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

The Scandal of the Season Annie Burrows 4*#Review @MillsandBoon @NovelistaAnnie #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonHistorical #Regency #Secrets #Lies #RegencyRomance #HistoricalFiction #BookReview

Having saved Cassandra Furnival from scandal once before, it shouldn’t have surprised Colonel Nathaniel Fairfax that she was now attempting to lay siege to the Ton’s eligible bachelors! Determined to thwart her plans, he’s as astounded by her defiance as by her beauty. But nothing shocks the jaded soldier more than discovering her innocence. Restoring her reputation is set to bring about the scandal of the season!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Cassie’s life has not been easy after a youthful scandal ruined her in Regency society’s eyes. She lives with a distant relation and her partner and works as a seamstress. When a Dowager Duchess, her godmother wants to take her to London for the season. She is unsure, but the Dowager is manipulative, and so with the blessing of her surrogate aunts she agrees. The rumblings of her former scandal haunt her, brought to life with a threat of new scandal when Nathaniel Fairfax, storms into her life.

The story takes a while to set the scene, but the complex characters and relatable themes explored hold your interest until the passionate romance and dangerous misunderstanding explode in the story’s second half.

Full of conflicts both internal and external, Regency society at its most devastatingly cutting and a cast of vibrant Regency characters, this story is a lovely way to escape the present-day problems.

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

My Fake Rake Eva Leigh 5*#Review #UnionoftheRakes @MillsandBoon @EvaLeighAuthor #MillsandBoonHistorical #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #RegencyRomance

#MyFakeRake

Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to create the perfect man to act as her suitor, and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.

To further his own research on English society, Sebastian agrees to let Grace transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing – albeit fake – rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t asked him to help her marry someone else…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The story begins in an unusual way for a Regency romance, five boys at Eton, awaiting punishment for various misdemeanours. How is this related to the story? Well, it’s at Eton where the ‘Union of Rakes’ is created. Sebastian, clever but frequently bullied is the first hero in this series, and he is a character that you can’t help liking.

Grace is studious and independent, her looks draw suitors, but her frightening intelligence, unusual hobby and forthright manner soon have them scuttling away for easier conquests. She is drawn to a fellow scientist, but he fails to see her as a suitable partner, something that shouldn’t bother her but does. Enlisting Sebastian her like-minded friend’s help is an act of desperation and trust and begins a story that is full of friendship, humour and romance.

The friends to lovers trope are frequently used, but the lightness of the author’s touch manages to instil something fresh into it. Grace and Sebastian are both vulnerable, and this makes them easier to like. Inevitably, their perception of each other changes. Although predictable, the mutual attraction is nicely done, and the conflicts and misunderstandings make the inevitable passionate encounter hard-won. The story flows well, with all the trappings of Regency society and excellent supporting characters, many will be the stars of other books in the series.

With many Regency romances focusing on the darker side of life, this is a refreshing change. An enjoyable way to escape contemporary problems for awhile.

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

Her Dark Knights Redemption Nicole Locke 5* #Review @NicoleLockeNews @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon #HistoricalRomance #LoversandLegends #13thCentury #France #BlogBlitz @rararesources #BookReview #hisfic #Noir

“This man was shadow and night. He was Darkness.

Homeless Aliette is saved from punishment for stealing by a mysterious knight. To stay alive, she’s informed by this stranger that she must claim his child as her own. She should fear the dark knight’s power, yet it’s clear there’s more good to this man than he’s prepared to show. Can she break down the barriers of the tortured knight she calls Darkness?

HarlequinAmazonBarnes & NobleMills & Boon

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and undoubtedly noir, this historical romance is absorbing. The opening chapter sets the scene so well, the darkness, danger and depravity of the time displayed through the historical details, vivid imagery and authentic characters. Reynold, views death without fear, he appears invincible, yet whilst he shows no mercy to those who would take from him, he is drawn to the child brought before him.

His first meeting with Aliette is born out of necessity, he uses her because of what he knows about her. She is streetwise but has retained her humanity and it is this that saves her. She is alternatively gripped by fascination and fear in his presence. She knows he’s dangerous, holds her life in his hands, but she is intuitive and sees something more.

