HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for the ‘Romantic Fiction’ Category

Contemporary romantic fiction

Book Review: Mary Lynn Baxter – Sweet Justice

Posted by HelenEdith on May 22, 2010

This is romantic fiction, but with a proper plot besides “girl meets boy” to make it a worthwhile read.

Kate Colson is a young judge who is running for re-election in Texas. She had an illegitimate daughter eighteen years before: a fact which is not in the public domain, but which seems likely to come out as her opponents look for anything to use against her.

Kate herself wants to know more about the circumstances of her daughter’s adoption and hires a private investigator to try and find out what happened. The father wasn’t quite the upstanding son that his parents expected him to be; and has grown into a man cut from rather shady cloth. However, he has followed his father into the preaching business – and business it is – and not very well carried out business at that.

The private investigator has a conflict of interest as he is also working for someone who is backing one of Kate’s opponents. This leads to some interesting situations within the book, particularly as he becomes Kate’s romantic interest.

It all gets resolved in the end, although without an entirely happy ending.

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Book Review: Charlotte Hubbard – Angel’s Embrace

Posted by HelenEdith on December 7, 2009

This book came out of the Romance section of the library, and the back cover indicated that Billy Bristol was going to Emma Clark, but that the prospect was not filling him with joy. Then Eve Massena showed up at the wedding and delivered her baby in the church, halting the wedding before Billy and Emma had exchanged their vows.

It became apparent that Billy felt responsible for Eve, whose child was fathered by Billy’s outlaw brother.

Billy returned to the home of his birth to confront his brother, but that’s about as far through the book as I got. When I discovered that it was the sort of book where “The Lord will protect you from the bullets” I decided that it wasn’t for me.

I know some people who would probably love the story and find it inspiring, but I was expecting to read a romance, not a story about faith in adversity; and it just didn’t hold my interest.

Did not finish.

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Book Review: Karen Hawkins – To Scotland, With Love

Posted by HelenEdith on November 25, 2009

This book is part of a series, and although it’s not the first one in the series, I read it as a stand-alone title with complete success.

This is a romance between Venetia Oglivie and Lord Gregor MacLean. They have known each other for a lot of years and have been friends all of that time, but when Lord Gregor finds that Venetia has been abducted by young Lord Ravenscroft, he realises that he must rescue her.

Venetia doesn’t think that she needs quite as much rescuing as Lord Gregor thinks she does. She is managing quite well to depress the pretentions of her abductor all by herself, thankyou!

Lord Gregor becomes so angry about the abduction that he activates his family’s weather curse and much of the action takes place in a snowbound inn with few domestic staff. By the time the thaw sets in (with a few additional snow flurries when Lord Gregor’s temper threatens to get the best of him again) Lord Gregor knows that he wants to marry Venetia; and as this is a romance, he gets his girl by the time the last page has been turned.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Birthright

Posted by HelenEdith on September 9, 2009

This is the fascinating tale of Callie Dunbrook and her ex-husband Jake Graystone.

The book starts with a prologue in Santa’s Grotto, where a baby disappears without a trace. Then we fast-forward to where prehistoric bones have been dug up on a building site in Woodsboro, the town where the snatched baby lived. Callie is an archaeologist, and she gets called in. When she appears on local television, the mother of the snatched baby, who has never given up hope that she will find her child, is convinced that Callie is that long-lost child.

Callie denies that she could be, but when she checks into her background, she discovers that she isn’t the natural child of her parents after all. As she continues to dig, both archaeologically and personally, it becomes apparent that she has stirred up a number of topics which other people would prefer to remain buried. The builder wants her gone, as he wants to continue building. However, he turns up dead before long. It seems that her delving into her past is attracting the wrong sort of attention, and the story of her adoption becomes murkier and murkier the more she looks into it.

