Tag Archives: Regency romance

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

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

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Overview
Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #1) by Julia Quinn

Title: Just Like Heaven
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 10th May 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: “What did I say?”

Synopsis

HONORIA SMYTHE-SMITH IS:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed “Bug” as a child
C) NOT in love with her older brother’s best friend
D) all of the above

MARCUS HOLROYD IS:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) NOT in love with his best friend’s young sister
D) all of the above

TOGETHER THEY:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever AND the world’s worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love

It’s Julia Quinn at her best, so you KNOW the answer is…
D) all of the above

Thoughts

As always, I loved this book. There is just something fantabulous about Julia Quinn that draws me in each and every time. The stories may be beautifully simple, but they’re also seriously enjoyable. And this one is definitely no exception. The fact that it is the first of the stories about the Smythe-Smiths whom are frequently mentioned throughout the Bridgertons series… well, that just made it that much better.

I love how intricately Julia Quinn is able to weave her different series. Although they can all stand on their own, they are also interconnected. In the case of this, you have the Mad Baron story (which was authored by another beloved character) and a great conversation or two with some of the Bridgerton boys. That, and Lady Danbury makes another appearance (she’s my favourite) as does the infamous Smythe-Smith Music night.

Honoria is a great lead. She is witty and strong, but not necessarily going against the grain to be strong. She also is completely unhesitant to do the right thing for Marcus, even if she may be putting her own reputation at risk. I do love the scene with the mole hole the most though… it was both hilarious and adorable.

Marcus is the perfect quiet male lead. He just kind of plods along and then, when he realises that he’s in love, goes with it. There is none of the angst and painful denials in this story that seem to be in a lot of romances. And I entirely put that down to Marcus not being a numpty. That, and Honoria also just has faith in him and doesn’t get all bogged down in her own mind.

All in all, this was a great way to spend an evening / day and just… drift in the happiness that Julia Quinn is always able to inspire. Seriously fun and most definitely another one to add to the “favourites” shelf.

<- More Julia QuinnA Night Like This ->

Image source: Goodreads

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

Overview
First Comes Scandal [Large Print] :HarperCollins Australia

Title: First Comes Scandal
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #4
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romance, Regency romance
Dates read: 25th – 26th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: “Certainly unethical.”

Synopsis

She was given two choices…
Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her days as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter Option #3
As the fourth son of an eral, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to hart his own course. He has established himself in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time – or interest – to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton – his literal girl-next-door – is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A Marriage of Convenience
It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she’d say II no. II Georgie doesn’t want to be anyone’s sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends… or could they?

But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship, they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First come scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love…

Thoughts

As the final story in the Rokesbys series, I was kind of expecting a little more drama in this story… I was completely floored by the fact that there was pretty much no drama whatsoever in this story. As in. None. At all. Actually, it was one of the most pleasant, happy and drama free stories I’ve read in a long time. And even though it wasn’t fast-paced and there wasn’t much drama… I still couldn’t put this down and forget about it. It was just that amazing!

Nicholas and Georgie work so beautifully together. I love that of the four Rokesby stories, three ended up with Bridgertons. This is also the only one that mentions Violet Bridgerton, along with the three eldest boys from the Bridgerton series – Anthony, Benedict and Colin. It finally made this actually feel like the prequel series that it supposedly is and tied everything in perfectly. I love that there is this constant sense of interconnectedness throughout the series that makes you urgently reaching for the next book.

This was a seriously quick friends to lovers moment. I was expecting a little more resistance to the idea, but I kind of like how quickly Nicholas and Georgie fell for one another. It made me smile frequently and happily throughout. Definitely the kind of quick falling in love that I prefer – one that is built on years of friendship and camaraderie. It also meant that those frequent moments in which Georgie is being independent and pig-headed are totally expected by Nicholas, and kind of endearingly loved.

As with many of Quinn’s books, I loved the epilogue at the end. I love how Georgie’s interest was nurtured by Nicholas and helped them grow into the perfect pair. I kind of want to see them in more Quinn books in the future… they’re just so simply glorious together.

<- The Other Miss BridgertonMore Julia Quinn ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie

Overview
Marry In Scandal by Anne Gracie - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Marry in Scandal
Author: Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 18th – 24th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “No, of course not.”

Synopsis

Shy, young heiress Lady Lily Rutherford dreams of true love and a romantic courtship. But when disaster strikes, she finds herself facing a scandal-forced marriage to her rescuer, Edward Galbraith, a well-known rake. In the gamble of her life, she agrees to marry him, hoping to turn a convenient marriage into a love match.

As heir to a title, Galbraith knows he must wed, but that doesn’t mean he has to share his secrets with his tender-hearted young bride. When he spurns Lily’s efforts to get close to him, she retreats to the place he’s avoided for nearly a decade: his childhood home. To reclaim his new bride, Galbraith must confront the darkness of his past, face a future he never expected – and discover that love is the ultimate prize.

Thoughts

Lily had a great introduction as a character in Marry in Haste. Which meant that reading her novel was always going to be seriously looked forward to. Really, same as Rose and George, but they’re next in line… I did wonder how Lily would get her happily ever after. And honestly, it was nothing like what I expected. Which I’m not really sure why that’s surprising… that seems to be the trend with many of the stories that I’ve been reading lately.

