Major James Rossington, Viscount Austerfield, survived Waterloo, but can he survive the Season as London’s most eligible bachelor? Convinced his battle scars make him unlovable, and to escape Society’s matchmakers, Ross proposes a wedding in name only to shy, sensible Carenza Bettridge. Liberated from her cruel stepmother and bullying half-sisters, she blossoms into a confident, altogether desirable woman. He promised Carenza a convenient marriage, but inconveniently finds himself wanting more…
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon and the author in return for an honest review.
Ross is a Waterloo hero looking for a suitable wife. He lives with mental and physical scars of the infamous battle. Carenza’s life is reminiscent of Cinderella. The couple’s marriage of convenience is the result of a tentative friendship. The romantic possibilities increase with proximity. This is a lovely romantic Regency fairytale, complete with wicked relatives and an unexpectedly evil antagonist.
Carenza and Ross both have emotional scarring, but it’s rewarding to see their emotional connection grow as their scars begin to fade. There is simmering passion and gentle humour amidst the angst and self-recrimination in this engaging classical Regency romance. It has a spectacular finale with a sinister twist and a magical fairytale ending.
Sarah Mallory is an award-winning author who has published more than 30 historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon. She loves history, especially the Georgian and Regency. She won the prestigious RoNA Rose Award from the Romantic Novelists Association in 2012 and 2013. Sarah also writes romantic historical adventures as Melinda Hammond. Sarah lived for many years on the Yorkshire Pennines, taking inspiration from the wild and rugged moors. Then in 2018 she fell in love with Scotland and ran away to live on the rugged North West Coast, which is proving even more inspiring.
The hottest actor in Bollywood, Vikram Raina has found love countless times – when he’s playing a role. In real life, he’s given up on finding a soul-deep connection and prefers to focus entirely on his career. Until at a masquerade ball, one woman leaves him craving more…
Naina Menon’s first impression of drop-dead gorgeous Vikram left much to be desired. But then one heart-stopping night showed her there’s so much more to him than his celebrity persona.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The masquerade ball engaged me from the start, the romance and the secrets the perfect foil for this modern-day Cinderella romance.
Naina may be struggling financially, but she’s self-reliant and knows what she wants, as Vikram finds out. First in a verbal sparring match and then in an unexpected passionate encounter. Vikram, the modern-day prince, in this story is left playing catch-up after every encounter with Naina despite his player status and wealth. The characters are full of angst and conflict, but they are easy to like, and you want them to get their chance of happiness.
Partly, set in an idyllic island location this romance overcomes the inevitable conflicts to give the couple a fairytale ending. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
She’s a breath of fresh country air… …in his big-city life!
When Jessica Winton’s dream job falls into her lap, she’s thrust from a small-town into bustling Manhattan – and faced with new hard to please boss, tycoon Jamie Gilbert-Cooper. But when Jamie takes her under his wing Jessica must wonder how much of the big city appeal is because of Jamie?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A modern fairytale, the prologue sets the scene for a fairytale romance for Jessica. I like the Cinderella aspect of this romance and the gentle love story against the edgy urban setting of New York. Jessica is kind and intelligent with a skill for innovation in business. Emotionally she is wary of trusting her heart after her fiance dies. This is a lovely mix of humour, poignancy and romance.
Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright. Nicola is a star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has run its course, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is the last straw… Dmitri loves conducting his pop–up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist. Can two lonely hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?
Guest Post – Music, Moonlight and Inspiration – Lauren Westwood
As a writer, I’m often asked where I get my inspirations from. The simple answer is that inspirations come from everywhere! For me, usually, a book will start out with just a simple idea or image, or some kind of trigger event from real life. For Moonlight on the Thames, the opening scene was inspired by a real choir who were performing last year at Waterloo Station during the Christmas season, and a real delayed train. I’m happy to say that unlike my main character, Nicola, I did not create a scene (nor, unfortunately, did I meet the love of my life as a result). But thanks to that night and that choir, my book was born.
To create the two main characters, I also drew on my past. Nicola is a high-powered investment banker, and over the years I’ve dealt with a lot of those in my day-job as an in-house lawyer. I thought it would be interesting for the heroine to be the ‘alpha’ character in the book, though this was somewhat risky. She’s not instantly likeable, but I’m hoping that she’s interesting and different enough for people to stick with her, find out why she is like she is, and see her story unfold.
In contrast, Dmitri is more likeable upfront, but he too has secrets from his past that adversely affect his whole life and forced him to give up his career as a concert pianist. Many years ago, I studied music at university, and though I was not suited for a life as a performer, I did encounter some brilliant musicians who inspired me to want to write about music. There is truly an agony and ecstasy about being a musician, and it takes a very particular personality type to be able to achieve the focus and sacrifice that is required.
The piano music that Dmitri plays in the book was also an inspiration for the tone of the book and also some of the scenes. It was great fun trying to search out the perfect pieces that evoked the mood and emotion that I was going for. And while it is hard to ‘describe’ the effect of music in words, I have put together a playlist to accompany the book that hopefully allows the music to speak for itself. The link is here: http://www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com/playlist.