This is a good book because there is the archaeological interest which gives the book its cornerstones; then there is the dangerous story of baby snatching and havey-cavey adoptions; and finally there is the chemistry between Callie and Jake, who married in haste, divorced in haste, and are now thrown back together.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Book Review: Loretta Chase – Not Quite a Lady

Posted by HelenEdith on September 6, 2009

(A Carsington Regency romance)

This is another in the series of Regency Romances where the Carsington brothers meet their matches. This time it is the turn of Darius, the studious one, who is interested in all things agricultural. His father, Lord Hargate, packs him off to turn around Beechwood, a property which has been in Chancery for a number of years while the previous owner’s Will was sorted out.

Now Beechwood adjoins another property, which is the residence of Lord Lithby, his second wife, his young sons – and his older daughter, who was the offspring of his deceased first wife. Lady Charlotte Hayward is a beauty and an heiress, but she has a blot on her copybook, and has become very adept at Not Getting Married, as the blot on her copybook is bound to come to light if she does.

Darius figures out that Charlotte has had a fall from grace; and so does another local man; although Charlotte’s father remains blissfully unaware, and is planning a huge house party to try and attract a suitor for Charlotte. Neither Darius nor his rival care about Charlotte’s non-virgin state; and Darius, a confirmed rake, wants to marry Charlotte for love. His rival has more of an eye to her money!

Darius still has to do some pretty serious wooing to convince Charlotte that marriage is indeed possible. This wooing is carried on against a backdrop of the reopening of the house at Beechwood, where Charlotte’s stepmother (and indeed Charlotte herself) are busy putting to rights a house which has been shut up for over a decade. All sorts of interesting things can happen in odd nooks and crannies in such a house!

Naturally things come out right in the end – and Darius even brings his family around to his choice of bride, guilty secret and all.

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Book Review: Kay Hooper – Stealing Shadows

Posted by HelenEdith on August 23, 2009

There are some books which you know, right from the first page, will be easy and satisfying to read, and this book is such a one.

Psychic Cassie Neill gets into the minds of abductors and murderers and helps law enforcement agencies to find them and bring them to justice. However, sometimes she is more successful than other times; and a mistake made in Los Angeles causes Cassie to run three thousand miles to Ryan’s Bluff in North Carolina, where she has inherited a house from her Aunt Alex.

After six months in Ryan’s Bluff, she finds herself in the mind of a murderer. She goes to the Sheriff Matt Dunbar; and to the Public Prosecutor Ben Ryan and tells them of the murder to come, but they are sceptical. However, the body turns up as she describes.

So starts a killing spree with the murderer staying one step ahead of Cassie for a long time. Matt the Sheriff is gradually brought around to believing in Cassie; and Ben the Public Prosecutor falls in love with her as events continue to unfold and draw to a conclusion with a surprising twist to it.

I have a fascination with books about extra-sensory perception, whether it is the telepathic abilities of Cassie or the telekinetic abilities of the characters in Anne McCaffrey’s Talent and Tower and Hive series. Some people might like a little more realism and a little less ESP and romance in their crime novels, but I am well satisfied with this one.

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Book Review: other works by Gillian Kaye

Posted by HelenEdith on August 5, 2009

Having just reviewed The Scheming Mr Cleeve, I decided to go back through my Book Review file and pull out some older reviews of work by Gillian Kaye and share those, too.

The Handsome Smuggler

This novel is set in 1793 at the time of the French Revolution, but it’s a novel set in England.

Fenella Hadleigh has been involved in a scandal (not of her making) in London and her parents have sent her to Dorset to stay with her aunt and uncle until the scandal blows over.

Fenella had been prepared to do her duty and marry the rich man who proposed to her, but is actually very relieved when he’s killed in a duel. She is a spirited girl, and defies her aunt by taking unaccompanied walks. During these walks, she manages to meet both smugglers and the riding officer who is trying to catch the smugglers. It soon becomes apparent that her sympathy lies on the side of the smugglers, particularly when one very handsome smuggler turns out to be a local landowner.

Fenella treats gunshot wounds and generally keeps the riding officer at bay as the stakes rise with French refugees being smuggled in as well as brandy.

The whole thing is complicated because Fenella is falling in love with her handsome smuggler, but he’s already engaged to Juliet. Then Juliet falls in love with one of the French refugees, but says that she will still go ahead with her marriage to Sir Alexander Knowle, despite loving Louis. Sir Alexander won’t cry off from his engagement, but keeps hoping that Juliet will. How it’s all resolved makes an entertaining tale.

