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

His Unlikely Duchess Amanda McCabe 4*#Review @AmandaMcCabe01 @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #harlequinhistorical #MillsandBoonHistorical #BookReview #MondayBlogs #BlogBlitz @rararesources

Money can buy her marriage

But will it lead to love?

Miss Lily Wilkins hopes her American money will compensate for her lack of etiquette, as she needs a prestigious marriage to save her sisters’ prospects. Raised to believe wealth was her greatest attribute, she’s stunned when her unconventional ways catch the eye of the notorious Duke of Lennox. He’s far from the safe, sensible match she’d planned on—but Lily might just discover he’s the one she needs!

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

My Thoughts…

This story is full of intrinsic historical interest. I enjoyed getting to know Lily and her sisters even before they set foot in England. Lily is a facilitator she mediates between her parents and her sisters, wanting them all to be happy. Making a good marriage will secure the future for her younger sisters, but Lily is understandably nervous when her mother accepts an invitation to go to England and Victorian society.

Lily and Aidan’s first encounter is lovely and makes them see the real person behind the public persona. They process their feelings away from society’s glare, and attraction grows. The potential financial settlement and Aidan’s past make their romance conflicted.

The ending is romantic, and there’s an informative epilogue. I look forward to Violet’s romance the next in the series.

Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)

 She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.  She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections. 

 When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook. 

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Christmas Read, Excerpt, Extract, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

Christmas at the Marshmallow Cafe C.P Ward #Extract #CPWard #BookBlitz #Festive #Christmas #Excerpt #Romance #Friendship #ChristmasattheMarshmallowCafe #LakeDistrict

When downtrodden checkout assistant Bonnie Green receives a letter from a mysterious uncle, she can hardly believe her eyes.

Gifted a hundred-year lease on a famous cafe situated in the middle of a mythical theme park, Bonnie sets off with her best friend Debbie on an adventure to a hidden valley in the Lake District where they will find new friendship, love, and happiness, all set against the magic of Christmas … and more marshmallows than they can possibly eat….

Amazon UK

Only 99p/c until 20th December!

A Christmas Land WelcomeExcerpt from Christmas at the Marshmallow Cafe C.P Ward

After a harrowing journey north, Bonnie and Debbie finally arrive at Christmas Land. Will it live up to their expectations?

Bonnie and Debbie climbed off as the train’s doors opened. They found themselves standing on a platform lacking even a ticket office. As the train pulled away, chugging across the marsh and then vanishing back into the forest, they looked at each other, both shrugging.

‘Well, we’re here,’ Bonnie said.

‘What an awesome place. Like, how long do we have to wait for the next train back?’

‘There’s a road over there, through the trees. And a sign. Look.’

Carrying their suitcases, they climbed down a set of steps and made their way across the clearing to where a forest trail led into the trees. A faded wooden sign with an arrow said CHRISTMAS LAND THIS WAY.

They headed down the trail, the trees closing in to block out the sky overhead. Debbie clutched Bonnie’s arm, squeezing so tightly that Bonnie had to repeatedly prise her fingers free in order to allow the blood to resume flowing.

The trail kept up a winding meander which didn’t allow them to see too far ahead, as though holding back its secrets until the last moment. Bonnie was fully expecting to turn a corner and find a sign telling them they’d been duped, when Debbie jerked to a stop, pulling Bonnie with her.

‘What happened?’

‘Can’t you hear it?’

‘What?’

‘Music.’

Bonnie listened. Debbie was right. A faint tinkle of music came through the trees. It was too indistinct to make out any kind of a tune, but she felt sure it was familiar.

‘I don’t believe it,’ Debbie said. ‘Jingle Bells. Don’t they know it’s November?’

They started walking again. As they closed on the source of the music, Bonnie was able to pick up the tune. Jingle Bells, played on a loop.

‘It’s so weird,’ Bonnie said. ‘Standing in a pine forest in November, hearing the most famous Christmas Song of all played over a speaker.’

