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Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

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I recently listened to the Audible edition of Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas. I have enjoyed many of Kleypas’ historical romance novels, and when this book popped up as part of an Audible sale, I took the opportunity to catch up on her return to the genre.

Devon Ravenel never expected to inherit his cousin’s title, and he journeys to his new manor house with the intent to sell the estate in parcels to pay off debts. However, upon his arrival, Devon becomes reacquainted with his three cousins, whose future is dependent on him now that their brother is dead.

The household also includes Kathleen, who had recently married the Earl of Trenear and now finds herself widowed and alone. She sees Devon’s arrival as an annoying interference, and she is especially disgusted by his plans to sell off the estate. Can she persuade him to change his mind?

This is a wonderful example of the enemies to friends trope. I enjoyed watching Devon and Kathleen’s relationship develop over the course of the novel. This was definitely not a case of insta-love. They each have qualms about commitment that they need to overcome as they consider what they mean to each other.

Another thing that I liked about this book is the inclusion of top-notch secondary plotlines. It is not terribly common for books in the genre to have narrative from the point of view of a secondary character, but it worked well here. It also set up the second book in the series very nicely.

I would absolutely recommend Cold-Hearted Rake. Devon and Kathleen are both likeable, and they have good chemistry. The secondary characters are well rounded as well; I especially enjoyed the twins. As soon as this book ended, I was ready to start the next book in the series! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Ravenels series in the future!

 

 

 

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The Silent Duke by Jess Michaels

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The Silent Duke is the fourth book in Jess Michaels’ 1797 Club series of historical romance novels. I have not read any of the previous books in this series, but I belong to a group for fans of romance novels, and this book came up in response to a query about atypical heroes. Needless to say, I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Ewan is the Duke of Donburrow, but his ascension to the dukedom was somewhat controversial. He is mute, and when he was a child, his father attempted to have him declared incompetent and relegated to an asylum. Ewan was rescued by relatives, who protected him from the machinations of his immediate family. Ewan inherited the title when his father passed away, despite the protests from his younger brothers.

As the story begins, Charlotte arrives at Ewan’s home for Christmas. She is a childhood friend who always advocated for him, even when she was a small girl. She helped him develop a means of communication by using his hands- Regency Sign Language, if you will. She is one of many people who are supposed to fill the house for the holiday. However, bad weather and subsequent flooding prevent everyone else from reaching the house. This means that aside from the household staff, Charlotte and Ewan are alone in the house. Charlotte finally has the opportunity to tell Ewan that she has always loved him, and wants their relationship to move from friendship to something even more special. Continue reading

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The Ghost of Christmas Past by Rhys Bowen

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The Ghost of Christmas Past is the 17th book in Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mystery series. I am a big fan of Rhys Bowen, and I have read many (although not all) of the Molly Murphy books. I was definitely excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Molly is trying to recover from some sad news that she received at the end of the last book. She and her husband Daniel think that spending Christmas at a swanky Westchester mansion is just the thing they need to lift their spirits. Upon arrival, they learn that the family suffered a tragic loss when their daughter disappeared ten years ago. There was never any ransom note, nor was any trace of the girl ever discovered. Naturally, Molly wants to investigate, but there are strange things afoot, and strange occurrences too. Continue reading

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With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

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With This Christmas Ring is a historical romance novella written by Manda Collins. I’m a big fan of her Studies in Scandal series, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Merry’s friend Charlotte died following childbirth, and Merry made a solemn promise to care for the tiny baby. Charlotte, who insisted that she was married, had been thrown out of her home when her husband failed to materialize. Now, it is up to Merry to track down the errant rogue, but doing so means that she must go back to a place she never thought she would. Five years ago, she broke off an engagement with Alex, the Viscount Wrotham, but given that his cousin is Charlotte’s alleged husband, Merry is left with little choice. Likewise, Alex is puzzled by Merry’s sudden reappearance in his life, and is determined not to let her slip away again.

Continue reading

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No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes

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No Other Duke Will Do is the third book in Grace Burrowes’ Windham Brides series of historical romance novels. This is only the second book of hers that I have read, but she is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Julian St. David is the Duke of Haverford. The family seat is in Wales, where he is quite content to remain. However, the estate has fallen into financial ruin, mostly because his predecessors cared more about spending money on rare books than maintaining the estate. Despite this- or perhaps because of this- Julian’s sister suggests throwing a lavish house party so that Julian can find a wife.

Elizabeth Windham is not an heiress, nor is she particularly looking for a husband, but she finds herself drawn to Julian. Likewise, Julian realizes that there is no one he would rather spend time with. But is attraction and infatuation enough to sustain them beyond the length of the house party? Continue reading

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The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor

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The Bride Who Got Lucky is the second book in Janna MacGregor’s Cavensham Heiresses series of Regency-era historical romances. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series-The Bad Luck Bride- so I was already looking forward to reading this book even without knowing anything about it.

Nick and Emma were secondary characters in The Bad Luck Bride, so I became even more excited when I found out that they had been paired together for The Bride Who Got Lucky.  

Nick and Emma are both very strong-willed, and they are much more similar than they realize. They both want to do things on their own, without relying on their families. This manifests for Nick in his business acumen; he has been estranged from his father since his Eton days, and he has amassed a fortune through hard work and shrewd investing. Likewise, Emma wants more out of life than an aristocratic marriage and children. She wants to open a bank for women who need financial assistance to get out dangerous situations. Continue reading

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The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

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The Scandalous Flirt is the sixth book in Olivia Drake’s Cinderella Sisterhood series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but I always enjoy discovering new authors.

Aurora- better known as Rory- has been living in exile from Society for the past eight years as a result of a scandal during her debut Season. Rory is summoned back to London to help her stepmother Kitty, who has managed to become embroiled in a scandal of her own. Rory needs to retrieve some incriminating letters from the Marquess of Dashell’s house. She happens to know Lucas from her Season, and she has a hard time reconciling the exceedingly straitlaced gentleman with his alleged penchant for extortion. As Rory renews her acquaintanceship with Lucas, she discovers that there is much more to him than she could have possibly imagined. Continue reading