HelenEdith's Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘romance’

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: 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: Eloisa James – Much Ado About You

Posted by HelenEdith on June 1, 2009

(Book one of the “Essex sisters” series)

I had already read and enjoyed “Kiss Me Annabel”, which is the second book in the series, and liked that one enough to go back and find the first book. These books are stand-alone enough to be read out of sequence, but it was useful to go back and fill in some gaps – and by reading this one after the second book, I did know what was going to happen in some of the sub-plots.

The Essex sisters have just been placed under the guardianship of the Duke of Holbrook, who has mistakenly assumed that they are still in the nursery. Actually, three of the four are young ladies of marriageable age, and the fourth, while still in the schoolroom, will not remain there for much longer!

Tess, the eldest, needs to marry quickly and well in order to bring out her younger sisters; and she becomes engaged to a friend of the Duke’s, but is jilted at the last moment. Another friend, Lucius Felton, is waiting in the wings, and is prepared to marry Tess instead.

There is also the problem of Tess’s sister Imogen, who is in love with one of the Duke’s neighbours. He, however, is engaged to somebody else! Somebody, it becomes apparent, who would be glad for Imogen to take the gentleman in question off her hands without her having to break the engagement herself, for which there would be grave consequences to her family on account of a mortgage.

This Regency romance did not disappoint, and I will be eagerly scouring the library shelves for the rest of this series.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Angels Fall

Posted by HelenEdith on May 31, 2009

Nora Roberts’ books are being categorised by the library more often these days as ‘Cri’ or ‘Fan’ than as ‘Rom’ and this one falls under the ‘Cri’ label.

Reece Gilmore survived a brutal crime and has since decided to go away on a journey of discovery. She fetches up in a small town called Angel’s Fist because her car breaks down; and when she finds out that the local diner needs a short order cook, she decides to stay a while and repair her finances.

There are some entertaining moments associated with someone who used to be a restaurant chef taking on the job of short order cook, not the least of which is the running battle with the owner over what herbs and spices are absolutely essential to have in a kitchen – and whether they should be dried or fresh!

The main plot of the story concerns a murder which Reece witnesses, but for which no evidence and no body can be found. The local writer, Brody, is the only person who believes Reece, but when strange things start happening to Reece, it seems that Reece really must have seen something that she wasn’t meant to.

Reece does eventually get a lead to follow up with Brody, and it draws the book to its climax, and eventually uncovers a murderer.

An enjoyable read.

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Book Review: Fern Michaels – The Marriage Game

Posted by HelenEdith on May 1, 2009

I have been reading Fern Michaels’ “Sisterhood” series, which is about revenge, and this book showed all the hallmarks of being about revenge, too, even though the library had classified it as “Rom” rather than “Cri”.

Samantha Rainford gets back from her 3-week honeymoon to discover that her new husband with whom she has just shared an idyllic honeymoon has served divorce papers on her. A trip to the law firm of Prizzi, Prizzi, Prizzi and Prizzi alerts her to the presence of three further ex-Mrs Rainsfords, who had apparently also suffered the 3-week honeymoon then divorce scenario. There’s not much Samantha can do about it right then, so she and her model friend Slick, who has just been replaced by a younger longer-legged model decide to join the FBI and spend the next six months in a training school at Quantico.

Both Sam and Slick don’t make the cut at the end of the course, and neither does Eric Hawkins. Sam, having a suspicion that she was going to wash out anyway, has been using FBI facilities to track down the other Mrs Rainfords, and when she duly washes out, along with Slick, they contact the other three Mrs Rainfords to make plans about getting even.

They also get recruited by a secret organisation who thinks that some of the FBI’s and CIA’s rejects have potential after all. In fact, all four Mrs Rainfords get recruited, and so does Eric Hawkins, the other FBI dropout. They all go off to Big Pine Mountain to start their training.

The training is tough, but the four Mrs Rainfords, plus Slick and Hawkins make an awesome team. When they get a week off before Christmas, Sam spends most of the week in a cyber café, tracking down further Mrs Rainfords. She suspects that there are more, and indeed she is correct. The problem is that she can’t track down Mr Rainford, who doesn’t seem to exist.

Enter the step-brother of one of the Mrs Rainfords. He’s a cop, and they put him onto the case while they go back for six months more of training. When they come out, he’s come up trumps for them, and it’s time to work out some payback.

