Category Archives: Historical Romance

Advance Review- Dangerous by Minerva Spencer

Dangerous

 

Title: Dangerous (The Outcasts, book #1)

 

Genre: Historical Romance

 

Author: Minerva Spencer

 

Source: Free for review from the publisher

 

Publisher: Zebra, June 26, 2018 (preorder available)

 

Pages: 368

 

Rating: 5

 

Sexy rating: 5

 

Violence rating: 5

 

Description from Amazon:

What sort of lady doesn’t make her debut until the age of thirty-two? A timeless beauty with a mysterious past—and a future she intends to take into her own hands . . .

Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own . . .

Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage . . .

But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart . .

 

**

Mia’s secrets are really scandalous for a regency lady.  She has been in a sultan’s harem for the past 17 years.  Now after being rescued she is home and her father wants her married before scandalous gossip ruins the family. As it is, just her returning has caused all kinds of gossip and that’s before anyone knows of the harem. Adam needs to marry to produce an heir to carry on the family name. His reputation has been shredded by gossip so a marriage of convenience with Mia is really his only option. But both have deep secrets that could ruin their budding romance.

I really liked the romance that was the main focus of this book but then the book took a fabulous turn and became an action/adventure romance.  Very well written. Highly recommend!

 

 

 

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Recent Release Review- House of Cads by Elizabeth Kingston

House of Cads

Title: House of Cads (Ladies of Scandal, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Elizabeth Kingston
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, April 2018
Pages: 338
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Vivez la vie pleinement…Live life to the fullest.

That’s always been Marie-Anne de Vauteuil’s motto. As a Frenchwoman of highly questionable upbringing, she was shunned by genteel society when her fiancé died years ago, leaving her a penniless, fallen woman. Almost married, almost a widow…She retreated to an isolated village where no one knows or cares about her sordid past. And with no one to answer to, she will do as she pleases, including eating cake until her corset strings pop if she so chooses. But then, an invitation to London on a mission of mercy from the very family that cast her aside lands Marie-Anne back in society—and into the arms of a man who can be nothing but trouble.

When life gives you lemons…Make petit fours.

Wealthy American businessman Mason is a) accidentally engaged, b) desperate to get out of it, and c) neither wealthy nor a businessman. Marriage is the last thing on his mind. Money, however, is always of utmost importance. He’s only in London to gather material for the gossip pamphlets he illustrates, his scheme to make as much money as he can before he’s found out and skips town. But when he meets the irresistible Marie-Anne, she makes him rethink his life as a fraud, and for once consider his true talent as an artist. Her carefree attitude about life in general—and sex in particular—has Mason hoping for something he never believed possible: A proper life with a not-so-proper wife.
**
I confess to liking Kingston’s Fallen Lady (book #1 in this series) a bit more than this offering but this is still a not-to-be-missed book. The author’s lyrical prose, perfectly nuanced characterization and wit bring to life the Regency era as well as a rapscallion hero and a French free thinker. There are a few slow bits but the sexual tension is just ramped up in those times. This is a standalone book. Savor this one.

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Recent Release Review- The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride

Title: The Luck of The Bride (Cavensham Heiresses Series, book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Janna MacGregor
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 1, 2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

She’s leaving nothing up to chance. Not even love…
March Lawson is an orphan who, for the past eight years, has struggled to raise her siblings on a meager allowance. Most women March’s age would be picking out ball gowns for the upcoming season. But March’s focus is not on finding a husband. First, she must devote her energies to just one man: the coldhearted skinflint who refuses to release her inheritance.
Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin, is not a heartless man. When he learns that Miss Lawson has been forging his name to procure funds, he can’t bring himself to have her arrested—not when the bold-faced embezzler is so enchantingly beautiful. Instead, McCalpin agrees to visit her home to assess the situation more closely. March has no choice but to accept. But how can she manage the handsome trustee who controls her purse strings—when he tugs at her heart strings as well?

**
Filled to over flowing with heartwarming characters we settle in for a feel good novel of a certain Happily Ever After. That is, as long as the H & h prove that they are not their own worst enemy. But there is an enemy, cousin Rupert is villain enough for them and causes a rift that may tear them apart.

This is a heartwarming story that will give the reader feel-good vibes. I enjoyed it but I did think that the impact of scandal in the 19th century was given little credence. I do recommend it for the delightful story and characters.

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Release Day Review- To Woo A Wicked Widow by Jenna Jaxon

To Woo A Wicked Widow

Title: To Woo A Wicked Widow (The Widows Club, book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency
Author: Jenna Jaxon
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Lyrical Press, March 27, 2018
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:
The war years are behind them.
The future is before them.
And one by one, the widows of Lyttlefield Park are getting restless . . .

Lady Charlotte Cavendish is still the spirited girl who tried to elope in the name of love. That dream was thwarted by her father who trapped her into a loveless, passionless marriage. But now widowed, Charlotte is free to reenter the giddy world of the ton—and pursue her desires. For hardly your typical widow, she remains innocent to the pleasures of the flesh. Yet her life is finally her own, and she intends to keep it that way . . .