The chemistry between Reynold and Aliette is simmering but resisted, she fears what he may do to her, he fears he may hurt her. This conflict is strong and threatens their chance of happiness.

He is the original player, and yet she threatens his plans, just by her presence. The strength of the characters makes this a page-turning story. The darkness of the time suits the knight’s personality perfectly.

A story of dark and light and the power of love against a rich tapestry of 13th century France.

Nicole Locke

Nicole is the author of Harlequin’s Lovers and Legends and Co-Author of The Lochmore Legacy series. If she isn’t working on the next book, she can be reached at NicoleLocke.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of Her Dark Knight’s Redemption (Open INT)

Click on Giveaway link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  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 Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

The Secrets of Lord Lynford Bronwyn Scott 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @Bronwynscott #TheCornishDukes #MillsandBoonHistorical #RegencyRomance #HistoricalFiction #Cornwall #Secrets #MillsandBoonInsiders #BookReview

#TheSecretsofLordLynford

He’s destined never to marry
She might change his mind…

Eaton Falmage, Marquess of Lynford, is an expert at distracting himself from the painful truth which means he’ll never wed. Seducing mining widow Eliza Blaxland seems the perfect diversion. Until he learns Eliza guards her heart as fiercely as her hard-won independence. He longs for more, but that would mean confessing his secret…and risk losing her forever!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A lovely start to what promises to be a riveting romantic series about the heirs of the Cornish Dukes. Eaton has a secret, which in his eyes means he can never marry, so he fills his days helping others with his philanthropy, and taking lovers who never invest their hearts, only their bodies. Losing his mentor, the father of one of his dearest friends hits him hard, and he returns to Cornwall to ensure the school, his mentor believed in, comes to fruition. There he meets Eliza, who is nothing like he expected and he starts to wish his life could be different.

Eliza an independent widow, with a young child, mourns the death of her much older husband, but relishes in the control of her destiny, something she vows, never to give up. Her encounter with Eaton is unsettling, and soon she begins to wonder if she can have him, and her independence.

A tale of emancipation and treachery, this Cornish romance has intrigue, seemingly insurmountable conflicts, deceit and danger for Eliza and Eaton. The chemistry builds steadily, and believably. The romance keeps pace with inevitable requiting of their passion. Eaton and Eliza are complex, relatable characters, and you soon begin to root for them, and their love.

The interesting plot has a good cast of characters and a definite thread of intrigue and danger. It portrays well, the misogynous views of the male-dominated ruling class, at this time. Reflecting how emancipated and enlightened Eliza and Eaton are. The romance is heartwarming with many passionate encounters and the ending is exciting and ultimately happy.

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

Rags to Riches Wife Catherine Tinley 4*#Review @CatherineTinley @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #RegencyRomance #RagstoRichesWife #HistoricalRomance

#RagsToRichesWife

Lady’s maid…

To wedded Lady?

Lady’s maid Jane Bailey’s life is turned upside down by the arrival of wealthy gentleman Robert Kendal. He’s come to take Jane to visit her long-lost, aristocratic grandfather. Travelling together, they succumb to a mutual attraction. Yet Jane knows a maid should not hope to love a gentleman, even if she’s suddenly wearing silk dresses and dining with the Family. Society decrees they cannot marry, but how long can Jane deny her heart?

Amazon UK Website

#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

A charmingly, gentle Regency-style romance.

Ned defied his father to follow his heart and marry a servant, and he died before any chance of reconciliation. Jane, his daughter, although gently born, has to work below stairs when her father dies.

Against a background of the social class divide, the vulnerability of servants to abuse, and Regency society’s strict rules. Jane and Robert meet on a journey back to her roots and fall in love, despite the supposed disparity in their social situations. The truth brings its problems, as both adjust to their new roles.

Despite the internal and external conflict love triumphs. The chemistry between Jane and Robert is sizzling, partly due to its forbidden status. The romance is sweet and gentle.

#CatherineTinley

Catherine Tinley is an award-winning author who writes witty, heartwarming, Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog.

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#RagstoRichesWife
Giveaway – Three winners will each receive a signed copy of Rags to Riches Wife, plus a mystery book by another romance writer (two GB/Ireland, one international).
Click on this Giveaway Link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  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.

