Tag Archives: Historical romance

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

Overview

Title: My Dearest Enemy
Author: Connie Brockway
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1998

Thoughts

I really, really, really wanted to like this. In fact, I wanted to like it so much that I gave it MUCH more of a chance than I normally would. But, alas, I just couldn’t connect to the characters!

To me, this book read a little clunky. As I said, I loved the premise and the story line wasn’t too bad. But I just wasn’t able to connect to the characters, in particular, the women in this story. For me, personally it is that connection to the characters that is really important when I love a tale.

Since I didn’t love this book and found it hard to connect to… well, anyone, I think I’ll leave this review here. Maybe a story to try again another day, I don’t know.

<- More historical romanceMore historical romance ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Overview

Title: Once Upon a Duke
Author: Erica Ridley
Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Christmas, Historical romanceRegency romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

I was a bit tentative to read this at first – I mean, a story set around Christmas. And dukes and… yeah, it just sounded kind of kitschy. But, whilst it was fairly predictable and stereotypical, it was epically fun and special. The whole idea of the spirit of Christmas was woven throughout the storyline beautifully. And, it was incredibly fun to find some of those little easter eggs of Christmas tales that Ridley managed to weave through the storyline.

One of my favourite easter eggs was most definitely the partridge in a pear tree… I can only assume that the other 12 days of Christmas presents will find their way into the rest of the books about the 12 dukes. It may not be Christmas time at the moment – but that carol has definitely been echoing in my head since I read the name of the series…

I like that Noelle (and I JUST got that Christmas name), is focused on community and love. She is such a sweet lead, and if I find that a bit of an unrealistic characterization, it is still just beautiful. After all, she is the one who falls in love with a humbug and decides to spend the rest of her life with him… not a choice for the faint of heart.

This is a great second chance love story. The fact that it is set in a village lovingly called Christmas and features a humbug and woman named Noelle… well, it just makes it all that much cuter. I might have found it a little bit too sickly cute at times. But, overall, I think that this was incredibly enjoyable and a nice, fun and light read.

<- Making MerryKiss of a Duke ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

Overview

Title: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2015

Thoughts

As a final book in the Smythe-Smith Quartet, I was intrigued to how everything would tie together. Plus, although Iris only makes her first memorable appearance in The Sum of All Kisses, it was intriguing to know what was going to happen in her happily ever after. Not going to lie though, I wouldn’t mind finding out about the happily ever after of Daisy. Regardless, I did thoroughly enjoy how The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy rounded out this quartet and left me feeling very happy and content.

I love that Iris is completely suspect of her new husband, but also happy to try and find a good ending. She isn’t taken in by his actions and doesn’t fall for his underhandedness. But, she’s also willing to try and find the good in him and love him. Honestly, with his big secret and trickery, I don’t know if I could ever forgive him myself. But, Iris is smart and good, even when she has every right not to be. She’s also pretty determined and underhanded herself when she wants to be.

Richard’s secret is somewhat predictable considering the era in which this story is set. It’s still pretty harsh and horrible for Iris, and I did wonder how the reveal and subsequent battle would evolve. But, it was still seriously predictable. Luckily for me, I read these regency romance novels for their simplicity and predictability. There is enough of a surprise throughout the evolution of their relationship that I couldn’t put this down though. Not that it’s hard for me to sink deeply into a book.

I absolutely adored The Secrets of Richard Kenworthy. I didn’t necessarily feel quite as connected to the characters as in other Julia Quinn books, but I also couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen to them next. Ultimately I think what I loved the most about this book was the way in which Iris was able to deal with an untenable situation in the best of ways.

<- The Sum of All KissesMore Julia Quinn ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

Overview

Title: The Sum of All Kisses
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2013

Thoughts

Every time I pick up a Julia Quinn novel, I know I’m going to love it and that I’m in for a treat. I do like to put a little bit of time between my reads so that I don’t start to feel the same same about regency romances. But it doesn’t seem to matter if I’ve read 4 in a week, or nothing for a few months… I love all of her books that I’ve read. Sarah and Hugh’s story is no different.

I enjoy the poetry of the cousin of the man whose life Hugh kinda screwed up is the one he ends up with. I also like that Sarah just takes all of the needless drama of the men and fixes it. In like one moment of her cracking it. A good reminder of the power of women.

Hugh’s background is probably the most abusive if the heroes I’ve read in the Julia Quinn books. In fact, his father absolutely horrified me. I like that they kind of got control of him in the end. But the bustard is still terrifying and I just can’t imagine marrying into such a horrifying legacy.

Iris has a bit of a cameo in the other Smythe-Smith books, but she has a lot more of a presence in this novel. It just makes me look forward to reading the next book in this series all that much more…

<- A Night Like ThisThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy ->

Image source: Julia Quinn

Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie

Overview
Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Marry in Secret
Author: Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 23rd October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: If they didn’t know they couldn’t fuss, couldn’t ask me endless, impossible questions.

