Posted in Book Review, Guest post, Historical Romance

O’Roarke’s Destiny Shehanne Moore 5*#Review (Cornish Rogues Book1) #BlackWolfBooks @ShehanneMoore #HistoricalRomance #19thCentury #Cornwall #GuestPost #PublicationDay

#CornishRogues

Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might…

Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backwards glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing. Everything she touches withers to dust.

He’d cursed her with ruin.
Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.

Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no-one and nothing are what they seem. Him most of all.

And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts? Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all? 

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

Cornwall in 1801 rife with smugglers and excise men trying to catch them is the setting for this clever, passionate and witty novel. Destiny Rhodes is cursed, everything she touches turns to dust. All she has left is Doom Bar Hall, her ancestral home, and now even this is in jeopardy.

Divers O’Roarke is a man with an agenda and so many secrets. He left Cornwall in the wake of tragedy, but not before he’d cursed the young woman he thought responsible. Now he’s back, the victor, but what he finds is not what he expected. What he feels is not what he thought, but he has a mission, and being turned to ashes by a cursed woman is not part of it.

The setting for this story is atmospheric and authentic. The subtle use of historical detail, lets you visualise nineteenth-century Cornwall. The sinister smugglers, the close-knit community, the rugged beauty of the coast, and the ethos of danger and suspicion, Amidst the roaring sea and windswept coastline, the story of two people, both emotionally bereft, and driven unfolds.

The dialogue is sharp and amusing, and the internal musings even more so. You spend a lot of time in Destiny and O’Roake’s minds, and they are both full of confusion and conniving.

The plot is pacy and twisty. Just trying to work out who O’Roarke is, keeps you guessing. Then there’s the exciseman Lyons, who becomes increasingly sinister. This story is inclusive, you feel part of the deadly game Destiny and Divers are playing, experience their anger, bewilderment, fear, and the passion they cannot hide. The intriguing plot comes to an intense conclusion, revealing who Destiny and Divers O’Roake are in more ways than you can imagine.

‘O’Roarke’s Destiny’, is historical romance for the twenty-first century. Complex mind games, passionate, sensual romance, and a fast-paced riveting plot that rides the waves of time. I’m looking forward to meeting the next ‘Cornish Rogue.’

Guest Post – Shehanne Moore – Inspiring Destiny

Firstly Jane, thank you so much for inviting me here today to your wonderful book review blog, which is such a help to authors and for your continued support.  Always appreciated.

I actually got the idea for O’Roarke’s Destiny the night we sold our house back in 2014. Yep, a while ago and I actually started it when I finished the Viking and The Courtesan in 2015 and put it aside because other scheduled books got in the way. I’d lived in this particular house for almost 30 years and it was a hard house to leave for many reasons, nor was this necessarily a chosen thing.  Although looking back now I don’t know what I was worrying about.  Anyway, the first night the house was on sale, the second viewer arrived—the dad of one of my pupils who lived along the road. I thought they’d come about something to do with the lessons. Anyway, he soon dashed that hope when he said, ‘I will make you a good offer tomorrow morning first thing. I have already put my house on sale in the hope and prayer of this one. But I know this must be upsetting for you, so don’t show me round, I  was burned on the house sale three doors along a few months ago, so you don’t have to.’   And he was as good as every word. Well, as I joked to a friend a few days later, I should have said, ‘And I come with this house. I just need a room.’ Then I thought … bingo, idea for a book there.

Ideas, mind you, are nothing like what ends up on paper.  This book started as a frothy battle over a house that only starts a few years later when the hero brings home another woman, a fiancée and the heroine housekeeper doesn’t like this and she discovers her own feelings for the hero. While this had its merits, another idea—a stronger one–formed, that was to start the book at the point where the house has been lost in a card game to a man where there’s past history.  But, this seemed a little contrived, given this man has been sort of lost to the world for years. What was he even doing back in the neighbourhood?  So I suppose my next piece of inspiration was in the books of Daphne DuMaurier, the smuggling, piratey books I’ve long loved. Having tackled, pirates, Highlanders, Vikings, I’d wanted to do a book about smugglers. Where better to do that than in Cornwall? Why not make that world the backdrop to the story.