#BlogTour
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Murder Mystery, Victorian Romance

The Princess Plan Julia London 5*#Review @JuliaFLondon @MillsandBoon #BlogTour #ARoyalWedding #Victorian #Romance #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #BookReview #Extract #TuesdayBookBlog #MurderMystery #Intrigue

#ThePrincessPLan

London’s high society loves nothing more than a scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip-off about the crime, forcing Sebastian to ask for her help in his quest to find his friend’s killer.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more dangerous than a prince socialising with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And soon, as temptation becomes harder to ignore, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart. 

Amazon UK

#ThePrincessPlan #BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

Such an absorbing, intriguing romantic read. Eliza is a delight, independent, intelligent and indelibly imprinted on your mind, as her unusual romance with a sexy, troubled Prince plays out. The ethos of Victorian society is captured well. Eliza, her sister and friend are a redoubtable trio who enliven every page of this Victorian romance.

Danger and intrigue fuse effortlessly with passion and romance. Whilst, there are elements of ‘Cinderella’ in this story, the reality of what is expected of royal princes and women in society, tempers the fun and glamour. Full of witty dialogue, a murder mystery, political intrigue and romantic passion, this tale has something for everyone. The first in the series, I look forward to the next book.

Extract From The Princess Plan – Julia London

CHAPTER ONE

London 1845

All of London has been on tenterhooks, desperate for a glimpse of Crown Prince Sebastian of Alucia during his highly anticipated visit. Windsor Castle was the scene of Her Majesty’s banquet to welcome him. Sixty-and-one-hundred guests were on hand, feted in St. George’s Hall beneath the various crests of the Order of the Garter. Two thousand pieces of silver cutlery were used, one thousand crystal glasses and goblets. The first course and main dish of lamb and potatoes were served on silver-gilded plates, followed by delicate fruits on French porcelain.

Prince Sebastian presented a large urn fashioned of green Alucian malachite to our Queen Victoria as a gift from his father the King of Alucia. The urn was festooned with delicate ropes of gold around the mouth and the neck.

The Alucian women were attired in dresses of heavy silk worn close to the body, the trains quite long and brought up and fastened with buttons to facilitate walking. Their hair was fashioned into elaborate knots worn at the nape. The Alucian gentlemen wore formal frock coats of black superfine wool that came to midcalf, as well as heavily embroidered waistcoats worn to the hip. It was reported that Crown Prince Sebastian is “rather tall and broad, with a square face and neatly trimmed beard, a full head of hair the colour of tea, and eyes the colour of moss,” which the discerning reader might think of as a softer shade of green. It is said he possesses a regal air owing chiefly to the many medallions and ribbons he wore befitting his rank.

Honeycutt’s Gazette of Fashion and Domesticity for Ladies

The Right Honorable Justice William Tricklebank, a widower and justice of the Queen’s Bench in Her Majesty’s service, was very nearly blind, his eyesight having steadily eroded into varying and fuzzy shades of grey with age. He could no longer see so much as his hand, which was why his eldest daughter, Miss Eliza Tricklebank, read his papers to him.

Eliza had enlisted the help of Poppy, their housemaid, who was more family than servant, having come to them as an orphaned girl more than twenty years ago. Together, the two of them had anchored strings and ribbons halfway up the walls of his London townhome, and all the judge had to do was follow them with his hand to move from room to room. Among the hazards he faced was a pair of dogs that were far too enthusiastic in their wish to be of some use to him, and a cat who apparently wished him dead, judging by the number of times he put himself in the judge’s path or leapt into his lap as he sat, or walked across the knitting the judge liked to do while his daughter read to him, or unravelled his ball of yarn without the judge’s notice.

The only other potential impediments to his health were his daughters—Eliza, a spinster, and her younger sister, Hollis, otherwise known as the Widow Honeycutt. They were often together in his home, and when they were, it seemed to him there was quite a lot of laughing at this and shrieking at that. His daughters disputed that they shrieked, and accused him of being old and easily startled. But the judge’s hearing, unlike his eyesight, was quite acute, and those two shrieked with laughter. Often.

