Category Archives: Historical Fiction

I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett

A trip not to be missed.  Regency romance takes a ornery and damaged Duke bent on finding his own killer before himself is killed with a brilliant woman that loves to be needed.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  I Dared The Duke
Author:  Anna Bennett
Series: The Wayward Wallflowers #2
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre:  Regency Romance
Source: Publisher

Publisher’s Description: DARE TO FALL IN LOVE

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

Regency romance at it’s finest.  I started this book and could not put it down.  There is a couple of swear words, a little sex, dangerous situations and a remarkable heroine.

This story is a prime example in what happens when rumors are spread and words are spoken without thought to the feelings of the recipient.  Alex is labeled as a rake.  Rumor has it that he steals wives and beds maidens with no thought but that of himself.  Alex has got some issues, don’t think he doesn’t.  He lies by omission regarding his conquests and he was the callous, insecure person who started the smear campaign against Beth and her sisters just because he could.  How Beth fell for him, I don’t understand.

Beth is a caring, smart and maybe a little OCD heroine in this story.  She deserves the respect of all the ton, but with Alex’s slanderous attack when she was younger, she was castigated and exposed to those that have to make themselves feel better by tearing down someone else.

I like Beth but I think she deserves someone much kinder.  Actually, the suitor that was in competition for her could have been much better for Beth.  Oh, well.  Beth decided and that’s all there is to that.

The story had elements of a mystery – who was trying to kill Alex?  Beth was put in danger a couple of times but it was, in the end, Alex’s grandmother that saved the day.

I was totally into this book from beginning to end.

 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Spinster and the Rake by Anne Stuart

Not your normal cookie cutter regency romance.  The hero is most assuredly a rake of the most outrageous variety and the heroine had the bravery and courage to stand up for herself even when her family wouldn’t.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

spinster-and-the-rakeTitle: Spinster and the Rake
Author: Anne Stuart
Publish Date: republished August 15, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: The Spinster: As a maiden aunt, Gillian Redfern lives as an unpaid servant to her demanding family. Little wonder she finds the attentions of a rake distracting, and even less wonder that her usual good sense begins to unravel when Lord Marlow takes her in his arms.

The Rake: Ronan Patrick Blakely, Lord Marlow, is a man of great charm and little moral character, a gambler, a womanizer, and handsome as sin to boot. He has no qualms about placing a wager on the virtue of one small, shy spinster.

But Lord Marlow is about to discover that Miss Redfern is more siren than spinster. She amuses him, arouses him, and, much to his dismay, makes him a better man. Gillian will discover, in turn, that Lord Marlow possesses the power to turn her into a very wicked woman. The rake and the spinster are poised to find a love that neither could have imagined.

If only someone weren’t out to destroy them both . . .

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

This was a re-publish from a 1982 regency romance.  Regency romances never go out of style because their style was the 1800’s in England.

There was no serious grit in this book, but it wasn’t exactly sweet either.  The heroine had a feisty, wanton side to her that made me like her.  She did belabor the fact that she was firmly and irrevocably ‘on the shelf’ which at some times annoyed me and at other times made me hate the situation she was in. She was being used by her family as a built in baby sitter.  She was made to feel meek and submissive. All of which, Ronan Blakely proved to Gillian Redfern that she was not.

badge4v5This story had a few different elements between the regular spinster/rake story line.  Gillian’s family didn’t protect her- didn’t particularly care what happened to her.  Ronan, while intrigued by the elder Redfern sister, did not act the gentleman at all.  In fact, he was somewhat callous toward Gillian which did not look good on a hero.  That in itself was a defining feature for me.

It’s not my intention to turn anyone off from this book.  Quite the contrary.  This story was off the beaten path from normal regencies and though there was an awful, hurtful truth exposed, Gillian was the perfect lady and I was proud to call her my heroine book friend.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Amy Corwin’s books Fencing For Ladies or The Bricklayer’s Helper.  You might also want to look into Alexandra Hawkins Lords of Vice series.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Waiting for an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

Arrogant and ego driven Earl of Kempthorn doesn’t want his brother involved with the neighbor’s daughter, Olivia.  His brilliant idea is to pretend to be his twin brother, sweep Olivia off her feet and then all the other Lords of the ton will want her and she’ll be away from his brother.  That’s all there is to that…or is it?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

waitingTitle Waiting for an Earl Like You
AuthorAlexandra Hawkins
Series: Masters of Seduction #3
Publish Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionLOVE ISN’T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn—a.k.a. Thorn—has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he’s only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it’s too late for him to tell Olivia the truth…

Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what’s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn’s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion…and someone he can’t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia’s heart when their deepening connection—and burning desire—is built on lies and deceit?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

This is part of a series but I read it as a stand alone and I did just fine.  This is obviously a romance and there is two particularly hot scenes, but other than that there is no sex.  This is not a gore filled story, but there is a couple of scenes where punches are thrown and some blood is lost.