Books aren’t just nothing like the idea that you start with—well mine never are, alas–they are about keeping the story going. There’s only so many times two people can argue about the choice of dining room wallpaper for example or the fact that that’s the best antique dishes sitting out at the bin, so while this starts out as a battle over a house, that is only a first layer, with lids to be lifted on a couple who are slogging it out over so much more within themselves and where they are in their lives when the story opens.  And that’s not actually the house at all.

Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might…

Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backwards glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing. Everything she touches withers to dust.

He’d cursed her with ruin.

Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.

Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no-one and nothing are what they seem. Him most of all.

And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts?  Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all?

Black Wolf Books Amazon UK Amazon

#ORoarkesDestiny

When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains alongside Mr Shey, or spending time with their family, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She firmly believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life.
Shehanne caused general apoplexy when she penned her first story, The Hore House Mystery—aged seven. From there she progressed to writing plays for her classmates, stories for her classmates, plays for real, comic book libraries for girls, various newspaper articles, ghostwriting, nonfiction writing, and magazine editing. Stories for real were what she really wanted to write though and, having met with every rejection going; she sat down one day to write a romance, her way.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance

Secrets of a Highland Warrior Nicole Locke 4*#Review @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #TheLochmoreLegacy #HistoricalRomance #Scottish #Scotland #BlogBlitz #BookReview #BookBloggers @rararesources

#SecretsofaHighlandWarrior

The key to his past…

…lies with the enemy sharing his bed!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan… Instead, he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?

Amazon UK Amazon Mills and Boon Harlequin Barnes and Noble

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The last in ‘The Lochmore Legacy’ series, takes us back to 1293 and the beginning of the Lochmore Legacy. Ailsa and Rory have a marriage of convenience, but although they marry for the good of their clans, their attraction and friendship grow.

This book is full of danger and intrigue, and a slow-burning passionate romance. The historical detail gives depth to the story and the authentic characters bring it to life. Ailsa and Rory are good characters, and you want to them to overcome the deceit and treachery.

The secrets discovered, in the first book in the series, are revealed here. The epilogue, written by the author of the first book ties everything together in a poignant satisfying way.

#NicoleCole

Nicole is the author of Harlequin’s #LoversandLegends series and co-author of the #LochmoreLegacy series. Currently, she lives in Seattle and can be reached via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. If you don’t hear from her, she’s eating Haribos and drinking copious amounts of tea while frantically trying to find a happily ever after. Instagram Facebook Twitter

Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of Secrets of a Highland Warrior  (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

The Wallflower Wager Tessa Dare 5* #Review #GirlMeetsDuke @TessaDare @MillsandBoon #historicalromance #RegencyRomance #BlogTour #Extract #BookReview #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonHistorical

#TheWallflowerWager

Amazon UK

Back Cover Blurb

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’ve enjoyed all the books in the ‘Girl Meets Duke’ series, stories of independent women, and damaged, romantic men. Penny and Gabriel’s story is my favourite so far, perhaps because Penny takes in waifs and strays, and has an unfailing love of animals, something I can relate to.

There are scenes in this story which are hilarious, particularly, the rescuing of Delilah, the foul-mouthed parrot, which occurs at the beginning and sets the scene for what’s to come. Penny and Gabriel’s meeting at this time also sparks the passion that grows between them and is so enjoyable.

Gabriel, the Duke of Ruin, is not from the aristocracy, but many fear him, he is driven, dangerous and damaged, but he has so many redeeming qualities, and it’s impossible not to fall a little in love with him. Penny is honest, loving and generous, but she too is emotionally damaged, and her guilty secret, means Penny and Gabriel have more in common than he first supposed.

The plot is full of historical detail and moves effortlessly along, the characters are engaging and believable. I enjoyed the witty dialogue and the simmering passion, and most of all the happily-ever-after, even though I was sad to come to the end of Penny and Gabriel’s story.

A delightful, historical romance, amusing, original and shamelessly romantic.