At eight-and-twenty, Eliza was unmarried, a fact that had long baffled the judge. There had been an unfortunate and rather infamous misunderstanding with one Mr Asher Daughton-Cress, who the judge believed was despicable, but that had been ten years ago. Eliza had once been demure and a politely deferential young lady, but she’d shed any pretence of deference when her heart was broken. In the last few years, she had emerged vibrant and carefree. He would think such demeanour would recommend her to gentlemen far and wide, but apparently, it did not. She’d had only one suitor since her very public scandal, a gentleman some fifteen years older than Eliza. Mr Norris had faithfully called every day until one day he did not. When the judge had inquired, Eliza had said, “It was not love that compelled him, Pappa. I prefer my life here with you—the work is more agreeable, and I suspect not as many hours as marriage to him would require.”

His youngest, Hollis, had been tragically widowed after only two years of a marriage without issue. While she maintained her own home, she and her delightful wit were a faithful caller to his house at least once a day without fail, and sometimes as much as two or three times per day. He should like to see her remarried, but Hollis insisted she was in no rush to do so. The judge thought she rather preferred her sister’s company to that of a man.

His daughters were thick as thieves, as the saying went, and were co-conspirators in something that the judge did not altogether approve of. But he was blind, and they were determined to do what they pleased no matter what he said, so he’d given up trying to talk any practical sense into them.

That questionable activity was the publication of a ladies’ gazette. Tricklebank didn’t think ladies needed a gazette, much less one having to do with frivolous subjects such as fashion, gossip and beauty. But say what he might, his daughters turned a deaf ear to him. They were unfettered in their enthusiasm for this endeavour, and if the two of them could be believed, so was all of London.

The gazette had been established by Hollis’s husband, Sir Percival Honeycutt. Except that Sir Percival had published an entirely different sort of gazette, obviously— one devoted to the latest political and financial news. Now that was a useful publication to the judge’s way of thinking.

Sir Percival’s death was the most tragic of accidents, the result of his carriage sliding off the road into a swollen river during rain, which also saw the loss of a fine pair of greys. It was a great shock to them all, and the judge had worried about Hollis and her ability to cope with such a loss. But Hollis proved herself an indomitable spirit, and she had turned her grief into efforts to preserve her husband’s name. But as she was a young woman without a man’s education, and could not possibly comprehend the intricacies of politics or financial matters, she had turned the gazette on its head and dedicated it solely to topics that interested women, which naturally would be limited to the latest fashions and the most tantalizing on dits swirling about London’s high society. It was the judge’s impression that women had very little interest in the important matters of the world.

And yet, interestingly, the judge could not deny that Hollis’s version of the gazette was more actively sought than her husband’s had ever been. So much so that Eliza had been pressed into the service of helping her sister prepare her gazette each week. It was curious to Tricklebank that so many members of the Quality were rather desperate to be mentioned among the gazette’s pages.

Today, his daughters were in an unusually high state of excitement, for they had secured the highly sought-after invitations to the Duke of Marlborough’s masquerade ball in honour of the crown prince of Alucia. One would think the world had stopped spinning on its axis and that the heavens had parted and the seas had re-ceded and this veritable God of All Royal Princes had shined his countenance upon London and blessed them all with his presence.

Hogwash.

Everyone knew the prince was here to strike an important trade deal with the English government in the name of King Karl. Alucia was a small European nation with impressive wealth for her size. It was perhaps best known for an ongoing dispute with the neighbouring country of Wesloria—the two had a history of war and distrust as fraught as that between England and France. The judge had read that it was the crown prince who was pushing for modernization in Alucia, and who was the impetus behind the proposed trade agreement. Prince Sebastian envisioned increasing the prosperity of Alucia by trading cotton and iron ore for manufactured goods. But according to the judge’s daughters, that was not the most important part of the trade negotiations. The important part was that the prince was also in search of a marriage bargain.

“It’s what everyone says,” Hollis had insisted to her father over supper recently.

“And how is it, my dear, that everyone knows what the prince intends?” the judge asked as he stroked the cat, Pris, on his lap. The cat had been named Princess when the family believed it a female. When the house-man Ben discovered that Princess was, in fact, a male, Eliza said it was too late to change the name. So they’d shortened it to Pris. “Did the prince send a letter? Announce it in the Times?”

