Book Reviews

Review: Historical Romance Mini-Reviews

A few weeks ago I was in a real historical romance mood, and I ended up running out of the ones I had stashed – so I picked up a few new-to-me authors, and here’s what I thought!

Book: The Marquess’s Adventurous Miss by Ava Bond

Ownership: Ebook sent free of charge by the author. All opinions my own.

Content warnings: death in childbirth; adultery (not during central relationship).

Richard, Marquess of Heatherbroke, is on a mission to reclaim his illegitimate child, Harriet. No one can stop him, especially not Prudence, a vicar’s daughter. So, when Richard kidnaps the pair of them, Prudence knows what she must do. She must protect Harriet, even though it means leaving behind everything she has ever known. United by their love for Harriet and a growing attraction to each other, Prudence and Richard must overcome highwaymen, parental disapproval and Richard’s scandalous past, as they argue, flirt and finally fall in love. But will any of these things keep them apart?

In the middle of my romance binge I opened my review requests back up for historical romance authors, and was offered a copy of this book by the author. This is a really cute romance considering it starts with the hero having an illegitimate child, and then moves rapidly on to a kidnapping! His intentions are good, though, and the rest of the book leans closer to ‘governess and father’ tropes as they battle their attraction – it ended up being a really sweet read with plenty of chemistry. There’s a lot of action packed into a relatively short book, which isn’t always my favourite thing, but the likeable characters kept me interested. I’d definitely read more from this author when I’m in the mood for more drama-filled stories!

Book: Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Guhrke

Ownership: Ebook purchased by me. All opinions my own.

Content warnings: death of a parent.

Dear Lady Truelove, My ward is driving me crazy. I have to marry her off and get her out of my life. There’s just one problem…

When Jonathan Deverill promised a dying friend he’d be guardian to the man’s daughter, he envisioned a girl in pigtails and pinafores, a child he could leave behind in some finishing school. Problem is, his ward is actually a fully-grown, defiant beauty whose longing for romance threatens to make his guardianship a living hell.

New York heiress Marjorie McGann wants a London season and a titled husband who can help her spend the Yankee millions she’s inherited, and she thinks her new British guardian is the perfect person to help her find him. But Jonathan has no intention of letting his friend’s fortune be squandered. Under his watchful, protective eye, Marjorie finds romance hard to come by…until one fateful night when her own guardian’s devastating kisses makes her wonder if the greatest romance of all might be right in front of her.

I buddy read this with a Twitter friend on a total whim! We chose it because it looked really funny from the sample chapter on the author’s website (where the hero discovers that his new ward isn’t, as he assumed, a schoolgirl, but a very attractive grown woman), but on the whole it was a little less funny than I’d hoped, though still enjoyable. I really liked Marjorie’s antics as she chafes under Jonathan’s overprotectiveness, and her character in general is very interesting, as she’s desperate to live her life on her own terms, but isn’t quite sure what that means. I did think it dragged a little at the end, where it felt like one last drama had been bolted on after the main plot had resolved; this required both leads to undo some of their personal development just to create an issue, only to redo it moments later. I might pick up another book by this author if I saw it in the library, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy another.

Book: Lady Be Good by Meredith Duran.

Ownership: Ebook purchased by me. All opinions my own.

Content warnings: violence, injury, and self-injury; death of a sibling; discussion of PTSD/war trauma.

Catching the Lady Red-Handed

Born to a family of infamous criminals, Lilah Marshall has left behind her past and made herself into the perfect lady. Working as a hostess at Eveleigh’s, London’s premier auction house, she leads a life full of art, culture, and virtue. All her dreams are within reach—until a gorgeous and enigmatic viscount catches her in the act of one last, very reluctant theft.

Chasing One Red-Hot Passion

Christian “Kit” Stratton, Viscount Palmer, is society’s most dashing war hero. But Kit’s easy smiles hide a dark secret: he is haunted by a madman’s vow to destroy anyone he loves. When his hunt for the enemy leads to Everleigh’s Auction Rooms, he compels Lilah to help him. But one tempting touch may be their undoing—for what Kit needs threatens all Lilah holds dear, and losing her may destroy Kit.

This was recommended to me a long time ago by a friend, but I’ve only just got round to it. It was an interesting departure from my usual historical romance reading habits, since the heroine comes from a lower-class, criminal background, and a lot of the plot involves the seedier side of London life. I really enjoyed the multiple layers of deception in the plot – I actually thought that the romance itself took something of a backseat to the individual character development of the two leads, but I was invested enough in them that I didn’t really mind! My favourite part, I think, apart from the fascinating auction house settings, was how the book dealt with female friendship; Lilah starts off detesting Kit’s stuck up future fiancée, but gradually realises that she, too, is a complex woman trapped in a role by her circumstances. It was brilliant to have this trope deconstructed and reworked into something more supportive. I’d read more from this author if I was looking for something that leaned more to historical fiction than romance!

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