Finally, I also drew inspiration from a trip I took twenty years ago to Russia. There is something incredibly poetic about the country, its past, its people, its music and literature, that resonates with me. Growing up in America in the 70s and 80s, we were brainwashed into thinking of Russia as ‘the evil empire’ governed by dictators whose fingers were on the red button (hmm, who does that sound like nowadays?) So, it was interesting to travel there myself, form my own opinions, and meet some of the people. I also really like Russian literature, and I have a lovely illustrated book of Russian fairytales with lacquer box designs that inspired the retelling of the Firebird that is in the book.
So, all in all, Moonlight on the Thames was a fun book to imagine and write, and I really hope that readers will enjoy it. I am grateful to Aria for the lovely cover, and also for believing in my somewhat dubious interpretation of an ‘escapist Christmas romance’ that also covers many darker, more serious issues.
If you do read Moonlight on the Thames, please do leave a review or a rating where you purchased it. This helps so much to spread the word to people who might not otherwise find the book.
Most of all, best wishes for the rest of the year and the holiday season.
‘Moonlight on the Thames’ is not the lighthearted festive read the title suggests but it does have romance, a fairytale quality and a Christmas message.
Nicola’s successful career masks an empty life and deep, damaging secrets that seem worse at Christmas time. Dimitri’s giving nature is especially evident at Christmas, but he is finding it increasingly difficult to hide the despair and guilt he feels. The couple’s meeting is festive, and Nicola is more ‘Scrooge’than ‘Santa Claus’, but their serendipitous meeting makes them both look at their empty lives.
Poignant and romantic this festive tale focuses on those less fortunate at this time of the year. Dimitri and Nicola’s life are both blighted despite their outward success, and this story explores their inner turmoil and seemingly unlikely romance. Both protagonists are authentic and flawed and carry a damaging amount of emotional trauma but their courage and need to find more in their lives lets both characters develop in a believable and heartwarming way.
Music in all its forms underscores this story and gives it a uniqueness not usually found in festive reads. There are no sugar-coated platitudes in this story, just two people trying to make the best of shattered lives but the outcome makes all the angst worthwhile and leaves an important message in the readers’ minds.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Lauren Westwood writes romantic women’s fiction and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters.
Romantic royal weddings are on trend at the moment, and these three romances capture the essences of the 21st-century royal romance. With a nod to Cinderella, the heroines aren’t princesses but, independent, professional, successful women, who seek passion rather than love because they don’t want to risk their hearts. The three princes are duty bound to marry well, all have well-publicised love lives but meeting their unlikely Cinderella’ makes them want to marry for love rather than obligation. The fast-paced stories have passion with humour and poignancy. Each story highlights, the drawbacks and commitment of royal life with strong conflict both external and internal but they all have fairytale endings.
Crowned for the Prince’s Heir –
This is fashion designer Lisa and Prince Luciano’s story. Before honouring an arranged betrothal, Luciano seeks out the only woman to reject him after a brief affair. Lisa’s emotional scars make her protect her heart at all costs. The second time around doesn’t end well for the couple, but it does leave a legacy that has consequences and leads to conflict and confusion before any chance of a happy ending.
The Ice Prince –
A wrangle over land and a case of mistaken identity throw lawyer Anna and Prince Draco together. The heat created is undeniable but family loyalty is at stake, and there is little trust between the two. I like this story least of the three, but it is full of passion and has a satisfactory ending.
At His Majesty’s Request –
A 21st-century matchmaker and a prince seem an unlikely combination but neither is conventional, and both hide their true feelings from the world. Jessica and Stavros’passion sizzle before they acknowledge it. Stavros has put his country before his well-being, and Jessica’s disastrous first marriage has left her scarred. This is the most romantic of the stories, and Stavros is my favourite prince. If you like passionate romance with a distinctly royal flavour, this trio of royal romances will be a worthwhile read.
I received a copy of this book from Mills & Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Hortense is a kind and brave girl, but she is sad–even angry–that her shadow follows her everywhere she goes. She hates her shadow and thinks her shadow must hate her too. But one cold, dark night, when bandits surprise her in the woods, Hortense discovers that her shadow is the very thing she needs most.
A beautifully illustrated picture storybook about a young girl who dislikes her shadow and what happens when it runs away from her. The setting for this story is a fairytale, and there are dark elements, but good triumphs and Hortense learns valuable lessons of self-discovery, A good story for the age group. I received a copy of this story from Penguin Random House UK Children’s Puffin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Dystopian Cinderella tale aimed at the Teen and Young Adult market. Told from America’s point of view, one of the selected, this portrays a young girl’s emotional journey, in rather unusual circumstances. This is an introductory novel and mainly catalogues the first part of America’s journey as a ‘selected’. She is a likeable character, mindful of others feelings but definitely a free spirit. The other girls in the story have interesting personalities. There is a love triangle of sorts, which I guess will be explored later in the series. This book has been around for four years and has attracted a phenomenal amount of very mixed reviews. Whilst, I’m not engaged enough to read anymore in the series, if you enjoy a modern day take on fairy tales with a definite dystopian setting, this should appeal. I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins- Children’s via NetGalley in return for an honest review.