His Makeshift Wife

His Makeshift Wife (Mills & Boon Historical) IS HE A RAKE TO TRUST?

Spirited Briony Winters can’t believe her ears! Her beloved godmother’s will pushes her into marriage – with notorious rake Luke Kingsley. But when her wickedly handsome husband-to-be promises not to claim his rights, Briony takes a deep breath and says, ‘I do…’ Luke is used to having secrets, and he’s keeping his true reasons for marrying Briony hidden.

Let her believe him merely another spoilt, indebted rakehell. Yet it’s increasingly hard to hide his real self from his ever more inquisitive wife…

A Mills & Boon regency romance involving a marriage of convenience in name only while both parties have their reasons for agreeing to it things never turn out quite as planned.

Romance, deception and intrigue all perfect elements of a regency romance along with  a spirited heroine and a super sexy male counterpart. One thing noticeably absent from this book is sex, the protagonists don’t even touch each other until the end and even then that is behind closed doors. Not really a problem though, it  just allows you to leave it up to your imagination but I do like a bit of romantic tension build up though and that was lacking a bit in this one.

I really enjoy reading Mills and Boon romances, regency ones in particular. You know how it will end, it is the getting there that is unknown and this one does not disappoint. I am just a sappy romantic at heart.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Anne Ashley
  • Format: Kindle
  • Publisher: Mills & Boon
  • Genre: Regency Romance
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Only Enchanting

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far.

Only Enchanting (Survivors' Club) Flavian, Viscount Ponsenby, was devastated by his fiancee’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back- and everyone is eager that they revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who in a panic, runs straight into the arms of the nearest young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

But what will happen when she discovers the real reason he married her?

This is the next instalment of the fabulous “Survivors Club” by Mary Balogh and this offering does not disappoint. Flavian, with his stutter and gaps in his memory, is definitely an easy man to fall in love with and I would happily have taken him home myself! His memories are locked away, what he does remember doesn’t make sense but with Agnes he feels safe and that is exactly what he said to her when proposing “because I want to be safe with you.”

Agnes is a widow who suddenly finds herself dealing with feelings she never knew existed with a man she does not fully understand. At sixes and sevens, she gets more confused when they go to London but that is where the fun begins. It soon becomes clear that Agnes is not going to go down quietly. I love her and her compassion, as well as the fact she refuses to be cowed by society.

A large part of the story takes part during the annual survivors club gathering so we were able to catch up with previous characters – always something I love. As with the other stories in this series the writing is very powerful and emotive, and I feel Mary Balogh’s writing really captures how I would imagine the characters to be feeling, so it is very easy to get pulled into the story.

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far. You do not need to read the others in the set first but I am sure once you read this one you will want to.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivors Club (4)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Historical Romance
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How to Marry a Marquis

How To Marry A Marquis: Number 2 in series (Agents for the Crown) Take a woman who needs to marry for money, a Marquis in disguise, a “rule-book”  for landing a man and an interfering old lady, mix it with Julia Quinn’s distinctive writing style and you get a fantastic story full of humour, romance and of course a happy ending.

Elizabeth Hotchkiss has three siblings to support and decides she must marry for money. Finding ‘How to marry a Marquis’ in her employer’s library seems to be a sign and, against her better judgement, she allows her sister to talk her into reading it.

James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale has been summoned by his aunt to search for a blackmailer but he must go incognito as her estate manager. His primary suspect is his aunt’s companion Elizabeth, but he soon finds himself intrigued and distracted by her – particularly when he finds her with that ridiculous rule-book.

I love Julia Quinn’s writing style which is quite different from a lot of other writers of historical romance, her sarcasm and wit simply fly off the pages. I love the interaction and banter between the characters and really feel for James who at times is bursting to tell Elizabeth who he really is, particularly when she says “Don’t say any more”, she said laughing. “Really James, one shouldn’t strut like an aristocrat if one cannot carry it off”.  This just after he had used his best aristocratic voice and stare on her.