Extract from The Wallflower Wager – Tessa Dare

By society’s standards, Penny was rather lacking in accomplishments. As the daughter of an earl, she’d been given the best possible education. Governesses fluent in three languages, a full two years at finishing school, then private tutors in art, music, dancing.
None of it seemed to take. She’d never found an instrument willing to give up a tune for her, no matter how she strummed, plucked, or begged it. She’d attained only marginal competence in sketching.
And dancing? Impossible.
Penny did, however, emerge from adolescence with unparalleled accomplishment in one pursuit.
Caring.
Nothing pleased her more than looking after those around her. Feeding them, warming them, protecting them, giving them a home. She doled out affection from an endless supply.
The only problem was, she was running out of people to claim it.
She had her family, of course. But first her parents had gone to India as diplomats. Her eldest brother, Bradford, lived in Cumberland with his wife and managed the family estate. Timothy, the middle child of their threesome, had joined the Royal Navy.
Still, she had the most wonderful friends. Never mind that the finishing school girls had scorned her. Penny welcomed the misfits of Bloom Square. Emma, Alexandra, Nicola. Together, they made the rounds of the bookshops, walked in the park, and gathered at her house for tea every Thursday.
Or at least they had done so, until her friends began to start families of their own. First, Emma’s marriage to the Duke of Ashbury had transformed from a convenient arrangement into passionate devotion. Next, Alex had bewitched London’s most infamous rake and became Mrs. Chase Reynaud. As for brilliant, inventive Nicola . . . ?
Penny scanned the note she’d just received, peering hard to make out the breathless scrawl of ink.
Can’t today. Biscuits burned. Breakthrough near.
Next Thursday?
Love, N
Penny laid aside the charred scrap of paper and regarded the tray of sandwiches on the tea table, all trimmed of their crusts and ready for a gathering that wouldn’t take place.
Fortunately, in this house, food seldom went to waste.
Taking a sandwich, she crouched near to the floor and whistled. Bixby scampered down the corridor, his two front paws clicking over the floorboards and his lamed hind legs following right behind, rolling along in an ingenious chariot of Nicola’s design.
After several excited sniffs, the dog gave the crustless triangle a cautious lick.
“Go on,” she urged. “It’s a new recipe. You’ll like it.”
Just as Bixby sank his dart- point teeth into the sandwich, the doorbell rang. Penny rushed to answer it. At the last moment, she hesitated with her hand on the door latch.
Could it be him?
It wouldn’t be him, she told herself.
But what if it was?
Sensing her unease, Bixby whined and nosed at her ankles. Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Penny opened the door.
“Oh,” she said, trying not to sound dejected. “Aunt Caroline.”
Her aunt entered the house in her usual manner— like a snobbish traveler disembarking on a foreign shore, visiting a land where the native people spoke a different language, exchanged different currency, worshipped different gods. Her eyes took in the place with a cool, smug sort of interest. As though, while she had no desire to truly understand this alien culture, she’d been reading up.
Most of all, she was careful where she stepped.
When she’d completed her quiet survey of the drawing room, she gave a weary sigh. “Oh, Penelope.”
“It’s lovely to see you, too, Aunt.”
Her aunt’s eyes fell on the quilt- lined basket near the hearth. “Is that still the same hedgehog?”
Penny decided to change the subject. “Do sit down, and I’ll ring for a new pot of tea.”
“Thank you, no.” Her aunt plucked a tuft of cat hair from the armchair, pinching it between her thumb and forefinger and holding it away from her body. Frowning at the bit of fluff, she released it and watched it waft to the floor. “What I have to say won’t take long, anyhow. I’ve had a letter from Bradford. He insists you return to
Cumberland.”
Penny was stunned. “For the summer?” “For the remainder of your life, I believe.” No. No, no, no.
Her aunt lifted a hand, barricading herself against dissent. “Your brother has asked me to tell you he’ll be traveling to London in a month’s time. He asked me to be certain you’re prepared to join him for the return journey.”
Penny’s heart sank. She was a grown woman, and therefore could not be ordered to pick up and move to the farthest reaches of England. However, the snag was this— even if she was a grown woman, she was still a woman. This house belonged to her father, and while her father was out of the country, Bradford had control. Penny lived in Bloom Square at his pleasure. If he demanded she remove to Cumberland, she would have little choice in the matter.
“Aunt Caroline, please. Can’t you write back and convince him to change his mind?”
“I’ll do no such thing. I happen to agree with your brother. In fact, I ought to have suggested it myself. I did promise your parents I would look after you, but now that the war is over I intend to travel the Continent. You shouldn’t be living alone.”
“I’m six- and- twenty years old, and I’m not living alone. I have Mrs. Robbins.”
Wordlessly, her aunt picked up the bell from the tea table and gave it a light ring.
Several moments passed. No Mrs. Robbins.
Aunt Caroline craned her neck toward the main corridor and lifted her voice. “Mrs. Robbins!”
Penny crossed her arms and sighed, fully aware of the point her aunt meant to make. “She’s always looked after me.”
“She isn’t looking after you any longer. You are looking after her.”
“Just because the old dear is a touch hard of hearing— ”
