Archive for the ‘Historical Romance’ Category

Surprising Lord Jack-Sally MacKenzie

March 19, 2013

Surprising Lord Jack
Sally MacKenzie
Zebra, Mar 5 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420123227

Miss Frances Hadley is furious with the men and Aunt Viola interfering in her life. She has managed the family estates successfully for years, but now wants money for a dowry and receives bunk instead of cash. Deciding to confront her enemies, Frances chops of her hair and wears male garb as she heads to London as Francis only to find no available bed in the inn due to the annual Valentine Ball hosted by the Duchess of Love, Lady Greycliffe. The innkeeper and his wife feel sorry for the young male teen and give her food and shelter.

One of the hunks being discussed by followers of the Duchess of Love is her son Lord Jack Valentine, who conceals his pursuit of a serial killer while eluding his mother’s romantic schemes behind the shame of a rake. Forced to flee from a pain in the butt female whose pursuit runs him out of his house, Jack stops at Findley’s inn where he learns he will need to share a bed with a youth who turns out to be a feisty female. They agree to hide each other’s secrets and team up to take down a predator, prevent his mom’s latest matchmaking, and prevent her family’s vile scheme. While doing all this, they fall in love.

The latest Duchess of Love historical (see Bedding Lord Ned) is a fun madcap romantic comedy with a whodunit subplot adding tension. Though the cross-dressing premise has been used a lot, readers will enjoy this entertaining fast-paced Valentine romance from the moment the lad and the lord share a bed.

Harriet Klausner

Lord of Darkness-Elizabeth Hoyt

March 3, 2013

Lord of Darkness
Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781455508303

In 1740 London, Godric St. John adheres to his pledge he made a few years ago as the Ghost of St. Giles to protect the city’s most innocent, the children. The masked avenger even wed an innocent aristocrat two years ago to keep her from a disgraceful scandal before vanishing on their wedding day.

However, he never expected his spouse Lady Margaret nee Reading to fire two shots at him while he fights footpads trying to accost her. Megs seeks revenge against the Ghost of St. Giles who killed her true love Roger Fraser-Burnsby and forced her to wed someone else. To complicate matters, Megs and her fellow rusticating companion, Godric’s sister Sarah, move into her spouse’s Saint House as she demands an heir, but fails to recognize who the Ghost of St. Giles is. As the married couple fall in love, he fears for her life as many better shooters than her want the death of the Ghost of St. Giles.

The latest Maiden Lane Georgian romance (see Thief of Shadows and Scandalous Desires) is an exciting entry due to the grieving protagonists (he is a widower) finding a second chance at love if they can overcome their distrust and misconceptions. Fast-paced from the first shot until the final confrontation, series fans will appreciate thus engaging historical.

Harriet Klausner

One Good Earl Deserves A Lover-Sarah MacLean

January 18, 2013

One Good Earl Deserves A Lover
Sarah MacLean
Avon, Jan 29 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062068538

In 1824, Jasper Aresley muses over the freedom of being the spare while his older brother Owen will one day become a prisoner to the responsibility of being the earl. However, his hedonist world crumbles when his disapproving father tells him of Owen’s death by angrily stating it should have been worthless Jasper.

In 1831, fifteen days before her marriage to boring Lord Castleton, bespectacled “scientist” Lady Pippa Marbury realizes she looks forward to rusticating with Castleton while performing experiments. Before her nuptials Pippa decides to conduct live scientific “ruination” experiments on the marriage bed with a stunned Cross, the gaming hell owner of the Falling Angel as her research associate; she explains he is a legend when it comes to scandalous gaming, sprits, pugilism, but especially coitus. As they fall in love, he conceals his secret from her because he knows he is unworthy of a woman like his genius Pippa.

The second First Rule of Scoundrels historical romance (see A Rogue by Any Other Name) is a fabulous nineteenth century romance due to a strong cast starting with the brilliant lead protagonists. The storyline is fun from Pippa’s shocking early pronouncement and remains that way until a final confrontation; with Castleton proving to have surprising great depth. In some ways the tale reads like an amusing 1930s (rather than 1830s) madcap comedic romp as fans will appreciate this entertaining scientific look at love.

Harriet Klausner

The Lass Wore Black-Karen Ranney

January 18, 2013

The Lass Wore Black
Karen Ranney
Avon, Jan 29 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062027801

In 1862 London, Catriona Cameron panics when she sees Andrew Pender at a gala as he is the only person she had sex with and she fears will expose the beautiful “virgin” to ridicule. Riding inside her coach, a shot kills Maisie the horse followed by an explosion. Shards of glass rip into Catriona’s face and her leg twists at a horrible angle as the coach turns over.

