Posts Categorized: Historical Romance

How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina

January 5, 2016 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne FresinaHow to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina
Series: Book Club Belles Society #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 5, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE:

Reject his marriage proposal
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate's mysterious new wealth has the town's rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana's attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry "any suitable girl" under the age of 25.

Run away
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate's return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can't help but feel in Nate's presence...and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.

But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.

HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE is a romantic story about broken hearts and second chances.  Closely mirroring many elements of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, the hero and heroine of HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE, Nathaniel Sherringham and Diana Makepiece were once friends with strong, but hidden, feelings for one another.  Until Nathaniel made a inebriated marriage proposal to Diana which Diana’s mother convinces her to refuse.  Though intoxicated, Nathaniel’s proposal was sincere and he leaves the village quite brokenhearted.  Fast forward three years.  Diana has become a shadow of herself, always cow towing to the wishes of her domineering mother instead of expressing her own desires of opinions.  Nathaniel is back, rich, and looking for a bride.  In a fit of wounded pique, he declares his bride must be no older than 25, even though Diana is now 27.  The plot which then follows loosely mirrors that of PERSUASION, so I would suggest readers be at least a little familiar with that wonderful novel as it would enhance a reader’s enjoyment of HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE.

Diana and Nathaniel are like peanut butter and jelly.  Diana is quiet and introverted.  Nathaniel is outgoing and boisterous.  Together, they are a wonderful match – Nathaniel is able to bring Diana out of her shell and Diana’s calm nature helps bring peace to Nathaniel’s race-about lifestyle.  Ms. Fresina does a marvelous job showing exactly why these two lovers are perfect for each other, despite their polar opposite personalities.  I loved that this was a story about second chances.  It was so painful at first to see Diana so wounded by Nathaniel’s callous comments about what he wanted in a bride.  Yet, I could understand that Nathaniel was just trying to protect himself too; of course, we also got to see that Nathaniel didn’t really mean his hurtful words.  He wanted Diana three years ago and he wants her still.

I think readers can definitely relate to many of the characters in this novel and the experiences they go through.  I highly recommend reading this novel, especially for fans of Jan Austen!

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A Whisper of Desire by Bronwen Evans

December 29, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Whisper of Desire by Bronwen EvansA Whisper of Desire by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #4
Published by Random House on December 1, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 273
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Lady Marisa Hawkstone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational, he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.

Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.

I would classify this story as historical erotica instead of historical romance.  The plot revolves around a sex-based inciting incident and most, if not all, of the major plot points are also sex-based.  This isn’t a criticism – I thoroughly enjoyed A WHISPER OF DESIRE.  I simply point this out at the beginning of my review for those readers who prefer their historical romances more tame and/or based on non-sex-based plot points.

Maitland Spencer, Duke of Lyttleton, takes his role as a Duke of the realm very seriously, to the point where he is nicknamed “The Cold Duke” for his taciturn and aloof demeanor.  In this respect, he reminds me a little of Mr. Darcy from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in that he is seemingly proud, but hides his great depth of emotion behind a mask of indifference.  Maitland is more proactive than Mr. Darcy, of course, and when he sees an opportunity to get his friend’s sister, Marisa, away from a horrible beau, he seizes the opportunity.  Compromised, Marisa is quickly wed to Maitland and the two begin to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed.

Marisa is far more emotionally mature than Maitland and as a result she is able to draw upon a great deal of inner strength when Maitland tries to pull away from her.  She is not afraid to explore her more sensual side with Maitland and uses this curiosity to encourage Maitland to open up to her emotionally as well as physically.

I enjoyed this couple and the fast-paced nature of A WHISPER OF DESIRE.  While it can be read as a standalone, it is obviously part of an on-going series, with some necessary backstory that must be understood for other events to make sense.  Maitland and Marisa also leave a lot of trouble in their wake at the end of this book, which with obviously (hopefully??) be addressed in a future installment.

