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The Bachelor and the Bride by Sarah M. Eden

Dr. Barnabus Milligan has always felt called to help people, whether that means setting a broken bone or rescuing the impoverished women of London from their desperate lives on the streets as part of his work with the Dread Penny Society.

bachelor and the brideTitle:  The Bachelor and the Bride
Author:  Sarah M. Eden
Series:  Dread Penny Society #4
Publish Date:  September 6, 2022
Source:  given to reviewer by publisher but a positive review was not required

Publisher’s Description: 

London, 1866

Dr. Barnabus Milligan has always felt called to help people, whether that means setting a broken bone or rescuing the impoverished women of London from their desperate lives on the streets as part of his work with the Dread Penny Society.

Three years ago, he helped rescue Gemma Kincaid by secretly marrying her to protect her from her family of notorious grave robbers.

But six months after Gemma and Barnabus exchanged vows, she realized her love for her new husband was unrequited. To protect her heart, she left, telling Barnabus to contact her if his feelings for her ever grew beyond a sense of duty.

When Barnabus sends a letter to Gemma inviting her to return home, she hopes to find a true connection between them. But unfortunately, he only wants her help to foil the Kincaids, who have been terrorizing the boroughs of London, eager to gain both money and power.

Heartbroken, Gemma agrees to help, but she warns Barnabus that she will not stay for long, and once she goes, he’ll never see her again.

Yet as the couple follows the clues that seem to connect the Kincaids to the Mastiff, the leader of London’s criminal network, Gemma and Barnabus realize they might make a better match than either of them suspected. Perhaps the marriage that had once saved Gemma’s life might now save Barnabus—and his lonely heart.

But before the once-confirmed bachelor can properly court his secret bride, they’ll need to evade the dangerous forces that are drawing ever closer to the hopeful lovers and the entire Dread Penny Society itself.

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

Nervous Nellie says…

This story was good.  It had to be because I read it from cover to cover in trade paperback form and mostly in one day.  It’s a proper romance from Shadow Mountain Publishers with the star author Sarah Eden.  I really like Sarah’s writing.  I’ve read a few of her books and have not found one yet that I don’t like.

This story is really interesting.  It shows Victorian England at the time when grave robbing was a source of income for some people.  Gemma is part of the family that deems that their profession.  She is not treated like a family member, but more of a slave worker, so she escapes by marrying Baz.  This is only a marriage of convenience on his part as Gemma has feelings for Baz.  She knows it’s not reciprocated so she leaves.  Funny thing is that Baz doesn’t know he has feelings for her until after she’s gone.

When he needs her to help on a case that involves grave robbing, he asks her back and puts her into danger once again.  On the upside, the longer she stays with Baz, the more his feelings awaken.  They are a great team and I really enjoyed the mystery.  I will have to go back and read it again before the next book comes out just so the story melds together in my head.

The only thing that I found distracting was the penny dreadfuls intermingled in the book.  I pretty much skipped over them because I really wanted to see what happened next.

If you aren’t sure what a penny dreadful is, here is a definition from Wikipedia:

Penny dreadful – Wikipedia

Penny dreadfuls were cheap popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. The pejorative term is roughly interchangeable with penny horriblepenny awful,[1] and penny blood.[2] The term typically referred to a story published in weekly parts of 8 to 16 pages, each costing one penny.[3] The subject matter of these stories was typically sensational, focusing on the exploits of detectives, criminals, or supernatural entities.

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Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack

love and lavenderTitle: Love and Lavender
Author:  Josi S. Kilpack
Series:  Mayfield Family #4
Publish Date: November 2, 2021
Source: reviewer received from publisher

Publisher’s Description:Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

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

Nervous Nellie says…

I always like Josi Kilpack’s books.  Proper Romances focus mostly on the emotional connection between the love interests instead of the physical one.  This is a very unique couple.  Duncan is an accountant and it appears that he has the symptoms of some sort of neurological issue kind of like Asperger’s Syndrome because he is INCREDIBLY smart, but has difficulty in social areas of his life.  I was impressed that an author would write a less than perfect main character.  Hazel is a teacher at an all girls school and her niche is advanced mathematics.  She wants to better young girls lives so they have the ability to pick and choose the rest of their lives rather than pigeonholed in an uneducated, underpaid and less satisfying life.

