Tag Archives: Historical Romance

An Unseen Attraction, by K.J. Charles

21 Jun

I’m cheating just a teensy bit by choosing this a my TBR Challenge review of the month. But hey, the novel was in the digital TBR Cordillera of Doom, so it counts.

While I enjoy Ms Charles’ online presence immensely,¹ and despite having at least three other of her books in the TBR Cordillera of Doom, I had not yet read any of her fiction. Then, our Queen Librarian of the Universe, Wendy the SuperLibrarian, reviewed this book recently, and I was most intrigued.

As it often happens, I discovered that I had already purchased it a few weeks before, and, since I had not only read a whole new-to-me book that week, but actually wrote a semi-decent review, I decided to dive right in.

And yay, I really liked it!

Reader, beware: there’s explicit sex and adult language; there are also references to sexual abuse of a character who is not in the story.

An Unseen Attraction, by K. J. Charles

This is the first book in the Sins of the Cities trilogy, set in Victorian London in 1873. There’s fog. Serious fog.²

Clem manages a lodging-house for skilled artisans in a very diverse neighborhood in London. Rowley, one of his lodgers, is a taxidermist, called a preserver (or stuffer) at the time.

And there they are, two gents going about their business as normal, until things…change.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s site:

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Dukes Prefer Blondes, by Loretta Chase

14 Jun

Recently the lovely Keira reviewed this novel at Cogitations and Meditations, and after reading her wonderful review, I just had to look it up, with a view to checking the price, perhaps snag it.

Turns out, I already owned it.

I am not exactly sure how long this book has been on my digital TBR pile (frankly, I’m a little afraid to look too closely at these things), but, probably from the first time it was offered at a reduced price.

Long story a bit shorter, this meant I could start reading it on the spot, without budget guilt.

Reader, beware: while there’s very little explicit language, the bedroom door is open.

Dukes Prefer Blondes, by Loretta Chase

I didn’t realize it until I was already a few pages in, but this novel is connected to Ms Chase’s Dressmakers trilogy¹. The heroine, Lady Clara Fairfax, is an important secondary character in the first two books.

Our hero, brilliant barrister Oliver ‘Raven’ Radford, may be not-so-distantly related to a duke, but he’s not what one would call a great catch for the daughter of a Marquess.

Or, perhaps, that’s exactly what he is.

Here’s the blurb, from the author’s site:
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The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

9 May

thegirlwhoknewtoomuch

I received an ARC for this novel sometime in late 2016, and it was one of only two new books I read in the months following my mother’s death.

Although I have not yet written any reviews for them, I own and love all of Ms Quick’s early historical novels (Surrender, Mystique, Ravished, etc). In later years, I had given up on her books, after growing a bit fatigued by some writing tics, and frankly tired of the Arcane Society novels.¹

However, the cover caught my eye, and the blurb makes it clear this novel is not part of a series. Best of all, it’s set in California in the 1930s!

Warning: there are a couple of murders, though not much gore; there’s adult language, and sex on the page. If any of these bother you, avoid this one.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

I liked many things about this novel, starting with how well the setting is rendered. I felt immersed in the period without awkward lectures or info-dumping. Both of the main characters are complex and three dimensional, and their world is populated by three dimensional, complex people.

The suspense thread is a lot more layered than the blurb would make one think, and the story is told from several characters’ point of view, which allows the reader to believe she knows more than our hero and heroine.
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The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley

18 Jul

TheMadnessofLordIanMackenzieI’m still firmly in the land of re-reads–which will not shrink my TBR Mountain range any, but at least means I’m back to reading. And you, gentle readers, get treated to more reviews of older books. You poor things erm…lucky people you.

I first heard about this book from the lovely KristieJ, many, many moons ago, right around it was released. Unfortunately, at the time I had a very long list of ARCs and other review commitments, so I just made a note to read it soon.

Things happened, and it turned out that I read the second book in the series, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, first, sometime after it had come out.

In fact, if memory serves for anything, I think I also read the next one, The Many Sins of Lord Cameron, before I finally got my hands on Lord Ian.

When I finally did, however, I loved it as much as KristieJ promised I would; so much, that I own two paper copies (one will eventually my sister’s), and I just got the digital version when it was on sale a few days ago.

Of course, I immediately ‘paged’ through it, and a couple of hours later, when my phone battery died, I realized I was engaged in a full re-read. And so, here we are.