Aunt Caroline stomped on the floor three times— boom, boom, boom— and shouted, “MRS. ROBBINS!”
At last, the sound of aged, shuffling footsteps made its way from the back of the house to the drawing room.
“My word!” Mrs. Robbins said. “If it isn’t Lady Caroline. I didn’t know you’d dropped by. Shall I bring tea?”
“No, thank you, Robbins. You’ve served your purpose already.”
“Have I?” The older woman looked confused. “Yes, of course.”
Once Mrs. Robbins had quit the room, Penny addressed her aunt. “I don’t wish to leave. I’m happy living in Town. My life is here. All my friends are here.”
“Your life and your friends are . . . where?” Aunt Caroline looked meaningfully at each one of the unoccupied chairs, at the trays of cold tea and uneaten sandwiches, and, finally, at the three kittens shredding the draperies with their tiny claws.
“I have human friends, as well,” Penny said defensively.
Her aunt looked doubtful.
“I do. Several of them.”
Her aunt glanced at the silver tray in the entrance hall. The one where calling cards and invitations were heaped— or would be, if Penny ever received them, which she didn’t. The tray was empty.
“Some of my friends are out of Town.” Aware of how absurd she sounded, she added, “And others are mad scientists.”
Another pitying sigh from her aunt. “We must face the truth, Penelope. It’s time.” It’s time.
Penny didn’t need to ask what her aunt meant by that. The implication was clear.
Aunt Caroline meant it was time to give up.
Time for Penny to return to the family home in Cumberland and resign herself to her destiny: spinsterhood. She must take on the role of maiden aunt and stop embarrassing both the family and herself.
After nine years in Town, she hadn’t married. She hadn’t even entertained any serious suitors. She rarely mingled in society. If she were being honest, she would strike “rarely” and replace it with “never.” She didn’t have any intellectual pursuits like art or science or poetry. No bluestocking salons, no social reform protests. She stayed home with her pets and invited her misfit friends to tea, and . . .
And outside her tiny sphere, people laughed at her.
Penny knew they did. She’d been an object of pity and ridicule ever since her disastrous debut. It didn’t bother her, except— well, except for the times that it did.
As a person who wanted to like everyone, it hurt to know that not everyone liked her in return.
Society had long given up on her. Now her family, as well.
But Penny was not giving up on herself. When her aunt moved to leave, she grasped her by the arm.
“Wait. Is there nothing I can do to change your mind? If you advocated on my behalf, I know
Bradford would reconsider.” Her aunt was silent.
“Aunt Caroline, please. I beg you.”
Penny could not return to Cumberland, back to the house where she’d passed the darkest hours of her life. The house where she’d learned to bottle shame and store it in a dark place, out of view.
You know how to keep a secret, don’t you?
Her aunt pursed her lips. “Very well. To begin, you might order a new wardrobe. Fur and feathers are all well and good— but only when they are worn on purpose, and in a fashionable way.”
“I can order a new wardrobe.” It wouldn’t include fur and feather adornments, but Penny could promise it would be new.
“And once you have a new wardrobe, you must use it. The opera. A dinner party. A ball would be preferable, but we both know that’s too much to ask.”
Ouch. Penny would never live down that humiliating scene.
“Make an appearance somewhere,” her aunt said. “Anywhere. I want to see you in the society column for once.”
“I can do that, too.” I think.
Considering how long she’d been out of circulation, invitations to dinner and the theater would be harder to come by than a few up- to- current- fashion gowns. Nevertheless, it could be accomplished.
“Lastly, and most importantly”— Aunt Caroline paused for effect— “you must do something about all these animals.”
“What do you mean, ‘do something’ about them?”
“Be rid of them. All of them.”
“All of them?” Penny reeled. Impossible. She could find homes for the kittens. That had always been her plan. But Delilah? Bixby? Angus, Marigold, Hubert, and the rest? “I can’t. I simply can’t.”
“Then you can’t.” Her aunt tugged on her gloves. “I must be going. I have letters to write.”
“Wait.”
Surely there was a way to convince her aunt that didn’t involve abandoning her pets. Perhaps she could trick her by hiding them in the attic?
“I hope you’re not thinking you can hide them in the attic,” her aunt said dryly. “I’ll know.” Drat.
“Aunt Caroline, I’ll . . . I’ll try my best. I just need a little time.”
“According to your brother, you have a month. Perhaps less. You know as well as I, it takes the mail the better part of a week to arrive from Cumberland.”
“That leaves only three weeks. But that’s nothing.”
“It’s what you have.”
Penny immediately began to pray, very hard, for rain. Come to think of it, considering the amount of rain England typically saw in springtime, she probably ought to pray for something more. Torrential, bridge- flooding, road- rutting downpours. A biblical deluge. A plague of frogs.
“If, by your brother’s arrival, I am convinced there’s something keeping you in London other than an abundance of animal hair . . . ? Then, and only then, I might be persuaded to intervene.”
“Very well,” Penny said. “You have a bargain.”
“A bargain? This isn’t a bargain, my girl. I’ve made you no guarantees, and I’m not convinced you’re up to the challenge at all. If anything, we have a wager— and you’re facing very long odds.”
Long odds, indeed. After her aunt had gone, Penny closed the door and slumped against it.
Three weeks.
Three weeks to save the creatures depending on her.
Three weeks to save herself.
Penny had no idea how she would accomplish it, but this was a wager she had to win