‘Look,’ Debbie said. ‘Here it is.’

They stepped out from behind a large pine leaning across the path and found Christmas Land standing in front of them.

Huge ornate gates held a sign.

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS LAND

WHERE THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS NEVER ENDS

On either side, gatehouse towers rose, all fake stonework and plastic snow. Electric candles flickered in windows, illuminating the silhouettes of reindeer and elves.

One gate stood open. As they approached, Bonnie saw how it was now open forever, the upper hinge broken off, leaving the front corner buried in the ground. Bushes had grown up to claim it, the roots of saplings rooting it into the earth.

Inside the gates were lines of pretty chalets and a visitor centre. The roofs were loaded with pine needles and she could see even from this distance that several windows had plywood boards where glass should have been. A Ferris wheel standing in the centre of a main square had a sycamore growing eight feet high through the window of the closest car to the ground, clearly indicating that it hadn’t turned in some years.

‘It’s derelict,’ Debbie said. ‘Abandoned. Wow, this is way more awesome than I was expecting. Man, if only I had a metal band, this would be amazing for some press photos. An abandoned Christmas theme park in the middle of the forest—’

‘We prefer to simply say neglected,’ came a voice from inside one of the gatehouse towers, and a lower window opened to reveal a ruddy-cheeked man wearing a top hat and a green suit. Large sideburns made Bonnie immediately think of the bankers in Mary Poppins.

‘While it might look in a little disrepair, I can assure you that there is still plenty of fun to be had in Christmas Land, three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Do you have a reservation? If not, don’t worry. We have plenty of chalets available.’ Then, breaking kayfabe for the first time, he looked down at the red gloves covering his hands and grimaced. ‘Most of them, actually.’

C.P Ward

CP Ward is an author from Cornwall in the UK.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction

Scavenger Art Lexi Rees 5*#Review @lexi_rees Illustrator Molly O’Donoghue @rararesources #LexiRees #OutsetPublishing #ScavengerArt #ChildrensBooks #KidLit #NonFiction #Workbook #Writing #6+ #BlogBlitz

Scavenger hunts are fun.

Drawing is fun.

Put them together for ★ SCAVENGER ART ★

This unique art-based activity book includes 52 scavenger hunts designed to

✓ encourage curious minds
✓ spark creativity
✓ practise mindfulness
✓ develop drawing skills

Perfect for ages 6 to 12.

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

dav

My Thoughts…

This is a fun orientated creative book designed to encourage children to draw what they see around them. It’s divided into sections like ‘Home’, Clothes, Nature so that children can focus on specific topics and realise how much creative stimulation there is in the world.

I particularly liked the section about what you can see from your window, especially important in our current restricted world. The illustrations are bright and engaging, and the text is simple but effective. Great for children and parents to draw things together.

This another interesting book from this talented author.

Lexi Rees

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children. 

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now. 

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

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Read my review of Creative Writing Skills

Read my review of Wicked Writing Skills

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Into the Void Christina O’Reilly 4*#Review @rararesources #CrimeFiction #PoliceProcedural #MissingPersons #NewZealand @BlogBlitz #BookReview #IntoTheVoid

How easy is it for a man to simply disappear?

When rural banker Richard Harper is reported missing, DSS John (Archie) Baldrick and DC Ben Travers are drawn into the tangled details of the man’s life. Would Harper really have chosen to leave his seriously ill wife, and abandon his pregnant girlfriend? Or is there a real threat behind the abusive emails he’d been receiving from desperate clients in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis?

On the home front, Archie’s marriage is rocky and his two teenage daughters are giving him all sorts of trouble. The frail but beautiful Helena Harper and her magnificent house offer an oasis of calm as Archie struggles to discover who is responsible for her husband’s disappearance. Has he really been abducted, tortured or killed? Or is Richard Harper himself behind everything that has happened?

