Tag Archives: Historical Romance

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 Amazon.com:         

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

 

the-viscount-who-loved-me

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 www.likesbooks.com 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.

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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Review- Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

marrying-winterborne

Title: Marrying Winterborne (the Ravenels, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon, May 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 416

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

***

This is the second book in the Ravenel Series and although you will follow along with this one easily I feel you will enjoy it so much more if you read COLD HEARTED RAKE first. 

Helen discovers a secret that may ruin her chances of happiness.  Rhys is a wonderful hero who will let nothing deter him from marrying Helen.  This is all typical, delicious Kleypas.  There is some angst but also plenty of sensuous, love scenes.  We are treated to side characters we met in book #1 of the series and who will continue on in book#3.  The writing is eloquent, the characters well drawn and the story delightful.

The Ravenel Series:

  1. Cold Hearted Rake (Devon and Kathleen)
  2. Marrying Winterborne (Rhys and Helen)
  3. Devil In Spring (Gabriel and Pandora)

 

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Advance Review- Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

sinful-scottish-laird

Title: Sinful Scottish Laird: A Historical Romance Novel (The Highland Grooms, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN, Feb. 28, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Widowed and forced to remarry in three years’ time or forfeit her son’s inheritance, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chatwick, has plenty of suitors vying for her hand…and her fortune. But a letter from a long-lost love sends Daisy and her young son to her Scottish Highland estate to buy time for his return. Along the way she encounters the powerful Cailean Mackenzie, laird of Arrandale and a notorious smuggler, and she is utterly—though unwillingly—bewitched.

Cailean has no use for any Sassenach in his glen. But Daisy’s brazen, flirtatious nature and alluring beauty intrigue him. When her first love appears unexpectedly at her estate, Cailean knows that a passionate woman like Daisy cannot marry this man. And to prevent the union, Cailean must put his own life at risk to win her heart.

**

In the first book of this series, Wild Wicked Scot, we are introduced to Arren and Margot.  In this the second book of the series some years have passed and this is the story of their oldest son, Cailean and his falling in love with Sassenach, Daisy. Cailean has fought against his attraction to the flirty Daisy because he knows she must marry an Englishman to protect her son’s inheritance. There are reasons he feels he could never reside in England and he determines to encourage her to marry someone else.  Daisy knows that she must marry by year’s end.  She thinks that Robert her love of her teen years will suit, but she can’t reconcile her attraction to Cailean.

Once again I have enjoyed the well-developed characters in this series.  The story is page-turning interesting. I liked both Daisy, who knew what she wanted but also knew her duty to her son, and Cailean who knew he had to let her go.  The problems were tied up a bit too conveniently but the addition of a character from book one was welcome at the end. I hope Knox gets his own book.

This is a standalone novel with cameos by characters from the first book in the series.  You can pick up this one without having read the first and you will not be lost although I encourage you to enjoy the first book.

The Higland Grooms Series by Julia London:

  1. Wild Wicked Scot (Arren and Margot)
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird (Cailean and Daisy)
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander (Robbie and ?)April 2017

 

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Advance Review- Between The Devil And The Duke by Kelly Bowen

between-the-devil-and-the-duke

Title: Between The Devil and The Duke (A Season For Scandal, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Kelly Bowen

Publisher: Forever, Jan. 31, 2017(preorder available)

Source: Free for Review from the Publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Their love was always in the cards. He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he’s more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he’ll have to devise a proposition she can’t turn down. Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie’s club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible . . .

**

This book is suspenseful and sexy from the beginning. Angelique is in dire needs of funds because of money that seemed to just disappear from the family coffers when her father died.  Her dissolute brother is a drunk and he spends whatever money Angelique manages to win at the gaming tables on drinking.  Alex knows that Angelique’s astute ability with numbers will be an asset to his gaming club but he is also in lust with her.

There is a terrific mystery woven throughout this story.  It will keep you guessing and a few surprises will be thrown into the mix. This book is a page turner, full of sexual tension, dangerous villains and a handsome hero who has all the right connections to help a damsel in distress.  But wait, the damsel is quite capable also of aiding in solving her problems. There are heated encounters and sizzling chemistry between the Hero and Heroine.

This book is splendidly entertaining. I highly recommend this the latest installment in “The Season For Scandal” series.  It is a standalone book with characters from previous books in the series making an appearance.

