I’ve been reading lots of historical romance lately, and with not much time on my hands, I thought I’d do a little mini review round up. Read on for Darcy Burke, Erica Ridley, Louise Allen, and more!
Content warnings: death of spouse/mother mentioned; hero has facial scars which are discussed by him and others negatively; hero is injured badly at one point; war and violent death discussed; kidnapping.
A Marquis In Want Of A Wife was a very sweet marriage of convenience story that had lots of heart. I loved how starkly practical both characters were, and their journey to falling in love after their marriage. Though at first they treat their marriage as a strictly business practice, with Ross gaining a mother for his son, and Prue gaining protection after a romantic indiscretion, they slowly warm to each other in a very fulfilling way. I did find that the plot got a little bit farfetched in places, once the war against Napoleon was brought in as a major plot point – I would have preferred the stakes to stay smaller, and have focused more on the emotional danger the two found themselves in, but that is my personal preference for most romance, and overall this was very enjoyable.
Also, it’s a small thing, but I appreciated the detail put into having a baby in the story – there is plenty of discussion of his nursemaid and wet nurse, which is not something you often see in historical romance, but certainly something that would have had to be considered for a baby without a mother! It helped to make the story feel more realistic for me, as I often find babies to be little more than window-dressing in these sorts of books; here, Jon is a real part of the family and having that realism made it easier to connect with both Ross and Prue’s love for him. Three and a half cats!
Content warning: death of spouse mentioned; miscarriage mentioned; death of young child discussed.
The Bachelor Earl is a prequel novella to Darcy Burke’s The Untouchables series, which I’ve read most of and really enjoyed! Genie is a really likeable heroine, and I liked this expansion of her character (she is the stepmother of Titus, the hero of the first book in the series) – this is sort of a second chance romance, but not as you might have seen before. She doesn’t want to marry again after the death of her beloved husband, Jerome, but when she’s tricked into attending a house party designed for matchmaking amongst older singletons, she finds that actually, she’s strongly attracted to the Earl of Satterfield; he for his part has been in love with her since they were both in their twenties, but never told her. The two of them have phenomenal chemistry, and it’s a pleasure to watch them fall in love – the novella length means this has a great pace and few dramatic obstacles beyond Genie’s reservations. Four out of five cats!
Content warning: hero lost his first wife in childbirth.
One Snowy Night with Lord Hauxton was a really amusing little romance! I loved the fun set-up (two guests accidentally taken to the same room in the middle of the night), and from there it was just cute all the way through. I really appreciated that the hero and heroine were able to spend so much time alone together – though the idea is a little contrived, and Henrietta would certainly have been ruined in real life, it gives them so much space to get to know one another and led to some really free conversations. I thought the two of them were really well suited, and it was a pleasure to read about them. I also loved the glimpses of James and Caroline from Her Best Friend, The Duke! Four out of five cats!
Content warnings: murder and death; mention of death in childbirth; quite a bit of discussion of spousal and parental abuse.
I’m not usually a fan of historical romance that also incorporates mystery plots, but I was tempted to this one by the sound of the dynamic between the leads. I ended up really enjoying the sparks between them, but I felt like their romance had so little page time between the various murders! I would have liked a lot more scenes between them as they tried to hide their budding romance from the rest of the characters, and a lot fewer scenes repeating information about the murders. It’s definitely not the ‘fun and flirty… rom-com’ it’s billed as. But if you’re a fan of the mystery side of things, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Three and a half cats!
Content warning: parental abuse; childhood bullying about appearance.
I can’t believe Ten Days With A Duke is the penultimate book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series! I really enjoyed this second chance romance, as I’ve enjoyed the whole series, but it hasn’t knocked Dukes Actually or Never Say Duke off their top spots. I love a nerdy hero, so botanist Eli ticked a lot of boxes for me, and I enjoyed the dynamic between the main couple a lot. They are the children of two archenemies, and Eli humiliated Olive when they were teenagers, leaving her with lasting effects to her self-confidence, so it’s really to see how they can possibly come back from the animosity between them when they’re forced to consider marrying each other. Though the bulk of this book is great, the thing I didn’t like was the redemption of Eli’s father, whom I found utterly disgusting in his behaviour – seeing him get anything like a happy ending felt unsatisfying and undeserved to me. It really put a downer on the end of the book for me – but I’m looking forward to the final instalment! Three out of five cats.
The Footman and I is an entertaining romp of a Regency romance! It’s not the most nuanced read in the world, but it was enjoyably silly – an earl disguised as a footman at his friend’s house party offers plenty of opportunity for fun and drama. I really enjoyed the concept, and I liked both Frances and Lucas as characters – their interactions as they got to know one another away from the strict social rules of the upper classes were really cute. I also liked the hints at other books in the series, since there are three stories taking place at the same time. There are one or two grammar/word choice errors (‘flare for the dramatic’, for example), and the pacing dragged a little in the second half, but on the whole, I had a lot of fun reading! Four out of five cats!