Archie and Travers ultimately face a race against time as the case descends into a bewildering morass of obsession, violence and murder.

Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize for an Unpublished Novel

Finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel

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My Thoughts…

I enjoy reading stories set in different locations, and this is a crime novel set in New Zealand. It has a small-town ethos with the sense of community and intrusiveness that defines them. The plot hinges on a missing person, a businessman with secrets and possibly a reason to disappear. Whilst this is a tried and tested plot trope, this one has the added complication of threatening emails and the implication of fraud against the background of a world financial meltdown.

The detective team is relatable, especially Archie, the detective sergeant, with a complex personal life which brings his character to life and makes him authentic. The characterisation is detailed and the plot twisty making this enjoyable read.

Christina O’Reilly

Christina is an author and proofreader living in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Several of her short stories have been published in anthologies, most recently in Fresh Ink: A Collection of Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand 2019. Into the Void is her first crime novel and was longlisted for the Michael Gifkins Memorial Prize in 2019. It is also a finalist in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best First Novel.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Family Drama, Saga

Unspoken T.A. Belshaw #BookBlitz @tabelshaw@lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #unspoken

A heart-warming, dramatic family saga. Unspoken is a tale of secrets, love, betrayal and revenge.

Unspoken means something that cannot be uttered aloud. Unspoken is the dark secret a woman must keep, for life.

Alice is fast approaching her one hundredth birthday and she is dying. Her strange, graphic dreams of ghostly figures trying to pull her into a tunnel of blinding light are becoming more and more vivid and terrifying. Alice knows she only has a short time left and is desperate to unburden herself of a dark secret, one she has lived with for eighty years.

Jessica, a journalist, is her great granddaughter and a mirror image of a young Alice. They share dreadful luck in the types of men that come into their lives.

Alice decides to share her terrible secret with Jessica and sends her to the attic to retrieve a set of handwritten notebooks detailing her young life during the late 1930s. Following the death of her invalid mother and her father’s decline into depression and alcoholism, she is forced, at 18 to take control of the farm. On her birthday, she meets Frank, a man with a drink problem and a violent temper.

When Frank’s abusive behaviour steps up a level. Alice seeks solace in the arms of her smooth, ‘gangster lawyer’ Godfrey, and when Frank discovers the couple together, he vows to get his revenge.

Unspoken. A tale that spans two eras and binds two women, born eighty years apart.

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T A Belshaw is from Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Trevor writes for both children and adults. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out Of Control. His new novel, The family saga, Unspoken, was released in July, 2020

His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck The Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014

Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s books written under the name of Trevor Forest. The latest. Magic Molly The Curse of Cranberry Cottage was released in August 2015

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long-listed for the Plough prize (children’s section ) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.

Trevor is currently working on the sequel to Unspoken and the third book in the Tracy series; Tracy’s Euro Hot Mail.

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

Under the Warrior’s Protection Ella Mathews 4*#Review @ellamattauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #HistoricalRomance #HistFic @rararesources #BlogBlitz #BookReview #TheHouseofLeofric

Letting down her guard…

Might save her life…

With their family name in tatters, Katherine Leofric and her sister are headed for a new life at their brother’s estate. They are escorted by the hardened Jarin, Earl of Borwyn, whom Katherine believes is only after her dowry! Then her sister is abducted on their treacherous journey, and Katherine must rely on Jarin’s protection. Now, seeing a different side to the man she’s sworn to hate, it’s her heart that’s most at risk!

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

My Thoughts…

This is another exciting medieval romantic adventure in the House of Leofric series.

An enemies-to-friends romance Jarin and Katherine are both wary of the other. Katherine because of an overheard conversation and Jarin because of her family’s sullied reputation, and his disastrous former marriage. Events overtake their prejudices and force them together but can trust be built between them and will Katherine lose her heart to the handsome heartless warrior?

