The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

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The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is the fourth book in Janna MacGregor’s Cavensham Heiresses series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, and I was especially intrigued by the possibility of redemption for Paul.

Readers were introduced to Paul Barstowe in the first scene of the first book, and it was immediately clear that he was meant to be the villain of the piece. He served as an antagonist, but it is finally time for redemption. It has been several years since the series began, and Paul has inherited the Southart dukedom after the deaths of his father and older brother. Paul wants to make up for the mistakes of his past, but he didn’t factor falling in love into the equation.

Daphne grew up admiring her older brother’s best friend. Paul has not been part of her life for many years, not since the friendship dissolved into acrimony. When her journal is stolen, her quest to recover it leads her directly into Paul’s path. It’s clear that there’s a connection, but there are so many reasons that a relationship between them could never succeed. Can they overcome secrets of the past to find happiness or are they doomed to fail? Read more

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Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

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Kiss Me at Christmas is the tenth book in Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed the other Playful Brides books.

Readers were first introduced to Daffin and Regina in the last book- A Duke Like No Other. As this next adventure begins, Regina has given up on marriage, but she has decided that she wants to lose her virginity to commemorate her 30th birthday. She attempts to recruit Daffin, a Bow Street Runner, to help her with this, but naturally, he refuses. However, when it appears that someone is targeting her family, her cousin Mark hires Daffin to serve as bodyguard. Despite some initial awkwardness stemming from Regina’s earlier request, they strike up a friendly rapport. Soon enough, they realize that there really is a genuine attraction that is getting harder and harder to deny. But even though they have retreated to the countryside for Christmas, it seems as though that threat has followed them from London. Who is trying to hurt the family and why? Read more

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is the fourth book in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series. I have read the first three books in this series, and I was excited to find out what was going to happen to Flavia in this book.

Flavia de Luce is a precocious young girl who lives with her father and two older sisters in Buckshaw, a crumbling manor house near the village of Bishop’s Lacy. It is the Christmas season, and Flavia’s father has rented out Buckshaw to a film company. Flavia is thrilled about this turn of events, and is even more pleased when Phyllis, the aging actress who is starring in the movie, pays attention to her.

Needless to say, it is quite distressing when Phyllis is found murdered immediately after a theatrical performance attended by most of the village. When a blizzard traps everyone in Buckshaw, Flavia comes to the terrible conclusion that there is a murderer amongst the guests! Read more

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. Read more

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.

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