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel, Victorian Romance

The Lady Traveller’s Guide to Happily Ever After Victoria Alexander 5* #Review @MillsandBoon @VictAlexander #millsandbooninsiders #victorianromance #historicalromance #travel #ladytravellerssociety #bookbloggers

Can she find her Happily Ever After…

For the past seven years, Violet Branham has enjoyed the luxury of travelling the world as an independent woman, and confining her awkward past to a distant, if painful, memory. But now she has been summoned home to England over a stipulation in the will of her late uncle, the Earl of Ellsworth, one that decrees she lose everything unless she reconciles with the man who broke her heart and ruined her life—her husband.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The fourth book in the ‘Lady Traveller’s Society’ series, this reads perfectly as a standalone. The story of Violet and James, who married after a scandalous moment, to appease society. They lived apart, for the next six years, until the demise of Richard, Earl of Ellsworth, and his will. Forced to live together again, have they changed? Will they learn to be a couple? Or are they destined to lose everything?

Divided into two main parts, the first covers the reunion and the makings of a lasting romance are hinted at, but only if Violet, maintains her independence, and James puts aside his arrogance, and pride, to follow her, and find out who she truly is.

Part two follows the couple across Europe in an amusing, romantic journey to their happily ever after. The main characters are well written and reflect the opportunityof the era they live in. The three elderly matchmakers are also a delight.

