Tag Archives: Historical Romance Victorian

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

the-merchants-pearl

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 Amazon.com:         

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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Advance Review- The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

the-duke-kerrigan-byrne

Title: The Duke (Victorian Rebels, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Mystery

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher: At. Martin’s Paperbacks, Feb. 7, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners… Strong as a Viking.  Handsome as Adonis.  Rich as Midas. Collin “Cole” Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth, is the stuff that legends are made of.  He’s the English Empire’s golden son–until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor–and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime… Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience–one that left her a wealthy widow–but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs?

***

When it comes to Historical Romance, Kerrigan Byrne is right up at the top of the list of best of the best.  This her fourth novel in the Victorian Rebels Series is as mesmerizing and filled with heart pounding action as the other gems in this series.  We are treated to characters we cheer for, villains that make us hold our breath and love scenes that are filled with sizzling passion.  In this book we also have the mystery of a serial killer who seems to be fixated on our heroine, Imogen.  The Duke, Collen Talmage, is a shadow of the man Imogen once knew.  He has suffered extreme torture but is bent on fighting back to his former strength.  All of the other “Rebels” from the previous books in the series play important roles in this book. This is a standalone book but I feel you will enjoy it even more if you read the previous books in the series. This is what is now referred to as a “dark historical romance”; filled with violence and characters that are not always moral or even polite.  There are scenes of sex that border on violence and I mention this since some may find this difficult to read.  That said, this is a well written book filled with description that will have you underlining passages.  You will not be able to put this book down until you reach the last page.

The Victorian Rebels Series:

  1. The Highwayman (Dorian and Farah)
  2. The Highlander (Liam and Mena)
  3. The Hunter (Christopher and Millie)
  4. The Duke (Collin [Cole] and Imogen)

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Review-Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

dreaming-of-you-2

Title: Dreaming of You (Gamblers Book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Harper Collins, 1994 (available on Kindle for $2.99)

Source: Purchase

Pages: 373

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

When shy and secluded author Sara Fielding ventures from her country cottage to research a novel, she inadvertently witnesses a crime in progress—and manages to save the life of the most dangerous man in London.

Derek Craven is a powerful and near-legendary gambling club owner who was born a bastard and raised in the streets. His reputation is unsavory, his scruples nonexistent. But Sara senses that beneath Derek’s cynical exterior, he is capable of a love more passionate than her deepest fantasies.

Aware that he is the last man that an innocent young woman should ever want, Derek is determined to protect Sara from himself, no matter what it takes. But in a world where secrets lurk behind every shadow, he is the only man who can keep her safe. And as Derek and Sara surrender to an attraction too powerful to deny, a peril surfaces from his dark past to threaten their happiness . . . and perhaps even their lives.

Together they will discover if love is enough to make dreams come true.

**

This book is classic Lisa Kleypas.  It is filled with emotion both of the horrific kind and the passionate type. We are treated to the quintessential bad boy in Derick Craven.  He is handsome, scarred, wealthy and both despised and lauded by the Ton.  He has led an immoral life of thievery, prostitution and murder.  Sara Fielding is a naïve young woman from the country who manages to innocently get herself in dire situations.  She is often lucky in her ability to escape but perhaps her luck will run out.

Of course there is the suspense of will these two opposites manage to evoke a happily ever after. There are outside forces keeping them apart as well as a crazed villain.

There is absolutely nothing like a Kleypas book to keep you turning pages all night long.  This is one of her best.  Although the second in the Gamblers duo, this is certainly a standalone novel. For a real treat read this one to see how she redeems an irredeemable man.

(Deet’s note: I read and reviewed this book once before and only gave it 4-stars.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Or, perhaps I’ve learned in the intervening years to appreciate a good book. Any way here is a link to my first review if you are interested and it also has a cover of the actual book in my keeper library. https://ladeetdareads.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/review-dreaming-of-you-by-lisa-kleypas/

 

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Recent Release review- The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

Title:  The Suffragette Scandal

The Suffergette Scandal

 Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Courtney Milan

Publisher: Courtney Milan

Source: Free for review from the author

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An idealistic suffragette… Miss Frederica “Free” Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women’s rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope…but she needs more rope, and she needs it now. …a jaded scoundrel… Edward Clark’s aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She’s only a pawn to use in his revenge. …and a scandal seven years in the making. But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it’s too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past…and once the woman he loves realizes how much he’s lied to her, he’ll lose her forever. The Suffragette Scandal is the fourth full-length historical romance in The Brothers Sinister series.