Danger, intrigue and the precarious position of women in medieval society define this story. Even courageous and resourceful women are reliant on to men for their safety. Katherine believes herself plain and attractive only because of her dowry. She doesn’t trust Jarin even though she is attracted to him. Jarin sees the goodness in Katherine, but he’s jaded from life and doesn’t believe he can find romantic happiness.

The chemistry between Jarin and Katherine builds in intensity as the story progresses. They have external and internal conflicts to their happiness, and only a leap of faith and trust can achieve true happiness.

A deliciously intriguing medieval story with passionate romance and engaging characters.

Ella Matthews

Ella Matthews lives and works in beautiful South Wales. When not thinking about handsome heroes she can be found walking along the coast with her husband and their two children (probably still thinking about heroes but at least pretending to be interested in everyone else).

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

Endless Skies JaneCable 5* #Review @JaneCable @SapereBooks @rararesources #histfic #HistoricalRomance #WW2 #Lincolnshire #Romance #timeslip #BlogBlitz #BookReview #EndlessSkies

As archaeologist Rachel excavates a World War Two airfield, could a love story from the past hold a lesson for her as well?

After yet another disastrous love affair Rachel has been forced to leave her long-term position for a temporary role as an Archaeology Lecturer at Lincoln University. Rachel has sworn off men and is determined to spend her time away clearing her head and sorting her life out. But when one of her students begins flirting with her, it seems she could be about to make the same mistakes again…

She distracts herself by taking on some freelance work for local property developer, Jonathan Daubney. He introduces her to an old Second World War RAF base. And from her very first visit something about it gives Rachel chills…

As Rachel makes new friends and delves into local history, she is also forced to confront her own troubled past. Could a wartime love story have any bearing on her own situation? Could this time be different?

Amazon UK

Endless Skies will be 99p until 23rd October.

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

My Thoughts…

This story immerses the reader into the history and poignancy of WW2 as a pilot returns home from a mission. He is in love and hopes to marry soon, but you wonder if he makes it.

In the present day, Rachel is a well-qualified successful academic whose personal life appears to be on self-destruct mode. She is contained, keeps her emotions on a tight rein and appears to seek out unsuitable lovers, one of which explains her presence as a visiting lecturer in archaeology at Lincoln University.

It’s evident she’s emotionally damaged. The reasons for this apparent, as the story progresses. It’s her consultancy job with a local property developer that brings her into contact with a Lincolnshire airfield and its poignant memories that echo her life and help her to heal.

The descriptions are vivid, and Lincolnshire and its WW2 history come to life. Character-driven Rachel meets diverse individuals who help her and add to this lovely story. She goes on an emotional journey and is a more settled happier woman at the end of it.

This story believably melds the past and present with a hint of the supernatural. The romance echoes across the years and the characters are realistic and relatable in this lovely escapist tale.

I write romance with a twist, that extra something to keep readers guessing right to the end. While my books are character driven my inspiration is always a British setting; so far a village in Yorkshire (The Cheesemaker’s House), a Hampshire wood (The Faerie Tree), gorgeous Studland Bay in Dorset (Another You) and rural Lincolnshire (Endless Skies).

I was born and raised in Cardiff but spent most of my adult life living near Chichester before my husband and I upped sticks and moved to Cornwall three years ago.

I published my first two novels independently and have now been signed by Sapere Books. I am an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and contributing editor to Frost online magazine.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Novella, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Stargazy Night Sky Laura Briggs 4* #Review @PaperDollWrites A Little Hotel in Cornwall #RomCom #Romance #Cornwall #Heartwarming #BlogBlitz #BookReview #AStargazyNight

Starry autumn nights are bringing a rare celestial event and exciting new guests to the shores of the sleepy hotel Penmarrow.

Maisie is happy to be back among its staff, even with the question of its future ownership still in the air and the fate of her unpublished manuscript soon to be in the hands of London acquisitions editors. More than anything else, she’s happy to finally be in a relationship with Sidney Daniels, the sparks between them no longer denied. She’s excited for the future and things couldn’t be better with regards to romance … except for those lingering little questions about Sidney’s uncertain past, that is.

