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

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White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

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White Rabbit is a YA novel written by Caleb Roehrig. I haven’t read any of his other books, but I was excited about the opportunity to read this one because the plot intrigued me.

Rufus is at a Fourth of July party when he receives a frantic phone call from his half sister. They don’t have much of a relationship, so Rufus knows that things must really be bad if April is reaching out to him. Rufus is less than thrilled that his ex-boyfriend Bash wants to come along, but since Bash is the one with a car, there isn’t much of a choice in the matter.

Rufus and Bash walk into a crime scene, and then they spend the rest of that one long night trying to figure out what happened at the lake house where they found April. They crisscross the town, interviewing and reinterviewing the other people who were at the lake house. Everyone has their reasons for being evasive, and truthfulness seems to come at a premium. 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

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

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Why Kill the Innocent is the thirteenth book in C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series of Regency-era historical mysteries. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I read the twelfth book last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is thrust into yet another mystery when a well-born woman is found dead on a London street. Jane Ambrose was no ordinary woman; she was a talented musician, who was working as Princess Charlotte’s piano instructor. The palace insists that Jane’s death was merely an unfortunate accident, but Sebastian suspects that something is being covered up. As he conducts interviews, Sebastian realizes that there are multiple possibilities surrounding Jane’s murder, but he remains determined to explore all avenues in his search for justice. Read more

Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

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Murder at Half Moon Gate is the second book in Andrea Penrose’s Wrexford & Sloane Regency-era historical mystery series. I enjoyed reading the first book in the series, and I was looking forward to happen next in the series.

The Earl of Wrexford stumbles upon a body in an alley, and he realizes immediately that this is not a random incident of a hapless soul wandering into a dangerous neighborhood. Wrex doesn’t intend to involve himself with another mystery so soon after the last incident, but after meeting with the man’s widow, he feels that it is his duty to look into what led up to the victim’s brutal death.

Wrex knows that he isn’t going to be able to piece the details together without the insight of his new friend Mrs. Charlotte Sloane. Together, they pore over the clues and attempt to rule out the various suspects. But someone was killed for the information at the crux of this case, and the perpetrators would certainly be willing to kill again. Read more

Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

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Death of an Unsung Hero is a historical mystery by Tessa Arlen. It is the fourth book in her WWI era Lady Montfort mystery series. I have read the first book in the series, so I was excited about the opportunity to read this latest addition.

WWI has brought some changes to the Montforts- their manor house now serves as a rehabilitation center for officers affected by “neurasthenia”, more commonly known as shell-shock. Everyone seems to be making wonderful progress, but then one of the officers is found dead in the garden and all signs point to murder.

There are many in the village who think poorly of the men staying at the house; they believe they are cowards who are shirking their duty, and that diseases of the “nerves” don’t exist. Could one of them have killed the officer? Or perhaps one of the other men staying at the house imagined that he was back in the trenches and lashed out, with deadly consequences. It is up to Lady Montfort and her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson to figure out what happened before the medical board closes down the manor house. Read more

An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

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An Unnatural Vice is the second book in K.J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities series of Victorian-era m/m historical romance novels. I’ve read several of Charles’ other books, but this is the first book that I’ve read from this series.

Nathaniel is a journalist, and initially, he visits spiritual medium Justin with the intent of exposing him. Instead, Nathaniel is shocked with Justin is able to tell him things that he couldn’t possibly know. Nathaniel walks away frustrated, still convinced that it’s trickery, but now knowing how to prove it. He hopes that this is the last that he will see of the sham spiritualist, but then he learns that Justin may have some information about a case that he and his friends have been investigating.

Justin is quite different from Nathaniel. He grew up in abject poverty, and he justifies his occupation by believing that he is giving people what they want. And besides, it pays the bills and keeps him and his assistants fed. He finds Nathaniel arrogant, but there is a mutual attraction that neither of them can deny. Read more

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

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The Tuscan Child was written by Rhys Bowen. This is her second standalone novel, but she is a prolific author of several series of historical mystery novels. I am a big fan of her Royal Spyness and Molly Murphy books, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

This novel functions with a dual timeline- half of the story takes place during WWII: Hugo Langley, an English pilot, crashes in the hills of Tuscany. Thirty years later, his daughter Joanna finds a letter among Hugo’s personal papers following his sudden death. She reads something so compelling that she returns to Tuscany to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago. Read more