There’s rather more than that to the story, and the “Rom” sticker on the back of the book’s spine does turn out to be justified as Sam falls in love with her instructor on Big Pine Mountain, although I wouldn’t really describe this book as exactly a romance. It was a satisfying read, though.

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Book Review: Catherine Coulter – The Aristocrat

Posted by HelenEdith on April 4, 2009

I have read several of Catherine Coulter’s historical romances in the past, but this is the first modern romance I have come across with the Coulter name on the cover.

I enjoyed the story, in which an American Football star, Brant Asher, inherits an English title, but doesn’t inherit the property and the money unless he marries his distant cousin Daphne. Daphne also doesn’t inherit much of anything unless she marries Brant.

It doesn’t take them long to decide that they will marry, particularly as they find that they like each other pretty well. Brant bears Daphne back to America, where she takes to American Football like a duck to water, but do Brant and Daphne actually love each other?

There is more than one disappointed woman who had her own eye on Brant, so things get spiced up with a cat fight or two, particularly after Daphne learns how to hold her own in such altercations!

My one gripe with this book was that Coulter appears to have used her historical research when writing this book. Even with its 1986 copyright, I think she got the scale of Guildford very wrong, considering that it’s been a cathedral city for years, rather than the small town she portrayed it to be.

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Book Review: Deneane Clark – Grace

Posted by HelenEdith on March 14, 2009

This is a Regency romance featuring Grace Ackerly, the second of six sisters, and Trevor Caldwell, the Earl of Huntwick.

Grace has decided that she wishes never to marry, as she can’t see that the institution has much to offer a woman and a great deal which counts against it. She enjoys wearing breeches and riding astride on her father’s land and hopes to continue doing so.

Enter Trevor and his friend Sebastian, Duke of Blackthorne, who have a close encounter with Grace’s youngest sister Mercy, aged thirteen, who also has a tendency to be clad in breeches. Mercy and her horse jump a hedge and land in the path of Sebastian’s coach, causing an accident. Trevor and Sebastian bear Mercy back to her home, where they make the acquaintance of the other sisters: Patience, the eldest, Faith, the third; and the twins Amity and Charity.

Trevor decides then and there that he wants to marry Grace, but Grace has been dodging her other beau, Sir Harry Thomas, and intends to do the same to Trevor, although she does quickly discover that she likes Trevor much better than Harry.

Trevor moves to his nearby country property the better to court Grace, but Grace, anticipating this, decides to take her aunt up on a London Season, and departs with Faith for London. Naturally Trevor follows.

An entertaining and occasionally scandalous courtship follows, but Trevor does eventually win Grace.

This book has something of the feel of a series about it, but appears to be a standalone title. I think that the author could definitely get some mileage out of Mercy – and probably the rest of the sisters, too. It would be intriguing to know how she would handle Patience, who took over the raising of her five younger sisters when aged only twelve. I will keep an eye out in case Deneane Clark decides to further develop any of the characters in this book.

Actually, it turns out that there will be books about more of the sisters. I’ve just been to Deneane Clark’s blog at deneaneclark.wordpress.com and find that she’s working on Faith and that Charity is next in line. Deneane writes in her blog that she hopes that these books will be as good as Grace. I hope so too, as I really enjoyed Grace!

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Book Review: Mary Carter – Accidentally Engaged

Posted by HelenEdith on March 10, 2009

This is a “little black dress” book – something I haven’t come across before. It’s a rather quirky romance – or maybe it’s a humorous book with a romance in it!

Clair Ivars is a psychic who reads Tarot cards. She is quite good at it – except when she tries to read them for herself, when she is inclined to get her predictions quite wrong.

A customer at a psychic fair requests a reading and then tells Clair what to say in order for her prospective sister-in-law just outside to hear that the marriage shouldn’t go ahead. Clair goes along with this, and after the customer has departed, discovers her customer’s engagement ring and a note asking that it be returned.

Clair being Clair, she doesn’t just put it in a box and mail it back – she decides to deliver it in person – and that’s when things get really weird.

Much that appears supernatural goes on, including a crashed car that isn’t crashed at all – and I think I lost count of all the bumps in the night! Clair also finds herself in the position of taking over the position of bride-to-be, even though she is more interested in the mysterious Mike than in the spurned Jack.

The blurb on the back of the book describes Clair’s prospective mother-in-law as hiding one hell of a family secret – and indeed when you get to the end of the book, you will find out that she really was hiding something pretty big!

This was an entertaining enough book, but I don’t believe that it has hooked me on Mary Carter.

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