 

 

 

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Review- Mistletoe & Mayhem/Anthology

mistletoe-mayhem

Title: Mistletoe & Mayhem(A Regency Yuletide collection book#4)

Genre: Historical romance/Holiday Anthology

Author: Virginia Brown, Ann Ferguson, Karen Fisch and Sharon Sobel

Publisher: Imajinn, Nov. 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 268

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon.com:

This Christmas, Miss Lily Jardine is getting something any girl would want – a betrothal offer. Too bad she’s falling for her soon-to-be fiancé’s brother instead . . . Merrily Mismatched by Virginia Brown

Lady Lucia Crossclyffe can’t resist the charms of Marquess of Rillington, a holiday visitor to her isolated island home. Little does she guess that he’s come there to ruin her . . . The Snow Princess by Jo Ann Ferguson

After years of being presumed dead, Major Jeremy Stanhope has come home from the war. His first order of business – to propose to Lady Rosalie Partington, the woman who’s waited for him all these years. Only Rosalie is already betrothed . . . to the traitor who left him for dead! Christmas Truce by Karen Frisch

Charles Hudson, the Earl of Westerly, has come to Windermere for Christmas with one intention – to offer for the woman whose letters have captivated him for the last year. But is the letter-writer the woman he thinks she is? Miss Montague’s Mistletoe Match by Sharon Sobel

***

As with most anthologies, this one has some very good stories and then again some that are not as good but on the whole this is a fine anthology.  All of the stories are interesting, filled with warm seasonal sentiment and result in our longed for happily ever after.  There aren’t any steamy scenes but the romance is still heart stopping.  I can recommend this anthology to all romance lovers and don’t feel it has to be read at Christmas.  These stories are just wonderful any time of the year.

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Advance Review-Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

wild-wicked-scot

Title: Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlanders

Author: Julia London

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, Dec. 27, 2016 (pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands 

Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn’t belong in a Scottish chieftain’s devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn’t looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie’s passionate embrace. But as their respective countries’ fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.

Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran’s beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there’s nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

***

Margot was a spoiled daughter of an Earl, she was naïve but beautiful.  When her father saw a chance to make a profitable alliance with a “barbaric” Scot he didn’t even consider Margot’s wishes. Married, this teenager was thrust into a culture she couldn’t comprehend, a society that disapproved of her being English and a husband who wasn’t prepared to cater to her insecurities or whims.  After four months and yet another row with Arran, her husband, she left for her father’s home where she stayed for 4 years. That is until her father insisted she return to her husband and find evidence of his treason.

This is the first book in Julia London’s “Highland Grooms” series.  A terrific start! The characterizations of all the characters is spot on and well developed.  The story is filled with sizzling chemistry between Arran and Margot.  There is a well-developed arc of Margot going from naïve teenager to a take charge strong woman. This book is elegantly written and very entertaining.  It is a long book and it does slow down a bit in the middle but otherwise it is action packed and a hang on for the ride book.  The sexual tension is what holds these two protagonists together until they learn to fall in love.

                                                                         

 

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Last Friday ‘Til Christmas Review- I Will by Lisa Kleypas

i-will

Title: I Will

Genre: Historical romance/Holiday/Novella

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon Impulse, Dec. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 96

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:         

Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways.

As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins . . .

***

This is a novella previously published in a 2001 anthology, Wishlist.wishlist

It has been reissued in this current e-book.

I did not read this in the anthology so I was looking forward to this novella.  It certainly did not disappoint me.  It is classic romance from classic Kleypas. Nobody does it better!

Andrew is rude, sarcastic and in general quite obnoxious. Caroline is trying to protect her brother from this dissolute rogue.  However Andrew makes her a proposition that she cannot refuse. She agrees to help him in return for him leaving her brother alone and covering her brother’s debts. All should be good for both parties except they never factored in their growing attraction for each other.

There is a predictable story here but there are also some very clever twists that keep us turning pages to discover the results. This was a terrific holiday read and I highly recommend it.

It looks like the real Santa has finally paid us a visit.

santa-claus-old-guy

 

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Recent Release Review-The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas

the-untouchable-earl

Title: The Untouchable Earl (Fallen Ladies, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amy Sandas

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Nov. 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

He’s a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that’s kept him from knowing a lover’s touch. She’s a sheltered debutante tired of living by society’s rules. But when she’s forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace…and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.

Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.

Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret—one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover’s touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he’s spent his life keeping the world at arm’s length. But there’s something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him…and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.

“Are you afraid?” “Yes,” she replied in a soft voice. “But I love the way you frighten me.”

**

That description sounds intriguing, right? Well, I thought so, that’s why after reading book #1 (Luck Is No Lady) in this series and giving it 4 stars I thought this one would be just as good if not better.  I was wrong.  Although it has a terrific premise the execution was downright repetitive. The book starts out good, but then it becomes the same scene done a slightly different way over and over.  I didn’t like the characters and although they “talked” attraction, I never got the feeling that there was very much emotional attachment. Yes, he saved her, yes, he stares into her eyes forever and she his, yes, he acts mysterious…wait, that’s not mysterious, that’s just boredom.

Okay, you get it, this one I can’t recommend.  

 

 

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