The aunt in question here is Lady Danbury and those of you familiar with Ms Quinn’s work will recognize her from previous books. She is a fantastic character and really comes into her own in this story. Elizabeth has been with Lady Danbury long enough to give as good as she gets which makes for some funny conversations

The story definitely has some flaws and Elizabeth in particular is a bit of a martyr at times which I can imagine would annoy some readers, but for me, I absolutely loved it so have given it 5 stars. Not because it is perfect, but because for me it is one of those books that just clicked – not entirely sure why but there it is.

If you have read other books by this author you will definitely enjoy this one.

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Agents for the Crown (2)
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Rating: ★★★★★ 

 

Loving Rose : The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair

Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair: Number 3 in series (From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair) Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor. Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realises he’s far too intelligent to fool.

After the disappointment of the previous book in this series, Ms. Laurens has returned to form with this one. The only thing I didn’t like was the confusion over Thomas Glendower/Malcolm Sinclair. I gathered he had appeared as a villain in a previous Cynster book (I later discovered it was the ‘Taste of Innocence’), but as it was not one I’d read I found it a bit confusing over what he had done that was so bad. I therefore started the book feeling like I was missing half the story. It would have been useful if the book blurb had stated where we first met him, so readers could go back to that book if they chose.

Once I put that aside though, it didn’t take me long to get into the story and I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is very much about Thomas and Rose, their developing relationship and the secrets they both hold. Rose is guarded and unwilling to trust but finds it difficult to resist Thomas, particularly with how he is with the children. Thomas is also surprised at how quickly he feels protective towards them, and seeing his younger self in Homer, he seeks to guide him as he himself never was.  Once Rose trusts Thomas with her problems they move to London, and that is when Barnaby Adair and his (growing) team get involved to solve the mystery. For me this book is a perfect blend of intrigue and romance, and focuses very clearly on the protagonists whereas the previous one didn’t.

Ms. Laurens does not disappoint with her bedroom scenes – steamy as always! But at least this time they focused on the characters that matter.

Overall a great book and having prepared myself for this one to be another thriller with little romance as in The Masterful Mr Montague, I was very pleased to find that was not the case.

Book Information
  • Author: Stephanie Laurens
  • Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair (3)
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Rating: ★★★★½ 

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After

The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (Bridgerton Family Book 9) The Bridgerton family stories are told in a series of eight books, all humorous, emotional and above all romantic. They are some of my favourite historical romances ever, and I highly recommend you read them. Once you start you won’t want to stop until they are all done!

The great thing about these books is that every one has an epilogue looking into the future but I always want more. I want to know how the children grew up, and if everything is still going well in Bridgerton land. That is why I was thrilled to discover this collection of ‘second epilogues’, an opportunity to look  further down the line and see what has happened since we last met.

This collection of stories does not disappoint, from the pall mall game (even better than the original scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me) to the elusive jewels and so much more. There is even a short story about the great matriarch of the family Violet. The author has a little note at the beginning of each story to jog your memory, so if you had not read the original books for a while it would not matter.

I would definitely recommend reading the rest of the series first, as it is intended as a follow up and you cannot truly appreciate the characters without that background knowledge. Having said that, you could get away with not having read every single one, as long as you were acquainted with this unconventional and powerful family.

I loved this collection, love the Bridgertons and love Ms. Quinn for writing the stories that I, and I’m sure so many of her readers, were desperate for. Thank you!

The Bridgerton Series in Order :

The Duke and I
The Viscount Who Loved Me
An Offer From a Gentleman
Romancing Mr Bridgerton
To Sir Philip, With Love
When He Was Wicked
It’s In His Kiss
On The Way To The Wedding
The Bridgertons: Happy Ever After

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Bridgertons (9)
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Rating: ★★★★★ 

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Rules of Scoundrels) For twelve years ‘Temple’ has been known as the killer Duke. Having no memory of the night his life changed forever, he has accepted the moniker and forged a life as one of the proprietors of the notorious casino ‘The Fallen Angel’.  When his ‘victim’ Mara Lowe turns up offering him the chance for absolution, he is determined revenge will also be his, but the best laid plans and all that…

This is the third book about the men of The Fallen Angel and I love it. These books are about a seedier side of Regency London and Ms. MacLean certainly knows how to bring it to life.