Meanwhile, the staff at the Penmarrow is tasked with hosting a special celestial conference where stargazers are gathering for a glimpse of the much-anticipated comet. The ever-timid maid Molly is flustered by the return of charming astronomer George and seems to need a little advice on how to rekindle the spark they shared last autumn. Hotel porters Gomez and Riley vie for the attentions of a mysterious female guest, the eccentric ‘Megs’ Buntly pays another visit, and a dramatic revelation about someone on staff will leave Maisie and everyone else reeling from the unexpected news. Is this the moment for the revelation Maisie has been waiting for since her Cornish journey began?

Brimming with humor, romance, and the kind of surprises its fans have come to expect, the seventh book in the series brings a twist at the end that’s sure to leave readers excited — and anxious — for the conclusion of Maisie’s original gorgeous Cornish adventure.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I have only read a couple of books in this delightful series but they do read as a standalone. I’m looking forward to reading the full series when I can. This story sees Maisie back at the little hotel in Cornwall which is a hive of activity with a celestial conference, hence the title. The characters are quirky but relatable, and the story’s ambience makes this a heartwarming read.

There’s a mystery to solve and a few questions that seem to span the series, like what is Sidney, Maisie’s love hiding about his past? The humorous moments are numerous and show the author’s keen observational insight.

The hotel has a busy ethos, and there are lots of characters that will be familiar to fans of the series. Romance is in the air for one of the quieter characters but will it end happily? Maisie continues to offer insight into her writing process, which is fascinating for readers and eagerly awaits the outcome of her submission.

The final book in the series follows where hopefully all the mysteries will find a solution and the lovers will find their happy ever after?

Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Unquiet Spirit Penny Hampson 4*#Review @penny_hampson @darkstrokedark @rararesources #Mystery #Suspense #Gothic

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric story that is full of historical detail that adds to its authenticity. Kate unexpectedly inherits an old house from her godmother in Cornwall. Eager for a new start, she travels to Cornwall to claim her inheritance. A house with secrets.

Mystery, paranormal, romance and suspense are weaved into the well-paced plot. Engaging characters and detailed imagery makes this an enjoyable reading experience. The suspense building and paranormal twists immerse the reader in Kate’s world with an interesting conflicted, but romantic relationship with Tom, a man with secrets.

This is an engaging read with a wide reader appeal because of its cross-genre approach.

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

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

Let Love Find You Johanna Lindsey 4*#Review @TransworldBooks #JohannaLindsey #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT HUSBAND WHEN PASSION RULES YOUR HEART?

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, has been out in London society for three years but has still not found a husband.

When she sets her sights on a wealthy nobleman known to be passionate about horses, she enlists Devin Baldwin, a darkly handsome breeder of horses, to be her riding instructor. Devin is well known for using his expertise to bring about the matching of eligible young ladies to suitable gentlemen…

But Amanda finds herself falling for the matchmaker instead, and her desire for a husband takes her in a wholly unexpected direction…

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second romance I’ve recently read by this author, and it is an enjoyable read. It is character-driven, and the main protagonists are full of passion and secrets. Devin is Regency society’s latest source of gossip, known as Cupid he is an unlikely, but successful matchmaker and therefore, he is welcome everywhere. Lady Amanda is a Duke’s daughter in her third season and desperate to marry for love.

After a few fiery encounters, the couple thrown together by circumstance find they fulfil Devin’s first rule of matchmaking physical attraction. Devin is on a mission, and that doesn’t include falling for Amanda.

Some of the language used in this grates a little, as it isn’t authentic for the period, but the heart of the story overcomes this.

The prologue hints of a poignant mystery which is gradually revealed and gives the story added conflict and depth. The chemistry between Devin and Amanda is steamy, and the ending positively dreamy.