The other books in the Brother Sinister series are:

½. The Governess Affair (prequel novella)

1. The Duchess War

1½. A Kiss for Midwinter (a companion novella to The Duchess War)

2. The Heiress Effect

3. The Countess Conspiracy

4. The Suffragette Scandal

4½. Talk Sweetly to Me (coming in August)

**

In the beginning of the novel we pretty much know where Frederica Marshall stands.  She is a Suffragette, fighting for women’s rights in male dominated Victorian England.  Edward Clark, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery.  His story unfolds bit by bit throughout the book.  And , oh how that fact keeps us turning pages to uncover all the secrets of his past.  There are two, perhaps three, intertwined plots.  There is Edward’s revenge, there is Amanda’s awakening, and of course, there is the romance of Edward and Free.

Courtney Milan has once again written a superbly constructed novel that overflows with romance and drama and spot on details of Victorian England.  In this the fourth installment to the Brother’s Sinister Series we have cameos by several of the “brothers”.  This is a standalone novel in the series and can easily be read without having read the others, but I encourage you to read all of this series for a true look at how romance novels should be written.  You will find original plots, sensuous evocative writing, deft characterization and hours of reading enjoyment.

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Review- Lady Wild by Maire Claremont

Title:  Lady Wild: A Wicked Games Novella

Lady Wild

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Maire Claremont

Publisher: Bard Productions, May 2014

Source:  Purchase, Kindle

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Victorian England is about to go wild… Lady Ophelia longs to be daring and bold, but her mother’s illness has stolen her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild. Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia’s wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and find a love he never thought possible?

**

I jumped at buying this Kindle e-book because I had read only one other novella by Ms. Claremont and I had liked it…a lot.  Well now, after this delightful book, I will be on a mission to read all of Ms. Claremont’s backlist.

As other avid Historical Romance readers will attest, after hundreds of romance stories it is difficult to come up with an original premise or plot, that is where this story shines like a new sun.  Oh yes, we have a tortured hero and an equally tortured heroine but the methods that they go about to save each other are original and most welcome to this reader.  Of course they couldn’t have managed if it were not for Lady Ophelia’s mother’s intervention.  She was a wise and loving woman.

I highly recommend this book and also my first introduction to Maire Claremont in ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A DUKE (a co authored anthology with Delilah Marvelle).

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Advance Review- Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

Title:  Fool Me Twice

Fool Me Twice

 Genre:  Historical Romance/Victorian

Author:  Meredith Duran

Publisher: Pocket Books, March 25, 2014(available for preorder; Kindle $1.99, Paperback$5.39)

Source:  Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A LADY WITH A SECRET

Running for her life, exhausted and out of options, Olivia Holladay wants nothing more than the chance to make a home for herself. So when she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the duke’s notoriously temperamental housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her. . . .

A MAN WITH A PASSION—FOR VENGEANCE

As his new employee, Olivia is a fearless upstart. As a woman, the daring redhead is just what Alastair needs to rouse him from darkness to the siren call of revenge. He has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies—even his brazen and beautiful domestic. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible and growing passion for the enigmatic Olivia.

**

I think I will characterize this book as a “Historical Romantic Suspense” rather than just a Historical Romance.  There are so many delightful surprises and twists just when we think that we have things figured out.  Olivia’s history unfolds slowly throughout the book and I couldn’t help but make some totally unfounded assumptions that proved to be totally incorrect.  Alastair is such a broken shell that it is magic the way Ms. Duran brings him back to life through Olivia.  There is an evil villain that drives the story and the revenge that Alistair seeks and Olivia’s desperation.

The plotting of this novel is superb, the characterization is superb, the dialog is believeable and the setting of Victorian England is brought to life.  This book deserves 5 stars and 5 more stars.

( I am posting this review in advance of publication because the price of the book is very low on preorder and you will want to get it.  Trust me, this is a good one!)

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