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The Harlot Countess by Joanna Shupe

December 18, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

The Harlot Countess by Joanna ShupeThe Harlot Countess by Joanna Shupe
Series: Wicked Deceptions #2
Published by Zebra Books on April 28, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
five-stars
Maggie, Lady Hawkins, had a debut she'd rather forget--along with her first marriage. Today, the political cartoonist is a new woman. A thoroughly modern woman. So much so that her clamoring public believes she's a man...
 
FACT:  Drawing under a male pseudonym, Maggie is known as Lemarc. Her (his!) favorite object of ridicule: Simon Barrett, Earl of Winchester. He's a rising star in Parliament--and a former confidant and love interest of Maggie's who believed a rumor that vexes her to this day.

FICTION:  Maggie is the Half-Irish Harlot who seduced her best friend's husband on the eve of their wedding. She is to be feared and loathed as she will lift her skirts for anything in breeches.

Still crushed by Simon's betrayal, Maggie has no intention of letting the ton crush her as well. In fact, Lemarc's cartoons have made Simon a laughingstock...but now it appears that Maggie may have been wrong about what happened years ago, and that Simon has been secretly yearning for her since...forever. Could it be that the heart is mightier than the pen and the sword after all?

Maggie, now Lady Hawkins, had what was possibly the worst come out in all of London’s history – an unwanted attack in the gardens turned into a “lover’s tryst” by the scheming knave branded Maggie as “The Half-Irish Harlot.”  And when her beau Simon Barrett believed the knave’s lies and turned his back on Maggie, she flees into a loveless marriage with the first man who will marry her.  Ten years later, the nickname still burns on society’s tongue wherever Maggie goes.  But now she embraces the freedom the nickname – and her widowhood – provide her and little does society know, but she is behind the infamous political cartoonist, Lemarc, poking fun at both society’s hypocrisies and rising politicians like Simon.

Maggie is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read.  Despite years of cruel taunts, gossips, and not-so-subtle whispers, Maggie has held her head up high and presented the world with a brave face.  She turns a spiteful joke into an infamous persona.  Her intelligence, wit, and artistic talents earn her a very comfortable living at the expense of the very society who pretends to despise her.  She is the very definition of courage and strength.

Simon is the character with a true development arc in this novel.  His love for Maggie ten years ago was weak and he believed the lies about her.  But through actually talking to Maggie, learning her side of the story, and discovering the woman she has become, Simon’s love for her grows and develops into full maturity.  Simon is just as complicated a character as Maggie and shares her stubborn streak.

But this makes for a fantastic read!  Simon and Maggie’s chemistry sparks off the page and some of their love scenes actually made me blush!  And let me tell you, I read a lot of erotica and historical romance so that’s really hard to do.

I *loved* this book and immediately went out and bought the other two in the series, THE COURTESAN DUCHESS (book #1) and THE LADY HELLION (book #3).  Reviews for those novels will be up soon too!

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How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English

December 1, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How to Seduce a Scot by Christy EnglishHow to Seduce a Scot by Christy English
Series: Broadswords and Ballrooms #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on December 1, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
He's the terror of the ton...

The plan is simple:
1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;
2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;
3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized
ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything—even the English. He just didn't expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot...or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won't allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians...no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn't part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this "proper" English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves...and nothing will stop him from having her.

After her family’s disastrous attempts at managing the family finances, Catherine Middlebrook and her sister are left practically penniless with just enough money to give Catherine a single Season.  A Season in which she must find and marry a rich gentleman.  As quickly as she can.  Yesterday, if at all possible.  Lucky for Catherine, the kind (if boring) Lord Farleigh is interested in her.  But the polite attentions of Lord Farleigh are nothing compared to a single glance from the enticing Scotsman, Alexander Waters.  From their first meeting, Catherine and Alexander are attracted to each other with frightening intensity.  Catherine is frustrated and confused; she must marry for money, not the love of a Scotsman, nor matter how appealing he is in his kilt.  Alexander is equally appalled.  He came to London to marry off his little sisters and hie himself back to the Highlands, away from the Sassenach and their ridiculous society rules.