I enjoyed the story and I cannot imagine the research that this author had to do in order to make this book cohesive.  I have to admit that I skipped over the math parts because I am not good at it nor understand it.   I could definitely see the support each half of the couple gave to the other.  It wasn’t an extremely romantic book, but it was very interesting.


Our reviews in this series…

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Isabelle and Alexander by Rebecca Anderson

Isabelle and Alexander are married in an arranged marriage.  Alexander has a tragic accident after only 2 month being married.  Will love conquer all?

Title: Isabelle and Alexander
Author:  Rebecca Anderson
Publish Date:  May 4, 2021
Source:  NetGalley

Publisher’s Description:  London, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

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

Nervous Nellie says…

This a proper romance from Shadow Mountain Press.  Proper romance means that there are no sex scenes.  No hot and bothered kissing scenes.  It’s all about relationship building.

Isabelle was fully aware of the arranged marriage thing before she entered into the agreement.  What she expected was not what she thought she’d get.  Her marriage was a fairly distant one.  I’m not sure what drove Alexander to such lengths to not take the offered friendship and support of his new wife.  I guess that’s the answer maybe found in the history of the time.

Just because this is a proper romance doesn’t mean that there is no emotion.  There’s plenty of emotion and growth.  A woman learning to navigate in a world that she is not used to, with a whole army of people she doesn’t know.  At that time, there wasn’t much respect for women and their thoughts.  I could understand Isabelle’s reaction when Alexander started to warm up.  It was nice but when tragedy struck, it struck hard.

I got to hand it to Isabelle.  She was far stronger than she gave herself credit for – fighting for her husband and trying to build an impossible relationship.

I give this book a solid 4 stars.

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Spotlight on Daisies and Devotion by Josi Kilpack

Book Spotlight on a proper romance written by Josi S. Kilpack and published by Shadow Mountain Publishing.






I am a fan of the Mayfield Family series.  Josi S. Kilpack is back with part 2 and it released May 14, 2019.  This is a proper romance so it is appropriate for all.

TitleDaisies and Devotion
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Series:  Mayfield Family #2
Release Date:  May 14, 2019
Description:  Timothy Mayfield is ready to marry for love, but, since his personal finances are thinner than he’d like, he knows he’ll also need to find a wife with wealth. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, Timothy’s circumstances change, and he is free to pursue his “perfect woman”—one with blonde hair, blue eyes, a light laugh, arched eyebrows, elegant fingers, and a dazzling smile, among nearly twenty other characteristics.

Maryann Morrington doesn’t match anything on Timothy’s list—except for wealth. An heiress in her own right, she is tired of men pursuing her only for her money. But at nearly twenty-two years old, and not a particularly stunning beauty, she can’t be as picky as her friend Timothy is.

The two friends end up playing matchmaker for each other. Timothy will find a decent gentleman for Maryann, and Maryann will prove to Timothy that his “perfect woman” doesn’t exist.

Until Miss Shaw comes to London.

Now, with Timothy’s heart captivated by the blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Maryann must decide if she should risk her heart and reveal her true feelings for her friend, or if she should settle for someone else. It’s an up-and-down game of “he loves me, he loves me not” with both hearts and friendship on the line.

Book Spotlight: A Song for The Stars by Ilima K. Todd

One Book Two proudly presents a spotlight on A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd published April 2, 2019.

book news






Title: A Song for the Stars
Author:  Ilima Todd
Genre: Proper Romance
Released:  April 2, 2019
Publisher:  Shadow Mountain Publishing
Book DescriptionHawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.


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