At first I really rooted for Gideon.  He was the carefree twin. He was the one that wasn’t so full of pompous hot air, but I guess he has his own story to tell.  The author wrote Justin a/k/a Thorn in such a way that my affection was transferred to him away from Gideon rather seamlessly.  She also easily shifted my attitude towards Thorn from “not so keen” to “I guess he’s all right”.

Olivia is a great heroine.  She has embarrassing moments just like all of us and she brazens them out with fabulous spirit.  She isn’t a swoony, angst ridden female which is a super plus for me as a reader.  She is a balanced character full of life, who badge4v5is deemed beneath those snarky, viperous members of the ton.

The situation that Olivia and Thorn find themselves in has probably happened countless times in history.  It’s not so unbelievable, but it is a tough spot to be made to endure especially when one of the participants is not willing.

I enjoyed the story and although I probably would have kicked Thorn really hard more than once, it was a good book.  I still like Gideon better.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Amy Corwin’s books Fencing For Ladies or The Bricklayer’s Helper.  Actually, any of Amy’s books are a delight.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

2016-standout-award-badge-smallJack the Ripper, Victorian England, Sherlock Holmes—as much as has been written about them, they never seem to get old. Debut author Kerri Maniscalco has written a fresh new take on the subject that will thrill young adult and grown-up reader alike.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Stalking Jack the RipperTitleStalking Jack the Ripper
AuthorKerri Maniscalco
Series: stand alone (for now)
Publish Date: Sept. 20, 2016, JIMMY patterson
Genre: YA Historical Horror
Source: BEA 2016

Publisher’s DescriptionPresented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I love Audrey Rose! She is a character before her time and I love the way she stands up for what she wants to do and still holds to the etiquette for a young lady in the Victorian Era. I also love that there is an ode to Sherlock Holmes as well with the character Thomas Cresswell. He is a brilliant mind outrageous flirt. I like that the story is dark and creepy without being overly so. The writing had me gripped from page one!

badge5v4Dislikes: Even though I didn’t know who exactly in her family was Jack, I guessed pretty early that one of the male members of Audrey’s family is the killer. After that information is revealed the story loses some of its luster and much of its suspense. As much as I like the Victorian time period and the mystery of Jack the Ripper and as much as I love to read young adult series, everything I have seen points at this becoming a series. However, I feel like this is a standalone book as everything wraps up nicely.

The beautiful writing and great characters make for an amazing read. I give this book five scalpels.

If you like this book…

…you might try A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby, Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, or The Electric Empire series by Viola Carr.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

In her 12th novel, Maisie goes to Nazi Germany at the behest of the British government just before WWII begins to bring back an imprisoned man who is vital to Britain’s war (preparation) effort. I particularly liked the intrigue that made this novel more of a classic espionage tale rather than the detective story I’m used to.

journey-to-munichTitleJourney to Munich
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
SeriesMaisie Dobbs, Book 12
Publish Date: March 1, 2016 by Harper
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionIt’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . .

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear is a very satisfying Maisie Dobbs novel. Maisie continues to process through the tragic loss of her husband, James, and is struggling with how to be in London as a widow. Winspear deftly uses the daughter of John Otterburn, who Maisie blames for the death of James, as the means through which Maisie learns forgiveness, to understand how people are not what they seem, and that she must continue to learn the lessons her mentor taught. One particular lesson is eloquently stated:

“May I know what it is to feel the weight on another’s shoulders. May I know forgiveness in my heart. May I be given strength to extend my hand across the divide to pull another from the abyss, though that person has wounded me.”

badge5v4I give this novel a 5. Winspear has captured the feel of the original Maisie Dobbs novels and left the reader with the characters and story in a place where Maisie can continue as a psychologist and investigator.

Our reviews in this series…

Check out the Series Spotlight by Agent Annie.