This is a very sweet romance; not at all what I expected from a novel whose hero is a Scottish highlander, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Catherine is young, but is attempting to heroically save her family from scandal and ruination by marrying the richest man who will take her instead of someone who might value and love her.  Alexander is equally sweet; not at all what I expected.  When I think ‘Scottish highlander,’ I think of big, hulking alpha males who care little for the rules and strictures of regency society, ready to create mischief and scandal where ever they go.  Instead, Alexander is quite the gentleman.  Frankly, I think he probably could have been any one of the English lords about the ballroom.

There are a few things that didn’t work for me, but the biggest problem was this: Catherine needed to marry the richest man available, so I understood why she wanted to marry Lord Farleigh.  However, Alexander was an equally rich (or so I thought) Scotsman.  And with this background, I didn’t understand why Catherine believed that she couldn’t marry Alexander instead of Lord Farleigh.  Alexander has the money her family needs and they love each other to boot, so what’s the problem?

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The Last Confession by Regina Mhairi

November 27, 2015 Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Last Confession by Regina MhairiThe Last Confession by Regina Mhairi
Published by Amazon Digital Services on April 5, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Pages: 228
Source: the Author
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Paris, 1663

Mentored in the enchanting world of the courtesans, beautiful, intelligent and outspoken Catalina Cosme has her pick of any man the city offers. But no man has ever captured her interest…until she lays eyes on Father Benedict Mortimer. Determined to prove that even holy men can fall, Benedict becomes her greatest challenge yet.

The former pupil of a grand inquisitor, Roman Catholic Priest Father Benedict Mortimer was once the worst sort of libertine before he became a ruthless speaker of The Church. Now he is a man haunted by the horrifying sins of his past. After reading the memoirs he wrote during his years in the seminary, Catalina never imagined the condemnatory author was that self-same kindhearted priest whom she sought refuge with when she escaped an abusive benefactor.

As their unlikely friendship forms, Catalina’s aim for seduction begins to fade, and the love she was never allowed to experience blossoms for the man beneath the cloth.

Although Benedict offers to be her new and anonymous patron, he denies himself the temptation of claiming her body in exchange. But desire may prove to be stronger than resilience, and the salvation he believes he had long ago lost may be closer than he realizes.

This book almost begins to straddle the line between historical romance and literary prose.  It’s deep, exploring taboo and sometimes uncomfortable issues.  Neither the hero nor the heroine is an ideal historical romance character, but from this ‘failure’ comes the very story the author is trying to tell – people are not defined by the labels society gives them or those they give themselves, but rather they are defined by the strength of their character, their conviction, and ability to embrace the love they deserve.

Catalina was frustrating at first.  She made little to no effort to escape her physically abusive benefactor.  Moreover, her initial attempts to seduce Father Benedict came from a place of manipulation and spite.  But in a beautiful and poignant character arc, Catalina develops true feelings for the priest and her quest to cause Father Benedict’s downfall morphs into a real desire to see him succeed and to connect with him on a intellectual and spiritual level.

Father Benedict was a more compelling and likable character.  He struggles to resist his desire for Catalina and maintain his priests’ vows.  Her presence in his life stirs up old memories he’d rather forget and it is through these memories we learn about the former libertine-turned-holy-father.

Together, Catalina and Benedict are able to forge a new path.  Their love and devotion to one another is fascinating because it is forbidden and taboo.  There are lots of emotional surprises in this novel and the author does a fantastic job of weaving lots of historical details into the narrative.  I look forward to reading more novels by Ms. Mhairi.

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The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn by Mia Marlowe

November 24, 2015 Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn by Mia MarloweThe Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn by Mia Marlowe
Series: Order of the M.U.S.E. #3
Published by Entangled Publishing on November 23, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Meg Anthony was never raised a lady. Instead, she grew up amongst grifters who used her unique “finding” ability for their own selfish purposes. Recently, she's been taken under the wing of the Duke of Camden and the Order of M.U.S.E., learning not only the fine art of becoming a lady, but how to use her extraordinary talent to help others.

But Meg's gift is a beacon to unsavory characters who would possess her.