In 1863 Edinburgh, Catriona’s Aunt Dina MacTavish worries about her niece, who hides from the Ton and wears a veil to conceal the scars when she must venture outside. Desperate to help Catriona who she thinks of as her daughter, Dina asks Dr. Mark Thorburn to help her niece who she admits is not a blood relative. Reluctantly Mark has no time for wallowing fools as his patients are the city’s needy slum dwellers, but visits Catriona who thinks he is a handsome footman. He revises his opinion of her from self-pitying idiot to someone in need. As much as he heals her, she mends his heart with love. Though he knows he owes her the truth that he is an aristocratic heir, neither is aware someone wants to finish the job started with the killing of Maisie by murdering Catriona.

This is an engaging Victorian romance starring a dedicated doctor and his despondent lost soul patient. The exciting fable provides readers with a strong moral premise by looking profoundly at what beauty truly is. Although the ogre is obvious early on, fans will relish this powerful fairy tale romance.

Harriet Klausner

Forever a Lord-Delilah Marvelle

December 12, 2012

Forever a Lord

Delilah Marvelle

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373777310

 

In 1800, the Venetian tells his ten year old prisoner Nathanial Atwood that the lad’s father ignored the kidnapper’s demand.  The angry man calmly tells the lad he cannot deal with Atwood’s sister Auggie or their mama as that would be a hanging offense and that he is no murderer. Five years later the Venetian freed Nathaniel who remains in New York.

 

In 1820, Coleman, a top bare knuckle fighter, answers a notice in the paper for information on a missing Nathanial Atwood.  He goes to see the Duke of Wentworth and his son Lord Yardley at the Adelphi where he learns the older man is his brother-in-law and the younger his nephew as they seek to honor their beloved late Auggie by finding her lost brother; a quest they have tried to achieve for years.  Coleman says Atwood died, but Yardley says he owes it to their respective moms to come home.

 

Nineteen year old Lady Imogene Norwood attends her first Season expecting no matches due to her stutter and lack of confidence having been ill.  Her assumption changes when she meets brawling angry Lord Atwood whose return to London has one objective to destroy his father.  All bets are off when Imogene wants to sponsor him as a bare knuckle fighter so she can help her brother.  To persuade Atwood, she offers a marriage of convenience.

 

The third Rumor historical romance (See Forever and a Day, and Forever a Lady) is a terrific refreshing tale that provides a unique reason for a marriage of convenience and Coleman’s stunning story as a Forever a Lord fighter.  Rotating perspective will have readers enjoying this strong nineteenth century thriller as well as the previous entries.

 

Harriet Klausner

Highlander Claimed-Juliette Miller

December 12, 2012

Highlander Claimed

Juliette Miller

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777594

 

Lord Ogilvie sexually assaults Roses claiming her mom escaped him with death but she would not.  As she struggles to escape, he rips her clothing but stops abruptly when he sees the small tattoo previously hidden by her garb.  Ogilvie questions her where she got it, but she tells him nothing to protect the healer who saved her life when as a child she was dying from measles.  Roses stabs her attacker and flees to nearby Clan Mackenzie as the first stop before vanishing into the Highlands as an outcast.

 

Wilkie Mackenzie finds Roses and knows he wants her as his forever.  However, his older brother clan chieftain has arranged a political alliance through Wilkie marrying the daughter of an ally.  While Wilkie struggles between his love of Roses and his clan, she fears her unknown heritage will destroy her beloved Warrior.  So Roses flees again only to be caught by Ogilvie who knows who she is having seen the tattoo while her warrior pursues his Angel.

 

The first Clan Mackenzie historical romance is an exciting Highlander thriller as clans battle to claim the mysterious female as theirs; and assassins kill to keep secrets hidden.  Fast-paced but driven by the Angel, the Warrior and the odious, sub-genre fans will appreciate Highlander Claimed.

 

Harriet Klausner

Autumn Winds-Charlotte Hubbard

September 5, 2012

Autumn Winds

Charlotte Hubbard

Zebra, Sep 4 2012, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121704

 

The violent storm hammered Willow Ridge, Missouri, but Widow Miriam Lantz does not care as her lost triplet Rachel, who vanished as a child in the flood of ’93, found her way home (see Summer of Secrets).  Miriam watches as all the power at her family-owned Sweet Seasons Bakery Cafe shuts down and a hole ripped into a window.  She hears a male voice outside and welcomes traveling blacksmith Ben Hooley inside the café to wait out the storm.

