The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

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The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a young adult novel written by Miriam McNamara. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I love historical fiction; I don’t read as much Georgian fiction as Regency, but its still an era that I enjoy. In addition to one of my favorite settings, the premise sounded fascinating.

Circumstance has forced Mary Reade to live as a boy named Mark for almost her entire life. As the story begins, Mary’s ship has been attacked by pirates. She chooses to align herself with the pirates, mostly because she sees a girl pirate and imagines being able to go through life as who she is, not who she has to present herself as. Read more

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Out, Proud, and Prejudiced by Megan Reddaway

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Out, Proud, and Prejudiced is a contemporary romance novel by Megan Reddaway. It’s also a gay adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and as soon as I saw the description, I knew that I had to read this book.

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s literary classic, the basic storyline should be familiar to you, with the notable exception of most of the characters being gay men. Bennet Rourke meets Darius Lanniker, and their mutual dislike is almost palpable. They are forced to endure each other because their friends are dating. Misunderstandings occur, mostly due to the machinations of the villainous Wyndham. Can Bennet and Darius see beyond their initial impressions of each other, or are their differences far too great? Read more

It’s All About the Duke by Amelia Grey

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It’s All About The Duke is the third book in Amelia Grey’s The Rakes of St. James series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I enjoyed reading the second book in this series, so I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen next.

The Duke of Rathburne, or Rath, as he prefers to be called, finds himself in possession of a young ward who needs to make her debut in Society. Rath is acting out of a sense of duty and responsibility; this jaded rake certainly isn’t going to do anything foolish like fall in love with the girl. Read more

My Name Is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

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My Name is Victoria is a YA novel written by Lucy Worsley. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because 19th century England is my favorite era in history. I also enjoyed the Victoria television series, as well as Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel and Julia Baird’s biography of Queen Victoria.

The story is told from the perspective of “Miss V”, the daughter of John Conrad, who oversaw the future Queen Victoria’s upbringing. The young Victoria was kept in isolation, and V is one of Victoria’s first friends. Victoria has been told that she needs to be kept apart from society because of her scheming uncles and cousins who might wish to harm her because of her proximity to the throne. Whether there is any merit to this claim, or whether this is intended to instill a sense of paranoia remains to be seen. Read more

A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

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A Duke Like No Other is the ninth 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 read almost all of the other books in this series, and I have been looking forward to reading this one.

Mark Grimaldi is a career soldier who has worked with some of the heroes from previous books. As the story begins, Mark learns that he is being considered for a prestigious government position. His odds of being selected would improve if he were a family man. Fortunately for Mark, he is already married. Unfortunately for Mark, he has been estranged from his wife for almost a decade.

Nicole has spent the last ten years living in France. She’s not sure what to think when Mark arrives at her house, and asks her to return to England with him and pose as his wife. But there is something that she wants as well, so perhaps a bargain can be struck. Can they find peace together after so many years of strife, or is their bond irreparably broken? Read more

Lady Rogue by Theresa Romain

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Lady Rogue is the third book in Theresa Romain’s Regency-era Royal Rewards series. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoyed the second book in the series.

Callum Jenks, the hero of this book, played a minor role in the earlier books. He works as a Bow Street Runner, and he is summoned to the house of Isabel Morrow. He investigated her husband’s death a year ago, but now she needs help dealing with a different matter entirely.

Isabel’s husband was involved with art forgery, and she needs Callum’s help to keep this shameful secret from being revealed. Her proposition consists of a scheme of questionable legality- is it really a crime to replace forgeries with originals? If the truth about the late Mr. Morrow came out, it would ruin Isabella, as well as her young ward, who is poised to make her debut in Society. Read more

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

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The Luck of the Bride is the third book in Janna MacGregor’s The Cavensham Heiresses series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve read the other two books in the series, and I was looking forward to finding out what happens next in the series.

I usually point out that entries in a historical romance series function well as standalones and readers don’t have to read the earlier books before the current book. That is certainly true with The Luck of the Bride– however, given that the hero and heroine both appear in earlier books, one gains a fuller appreciation for the pairing by reading the earlier books.

March Lawson has been taking care of her three siblings for almost a decade, with very little help from their guardians. March has taken upon herself to procure the money they need to buy food and maintain the estate by forging the signature of the Marquess of McCalpin. She knows that it’s wrong, but she is only taking money out of Lawson accounts. She can’t access the money herself because she is a woman, and her brother- Viscount Lawson- can’t access the money either because he’s a child. Read more

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series of Victorian era mystery. I enjoyed the first book in this series a couple of years ago, but I have only recently been able to read this book.

Readers should definitely read the first book in the series before tackling this one. Not only are there major revelations, but readers will appreciate the simmering tension between Veronica and Stoker. I will allude to some of these revelations from the first book because they are central to the second book, but I will not reveal anything outright.

Veronica finds herself tasked with another mystery to solve: Miles Ramsforth, a famous patron of the arts, has been accused of murdering his mistress. He has been convicted of the crime, and he is going to be hanged in less than a fortnight. However, someone very important- with connections to Veronica’s mysterious parentage- has reason to believe that Miles has been framed. Read more

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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Suitors and Sabotage is Cindy Anstey’s third novel. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed her other books. The novels are unconnected, but they all take place in Regency England, which is one of my favorite historical eras.

Imogene Chively has just finished her first Season in London, and is looking forward to spending the summer with her family and friends as they take turns hosting each other at a series of house parties. One of her suitors has received permission to visit her; Imogene is not particularly interested in pursuing a courtship with the young man, but she doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. When the earnest young man- named Ernest, of course- arrives, he brings his brother Ben along as well.

Imogene discovers that she has a lot more in common with Ben. They develop a rapport quickly, and Imogene agrees to give Ben art lessons to bolster his skills as a budding architect. Read more

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

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Jolly Foul Play is a middle grade novel written by Robin Stevens. It is the fourth Wells & Wong Mystery that features Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, the intrepid schoolgirl sleuths. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book with my oldest daughter because I had a feeling she would like it.

Hazel and Daisy are back at Deepdean for another year, and there have been a lot of changes. Elizabeth, the new Head Girl, is very cruel to the younger girls. She and her five friends rule the school, and there are severe repercussions for the most minor of infractions. On Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found dead on the playing field. The Headmistress insists it was an accident, but Hazel and Daisy are convinced that it is murder- especially after someone begins releasing secrets about the girls at the school. It is time for the Detective Society to reconvene and solve their fourth murder! Read more