Category Archives: Books Historical Romance

Release Day Review- Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

Mrs. Sommersby's Second Chance

Title: Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance (The Sommersby Brides Miniseries)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Laurie Benson

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Aug. 1, 2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

The Sommersby Brides miniseries

Book 1 — One Week to Wed

Book 2 — “One Night Under the Mistletoe” in Convenient Christmas Brides

Book 3 — His Three-Day Duchess

Book 4 — Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance

**
Although this is book #4 in the series, it is definitely a standalone read. That said, I think I might have liked it even more if I had read the first three books. Clara is a very likable character and although she is eight years older than William Lane they are an ideal match. How refreshing to see an older heroine get her romance on with a younger man. Romance blossoms in this book and the reader wears a smile through the entire 288 pages. I kept rooting for William and Clara. Side characters add just the right secondary plot.
You can’t go wrong with this delightful romance.

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Release Day Review- Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast

Title: Brazen and The Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon, July 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:
Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

**

Yes, this is another gem from the brilliant Sarah MacLean. This book has 400 pages but I was turning pages at warp speed to find out what would happen next. Hattie is a woman whose ideas are ahead of her time but she is intelligent, feisty and determined that she will take over her father’s business as opposed to her near-do-well brother. Beast is already in charge of his kingdom by the Themes along with his brother Devil. There are villains but an especially evil one who adds to the danger for both Beast and Hattie.

I can highly recommend this standalone book in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series. References are made to the previous book which whets my appetite to read that one, WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER. Try this one, you’re gonna love it.

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Advance Review- The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The work of Art

itle: The Work of Art

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, July 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 358

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

**
You will not be able to put this book down. It is totally engrossing, romantic, beautifully written and full of intrigue. Arthur and Philly hardly know each other when they are thrust into a marriage of convenience. They have angered a powerful Duke with a wicked reputation. I turned pages to see how our H & h would stay safe and fall in love. There are thriller aspects to this plot that make for rapid page turning. I highly recommend this one to all HR readers. It will go on my Best Reads of 2019 list.

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Coming to Netflix- Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

Bridgerton Series

Our friends over at Willow and Thatch have all the latest ondit on the Bridgerton series coming to Netflix.  Now we don’t know just when, but if Julie Andrews is going to be Lady Whistledown and the narrator…well, I just can’t wait! How about you? There are other cast announcements too.  Sign up for the Willow and Thatch newsletter and I’m sure they will keep us up to date on all Bridgerton happenings.

https://www.willowandthatch.com/cast-announcement-bridgertons-netflix/

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Release Day Review- Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

Rogue Most Wanted

Title: Rogue Most Wanted (Cavensham Heiresses Book #5)

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 380

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.
Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.
It just can’t be him. . .
Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?
**
What a lovely family, those Cavenshams. They remind me of J. Quinn’s fabulous Bridgford family. William is the second son who manages the estates of his family, he is the doted upon nephew to his Great Aunt Stella and he keeps his emotions in check by being a workaholic. He is by no means a “rogue” so I don’t understand the book’s title. Thea has been managing the estates of her grandfather for years since he slipped into senility. She is completely attached both physically and emotionally to her estate. A cousin challenges her rights to the estate and William pledges to help her win the challenge.
I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It has Tear jerking scenes as well as heartwarming scenes. The romance is slow budding but so sensual. William is a new book boyfriend and Thea is a woman ahead of her time.

P.S. I love that cover!

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Advance Review- Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Project Duchess

Title: Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sabrina Jeffries

Publisher: Zebra, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

**
Sabrina Jeffries is a skilled author. She can bring characters to life so that they breathe air on the page. Her dialogs are always entertaining and she is usually spot on with her research of the era. Thanks to a family tree illustration at the beginning of the book, I could easily follow who all the characters were and their relationship to one another. But the reality of Regency mourning rituals are easily glossed over in this book. Practices of the time would have the family being quiet, sitting with the dead, attending to rituals, not schooling debutantes for a come-out and certainly not dancing.

Grey continually voices complainants of his lack of control when around Beatrice. The reader wants to shout “Just say ‘no’.”. And Beatrice for all her spinsterish ways seems a bit slutty at times. The mystery is not fully solved, so I believe this may be an ongoing thread in a future book.
I was disappointed in this book but I am a fan of this author and I hope that future books in the series correct the irksome issues I found presented in this one.

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Release Day Review- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald

Time after Time

Title: Time After Time

Genre: Historical Fantasy Love Story

Author: Lisa Grunwald

Publisher: Random House, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, a fiercely independent aspiring artist, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time.

**
A tremendous amount of research went into this novel. Ms. Grunwald
makes the reader feel the pulse and rhythm of the daily city within a city that is Grand Central Terminal. I was so impressed with the story of the terminal that I immediately upon finishing the book went to look up the history and photos of the terminal.