Lily’s greatest flaw and failure is hinted at in Marry in Haste – she can’t read or write properly. It was interesting how this was built upon in Lily’s story – after all, this is all set in a time that would make this seriously inconvenient and horrible. Yet, she is a great female lead. She is filled with patience and understanding, this great sense of hope and wonderful wisdom. Alright, she’s also a little naïve. But that naivety stems from her hope that things will work out perfectly. I think that all of us jaded people could take a page out of her book…

Nixon and Sylvia were both brilliant and horrible villains in this tale. Which, ultimately is what a villain should be in my books. The poetic justice that they receive at the end is brilliant. It’s bloodthirsty and kind of horrible. But it left me grinning (let’s not think too deeply about what that says about my psyche)…

This is yet another great Regency romance – light, easy and fun. With just enough horribleness and intrigue to really pull you in and make it impossible to put down. Definitely falling for Anne Gracie’s writing more and more with each story that I read.

<- Marry in HasteMarry in Secret ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

Overview
Marry in Haste | Book 1 in the Convenient Marriage Series by Anne Gracie

Title: Marry in Haste
Author: Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 20th February – 1st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Miss Wind-whatever!

Synopsis

Major Calbourne Rutherford returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest men, but his wild half sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.

When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ese, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.

Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere façade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?

Thoughts

Regency romances are the kind of books that are slowly gaining traction on my bookshelves. It’s one of those shelves that a year ago, there wasn’t much on it… but then I started buying more and more. Now, it’s a fairly big collection. This is my first foray into the stories of Anne Gracie. And I must say, I am so glad that I bought some of her books – they are awesome and beautiful!

From the prologue, I was intrigued about Emm’s past – after all, it starts with a rumor and her father trying to force her into marriage. Yet, you don’t quite know what happened and why. Which is one of the many sub-plots that will keep you reading throughout this story. You just want to know what sent Emm’s life so drastically off track. And it takes about three quarters of the book to find out the answer to that…

Cal is a bit of a reserved lead. I love that he is trying to do what he thinks is right – but can’t quite figure out what that actually is. He’s so very, very lost. Which just makes it all that much sweeter when Emm comes into his life and just… fixes all of the bits that have been turned upside down. Sometimes people just need a little bit of guidance, and Cal gets that constantly through his “marriage of convenience”.

It’s hard to imagine the world that Emm lives in – but, I love that she is able to maintain her sense of self, even when she gets kicked down again and again. She also makes sure that she protects and cares for the women under her protection. From the girls at the school, to the sisters and niece of Cal. They are constantly bolstered by this amazing woman and find a way to be themselves in a society that doesn’t necessarily support them.

I may love the romance aspect of this story, but I also love the feeling of women banding together. Not just in the way that Emm protects the girls, but also how they protect her. When rumors and horrible things come to light, it is the girls that ultimately protect and bolster Emm, her students and the women she’s befriended. We have way too many stories about women tearing each other down, so it’s nice to have one that features women supporting one another.

<- More Anne GracieMarry in Scandal ->

Image source: Anne Gracie

The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Overview
Image result for book cover the other miss bridgerton

Title: The Other Miss Bridgerton
Author: Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Historical romanceRegency romance
Dates read: 27th January – 11th February 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Avon
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Brown or Green would have been acceptable – Andrew had known both of them long enough to know that they’d not imperil her safety – but he doubted either one of them wanted anything to do with her.

Synopsis

She was in the wrong place…

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time…

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

Thoughts

It took me a little bit to get into this story. Not because of anything intense, but Quinn’s stories are that simple and pleasant that they don’t always throw me in the deep end of the story. They’re just so pleasant and fun. Plus, you know that the couple is going to come together in the end. In this case, Poppy is so much like her cousin Billie that you felt like you knew her from the very beginning.

Although this was a fairly consistent and typical Quinn story, it does take a completely different spin – there’s pirates. I mean, they’re kind of sanctified pirates. But they’re still pirates. And the whole story takes place on a ship. With a kidnapping and other sorts of drama. It may have taken me a little to get past that first chapter or so, but once I realised that the pirates were taking front and centre… I was a very, very happy girl.

From the title I knew that there would be another Bridgerton girl making an appearance in this story. The awkwardness of the whole situation just left me smiling and giggling again and again throughout this story. After all, regardless of which series you read… the Bridgertons are a force to be reckoned with. I love that Andrew is almost fearful of the response that the Bridgertons will have when they find out that he kidnapped one of them. After all, if I had a family of that size and loyalty after me… I’d feel pretty damn intimidated and concerned too.

There is no better cure for a bad day than a good Julia Quinn book. I love that even though this story / series isn’t about the Bridgertons (my favourite regency romance family ever), it still features them. You can see where the next generation gets their spunk from. And the Rokesbys? Well, they’re amazing too. I can’t wait to read the last book in this series and fall head over heels for this family yet again.

<- The Girl with the Make-Believe HusbandFirst Comes Scandal ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia