Book Reviews

Historical Romance Windfall Thoughts, Part Four

So here we are onto the final set of mini-reviews, which means I’ve read every single one of the books in my historical romance windfall! This bunch was less successful on the whole – thoughts on the last ten books below!

Scandal’s Virgin – Louise Allen

This was okay – not my favourite of Louise Allen’s, thanks to a hero who used physical force against the heroine multiple times, and a heroine whose secrets could literally have been explained in one frank conversation at their first meeting. The writing is good though, and it was fun to spot a side character with my name!

The Heir – Grace Burrowes

A surprise DNF! I was sure I’d enjoyed some of Grace Burrowes’s books before (though looking at my notes I’ve never given them more than a three star), but I got a very bad vibe from the hero of this one right away. I gave it a good 100 pages, but he never seemed to get less sex-obsessed or gain any redeeming personality, so I gave up.

The MacGregor’s Lady – Grace Burrowes

This book was better, but there are some serious flaws, not least a few surprising casually racist moments, and I’m not 100% sure that the disability rep is good (the heroine has a persistent limp which is magically solved by only minor intervention from the hero). The writing isn’t the best ever, with dialogue and descriptions both often awkward and overblown, but on the whole this was okay.

The Regency Lords and Ladies Collection 11 (bind up) – Mary Nichols, Paula Marshall

I DNFed both books in this bind up – as I mentioned in my last post, there’s just something about older historical romance’s writing that often doesn’t click with me. The first book here had promise – a sort of switched identities plot that was definitely more on the London Season side of things than the action side – but I struggled to stay connected to the characters and often mixed up which of the two girls was actually the heroine as they felt so similar! The second book had already put me off with the title (The Wolfe’s Mate) which heralded an “alpha” hero, and when he kidnapped the heroine I thought I’d better cut my losses.

No Role for a Gentleman – Gail Whitiker

This was pretty cute! Two aspiring Egyptologists meet, except one needs to marry money and the other is pretending to be a lauded playwright to protect his sister (the real playwright) from scandal. There’s really quite a lot of miscommunication here, and some baffling assumptions from the heroine (why would him being a figure in the literary world mean he wasn’t genuine about his interest in archaeology??) but on the whole this was a gentle, sweet read that I enjoyed.

Innocence in Regency Society (bind up) – Diane Gaston

Oh, I noped out of this first book, The Mysterious Miss M, early on, when it became clear that the heroine had been forced into prostitution at the age of 15 and had a baby at 17, and that the sex scene in the first chapter between her and the hero had also taken place at 15. Just no thanks. And since that was the second Diane Gaston book that I’ve felt disturbed by in terms of its attitude to women and sex, I’m not going to read the other one in this bind up, either.

Secrets Behind Locked Doors – Laura Martin

I do like Laura Martin but while this was fine, it wasn’t my favourite of hers. The heroine was extremely naive, which although very understandable (she was orphaned at 10, abused by her guardian, then wrongfully thrown into an asylum until the age of 19), didn’t really make me think that she should be falling in love with anyone, let alone her new guardian who rescued her. It just felt like he was the first adult to be nice to her and made me feel a bit creeped out. Very readable though.

The Major’s Guarded Heart – Isabelle Goddard

Another one that was readable enough but only gets faint praise from me – I don’t tend to enjoy stories that incorporate a heavy mystery plot or smuggling in general, and this one had both!

The Highlander’s Redemption – Marguerite Kaye

I gave this one a skip because although I really like Marguerite Kaye, I’m not a fan of this kind of Highlander story. Very much an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’.

Strangers at the Altar – Marguerite Kaye

Oh, I really liked this one though! Feisty Ainsley and kind Innes were a great match for each other, and I loved their instant chemistry and the softness between them as they dug each other out of their issues. Super cute, emotional and romantic.

So out of this final batch I DNFed four and read six, and there were two that I really loved. It’s been a wild ride getting through all forty of these books – it’s so interesting to see how the genre has changed over the last twenty years or so, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know my tastes a little better. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed following along with me!

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