The perfect late Summer read. An atmospheric journey across Europe, with gentle romance and witty dialogue.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Romance

The Stationmaster’s Daughter Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @HQDigitalUK @KathMcGurl #Timeslip #HistoricalRomance #Railways #SteamTrains #FamilyDrama #BlogTour @rararesources #Mystery

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935

Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present-day

Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

AmazonUK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from HQ Digital via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

I’ve read most of this author’s timeslip novels, and they keep getting better in terms of mysteries to be solved, emotional, poignant life journeys to be explored, and believable characters that you empathise with from the first page. The genealogy connection between the past and present is always cleverly done and is the author’s unique selling point, something that makes her stories both engaging and original.

Both Ted and Tilly’s stories are very emotional and poignant, Ted’s tragic love story in the 1930s is particularly touching, his honesty and simplicity make him vulnerable, and whilst you empathise with him, you are also horrified by others manipulation of his innocence. Tilly is also on a knife-edge, after the abusive behaviour of her husband, whose lack of compassion is horrifying. Her emotional recovery with the help of her father Ken and friend Jo is heartwarming, and the railway restoration society plays its part too and connects the past and present in a believable, interesting way.

The story is complex but easy reading, as it slips convincingly and effortlessly from the present to the past. Connections are made, clues given, with insights into the time and place, moving the story on, but letting the reader enjoy the experience.

The perfect escape, which will appeal to a wide audience who like genealogy, history, mystery and romance.

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance – Laurie Benson @MillsandBoon @LaurieBWrites @rararesources #BlogTour 4* #Review #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #Bath #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet

She’s played Cupid for others
Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

The final book of The Sommersby Brides quartet. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbour’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

*Rachel, it might be worth noting somewhere that this is a Seasoned Regency Romance. I know there is an interest in older (mature) heroines at the moment and Clara is in her forties in this story.

Amazon Barnes & Noble Google Play iBooks Kobo Waterstones WHSmith

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A witty, romantic Regency romance, set in Bath, with a delightful older heroine, who is looking for her second chance at love. The final book in #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet, Clara, finally gets her chance for happiness, after helping her nieces find theirs. This story reads as a standalone, but if you get the chance to read all the books, do.

This is not a traditional Regency romance, although the Bath setting is. Lane is a businessman, with secrets, Clara is a businesswoman with secrets, which cause conflict as they pursue their unlikely attraction.

The pacing and romance are gentle, but the external conflicts of, social class and conformity, are pertinent and illustrate the hypocrisy of Regency England. The characters both main and subsidiary are well created, and the ending is lovely.

Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romances. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Now, she is happy to put that behind her and spend her time writing stories that take her and her readers on a romantic adventure. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

Dare to Love a Duke – Eva Leigh 5* #Review @MillsandBoon @EvaLeighAuthor #MillsandBoonInsiders #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance #Extract #ScandalousLadiesofLondon #TheLondonUnderground #BlogTour

Dare to Love a Duke

A Masked Stranger. A Passionate Encounter. A Chance at Love?

For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club, passion could lead to love…

Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more duelling, or carousing, or frequenting masked balls. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet.

Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. Yet no member of the club has ever intrigued her…until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, do they dare to give in to temptation…?

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I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest reveiw.


My Thoughts…

On first acquaintance, Lucia is, the most scandalous of the ladies in this Regency romance series. The proprietress of a secret sex club, although not the owner, she is above the wild abandonment that takes place behind its doors, and never fraternises with members, until Tom. The early chapters of this book are explicit, but not in a gratuitous way. The descriptions demonstrate the ethos of the club and the double standards of polite society. It is a surprisingly egalitarian place, where identity is secret, members are drawn to the place for its freedom.

Tom first visits the club as the Duke’s heir, when it fits into his hedonistic lifestyle, Twelve months later, he attends only for his interaction with Lucia or Amina as she is known in ‘The Orchid Club’, they talk but don’t touch, which sets them apart from everyone else. Then his circumstances change, and he realises, so must his life.

Tom and Lucia are from different social classes, but they share the same beliefs, even if it takes Lucia to make Tom realise his true self. The plot has many twists, that force the couple together. Their relationship is full of conflicts that make their chance of lasting happiness unlikely.

Lucia, like all the women in this series, wants to help women and children subjected to deprivation and poverty, which she has experienced first hand. Scandal and social reform are the main themes of this Regency romance, which showcases the strength and tenacity of Lucia and her friends, in a class controlled, male-dominated society.