Charged with her protection, Lord Badewyn knows—too well—that his wild, Welsh castle is no safe haven for this lovely, all-too-desirable creature. Part human, part fallen angel, he is one of the Nephilim. He is a recluse sworn never to love. As the dangers to Meg grow more threatening, he cannot help but find himself tempted beyond all reason...and tested to see if he has both a heart and a soul.

Another fantastic installment in the Order of the M.U.S.E. series!  In this book, Meg Anthony – a supernaturally-gifted finder of lost things – is introduced to Lord Samuel Badewyn, an intelligent recluse who cares more for what is found amongst the stars and heavenly bodies than the physical bodies of humans.  Lord Badewyn is only half human, the son of a fallen angel and the human he fell in love with.  Now he eschews human interaction for fear of what his father will do – every time one of his father’s sons marry, Sam’s father seduces and impregnates the wife who later dies in childbirth.  It is this deceit that keeps Sam and Meg apart for much of the story.  Sam cares too much for Meg’s life to endanger it by marrying her.  Of course, Meg’s determination, feisty nature, and inability to act like a proper lady – once a bemoaned curse – helps brings these lovers together (and provide some much needed comedic relief too).

Other characters are equally compelling and fans of this series will recognize some familiar faces from previous books.  I’ve been interested in learning Meg’s story since the first novel and now we finally get it.

As with the other Order of the M.U.S.E. books, there is mystery, suspense, and paranormal doings interspersed throughout this entertaining regency romance.  If you enjoy a dash of paranormal in your romances, please check out this entire series!  This particular novel can be read as a standalone as the author does an excellent job of explaining just enough of the necessary elements for new readers to understand what’s going on without needing to read the other novels in the series.

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Rise of the Defender by Kathryn Le Veque

November 20, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Rise of the Defender by Kathryn Le VequeRise of the Defender by Kathryn Le Veque
Series: de Lohr Dynasty #1
Published by Dragonblade Publishing on January 26, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
four-stars
1192 A.D. – Sir Christopher de Lohr is Richard the Lion Heart’s champion, a man that the Muslims nicknamed “The Lion’s Claw”. Blond, battle-scarred and powerful, he is what all men fear. After the fall of Acre, Christopher makes a promise at the deathbed of a dying comrade to marry the man’s incorrigible but wealthy daughter. Christopher returns home to marry the woman, but the only thing is interested in is her substantial dowry. He has no use for a wife and resents being forced into the marriage.

The Lady Dustin Barrington doesn’t want a husband. Petite and beautiful, she is a goddess with the heart of a tomboy. When the enormous, seasoned warrior comes to Lioncross Abbey Castle to marry her, she savagely resists him. More than ever, Christopher regrets agreeing to marry the woman but as they are forced together in a contract marriage, something strange happens… somehow, someway, the animosity subsides and a gentle warmth takes its place. More and more, they come to care for one another but neither of them will admit it.

As the voyage of discovery begins, Christopher is distracted by a very important task entrusted to him by Richard. He has been sent back to England ahead of King Richard to assess the climate of the country and also to assess the activities of Richard’s brother, Prince John. He leaves for London to put himself in the heart of the turmoil that is going on between Richard and John, and brings Dustin with him. The moment they arrive in London, an entirely new and dangerous world opens up to them.

Join Dustin and Christopher as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Evil princes, tournaments, politics, wars, and a threat to their relationship from deep inside Christopher’s inner circle invade their loving and passionate world. When Christopher is reportedly killed in battle, Dustin must pick up the pieces of her shattered life and attempt to carry on. But don’t count the Defender out just yet… can he make it back to Dustin in time to prevent catastrophe?

Become a part of the sweeping three- part saga in an epic Medieval Romance you won’t soon forget.

Oh my goodness, where on earth do I begin?  This is truly an epic historical romance/historical fiction.  The book is incredibly long and so much happens that it is difficult to craft an adequate summary.

Set during the Crusades of Richard the Lionheart, this epic novel explores the lives and love(s) of Lady Dustin Barrington  and Sir Christopher De Lohr.  Beginning with an unwanted arranged marriage, Dustin and Christopher begin to drop their mutual animosity and come to care for each other.  Christopher is not adjusting well to life off the battlefield, especially when King Richard commands he stay put and spy on the local gentry.  Similarly, Dustin has never had to answer to man and is not adjusting easily into her new life.  Death follows Christopher from the battlefield into his new home with Dustin at Lioncross Abbey and soon Christopher and Dustin are forced to London and become embroiled in a deadly battle of wits with the King’s evil brother, Prince John.

