To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman

Alex and Emmy first met at a masquerade ball several years prior to the main events of the book, and Alex has been thinking about the mysterious young woman with the unique scent ever since that night.

Now, Alex is working as a Bow Street Runner, along with his friends, and Emmy is the elusive jewel thief that he’s trying to catch, so a romance between these two personalities seems impossible.  

The irony of the situation is that Alex and Emmy encounter each other socially in addition to the cat-and-mouse game they’ve been playing. Naturally, the lines between these two worlds begins to blur as the stakes increase.

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Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

I have been waiting for this book ever since hints were dropped at the end of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score almost two years, but I can assure you that it was 100% worth the wait.

Will Sedgwick and Martin Easterbrook have been friends for their entire lives. Their paths diverged at some point, but as the story begins, Will has essentially kidnapped Martin and brought him to recuperate in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage. At first, Martin is quite ill, but Will manages to bring him back to good—well, decent—health.

So, there they are, living together in a small cottage. There is plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with the men they have become, and of course, to acknowledge the feelings that have always been there.

Did I mention that there’s only one bed?

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To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

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A common source of conflict in the plot of a romance novel is a Big Misunderstanding that drives the couple apart. What makes this book rather unique in that regard is that the misunderstanding has already taken place years before the story begins—and the two protagonists never reconciled.

Despite this acrimony, when Violet finds out that her husband James has been injured, she rushes to the country house to be by his side—only to run into him at an inn, in perfect health and annoyed by her concern for his well-being. Read more

Never Kiss a Duke by Megan Frampton

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“Historical accuracy” is a loaded term in the historical romance genre, and I’m not going to be unpacking the implications today; believe me, I could go on for days about the subject, but then I wouldn’t be able to discuss this lovely new book.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a duke can almost never lose his title. This comes up in books: the titled protagonist is in danger of losing his title if he doesn’t meet some unconventional requirements, like failing to find a wife by sundown on his thirtieth birthday. But that’s not accurate and titles don’t work like that.

However, if a duke’s parents’ marriage is deemed invalid, then that would mean that he was no longer his father’s legitimate offspring, and therefore render him ineligible for the title. Read more

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh

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I have a confession to make: as much as I enjoy Eva Leigh on Twitter, this is my first experience with one of her books.

But now I’m hooked.

There are a few standard tropes in (historical) romance: friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, fake courtship, only one bed, brother’s best friend, and a few others. This book is an example of that first trope- friends to lovers. In order to fully appreciate this book, you have to remember the spate of 90s teen romcoms, wherein a geeky girl received a makeover and then the hottest guy in the school finally notices her.

But wait- in My Fake Rake, it is the HERO who receives the makeover, not the heroine. Read more

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

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This book is considered to be one of the best historical romance novels of all time, and it launched the modern iteration of the genre. I’ve had this book for a few years, where it lingered in my TBR queue.

But then some of my favorite authors were talking about it on Twitter, and some of them were reading it for the first time. My curiosity got the better of me, and I finally started reading.

The Marquess of Dain has been alone for most of his life. His mother absconded, and his father dropped him off at Eton and never came back for him. Dain inherited an estate encumbered by debt, and through sheer will and cunning, amassed a fortune. He has an entourage of hangers-on, but he doesn’t really have close friends.

Jessica Trent travels to Paris to retrieve her brother Bertie, who has fallen in with Dain. Bertie doesn’t have the sense that God gave a goose, and it’s time for him to return to England. Read more

Betrothed by Christmas by Jess Michaels and Elizabeth Essex

 

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The holiday season seems to start a little earlier every year, and I don’t mind one bit. I love the music and the decorations and the snow, and most importantly the time spent with my family and friends. Needless to say, I was very excited about the opportunity to read this new historical romance anthology.

The two novellas share the same which I thought was a fun worldbuilding element. They also take place during the Christmas season, but the plots are not overwhelmed by the holiday, which works well because the emphasis falls on the characterization rather than relying on the holiday to carry the plots. Read more

Murder at Kensington Palace by Andrea Penrose

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Murder at Kensington Palace is the third book in Andrea Penrose’s Wrexford & Sloane series of Regency-era historical mystery novels. I’ve read the other books in the series, so I was interested to see how the unlikely duo was going to handle their newest investigation.

This time, the victim is Cedric, a young man who recently inherited a barony. The prime suspect is Nicholas, the victim’s twin brother- the two were overheard arguing about the inheritance and the unfairness of Cedric receiving everything simply because he had the good fortune to be born a few minutes earlier. Read more

Guarding the Countess by Jess Michaels

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Guarding the Countess is the fifth book in Jess Michaels’ The Scandal Sheet series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I haven’t read any of The Scandal Series books, but I’ve read (and enjoyed) several of the books in Michaels’ 1797 Club series.

Naomi’s most recent husband has recently died, and since she finds the circumstances to be suspicious, she hires Marcus (a captain) and Everett (a marquis) to investigate. They agree to help, but then someone attempts to shoot Naomi in front of their house, they decide that she needs their protection in addition to their sleuthing skills. Read more

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

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The Wallflower Wager is the third book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I read this book immediately after listening to the Audible edition of the second book in the series (The Governess Game), and I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen next in the series.

Lady Penelope Campion is quite devoted to her small group of friends- two of whom have appeared as heroines in the previous books in the series- but for the most part, she avoids Proper Society. She is content to live with her sizeable menagerie of abandoned animals, but her family has told her that she needs to put an end to her eccentric ways and return to the family’s country house.

Gabriel Duke has crawled his way from the (literal) gutter to the top through sheer grit and determination. They call him the “Duke of Ruin” because of his ruthlessly methodical approach to achieving his goals. His newest project is renovating the house next door to Penny. He intends to sell the house to social climbers who will pay top dollar for the cachet of living next door to a Real Lady. So, against his better judgement, he agrees to help Penny find homes for all the animals so that she can remain in London. This is purely a business arrangement, nothing more- full stop. Read more