Synopsis

Heiress with a secret
Lady Rose Rutherford – rebel, heiress and exasperated target of fortune hunters – has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desire: a marriage of convenience to the biggest prize on London’s marriage mart

Hero with a past
There’s just one problem: the fierce-looking naval officer who crashes her wedding and claims to be the dead husband she secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl.

A very inconvenient marriage
Broke, embittered by betrayal and with a secret agenda of his own, Thomas Beresford needs Rose for only one reason – her fortune. Her family knows it. Thomas knows it. But Rose refuses to accept it, and when she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an infuriating predicament: He’s falling in love with his wife….

Thoughts

Rose is such a pillar in the first two Marriage of Convenience books that I’ve been seriously looking forward to finding out more about her story. The fact that she’s actually been married the whole time this series has been going?!?!?! FANTASTIC. And so, very, expectedly Rose.

There are so many little secrets and tragedies that are revealed throughout this novel. Ones that you kind of guess at, and ones that you just didn’t see coming. I love that Rose and Thomas are able to keep me on my toes throughout. And most of all, that they keep me guessing from that very first moment.

Marry in Secret also hints at the final story in this series. One that I’m sure will be just as exciting and cute as the first three. But, I digress. Unlike some romances, this pulls in the first 2 couples repeatedly and beautifully. So not only are you finding out about Rose’s happily ever after, you get to keep track of Em and Lily’s as well.

I completely adored the joyful sweetness of this tale. There was just enough drama to pull me in, but mostly it was just… damn cute. A perfect way to drift away for the afternoon on a cloud of love.

<- Marry in ScandalMarry in Scarlet ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Answer the Wicked by Kim Lenox

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of paranormal romance 2 book cover

Title: Answer the Wicked
Author: Kim Lenox
In: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceParanormal romance
Dates read: 5th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Her crisply issued instructions echoed in the cavernous space.

Synopsis

Malise is a nurse for the elderly, a career she chose in no small part due to the fact that she could hide. But, when her favourite patient reveals his hidden past, she might find that she can no longer hide from the world… it could be the best outcome ever though.

Thoughts

This started put a little slow. And I also couldn’t quite figure out where the “romance” fit in. And, honestly, even at the end, I’m not entirely sure where the romance factor supposedly fits. But, all in all, it wasn’t a bad story.

I did like the mystery and fast pace of this story. I enjoyed how Malise managed to weave in bits of her own past while we canoned into the future. It was a good way to constantly keep the story engaging and entertaining.

All in all, this was an easy read to finish the The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 collection on. It certainly wasn’t my favourite, but I did enjoy it, and would maybe even read it again.

<- The MajesticThe Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes & Impossible Mysteries ->

Image source: Amazon

Be Mine Tonight by Kathryn Smith

Overview
Be Mine Tonight (Brotherhood of Blood, #1) by Kathryn Smith

Title: Be Mine Tonight
Author: Kathryn Smith
Series: Brotherhood of Blood #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceParanormal romance, Vampires
Dates read: 27th – 28th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: Oddly enough, that realization wasn’t annoying so much as it was warming.

Synopsis

I am called Chapel…

For nearly six centuries I have roamed the night, a mortal man no longer. Would that I could undo the past – when I entered the sanctuary of the Knights Templar to wrest from them the Holy Grail, only to discover the chalice I raised to my lips was not the sacred relic but a hellish cup of damnation. Now I shun the day and all things human, driven by an ungodly thirst. And yet…

Never have I known a maiden the like of Prudence Ryland, whose beauty and spirit awaken a heart I feared long cold and dead. But her young life is slipping away, and she also seeks the deliverance of the Grail – unaware that the cost of her search could be her soul. I must help Prudence, for in six hundred years, no other woman has stirred my passions so. But dare I tender to my beloved that which she most desires – the sensuous “gift” of forever that is both rapture and a curse: my immortal kiss?

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I was like “eh, eh, eh, WOW.” It took quite a while for me to warm up to the storyline. But, once I got there… wow was I happy. It happened about a third / half the way in. Then, I really, really wanted to know what was going on. I also cried at one point.

I bought this book because I read a novella in this series which intrigued me. But, honestly? I had no idea what to expect or even what time period this would be in. I was pleasantly surprised that this read like a regency romance. Just with a much more intense paranormal spin.

Chapel is kind of a fool and a little bit too whiney for my taste in lead men. Plus, the constant need for retribution was just… seriously dude? You’re 600 years old!!! Grow the hell up! Luckily, Pru agreed and kicked his butt multiple times with her frustration at his stupidity. It made him more likeable since Pru found a reason to like him in spite of his stupidity…

All in all, this was a fun start to a series. Yes, there was this beautiful part towards the end that had me crying. But, mostly it was a good, easy read. I particularly liked how the story ended… leaving plenty of opening and intrigue for the next tale in the series.

<- More Kathryn SmithNight of the Huntress ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Man in a Kilt by Sandy Blair

Overview
A Man In A Kilt (Castle Blackstone, #1) by Sandy Blair

Title: A Man in a Kilt
Author: Sandy Blair
Series: Castle Blackstone #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceScottish romance, Time travel
Dates read: 20th – 22nd May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Zebra Historical Romance
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: He knew that Angus and Douglas would insist on following him.