Caro says,” Hollis countered as if that were quite obvious to anyone with half a brain where she got her information. “She knows everything about everyone, Pappa.”

“Aha. If Caro says it, then, by all means, it must be true.”

“You must yourself admit she is rarely wrong,” Hollis had said with an indignant sniff.

Caro, or Lady Caroline Hawke, had been a lifelong friend to his daughters and had been so often underfoot in the Tricklebank house that for many years, it seemed to the judge that he had three daughters.

Caroline was the only sibling of Lord Beckett Hawke and was also his ward. Long ago, a cholera outbreak had swept through London, and both Caro’s mother and his children’s mother had succumbed. Amelia, his wife, and Lady Hawke had been dear friends. They’d sent their children to the Hawke summer estate when Amelia had taken ill. Lady Hawke had insisted on caring for her friend and, well, in the end, they were both lost.

Lord Hawke was an up-and-coming young lord and politician, known for his progressive ideas in the House of Lords. He was rather handsome, Hollis said, a popular figure, and socially in high demand. Which meant that, by association, so was his sister. She, too, was quite comely, which made her presence all the easier to her brother’s many friends, the judge suspected.

But Caroline did seem to know everyone in London and was constantly calling on the Tricklebank house-hold to spout the gossip she’d gleaned in homes across Mayfair. Here was an industrious young lady—she called on three salons a day if she called on one. The judge supposed her brother scarcely need worry about putting food in their cupboards, for the two of them were dining with this four-and-twenty or that ten-and-six almost every night. It was a wonder Caroline wasn’t a plump little peach.

Perhaps she was. In truth, she was merely another shadow to the judge these days.

“And she was at Windsor and dined with the queen,” Hollis added with superiority.

“You mean Caro was in the same room but one hundred persons away from the queen,” the judge suggested. He knew how these fancy suppers went.

“Well, she was there, Pappa, and she met the Alucians, and she knows a great deal about them now. I am quite determined to discover who the prince intends to offer for and announce it in the gazette before anyone else. Can you imagine? I shall be the talk of London!” This was precisely what Mr. Tricklebank didn’t like about the gazette. He did not want his daughters to be the talk of London.

But it was not the day for him to make this point, for his daughters were restless, moving about the house with an urgency he was not accustomed to. Today was the day of the Royal Masquerade Ball, and the sound of crisp petticoats and silk rustled around him, and the scent of perfume wafted into his nose when they passed. His daughters were waiting impatiently for Lord Hawke’s brougham to come round and fetch them. Their masks, he was given to understand, had already arrived at the Hawke House, commissioned, Eliza had breathlessly reported, from “Mrs Cubison herself.”

He did not know who Mrs Cubison was.

And frankly, he didn’t know how Caro had managed to finagle the invitations to a ball at Kensington Palace for his two daughters—for the good Lord knew the Tricklebanks did not have the necessary connections to achieve such a feat.

He could feel their eagerness, their anxiety in the nervous pitch of their giggling when they spoke to each other. Even Poppy seemed nervous. He supposed this was to be the ball by which all other balls in the history of mankind would forever be judged, but he was quite thankful he was too blind to attend.

When the knock at the door came, he was startled by such squealing and furious activity rushing by him that he could only surmise that the brougham had arrived and the time had come to go to the ball.


Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Victorian Romance

Miss Lottie’s Christmas Protector Sophia James 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @sophiajamesnz #SecretsofaVictorianHousehold #Romance #VictorianRomance #HistoricalFiction #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonHistorical

A Christmas mission

…with the scarred and brooding gentleman!

Part of Secrets of a Victorian Household: Working in her family’s charity foundation for destitute women, caring but impulsive Miss Lottie Fairclough is desperately trying to find a missing woman. She’s roped in family acquaintance Mr Jasper King to help her, equally impressed and annoyed when he rescues her from perilous danger! As she gets to know the injured entrepreneur, it seems he needs her just as much…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A Victorian romance set in the poorer side of London,with an intelligent,improverished heroine, and a tortured, socially sensitive hero.

The historical detail brings the Victorian era alive. The characters are authentic and complex,and the romance between Lottie and Jasper is slow burning,rife with conflicts and ultimately passionate.

An emotional Victorian romance,which highlights poverty,vice and the Victorian’s attitude to women.