The usual disclaimer: explicit sex, explicit language, and a bit of violence. This novel has a hero in the autism spectrum, most likly Asperger’s; it is the first such hero in genre romance I’ve ever read, and I am not familiar enough with autism to vouch for the accuracy or sensitivity of the portrayal. Proceed with caution.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley

The novel is set in 1881, well into the Victorian era, where many things were changing in Britain; from the political climate to technology, this was a period of social tension. Everything is in flux.

Our hero, the eponymous Lord Ian, is the youngest of four brothers with very tarnished reputations. The family is quite high socially–dukedoms do that–and they have a lot of money, individually and as a family–thanks in large part to Ian’s affinity for numbers, perfect recall, and instinctive understanding of finances.

Our heroine, Mrs Beth Ackerley, is the widow of a vicar from a rough part of London, lately the companion of a wealthy gentlewoman of little consequence, who willed her fortune to Beth.

Here’s the blurb:
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Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

16 Jul

DreamingOfYouI’m back with another historical romance from Lisa Kleypas–and not just any one of them.

For a rather large number of romance readers, Derek Craven, the hero of Dreaming of You, is up there with Mr Darcy, as far as favorite romantic heroes go. Ergo, the book shows up often on “top 100” romance lists.

I, however, came late to Ms Kleypas’ books; this book had been out ten years, if not twelve, when I finally read it, and I had read a lot of romance during that time (including a number of Ms Kleypas’ later novels) so my opinion has always been…a tad less enthusiastic than the norm, shall we say.

As usual, reader beware: there’s explicit sex and cursing on the page.

Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

This is the second book in a duology; Derek Craven, our hero, was introduced as a rather important, and quite intriguing, secondary character in Then Came You, published a year earlier.

Our heroine, Miss Sara Fielding, is a little country mouse who just happens to be a well known novelist, and who is visiting London to research her next opus. And let me tell you, this background for the heroine creates all sorts of problems for me.

Here’s the (as always hated) blurb from my copy:
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Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas

12 Jul

WhereDreamsBeginI am feeling very frustrated about my reading right now; even though I’m enjoying the Immortals After Dark quite a bit, I’m having trouble concentrating on any one thing. *cue frustrated scream*

So when someone mentioned this title, I realized that I had not re-read it in a good long while, despite the fact that I like it quite a bit. In fact, I really like many of Ms Kleypas’ historical romances, but I’ve only reviewed two of her books. Which just makes no sense, so here we are.

Reader beware: there is sex on the page.

Where Dreams Begin, by Lisa Kleypas

This is that rare beast, a fully stand alone novel. It also has a widowed heroine who not only loved her husband, but was sexually satisfied by him–this is even rarer in romance. She’s also a lady, a member of the ton, long on manners and pedigree, short on cash. The hero is one of those trade magnates, a nouveau riche who wants to purchase respectability, and acceptance in society, through his fortune. Hijinks, inevitably, ensue.

Here’s the (inaccurate as always) blurb from my paperback copy:
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Captive Bride, by Bonnie Dee

6 Apr

Captive BrideI usually enjoy Bonnie Dee’s writing very much, because I’m always sucked into the lives of whatever characters she writes. Which tends to be exactly what I want, and need, from authors.

In this case, I had an extremely strong reaction to the beginning of the story, and it took a good long while before I could get past a particular scene–a scene with no gore, no graphic content, and no violence.

Our minds are strange places, n’est ce pas?

Eventually, I got past that bit, and then…well, I had other issues. Be warned, this is a very rambling and meandering review–more so than usual, that is.

Captive Bride, by Bonnie Dee

This is one of those extremely rare beasts in genre romance: it’s set in the aftermath of the War Between the States, but not in the South or the West (as we think of it–the Rockies or the Plains, or Texas). It’s set in San Francisco, in the late 1870.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s site:

San Francisco, 1870

Huiann arrives in America expecting to be wed to a wealthy businessman. She no sooner disembarks from the ship than she realizes Xie is not looking for a bride: Huiann is worth more to him as a high-end prostitute. Though her fate is better than that of other Chinese women forced into the sex trade, she has no intention of waiting for Xie to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. At the first opportunity, she escapes and disappears into the city.

When a beautiful woman takes refuge in his store, Alan’s life changes forever. He’s spent the last five years trying to forget the horrors of war, and had almost given up hope of finding love. He hires Huiann as his housekeeper, and though they can only communicate through signs and sketches, they quickly form a bond that transcends the need for words.

But Xie is determined to recover his property, and love may not be enough to protect Huiann from his vengeance.

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