Nash, the twelfth Earl of Wrotham, is beguiled by Charlotte at first sight—and the feeling is mutual. When he receives her intriguing invitation to a house party, the marriage-minded lord plans to further their acquaintance. But even he cannot sway her aversion to matrimony, and only with great restraint does he resist her most tempting offer. For unbeknownst to Charlotte, the misadventures of the past are revisiting them both, and bedding her could cost him everything—or give him everything he ever wanted . . .

**
A very clever premise; several widows in need of new husbands (or not) are gathered together by their friend Charlotte at a house party. There are gentlemen invited, some honorable and some not so much. Interesting relationships are hinted at but Charlotte and her neighbor, Nash, The Earl of Wrotham, have an attraction that is instant and pretty much overwhelming. The problem is that Charlotte does not want to give up her freedom for marriage and Nash will not make her his mistress. When Charlotte starts to yield in the direction of marriage a secret of Nash’s tears them apart.

This first book in the new series deftly sets up the series to follow. The romance is steamy and the writing is well done. I did not like Charlotte finding her at times silly. Nash was a likable character and I wondered what he saw in Charlotte beyond her beauty. The side characters, future heroines/heroes of the series, were introduced and personalities were established. I found this to be a decent Regency romance and an original concept.

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RWA RITA Award Nominees 2018

Below find the nominees for Historical Romance & Paranormal Romance and a few others.

The RITA, the highest award of distinction in romance fiction, recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.
Go to RWA for a complete list: https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=2148

Award winners will be announced on July 19 at the 2018 RWA Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Congratulations to the finalists! 
 
2018 RITA Finalists
 

Historical Romance: Long
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

Mad for the Marquess by Jess Russell
The Wild Rose Press, Tea Rose
Nicole D’Arienzio, editor

The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor

The Scoundrel’s Honor by Christi Caldwell
Amazon, Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

Historical Romance: Short
Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke
Self-Published
Tessa Shapcott, editor

The Rogue’s Conquest by Lily Maxton
Entangled Publishing, Scandalous
Alycia Tornetta, editor

The Scandal of It All by Sophie Jordan
HarperCollins, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Madeleine Colavita, editor
Waltzing with the Earl by Catherine Tinley
Harlequin Mills & Boon, Historical
Julia Williams, editor

Within a Captain’s Soul by Lisa Olech
Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press
Amanda Siemen, editor

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
Harlequin, Mira
Susan Swinwood, editor

Now that You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Harlequin, HQN
Susan Swinwood, editor

Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan
Self-Published
Sasha Knight, editor

Unloved, a Love Story by Katy Regnery
Self-Published
Chris Belden and Melissa DeMeo, editors

Paranormal Romance
Bishop by Marie Johnston
Self-Published
Razor Sharp Editing, editor

The Druid Next Door by E. J. Russell
Riptide Publishing
Rachel Haimowitz, editor

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor

Hunt the Darkness by Stephanie Rowe
Self-Published

Song of the Nightpiper by Hannah Meredith
Self-Published
Anna D. Allen, editor

Spectred Isle by K. J. Charles
Self-Published
To Enthrall the Demon Lord by Nadine Mutas
Self-Published
Faith Freewoman, editor

Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Cat Clyne, editor

Romance Novella
“Dancing with the Duke’s Heir” by Bronwyn Scott
in Scandal at the Christmas Ball
Harlequin Mills & Boon, Historical
Nicola Caws, editor

Forbidden River by Brynn Kelly
Harlequin, HQN
Allison Carroll, editor

Her Duke at Daybreak by Wendy LaCapra
Self-Published
The Killion Group, editor

“In His Arms” by Jules Dixon
in Falling: Small Town Love Anthology
Self-Published
Michelle Josett, editor

“The Pursuit Of…” by Courtney Milan
in Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances
Self-Published
Lindsey Faber, editor

The Secret of My Seduction by Caroline Linden
Self-Published
Martha Trachtenberg, editor

“Sweet Home Highlands” by May McGoldrick
in Christmas in Kilts: A Highland Holiday Box Set
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Eileen Rothschild, editor

Until the Sun Sets by Tara Wyatt
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Holly Ingraham, editor
 

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Release Day Review- What a Highlander’s Got To Do by Sabrina York

What A Highlander's Got to Do

Title: What A Highlander’s Got To Do (Untamed Highlanders book #5)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, March 6, 2018
Pages: 243
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Isobel Dounreay Lochlannach is a fierce and independent Scots lass. She has no intention to marry—to submit to a man—especially not an Englishman.
But when she meets a devilish stable lad on the way to London, she can’t help but sneak a kiss with the handsome stranger, sure to never see him again.
Nick Wyeth is not a stable lad. He’s Viscount Stirling, and heir to one of the most powerful dukes in the realm. If their indiscretion is discovered, Isobel will be forced to marry him, to succumb to a fate she has always spurned. Nick wants nothing but to call this wild Scottish lass his own, and is determined to show her how an English Viscount can make her swoon, and be his forever.

