Category Archives: Romance

Advance Review- The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society

Title: The Jane Austen Society: A Novel

Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction/Romance

Author: Natalie Jenner

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St Martin’s Press, May 26, 2020

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

**

This is totally a work of fiction the only actual part of the story that is real is the town of Chawton and the house reputed to be where Jane Austen lived and wrote for part of her life. However, this book just sucks you in and the characters become totally real. There are some surprises and twists which is always fun. I felt like I was transported to post-war Britain and I could actually picture the village, the streets, the rolling hills of the countryside. The characters are all well realized. The plot well written. There is nothing short of superb about this book. I loved it.

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Advance Review- A Duke By Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes

A Duke by any other name

Title: A Duke By Any Other Name (Rogues to Riches, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, April 28, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Nathaniel, Duke of Rothhaven, lives in seclusion, leaving his property only to gallop his demon-black steed across the moors by moonlight. Exasperated mamas invoke his name to frighten small children, though Nathaniel is truly a decent man — maybe too decent for his own good. That’s precisely why he must turn away the beguiling woman demanding his help.

Lady Althea Wentworth has little patience for dukes, reclusive or otherwise, but she needs Rothhaven’s backing to gain entrance into Polite Society. She’s asked him nicely, she’s called on him politely, all to no avail — until her prize hogs just happen to plunder the ducal orchard. He longs for privacy. She’s vowed to never endure another ball as a wallflower. Yet as the two grow closer, it soon becomes clear they might both be pretending to be something they’re not.

**
As those who know me, know that I’m a fan of Grace Burrowes’ Historical Romances. Each one is a perfect bit of escapist, curl up with wine and a fluffy throw, romance book. (I also have a dish of chocolate truffles handy. TMI?) This book is another well written, character driven, lovely read.

Nathaniel’s brother Robbie should be the duke but he is afflicted with the “falling down” sickness (epilepsy), so the old duke concocted a plan to have second son, Nathaniel, assume that role even though Robbie was still living. This made for a multitude of secrets which unravel as the book goes on. Althea is the first to discover Robbie and her wise advice is to eventually bring her and Nathaniel together. I liked how Burrowes brings to light the horrendous treatment of those afflicted with disease in the Regency period. It is not all bad, for Nathaniel and Althea have an HEA and there is hope for Robbie in the folds of a loving family. I encourage you to read this book.

(This is a standalone novel in the series.)

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Relese Day Review- To Have And To Hoax by Martha Waters

To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and To Hoax

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Author: Martha Waters

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Atria, April, 2020

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

**
This was a lively romp through the ridiculous games engaged in by this couple. As ridiculous and childish as the game was, the reader longs for these two basically charming, sane, husband and wife to find their HEA. But they keep digging themselves in a deeper and deeper hole.

I truly enjoyed every melodrama that turned up on almost every page. This plot was well written and I would have given it more than 5-stars if not for wanting to shake the heroine out of her machinations. At about 60% I was tired of the games. The characters were well drawn. Violet and James were easy to like and to understand their ongoing feud. The side characters were ripe for future books of their own. I can highly recommend this first book by Martha Waters and I hope for more fun HR’s in the future..

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Recent Release- In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

in five years

Title: In Five Years

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Rebecca Serle

Source: purchase

Publisher: Atia Books, March 2020 (also available from Audible)

Pages: 266

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.

She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

**
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a page turner. You will want to know what leads to that 5th year incident. Is it “real” or “fantasy”? I read this book because I read Rebecca Serle’s book THE DINNER LIST. I enjoy the way she attacks unique storylines and this book is another unique storyline. There is romance, heartbreak and everything in-between. Be sure and have a box of tissues handy. Yes, I can recommend this book with reservations, but only a few reservations.

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Recent Release- In Bed With The Earl by Christi Caldwell

In bed with the Earl

Title: In Bed With The Earl (Lost Lords of London, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Montlake, March 2020

Pages: 383

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcolm North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?
Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.
The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

**
Christi Caldwell never gives us a “bad” book. This enemies to lovers trope doesn’t disappoint. Although Ms. Caldwell has done the seedy side of London in past books, this time we really find the deep dark and very dirty sewers of London and the criminals that inhabit them for profit and power.