 

Miriam and Ben are attracted to one another, but she knows he is a rolling stone while she is Old Ways Amish.  Bishop Hiram Knepp is upset with the newcomer’s arrival as he wants no rival for the hand of Miriam.  With her café in jeopardy and her marital status at stake, Miriam turns to God for wisdom.

 

The second Seasons of the Heart (see Summer of Secrets) is an engaging Amish historical tale starring a strong female protagonist who wants to find happiness if she marries again after her first marriage fell apart when Rachel vanished.  The triangle is super as the heroine must choose between two different men though the Bishop’s ill-temper sense of entitlement detracts from an engaging saga with recipes from the Sweet Seasons Bakery Café.

 

Harriet Klausner

Not Proper Enough-Carolyn Jewel

August 17, 2012

Not Proper Enough

Carolyn Jewel

Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780425250976

 

In 1817 London widow Lady Eugenia Bryant chaperones-mentors her friend naive Hester Rendell though her first season.  The only down note on Ginny’s return to the Ton after a four-year mourning period for Robert is seeing her late husband’s best friend Marquess Grenville Foxman Talbot who insulted her when Robert was alive.

 

Fox dreams of making love to Ginny, but also in his reverie he promised Robert to keep her safe.  Ginny is upset with herself for being attracted to the boorish man who treated her with contempt.  Ironically he was rude because she was a temptation that would have led him to betray his BFF.  Now he wants to make it up for his sake as the pair begings a tryst.

 

This Reforming the Scoundrels Regency romance (see Not Wicked Enough) is entertaining due to the engaging verbal barbs between the lead couple.  Although the storyline is somewhat thin, subgenre fans will enjoy the gender battle between Fox and Ginny as the memory of beloved Robert remains a barrier from the pair making their affair permanent.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Last Renegade-Jo Goodman

August 17, 2012

The Last Renegade

Jo Goodman

Berkley, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250969

 

In 1888 while traveling on a train Kellen Coltrane meets popular dime store novelist Nat Church as the latter is dying from wounds to his stomach.  Before he dies, Nat asks Kellen to complete the mission he failed to perform.  Thus Kellen goes to Bitter Springs, Wyoming Territory to help “Penny Royal” who hired Church to end the bloody spree of a rancher and his three sons.

 

Kellen is stunned to learn Penny Royal is Lorraine Berry, owner of the Pennyroyal Saloon and Hotel.  Raine is stunned by how young Kellen is as she thought the legendary Church had to be much older.  Attracted to her, Kellen decides to remain in town to protect her from the brutal Burdick brood under the guise of Nat Church. 

 

This is an exhilarating western romance, which pays homage to the dime store pulp fiction of the late nineteenth century.  Fast-paced with strong twists, the protagonists, the antagonists and the townsfolk bring 1888 Wyoming to life; as readers will feel they stepped off the train alongside Raine while he attempts to bring justice, love and literature to Bitter Springs.

 

Harriet Klausner

By Starlight-Dorothy Garlock

August 15, 2012

By Starlight

Dorothy Garlock

Grand Central, Aug 21 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780446540094

 

In 1931, Jack Rucker’s job is to shut down illegal speakeasies and arrest the bosses in Montana.  He knows fighting comes with the turf and most, if not all, are run by a local mom using mom and pop operations.  His current assignment shakes him up because seven years ago, Jack was in Colton where he promised to return to his beloved fifteen year old Maddy Aldridge.  Facing her seems more dangerous than the Chicago Mafia. 

 

Maddy runs the illegal speakeasy in the basement of her family’s failing mercantile.  She fears if the store goes bankrupt her ailing father will shatter emotionally.  Her business partner Jeffers is a dangerous mobster surrounded by nasty thugs.

 

When Jack and Maddy meet for the first time since his promise, both know they remain in love.  However, she distrusts him for never coming back as he pledged to her.  He knows he must arrest his beloved and Jeffers while shutting down their speakeasy; fully understanding the second order effects.

 

This is an entertaining Depression Era romantic suspense that brings to life Prohibition in Big Sky Country.  The lead couple is a delightful pair at cross purposes while considering a second chance at love.  However, it is the speakeasy with mobsters, customers, employees and prohibitionists who make for an enjoyable Americana.

 

Harriet Klausner