introduced in this book.  He will get his romance in the next book in the series.  He is Daphne’s oldest brother and the current Viscount.  In this book he is bit overbearing so I’m hoping when I read the next book he will be redeemed.  (Yes, although I’ve read that book once before, I can’t recall it. So it will be like a new read for me.)


Quinn is a master of dialog, scene setting, romance and plot. You’ve got nothin’ to lose, go for it.


(And possibly like me the book will end up on your keeper shelf begging for a reread or perhaps it already is gathering dust on a shelf, if so, haul it down for a terrific romance re-experience.)


Bridgerton Series:


  1. The Duke and I (Daphne and Simon)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me
  3. An Offer From a Gentleman
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
  5. To Sir Phillip, With Love
  6. When he was Wicked
  7. It’s in His Kiss
  8. On The Way to the Wedding




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Review- The Merchant’s Pearl by Amie O’Brien


Title: The Merchant’s Pearl (The Merchant’s Pearl Saga, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Amie O’Brien

Publisher: Book Baby, July 2016

Source: Free for review from the author

Pages: 466

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5 not explicit

Violence Rating: 0

Description from         

The opinionated, only daughter of a missionary, is enslaved and gifted to an Ottoman prince who has an inner vow to win her affection. Sarai was led to believe that the whole world could exchange their beliefs for hers. But when her parents are murdered, she quickly learns that the world never stops for just one person. The world takes, forgets, and swiftly moves on. By 1875, she isn’t even Sarai anymore. She had spent her teenage years repackaged as Leila, a palace concubine-in-waiting for the overly indulgent, Ottoman Sultan, Abdul’Aziz. Leila does her best to stay out of the eye of ‘Aziz as well as his son, Prince Emre. But when young and thoughtful Emre claims Leila for his own harem, she is forced out of her shell and thrown into a ring of competitive women. Here, she cannot hide from the attention her young master wishes to lavish upon her. Nor can she can avoid the ruthless retaliations of his prior favorite, Aster. But it’s the unexpected gift of sexual sanctuary and an inside look into his family’s struggles that really collides with Leila’s upbringing. Soon, despite her better judgment, she finds her heart becoming increasingly tied to him. But can she submit her faith and independent spirit to such a future—a future where to be loved means settling for the fact that she can only ever be his favorite? Will she be able to take turns sharing him among the four beautiful girls he had received before her, one being a jealous rival and another a closest friend? And what will happen to their love if Emre’s father can’t hold together his fragile kingdom, an empire that has grave threats encroaching from every side…including within?


I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing, while good, left me wondering too often about setting.  I really wanted to know more about the physical attributes of the palace.  We are forced, along with Leila, to confine ourselves to her room or Prince Emre’s rooms.  We are only briefly any other place in the entire 466 pages.  Written in the first person (I confess up-front that this is not my favorite style), the book is told almost entirely in dialog. An info dump at the end should have been given earlier so that the reader could understand what was going on politically. When at the ball we are told she is wearing a blue gown, but what is the style, is it like a Victorian English Ball? Is she wearing some harem garb? Told that the prince and his brothers are wearing black jackets, but what style?  The heroine was often truculent with her “master” even though he was a paragon of patience would a prince in these surroundings have tolerated her disrespect?

The language was often too modern for the Victorian and Turkish setting.

In acknowledgements the author thanks her several editors.  If these were professional editors then they could have done a better job of pointing the author in the right direction.

I conclude that there is some real talent with this author which is not fully realized in this book.

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