While the message of the novel is clear, it doesn’t deter from the delicious interplay between Lucia and Tom, and their passionate romance. The ending is romantic and satisfying, and the epilogue rounds off the series perfectly.

#TheLondonUnderground
Extract From – Dare to Love a Duke – Eva Leigh

Chapter 1

London, England

1816

A droplet of sweat rolled between the shoulder blades of Thomas Edward O’Connell Cúchulain Powell, Earl of Langdon, as he steadied the cocked duelling pistol and took aim. He looked down the weapon’s barrel, his concentration fixed on his target twenty paces away. His exhalation misted in the chill midnight air as he fought for calm.

He inhaled, held his breath, then pulled the trigger.

There was a flash and a cloud of smoke as the weapon’s

concussion split the night’s stillness.

Twenty paces away, glass shattered.

The hushed crowd burst into applause and cheers of “Bravo!” as Tom lowered the pistol and grinned. He kept his footing as people swarmed around him, offering their congratulations and hearty thumps on the back. Numerous women, scented heavily with perfume, kissed his cheeks—so many that he imagined it looked as though he wore rouge.

“The hero of Regent’s Park,” George Mowbray declared.

“Not to Culver, I’m afraid.”

Tom looked over at his opponent, Lord Culver, who sulked as he handed his duelling pistol to a footman. Culver had missed when taking aim at the bottle of claret. Perhaps if Tom had been more virtuous, he would have deliberately missed so that there was no winner and no loser. Though Tom was an earl and the heir to the Duke of Northfield, no one would ever call

him virtuous.

“Ah, shag him,” Mowbray said magnanimously.

“I’ll leave that to the professionals.”

Tom smiled ruefully as Culver’s hired companion for the evening attempted to soothe her client. When Culver shoved her away and she stumbled, Tom immediately strode through the crowd and jammed his fist into his opponent’s sternum.

“You may have lost, but you’re still a gentleman,” Tom said in a low, warning voice. Gently, he took the woman’s arm to make sure she kept her footing.

“Apologize to the lady.”

“She’s just a whore, Langdon,” Culver said.

“Apologize.” Tom’s jaw firmed as he held up the pistol. “Or else the next time I fire this, it will be at your worthless heart.”

Culver scowled, but said in a grudging voice, “I’m sorry.” Under his breath, he muttered, “You Irish son of a bitch.”

Tom narrowed his eyes. “Repeat that.”

“I . . .” Culver gulped. “It was a jest.”

“A poor one.” Since the age of twelve, when he’d been brought from his mother’s Irish home to be educated in his father’s country of England, Tom had heard some variation of Culver’s insult. Why anyone thought Tom ought to be embarrassed about his Irish blood, he’d no idea. But he wouldn’t tolerate slurs.

“Must I ask for another apology?”

“My sincere contrition,” Culver said. After casting Tom a wary glance, he hurried toward his waiting carriage.

“Hope I didn’t cost you your night’s earnings,” Tom said to the woman.

“Ah, no.” She gave him a dry smile as she eyed the throngs of young, wealthy bucks passing bottles back and forth as they caroused. “There’s plenty of pickings in this crowd.” She glanced at him and her smile turned more genuine. “Happens that I’m free right now, my lord. If you’re interested.”

“Perhaps another evening.” He wasn’t ready for bed yet.

One of the rakes came forward with a substantial bundle of cash and jammed it into Tom’s hand. “Your winnings, Langdon.”

No sooner than the cash was in his hand than Tom turned and handed it to the woman. “For putting up with Culver.”

“I couldn’t, my lord,” she said as she tucked the money into her bodice. She gave him a wink. “ ’Night, love.” She pressed a quick kiss to his cheek, then

strode off into the darkness.

“That was near seventy pounds, Langdon,” Mowbray said in shock.

“She’ll have better use of it than me.”