The Enigmatic Mr Farrar

This book is in the style of a Regency Romance, although it’s set in Swaledale and not in London.

It also manages to pack in three different romances: that of Judith Piercy and Devlin Farrar, which is a romance fraught with difficulties; the romance of Judith’s brother Gerard with the young writer Miss Alice Boston, also fraught with difficulties due to the machinations of her elder sister; and the romance which is promoted by Judith and Gerald between Judith’s rejected suitor Harold Mefcalf and Alice’s older sister.

Judith has a second rejected suitor, Harvey, and while this book doesn’t manage to get him all settled down, it looks like Judith’s younger sister Emma will get together with him when she’s a year or two older!

It was an enjoyable read as these Regency Romances usually are.

The Proud Mr Peverill

This is a romance set at the time of the Peninsular War. Miss Anna Starkie, who lives near Bath, has refused her neighbour Mr Christopher Boyd on numerous occasions, but now she has a new neighbour, Mr Phillippe Peverill, with whom she seems to share that elusive spark.

Mr Peverill is somewhat mysterious, though, coming and going at odd times, leaving only his cousin at home. All kinds of rumours circulate locally about what Mr Peverill might be doing during his absences, but Anna finds out the truth.

She leads an exciting life as a result, and gets into some interesting scrapes. It’s the sort of book where it all comes out right at the end, though, even for the rejected Mr Christopher Boyd, who finds someone far more suitable than Anna for himself!

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Book Review: Gillian Kaye – The Scheming Mr Cleeve

Posted by HelenEdith on August 1, 2009

I do enjoy Gillian Kaye’s Regency romances and this one was no exception.

There was an interesting twist to the “boy meets girl” plot in this book. The Hon. Sarah Winterson meets Mr Julian Cleeve, who has inherited the house that the Wintersons have been renting, and has decided to take up residence there, displacing the Wintersons to the Lodge.

Before long Sarah is engaged to Julian, a state she finds preferable to the alternative of becoming engaged to Sir Bertram Hesslewood, who is pompous and old enough to be her father. This does leave Sir Bertram’s younger brother Philip out in the cold. He is a widower who cannot forget his young wife Clara – but suddenly discovers that he can after all when he finds Sarah is engaged to Julian!

Various other young people feature throughout the book, and Julian manages to give more than one couple a nudge in the right direction – the right direction not necessarily being matrimony, as in the case of Sarah’s brother, who comes home from Oxford with an ageing actress in tow!

The reader is kept guessing right up until the end of the book as to whether Sarah and Julian will actually make it to the altar; and one final twist to the plot resolves this.

As I said at the start of this review, a delightful read.

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Book Review: Sharon Sala – Finders Keepers

Posted by HelenEdith on June 18, 2009

I enjoy Sharon Sala’s work very much and picked this one up in the library and checked it out without looking at it much beforehand. It turns out to be one of her earlier novels, and doesn’t have quite the element of suspense about it that her later romantic work possesses.

Anyway, I breezed through it, even if it was a bit boy-meets-girl and not much else.

The boy is Joseph Rossi and the girl is Molly Eden. He’s an architect and she’s a florist and they live next door. They meet for the first time when Joseph’s son Joey finds his way through the hedge between their properties and decides that Molly is “momma”.

Molly doesn’t make quite such a good impression on Joseph’s secretary, and the main spanner that gets thrown in the works originates with the secretary. However, as happens with this type of story, it all works out well in the end.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Blue Smoke

Posted by HelenEdith on June 2, 2009

This is yet another of Nora Roberts’ crime thrillers. This one is about Reena Hale, who witnessed an arson attack on her family’s restaurant and went on to become an arson investigator.

Then some of the fires she investigates start to have personal implications, and Reena must find out who is setting them and why.

There is lots of background associated with an Italian family running a pizzeria; and lots of pressure on Reena to settle down and marry, along with the more serious plot of the arson investigation, and the book kept me interested right to the end.

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