Book Reviews

Mills and Boon Mini-Reviews

I’ve been reading a bunch of Mills and Boon historical romances in the past couple of weeks, so I thought I’d scoop them all up together so you can see my thoughts on a selection!

Some of these were NetGalley e-ARCs, and some I purchased myself. I’ll note which ones I was sent for free, but as always my opinions are my own.

Returning from battle…To a mansion in disarray!

When James, Viscount Grayford, returns home with his reputation in tatters, the last thing he needs is incompetent new housekeeper Emma Bryant! But beneath her drab gown and ugly cap is a pretty young woman of quality, forced to work by straitened circumstances. She proves steadfast and courageous in helping him clear his name, and James can’t help but want her—even if what burns between them is utterly forbidden…

The Viscount’s New Housekeeper by Lucy Ashford was a NetGalley eARC, and a very cute read. You have to suspend your disbelief quite strongly to get past the set-up, as it’s fairly ridiculous to think a 21 year old society miss, no matter how straitened her circumstances, would end up as a head housekeeper in a bachelor’s household, but this is lampshaded in the story itself, so as long as you’re willing to go along with it, you’ll have a lot of fun. Emma and James are both sweet characters with only minor amounts of trauma, and this is a fairly low-action, low-drama read, which is what I prefer from my historical romance – it really lets the relationship have space to breathe when the characters aren’t being pushed around by the plot! This is my first book by this author, but I’d happily read more from her.

The Duke’s Counterfeit Wife by Louise Allen was another NetGalley eARC; it was, however, a slightly less successful read for me. Unlike the other books in this post, the first half of this book relies on some heavy action to create conflict – Sarah and Nicholas, the leads are kidnapped by pirates, and then have to track down the man who ruined the heroine’s father. As a result, I didn’t feel they really had space to fall in love or even have much chemistry. However, I really loved the secondary characters in this, particularly Millie the maid, who was a very fun, sharp Londoner, and sweet Charlie, the ex-cabin boy. I also enjoyed the sensible way that Sarah dealt with communication – rather than letting a misunderstanding cause drama for the sake of it, she communicates honestly and openly, which I love to see! Overall, I didn’t fall in love with this one, but if you like your romance on the action-y side, it’s a good one.

Still on my mission to collect all of Jenni Fletcher’s books, I pre-ordered a copy of Snow-Kissed Proposals which came out last week. This contains two novellas, The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher and Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes, and both were lovely bite-size stories that felt very wintry and cosy. The former makes use of the “best friend’s brother” trope, but with the twist that the brother was totally unknown to the heroine before the story’s start, since she’d met her friend at a school far away; I really enjoyed the grumpy Scottish hero and the slow (as far as a novella can be slow!) way he opened up emotionally. The latter is a second-chance romance between a hero and heroine who each thought the other had jilted them in their youth – and weirdly, it’s the second unusual housekeeper story in this post! This was a very quiet story of two people maturely working out their problems, which I really enjoyed. I liked that they didn’t have backstories full of dramatic pining, and each had had a successful marriage in the meantime – this felt very realistic and made their returning love all the sweeter and more solid-feeling. I’m really glad I picked this up!

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