There was no shortage of funds in Tom’s coffers, between income from his earldom as well as his generous allowance provided by his father, the duke. Other lordlings and bucks swam in seas of debt, hounded constantly by tailors, club proprietors, and wine shop owners. Tom made certain to pay everyone on time, for no other reason than the fact that he could.

“I’d do it again for free if it meant humiliating Culver. Bloke’s had it coming since he refused to cover his mistress’s bills.”

“You’re a daft bastard,” Mowbray said with a shake of his head.

“I’d agree,” Tom said affably, “except everyone knows about my parents’ celebrated fidelity. Bastard in deed but not blood.”

Someone handed him a bottle of whiskey and he took a drink before passing the spirits along to a trio of bucks who looked in dire need of refreshment.

“Good Christ, here you are!”

The throng opened up just enough to allow Christopher Ellingsworth to emerge, looking slightly bedraggled despite his military bearing. Since returning home from the War a year ago, Ellingsworth had renewed the friendship he and Tom had begun at Oxford, and from that point forward they had been nigh inseparable, with the exception of tonight.

“Missed the excitement.” Tom handed his pistol to the footman, who returned it to its polished mahogany case.

“Not for want of trying,” his friend said. “I’ve been to the opera, two gaming hells, and a phaeton race. Everywhere I went, I’d just missed you by ten minutes.” He shook his head but his eyes gleamed with reluctant admiration. “Good thing we’re not competing for the title of Most Scapegrace Gentleman in London, or else you’d best me.”

“That trophy isn’t much sought after, anyway. Why such urgency to find me?” Tom lifted an eyebrow.

“My father’s not looking for me, I hope.”

The duke periodically got it into his head that Tom would somehow reform and conduct himself with the dignity and sobriety of a ducal heir with a family history of deeply traditional beliefs, but that was precisely why Tom spent his days asleep and his nights in endless rounds of revelry. One day, hopefully in the far distant future, Tom would inherit the title, and with it, the morass of responsibilities and duties that came with being one of the most powerful men in England—and a voting record dedicated to preserving the ancient systems of power.

Life as Tom knew it would end. He’d say goodbye to nights entertaining opera dancers, midnight swims in the Serpentine, and behaving like the kingdom’s veriest rogue, with his equally dissolute companions keeping him company.

As a marquess’s third son who had recently sold his commission, Ellingsworth had considerably less money but shared Tom’s appetite for running riot. There wasn’t one corner of the city they hadn’t explored in search of amusement and pleasure.

Ellingsworth hooked an arm around Tom’s neck and led him several paces away from the celebrants.

In a low voice, he said, “I’ve heard about something that I knew would interest you. A place in Bloomsbury called the Orchid Club.”

Tom groaned. “I’ve grown weary of clubs. Same games of chance, same people, same wine, same everything.”

His friend’s grin flashed. “This club is different.

For one, it opens its doors only once a week and it just so happens to be open tonight.”

That wasn’t enough to snare Tom’s interest. Many clubs did what they could to cultivate an air of mystery in order to ensure steady business from those eager to discover its secrets.

“What else makes it so special? Is it a brothel?”

“It is most decisively not a brothel. You’ll need this, however.” Ellingsworth unhooked his arm from around Tom’s neck. He reached into his coat before producing something, then slipped the item into Tom’s hand.

Tom held up the object so he could study it better. It was a half-mask made of midnight blue satin.

“What the devil . . . ?”

Ellingsworth chuckled. “You’re intrigued.”

“You’ve gotten my attention.”

Tom had torn all over London tonight, but still, edginess and restlessness pulsed just beneath his skin. He needed diversion. Surely there had to be something in the city he hadn’t already done.

“Excellent.” Ellingsworth clapped his hands together. “I left my horse with the boy watching yours.”

He headed toward where the animals waited, and Tom quickly followed.

“Won’t you tell me more about this mysterious Orchid Club?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t dream of ruining the surprise.”

They reached the horses and after tossing coins to the lad holding the reins, Tom and Ellingsworth swung up into the saddles.

“Not even a hint?” Tom pressed.

In response, Ellingsworth put a finger to his smirking mouth, then wheeled his horse around.

Together, he and Tom rode off into the night.

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