Synopsis

A Lonely Laird
Duncan MacDougall, the laird of Blackstone, was cursed centuries ago to wander as a ghost wihtin the echoing walls of his island castle – and only one woman can free him. Can it be the new mistress of Blackstone, just arrived from over the sea? Duncan has heard that pretty Miss Elizabeth Pudding is no more than a cook – and she haisl from a barbarous land called the Bronx. But she must learn the ways of a lady all the same – and she must stay at Blackstone for six long months to inherit. ‘Tis time enough to teach her – and time enough to woo her…

An Enchanting Lady
Beth has seen the handsome spectre from the day she crossed the threshold of Blackstone. Duncan MacDougall is a tall, translucent figure with black hair and piercing blue eyes. Yet a mist separates him from the land of the living… a mist as strong as cold steel. It is said that only love can dissolve it – and bring the man of her dreams to warm, breathing life…

Thoughts

The blurb of this book made me have certain.. expectations. And what I ended up getting was wholly unexpected. And seriously fun and enjoyable. Every twist and turn in this was a surprise and left me feeling very happy.

I thought there would be a bit more intensity in the time travelling aspect of this story. I mean, it’s been sitting on my shelves for this exact reason. It probably belongs I’m the historical romance shelf though. I mean, the ghost and time travel are both paranormal. But all of the setting and storyline… purely Scottish, historical fiction.

Almost all of the romances I read feature a strong woman who is also beautiful. I love that Beth is considered plain throughout and there are no hints of her being a particularly good looking woman. That, and the fact that one of the vipers in this story is the ridiculously good looking woman. There’s also the fact that although she is a virgin, there’s pretty much no fuss made about it. Rather, it’s a plot line to indicate her trust issues.

Duncan is dense. The combination of Beth and Rachael constantly bringing him to task honestly had me laughing loudly and for a long time. I mean… we women do have a tendency to run our men ragged at times, and I love the loving fear that they instill I their men. That, and the great combination of past and present in this incredibly cute romance.

<- More Sandy BlairA Rogue in a Kilt ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Overview
A Night Like This :HarperCollins Australia

Title: A Night Like This
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 11th – 18th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She saw only him, watching her as if she were the only woman in the world.

Synopsis

ANNE WYNTER MIGHT NOT BE WHO SHE SAYS SHE IS…

But she’s managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy – no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

DANIEL SMYTHE-SMITH MIGHT BE IN MORTAL DANGER…

But that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she’s a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

Thoughts

As with all the Julia Quinn books in my shelf. I loved this. Quinn just has such an amazing talent for sweeping you away to a happy, content world that you know everything will turn out well in.

This story reminded me a little of the Benedict Bridgerton story in that it is a man falling for a woman below his station. And he happens to glance at her at a society event, and become instantly infatuated. The similarities do stop here though, for which I I glad.

I love how aware Anne is of how wrong things can go and how she is constantly trying to make Daniel see sense… it works brilliantly well. And it feels a little more realistic. I mean, this is a Regency romance, so it’s not exactly going to be realistic regardless… but it does make it feel a little less far fetched I suppose.

Daniel and Anne are a fun couple, and the villain they have to face in this is a lot more evil and intimidating than any Julia Quinn book so far. This, combined with the constant awkwardness of Harriet and her younger sisters had me smiling throughout. There was a great sense of lightness to match that feeling of horror that the villain lent

A fantastic novel that let me float on a happily ever after for a while. One that I will definitely read again.

<- Just Like HeavenThe Sum of All Kisses ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Caught by the Tides by Diane Whiteside

Overview
Image result for beyond the dark angela knight book cover

Title: Caught by the Tides
Author: Diane Whiteside
In: Beyond the Dark (Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Emma Holly & Diane Whiteside)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Magic, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 11th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Jove
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Boom!

Synopsis

Diane Whiteside does it… in an alternate universe of Regency magic where two lovers are threatened by a vicious mage and swept up in a turbulent war off the Cornish cliffs.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this novella. The historical / regency setting is one that is seriously familiar to me at the moment (I seem to be diving into a lot of regency romances at the moment). But it had that great added twist of magic throughout. Something to provide a bit of a different spin on things that I haven’t quite seen yet. And definitely an enjoyable system / storyline.

There seems to have been a few books on my shelves lately that have featured a mysterious man being washed, naked onto the shore. Alright, the lead male in this isn’t actually naked (that I remember). But there is still that sense of the ocean brining true love to someone’s unwitting door. It gave the whole story a sense of joy and mystery that swept me away (like the pun there?). The windswept Cornish coast just added to that fantastic feeling throughout.

All in all, this was a seriously fun and enjoyable story. I have read one or two novellas (or were they short stories) by Diane Whiteside and always find them to be good fun. I’m glad that this story was not different. Definitely one that I would read again.

<- Dragon DanceQueen of All She Surveys ->

Image source: Amazon