We have been introduced to Temple – in reality William Harrow Duke of Lamont – in the previous books in this series but this is the one where we really find out what makes him tick. I love him as a character, he has so much depth and is just desperate to be loved and have a family of his own… and of course just oozes sex appeal!

I found it hard to warm up to Mara to start with after the really crappy thing she did to Temple, but as the book progressed and we got more of her back story, things started to make sense and I was rooting for their happy ending. I did find it irritating the way she refused to tell Temple about that night, although I guess his words “Nothing you could say would make me forgive” made her feel there was no point. After all, she had to think of what impact telling him the truth all in one go would have on others.

This is definitely a darker book than the previous two and emotions are running high throughout. There were some very tense and dramatic scenes and of course some very romantic ones, and I really enjoyed it. At times you are reminded of how lethal the men of the Fallen Angel are when one of their own is threatened – no matter who the aggressor may be!

Passion and emotion just flew off the pages and once I’d warmed up to Mara I was totally drawn in. Of course you know it will all be okay in the end, but the journey certainly had its ups and downs!

Overall an excellent addition to the Rules of Scoundrels series, full of drama, emotion and of course romance. Only Chase left to go now, and I cannot wait for his story.

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah MacLean
  • Series: Rules of Scoundrels (3)
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

The Arrangement

The Arrangement: Number 2 in series (Survivors' Club) Blinded by a cannon blast on the Napoleonic battlefields. Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, needs to escape the well-meaning, meddling – and matchmaking – of his family. Luckily, he is saved by a stranger, a lady with a captivating voice. When Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, there seems only one solution…

This is the second book in the Survivors Club series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Vincent is so young compared to the usual heroes from this period yet seems so much older than his years due to what he had to endure. He is very much wounded on the outside and Sophia, in her own way, is wounded on the inside.

Circumstances throw them together and this story is about their developing relationship rather than any major angst, murder or mayhem. It is all about the romance. Yes there are misunderstandings, but nothing that made me throw my hands up in frustration! Ms. Balogh manages to weave a story that holds the attention without the dramatics.

Despite being blind Vincent is confident in himself (well mostly anyway), while Sophia in complete contrast is suffering from a severe lack of self esteem. Together they manage to bring out the best in each other and the character development is a key part of the story. I love the romance of the story and the characters are perfect for each other.

In summary, a very well written story that focuses on the characters and the way they evolve and develop as they heal each other. A great romantic read.

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivor's Club (2)
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

An Offer from a Gentleman

An Offer From A Gentleman: Number 3 in series (Bridgerton Family) Sophie Beckett is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl. While she was accepted into his household, her stepmother never let her forget she was a bastard. When her father died suddenly she was made to work as an unpaid servant, dreaming of what her life could be like. When the servants conspire to send her to the Bridgerton masquerade ball, her life changes forever.

Benedict Bridgerton is still single and avoiding the matchmakers as best he can. At his mother’s ball he is captivated by a stranger, falls head over heels in love, only for her to disappear at midnight leaving only her glove. Sophie is forced to leave her home the next day and Benedict searches high and low for the mystery woman to no avail. Two years on, no-one has stirred him like the mysterious woman until the day he rescues a servant from a fate worse than death.

Well what can I say, my favourite fairytale ever – Cinderella given a new twist. This book is the best yet in the Bridgerton saga and I loved it. Benedict is much more self assured and does not have the inner demons of his elder brother, the advantage of being the second son. Good job too because Sophie has enough secrets for both of them.