Verity is not a typical woman of her time. She is desperately trying to become a news reporter and meeting all kinds of male imposed obstacles. But she needs the job to support her teen sister and her childhood nursemaid. Finding the Lost Heir would be her door to a job at the newspaper.

Malcolm has no memory of his early childhood when he was kidnapped. He has fought his way to become the king of the sewers attaining a fortune in the process. He has no desire to enter polite society as the Earl, but it is being forced upon him. He doesn’t want to be found by any reporter including Verity.

I enjoyed the way the author brings to life the grittier side of London in the Regency time period. As usual with Ms. Caldwell we get superbly nuanced characters that leap off the page. Although not one of my favorites of this author it certainly was a unique, entertaining read.

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Limited Time DEAL- Mimi Matthews’ The Matrimonial Advertisement

The Matrimonial Advertisement

ON AMAZON: This e-book is on sale for $.99 and if you purchase it you can add the wonderful audio book for $1.99.  So for a pay-out of $2.98 you will have a terrific audio and a terrific e-book.  Such a deal!!

THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT is the first book in the PARISH ORPHANS OF DEVON series by Mimi Matthews.  The audio book is narrated by the talented Justine Eyre.  When I read and reviewed this book I gave it  4.5-stars.  Mimi Matthews is an auto buy author for me.  Everything she writes is filled with Victorian sensibility true to the time period, is superbly constructed and is splendly entertaining.

If you would like to see all 4 of my Orphans of Devon reviews please go to the left column on my blog site and type in “Mimi Matthews” in the search box.

NOTE: If you have a Audible Escape account this audio is included for free.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Deet

valentines-million-hearts-aimated-gif

Valentine recipe

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Recent Release Review- The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion

Title: The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Series, book#4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Mimi Matthews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Feb. 11, 2020

Pages: 318

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon:

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard…

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

**
Oh, my! What a delicious, beautiful ending to a wonderful series. Mimi Matthews is a favorite author and I intend to read everything she ever writes. I imagine even her grocery list is lyrical. The mid Victorian era is brought to life with all its sanctions, mores and prejudices. The slow to develop love is told in believable and lovely prose. The dreary, cold Devon weather seeps into your bones as you read. You just know Clara is falling for Neville because she is constantly drenched in mud and rain and still goes out of her way to get to the stables where she can have time with Neville.
This is a 5 star book and it comes at the end of a 5+ star series. If you have not read this series then I urge you to start with THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT, book #1 in the series, although each book can standalone.

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Happy 244th Birthday, Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Have you often thought about the life Jane Austen led? What was her family like? What did she do for entertainment? How was she educated? These and more in wonderful detail. Everything you have been wondering about Jane Austen answered here at PBS.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/jane-austen-answers-to-the-most-frequently-asked-questions/

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Release Day Review- Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon

Title: Twice In A Blue Moon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Lauren

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gallery books, Oct. 22, 2019

Pages: 368

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
**
This book has the romance that I expect from this writing duo but it just missed the mark somehow. I missed the usual humor of the authors’ other books. It centers around a Hollywood father, Ian, and his estranged daughter, Tate. To keep Tate out of the spotlight her mother has kept her in a small town under an assumed name. This anonymity is shattered when her secret life is leaked by her boyfriend, Sam, while in London. Tate is devastated but goes on to become an actress. Not hearing from Sam until they meet on the set of her “big break” film ,that she is sharing with her father fourteen years later.

Why is he there? Will this affect her performance? Will her father finally be close to her? Should she even think about reconciling with Sam?

Those questions kept me turning pages. Christina Lauren can write fascinating characters set in interesting scenarios. But I still wasn’t satisfied with this book like I had been with previous books by these authors. Still not a bad book so I can recommend it to those who like Hollywood stories.

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