Christopher is a battle-hardened warrior.  At first he is brutish, callous, and full of raging testosterone.  I didn’t expect to like him.  But he softens around Dustin and readers discover he is honorable, loyal, and absolutely devoted to his beautiful, enchanting wife.

Dustin is a beautiful woman who has the personality of a tomboy.  She has no problem running, jumping, climbing trees, and generally getting into mischief, but also knows when to turn on the ladylike charm in order to get her way.  While she does mature as the novel progresses, there are times I wanted to shake her for her stupidity.  Honestly, she is the reason this did not get a 5-star review.

This novel will turn you into an emotional wreck.  It’s a constant roller coaster between laughter, tears, disgust, fear, loathing, love, and yes even sometime confusion.  There were portions that had me transfixed to the audiobook, eager to find out what happened next, enthralled in the passionate love scenes, or sitting in shocked disbelief in what had just transpired. There were a few points where I wanted to stop listening because of things that happened in the book (it’s like a soap opera really), but I am so, so glad I continued.  Give this one a try!!

 

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Trapped by Scandal by Jane Feather

November 17, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 DNF

Trapped by Scandal by Jane FeatherTrapped by Scandal by Jane Feather
Series: Trapped #2
Published by Pocket Books on June 23, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
DNF
Lady Hero Fanshawe has chafed at society’s dictates since the death of her fiancé taught her that joy can be fleeting. When her brother disappears in Paris at the height of the Terror, she has no hesitation in disguising herself as a boy and risking her life to find him—or in joining forces with a chance-met ally, the enigmatic William Ducasse, Viscount St. Aubrey. And she has no regrets in indulging in a passionate affair with the dangerously handsome stranger, in the shadow of the guillotine…

Half French, half English, William is committed to his shadow life, flirting with death to rescue imperiled aristocrats. Marriage is an indulgence he cannot afford. Once Hero returns to London, he refuses to risk her good name by continuing their liaison. But he has reckoned without the determined Hero’s disregard for propriety…or the dictates of his own heart.

This book was my first “DNF – Did Not Finish” book since beginning this blog over a year ago.  The premise was fascinating – a spunky heroine, a dashing hero, and a daring rescue attempt from the clutches of Madame Guillotine at the height of the French Revolution.  Unfortunately, the execution was dry, boring, and generally unappealing.

I finally quit at approximately the 75-80% point.  The hero is cold and treats the heroine like disposable waste.  Even as late as the 75% mark, he tells the heroine that he doesn’t want her anywhere near him and demands she leave immediately.  And this is supposed to be a romance novel!?  There isn’t any romance to speak of!  The hero and heroine have no chemistry together at all and their supposed “grand passion” feels forced and unnatural.  I simply didn’t understand what Hermione saw in William, but then again I didn’t connect with Hermione’s character so I didn’t care.  She started off spunky, but quickly crossed the line into completely unrealistic.  This is supposed to be a regency romance and with that comes certain expectations.  I understand that marriage may not be the end game for all heroines, but that’s usually the end result.  Yet at one point in this novel (again, fairly close to the 75% mark) Hermione visits William and demands they begin their sexual relationship once again without the benefit of marriage.  For a woman of the regency era, this thought pattern and behavior is completely and utterly out of character, time, and place.  I like heroines who push boundaries, but do not like or appreciate when those boundaries are completely tossed over for what is clearly twenty-first century thinking.

Ultimately, I quit because I was so incredibly bored and unconnected to the characters.  Skip it.

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A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell

November 13, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna CampbellA Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell
Series: Sons of Sin #4
Published by Forever on April 28, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Anything can happen in the moonlight . . .

Justice. That's all Nell Trim wants-for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down . . . as long as she can resist the scoundrel's temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there's something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game . . . one tempting kiss at a time.