I felt like weeping for Sophie at times and at other times I wanted to knock some sense into both her and Benedict! I know they are only characters in a story but I find myself thinking about them as real people rather than characters. I became completely immersed in the story and the Bridgerton family. Towards the end when Benedict’s mother (Violet) gets the opportunity to speak her mind very frankly, I felt like shouting “you go girl” – totally inappropriate in Regency England of course!

This is pure escapism and of course the end result is a given, but as always, the journey there is never easy and the showdown in the jail towards the end is definitely worth waiting for.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Bridgertons (3)
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Three Little Secrets

Three Little Secrets: Number 3 in series (MacLachlan Family) Wealthy land owner Merrick MacLachlan is the polar opposite of his polished, ever-so-charming brother. While Sir Alasdair is fair and handsome, Merrick is dark and brooding, both in looks and in temperament. With his penetrating eyes and badly scarred face, Merrick has always made the ton deeply uncomfortable. Professionally, Merrick has attained a level of wealth and power which no one could have imagined when he was a brilliant but starving young architect. Privately, he has no life which is just how he likes it. But his rigid, tightly-controlled existence is about to spin out of control. Because once upon a time, Merrick did have a life. And then, he made a terrible mistake. Her name was Madeleine. And if ever he is tempted to forget her, he has but to look at the scars she left behind…

This is the third in Liz Carlyle’s historical romance trilogy and, in my opinion, by far the best. We didn’t have much information about Merrick in the previous books, so I was intrigued to find out more about him.

Having expected to dislike him in the prologue as I did with the others, I was pleasantly surprised to have my heart go out to him straight away.  He wasn’t very nice at the start of the story though!

The story is based round a misunderstanding, a huge misunderstanding deliberately caused by an evil man. While at the time Merrick didn’t stand around twiddling his thumbs and tried to fight for what he wanted, Maddie was a bit of a wet blanket and seemed to give up very easily. Then I needed to remind myself that this is set in the 19th century and Maddie was 17 years old – a time when women had to accept what their parents told them.

Merrick is outwardly strong and projects a cold, harsh image. Inwardly though he is very vulnerable and I loved him. Maddie is determined to hang on to the truth as she knew it, having been recently widowed, and to believe otherwise would have made her a bigamist. She is very protective of her son and is prepared to do anything in his best interests, even go visit old Granny MacLachlan to help with his “illness”

I loved this story overall, which proves that love will find a way no matter how long it takes.  It’s my favourite book of the three by far and has the most likeable hero of the series. I’m not convinced you need to read the earlier books before this one, but you will be more invested in the characters who appear if you have read their stories.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Liz Carlyle
  • Series: MacLachlan Family (3)
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Lord of Darkness

Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane) This is the fifth book in the Maiden Lane series, set in mid 18th Century London. I have really enjoyed all the books so far but cannot stress enough how important it is to read them in order. If you don’t, you may well be wondering what the hell is going on. I have to confess to being slightly confused myself at times and I have read all of them! There are now so many characters I find myself struggling to remember what part they played in previous books and how they relate to the current story.

On to the book itself – not my favourite in the series but still a very good read.  I did feel it started off a bit slow but picked up as the book went on. Lady Margaret Reading and Godric St John have both previously lost their loves, and boy don’t we know it! They manage to remind each other, and us, at every opportunity. While Godric was a character I connected with, I did find Megs a bit irritating at times – for example she had a go at Godric for not  getting over his wife but continued to lament the loss of her own lover.

Having said that Ms. Hoyt always does a wonderful job of bringing our protagonists together and the development of their relationship was definitely worth the wait. As always I enjoy reading about the seedier side of London which Ms. Hoyt manages to bring to vivid life, enabling me to visualize things very clearly. The lassie snatchers were back as was Captain Trevillion with his fixation on capturing the Ghost of St Giles. Either he is improving or our hero  is getting sloppy, either way things became very tense for a while.

Overall the weakest book in the Maiden Lane series but still worth a read, if you haven’t yet read any of the series start with the first one – Wicked Intentions, you will not be disappointed.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
  • Series: Maiden Lane (5)
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