**
This book has bonnie lass, Isobel, in lust (or is it love?) with a gorgeous stable hand who is actually an English Viscount, Nick. (Isobel is the hellion, 5 year old from book #2 in this series, Susana and The Scot.) Nick doesn’t get to set her straight until they meet in London for the Season. Nick is in love with Isobel but Isobel has a deep prejudice against Englishmen and especially English Lords. Her attraction to Nick doesn’t wane when she finds out his station but she is determined not to marry him.

If you are looking for dialog that runs the gamut from eloquent to witty to sexy, if you like sexual tension that makes your own heart pound and if you want a darn good plot, this is the book for you. It is a standalone book but characters from previous books in the series do play important roles in this book. Did I mention that there are laugh-out-loud moments as well as some adventure. You can’t go wrong if you like those handsome Highlanders, Scots, English Lords and smart conniving Mamas as well as a feisty heroine. I highly recommend this book as well as this most entertaining series.

Untamed Highlanders Series:
Hannah and The Highlander (Deet’s review Sept. 2015- 4.5 stars)
Susana and The Scot (Deet’s review, January 2016-4.5 stars)
Lana And The Laird (Deet’s review June 2016- 4 stars)
The Highlander is All That (somehow I missed reading this one)
What A Highlander’s Got To Do (today’s review)

(Here comes a cover complaint from Deet: On this cover the woman is wearing makeup that would never be worn in the Regency Era. Please publishers, pay attention to details.)

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Release Day Review- Say Yes To The Scot by Cornwall, Harrington, McGoldrick and York

Say yes to the scot

Title: Say Yes to The Scot
Genre: Historical Romance/ Highlanders/ Anthology
Authors: Lecia Cornwall, May McGoldrick, Anna Harrington and Sabrina York
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Swerve, June 20, 2017
Pages: 410
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon/ Review From Deet:
HOW A LASS WED A HIGHLANDER by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her…or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?

This is a fairytale complete with the expectation of fairy help or interference. It is a true Highland story with clan hostilities, good Lairds and bad and bonnie lasses who are looking for romance. Side characters seem so much wiser than the protagonists. Deets rating: 4.5

A MATCH MADE IN HEATHER by Anna Harrington
She was the laird’s daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?
Whatever Anna Harrington writes turns out to be page turning and beautifully written and this story is no exception. There are revenge, longing, lust and dark secrets. Deet’s rating: 5

A MIDSUMMER WEDDING by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

Another luscious addition to this anthology. Be prepared to put on a sweater because the chill of these characters in the rain for two days will give you trembles. Deets rating: 4.5

THE SCOT SAYS I DO by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross’s world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years–but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

This one is so yummy! Sabrina York knows her Highlanders and she can make us fall in love with the tough, brawny, yet tenderhearted Duncan just as Catherine did all those years ago. Deet‘s rating: 5

This Anthology is really a cut above the usual in that every novella was a winner. I’m used to finding stories in anthologies that are good and not so good and in this one they are all better than good. They are excellent. There is beautiful romance, suspense and sexy times. This is one for the keeper shelf.

 

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Recent Release Review-My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

My One True Highlander

Title: My One True Highlander: A No Ordinary Hero Novel, Book #2

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 4, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 319

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE Scotland, 1812—Rugged Highlander Graeme’s loyalty to his clan means that their enemies are his own—even when that includes his neighbor, the Duke of Lattimer. It’s a fight he doesn’t relish, but when Graeme’s reckless younger brothers foolishly kidnap Lattimer’s younger sister, all bets are off…

Lady Marjorie Forrester may be aligned with the enemy, but capturing her puts Graeme squarely in the middle of a war. If he turns Marjorie over to his clan chief, she could be killed. If he lets her go, his brothers could face prison. In addition, the woman can’t stop trying to civilize the lot of them! What’s a Highlander to do, then, but keep the stubborn lass close…and explore the unexpected passion that develops between them? But how can Graeme protect Marjorie and his brothers when both Lattimer and his own clan are on the warpath—and will do whatever it takes to tear these two star-crossed lovers apart, in My One True Highlander, the next No Ordinary Hero Scottish romance from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch.

***

The premise was a good one but I kept losing interest in this book.  Perhaps because so much of it was confined to the one setting of Graeme’s house.  That’s only speculation.  I would read a few pages and set the book aside.  This is not how I used to read a Suzanne Enoch book.  I’m a fan of this author but I found myself bored with this one. Not even the side characters of Graeme’s brothers or Marjorie’s companion could rouse me to be interested.  I take total responsibility for this attitude because I do think that those who love stories set in the Scottish Highlands will like this book, especially those who want to follow up on book one of this series. The writing is good and the characters are well developed. We met Marjorie in Book #1 and it was good to see her star in this story.

 

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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:

 https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=1808

 

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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.

Historical Romance_thumb[1]

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 Club.com)

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