After the death of her sister at the hands of the villainous Marquess of Leath, Eleanor Trim vows she will find the wretch who spoiled her sister and make him pay.  She takes a position in the Marquess’ household where she can find the evidence necessary to destroy him.  Over the past few months, James Fairbrother has been inundated with letters and pleas from women across the country begging for assistance in raising the children “he” left behind.  In fact, it was his dastardly Uncle Neville using his name to seduce and abandon these women.  And now James is being blackmailed by Uncle Neville’s partner-in-crime to keep the scandal a secret.  James can’t risk another scandal attached to his family, but his search for his uncle’s evil partner is derailed by the enchanting Miss Trim.  He doesn’t quite trust her, but neither can he seem to get her out of his mind.

I loved the banter between James and Eleanor!  These two were matched wit-for-wit and it was so much fun to read them going back and forth at each other as they slowly but surely fell in love.  Eleanor must struggle with her growing attraction to the man she believed seduced and ruined her sister, yet when she finally decides to give in, she really goes for it!  Eleanor doesn’t do anything by half measures.  When she gets an idea in her head, it’s full steam forward until her goal is accomplished.  Likewise, James has political aspirations, so he works tirelessly to see his achievements through.  And though he’s been as straight-laced as Eleanor’s corset, he too must bend to desire to pursue his growing love for the engaging Miss Trim.

Towards the end, I did begin to feel like Eleanor’s protests were becoming illogical and repetitive and her reaction to finding the letters a slight over-reaction given James and Eleanor’s history, but alls well that ends well and this book left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Fans of the series will also appreciate cameos from previous heroes and heroines, though you do not need to read the previous books to fully enjoy this one.

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Daniel’s True Desire by Grace Burrowes

November 3, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Daniel’s True Desire by Grace BurrowesDaniel's True Desire by Grace Burrowes
Series: True Gentlemen #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left–and even his churchman’s collar is beginning to feel like a noose. In an attempt to start his life over, Daniel accepts the post of vicar in Haddondale, a position supported by the Earl of Haddonfield. There Daniel meets Lady Kirsten Haddonfield, to whom life has also dealt multiple unkind blows. Daniel’s interest is piqued by Kirsten’s unsentimental attitude toward her misfortunes, and by the kind-heartedness the lady keeps well hidden. Kirsten is much taken with Mr. Banks and his genuine compassion for others, despite his own troubles. When Providence intervenes, and Daniel and Kirsten can become engaged, their happiness seems complete…. though every garden has at least one nasty, sly, determined serpent.

An engaging story about two people, beaten down by life, who upon meeting each other begin to feel just a little less lonely in this cruel world.  Kirsten is sharp-tongued and has resigned herself to spinsterhood because of it.  Daniel’s previous marriage wiped the vivacity and love of life right out of him.  It isn’t until Daniel’s sister inadvertently brings these two lost souls together that Daniel and Kirsten begin to find a spark of life left inside them.

Two broken betrothals has left Kirsten Haddonfield more than a little prickly towards others.  Her motto: brush them off first before they get too close to hurt you.  She is quick-witted and sharp-tongued, hardly the first pick for gentlemen at a ball.  Her situation is made worse by an impending visit to London for her sister’s come-out.  Meeting Daniel begins to soften Kirsten, but there is a dark secret Daniel keeps lying just below the surface that will put their love to the test.

When readers meet Daniel, he is beaten down and ready to give up on everything, even his profession as a clergyman – the one thing he once felt truly passionate about.  Yet it’s easy to sympathize with a hero who readers can easily see is still compassionate and kind.  A perfect match for the heroine!  Indeed, when Daniel and Kirsten meet, it’s like two halves of a whole coming together.  Each can see through the other’s mask of grouchiness and complacency to the true person hiding underneath.

Daniel’s secret (which I won’t give away here) brings a sense of urgency and bittersweetness to Daniel and Kirsten’s relationship and provides much of the physical and emotional tension.  An intense, but imminently satisfying read – I highly recommend checking out DANIEL’S TRUE DESIRE as well as any other book by the phenomenal Grace Burrowes!

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