I originally thought this to be a time travel book but it is more of a fantasy. Nora died in a train crash at the terminal in 1925 but on a certain Manhattan solstice day she comes back to the terminal. She meets Joe who falls in love with her and the major plot of the book is how they can remain together. The reader must suspend disbelief in order to accept that a ghost can have a physical body and that the Biltmore Hotel doesn’t know who is sleeping in their rooms. Somehow Ms. Grunwald makes us believe all sorts of impossibilities.

I did enjoy this book, especially the history of the Terminal. The heroine/ghost was a bit flighty at times and I didn’t like her actions at the end. I couldn’t help but feel that Joe would have been so much better off without her. The fact that the author created such feelings in the reader is revealing that she is a true master of her craft.

**

Some Grand central Terminal photos of light beams that  play an important part in Nora’s travels between worlds  :

Grand Central Station light beam

Grand Central Station sunbeams

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Recent Release- The Earl’s Countess of Convenience by Marguerite Kaye

The Earl's Countess of Convienience

Title: The Earl’s Countess of Convenience (Penniless Brides of Convenience, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Marguerite Kaye

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, May 1, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A countess in name only…

…tempted by a night with her husband!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Eloise Brannagh has witnessed firsthand the damage unruly passion can cause. Yet she craves freedom, so a convenient marriage to the Earl of Fearnoch seems the perfect solution! Except Alexander Sinclair is more handsome, more intriguing, more everything than Eloise anticipated. She’s set her own rules for their marriage, but her irresistible husband might just tempt her to break them!

Penniless Brides of Convenience miniseries

Book 1 — The Earl’s Countess of Convenience

Book 2 — A Wife Worth Investing In

Book 3 and 4 — coming soon!
**

This is the first book in a new series for Marguerite Kaye. It starts off, necessarily, with a lot of “telling” by Eloise and Alexander. They are trying to get to know each other to see if they would suit for marriage. They assure each other that this is to be a platonic arrangement. Both have their reasons to avoid an emotional entanglement. There are few obstacles until they both start having feelings for the other.

The characters are well developed with introductions to Eloise’s sisters and aunt who will probably figure prominently in future books in the series. I enjoyed the obvious naivety of Eloise and even Alexander. I thought the beginning a bit of a slow start but once the marriage took place it became a page turner.

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Recent Release Review- Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible by Mia Marlowe

Lord Bredon and the Bachelors Bible

Title: Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible (The House of Lovell book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mia Marlowe

Publisher: Lyrical Press, April 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 214

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

With the dowries of all the season’s debutantes exposed in its scandalous pages, The Bachelor’s Bible is a handy tool for an earl in need of an heiress . . .
Edward Lovell, newly minted earl, bears a weighty responsibility: to restore his family’s estate to its former grandeur. The task requires not simply a wife, but a wealthy one. Thanks to The Bachelor’s Bible, he already has a particular lady in mind. He has only to convince her sponsor that he will make a suitable husband. There’s just one complication: the sponsor is none other than the only woman he’s ever loved—and inexplicably lost. Now a young widow, Lady Anne Howard is more beautiful than ever . . .
Anne is not about to be taken for a fool a second time. When they last met, Edward was Lord Bredon, the man she adored—the man who destroyed her dreams of a happy future. Now he is pursuing the hand of the young lady Anne must keep safe from unscrupulous suitors. But who will protect Anne from the earl who still possesses her heart?. . .

**
There seems to be no way these former lovers, Anne and Edward, can be reunited. He has an estate that is going bankrupt and his only hope of saving it is to marry for money. The hitch is that he loves widowed, penniless, Anne Howard who returns his love but also refuses to marry him and cause his estate to fall to ruin. How can this lead to a Happily-Ever-After? It takes a clever, intelligent author to bring about this HEA and this we have in Mia Marlowe. There are some twists and total surprises which are always my favorites. If this book seemed a bit slow to start it certainly picked up the pace later on. I look forward to the next book.

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Recent Release Review- No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

No Other Duke But You

Title: No Other Duke But You(Playful Brides Series #11)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 312

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon.com:

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE
Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…
Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…
Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?

**
This is number eleven in the Playful Brides Series and this is the end of the series. To wind things up for this grand finale Ms. Bowman has given us a book that has many characters participating from earlier books in the series. But being the accomplished author that she is this is still a delightful standalone book.

I can count on this author for laugh out loud moments that populate the pages. While the characters are readying themselves for a charity production of A MIDSUMMERS NIGHT DREAM their lives are remarkably resembling that Shakespearean play. There is mistaken identity and various delightful couple switches. The friends to lovers trope is well done.

I highly recommend this book and this author to all Historical Romance fans.

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