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Edwardian Elegance

I’m sharing a few more beautiful Edwardian gowns with you.

 


c. 1904 Geranium Pink Afternoon 2-piece Trained Gown

 


c. 1912 Trained and Embroidered Royal Court Gown

 


c. 1905 Pink Crepe-de-Chine 2-piece Ballgown with Lace Trim

 



c. 1910 Black Cotton Velvet and Silk Chantilly Lace Edwardian Gown

 



c. 1912 Opulent Pink Silk Trained Evening Gown with Lace and Beading.

MY FAVOURITE QUOTES

“Rohan’s fingertips drifted with stunning delicacy over her throat, behind her ear, pushing into the satiny warmth of her hair. “You are an interesting woman Amelia.”

Gooseflesh rose wherever his breath touched. “I can’t f-fathom why you would think so.”

His playful mouth traced the wing of her brow. “I find you thoroughly, deeply interesting. I want to open you like a book and read every page.” A smile curved the corners of his lips as he added huskily, “Footnotes included.”

(Cam Rohan and Amelia Hathaway)

(Comrades in Arms, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The truth behind the hero.

Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington’s most valued code-breakers but since Waterloo, he’s hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within…perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves.

Except Celeste harbours secrets of her own and questions that she needs Jack’s help to solve! With Celeste’s every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

♥♥♥♥♥

This is the first book in Marguerite Kaye’s new Comrades in Arms mini-series and, from the first page, I was totally immersed in the emotionally charged story and her fascinating, flawed characters.

My Thoughts -

Jack Trestain was one of Wellington’s best code-breakers, lauded in the duke’s dispatches as a hero, but Jack knows that…

Heroes didn’t have stains on their soul.

Ms Kaye imbues her characters with such depth that I experienced everything Jack did…the horror of those recurring nightmares, his overwhelming sense of guilt, his grief, despair and fears.

There were times when he felt as if he were being literally torn in two. Times when he raged at the injustice of what was happening to him, times when he was overwhelmed with guilt. There was no right and wrong anymore, which had been one of clear-cut lines for so long, was now so blurred that he was careering around like a compass struggling to find true north.

At times, Ms Kaye really tugs at the heartstrings, particularly in the deeply emotional scene where Jack finally breaks down and reveals his long-hidden secret to Celeste. I couldn’t help but be moved by the raw, unguarded emotions.

The guilt is slowly eating away at him and he refuses to talk to anyone about it, bottling it up inside. He seems unaware of the effect his erratic temper is having on his brother, sister-in-law and particularly his young nephew.

It isn’t hard to sympathise with Celeste, estranged for so many years from a mother who treated her with heartless indifference, packing her off to boarding school at the age of ten She has grown into an independent, confident and intelligent woman who has carved a life out for herself as a landscape artist. Then to have the letter arrive, casting doubt on everything she believes to be true about her mother, throwing her “perfectly calm and perfectly orderly” life into turmoil She had taught herself over the years not to care but it resurrects all the hurt and anger she’s suppressed. She needs closure.

Maman’s life was an unfinished book. Celeste had to discover the ending, and then she could close the cover for ever.

I like how she refuses to be cowed by Jack’s erratic behaviour and is determined to help him.

Jack and Celeste’s journey is full of emotional, poignant, moving, dramatic and passionate moments and seeing them finally come to terms with their pasts and open their hearts to love was so rewarding. I’m sharing some of those moments.

This was the kind of kiss that would never end. Lips and tongues in a slow dance. Hands smoothing, stroking. Skin clinging, damp, heating.

~~~~
Celeste grabbed his arm. “You see, you are running away from the truth. Why won’t you talk about it?”

“Take your hands off me. Now.”

She had gone too far. She knew it would be insane to push him further, but she knew with certainty that was exactly what she was going to do. Celeste tilted her head and met his stormy eyes. “No.”

~~~~

But the pain, the tearing blackness, the white heat of his uncontrollable fury, the terror that made him run from himself, the sweats and the shakes, and the dull ache in his head, they were all too real.

~~~~

She kissed him to stop the words babbling out. She was in love. “Jack,” she said, because it was all she could trust herself to say. “Jack.” She loved him. She kissed his eyelids. She loved him.

~~~~

I love Ms Kaye’s attention to detail and her skillful weaving of fact with fiction. Her meticulous historical research is evident throughout the story.

VERDICT: Another beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story from Marguerite Kaye.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2015

 

Comrades in Arms -

Seduced by the Soldier
(free on-line read available Here)

The Soldier’s Dark Secret

The Soldier’s Rebel Lover (Autumn 2015)

My sincere thanks to Marguerite Kaye who provided me with a complimentary copy of her book in return for an honest review.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

This is part three of Eva Devon’s sexy, slightly angsty and very delicious contemporary serial

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Blurb:

Part Three:

Free of her dead end job, Julie Doyle is in Ireland and staying in an ancient castle with the man of her dreams. But as she learns more about the sexy, tortured, ridiculously rich lord, is her too good to be true fantasy about to become a nightmare?

Damian Fitzgerald never wanted to hurt Julie Doyla. All he wants is to show her how beautiful she is. But with each passing moment of their acquaintance, she cracks the wall around his heart and that is the one thing he can’t allow. To keep his self control, will he abandon her or embrace the woman who speaks to his soul?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source:Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review.

I loved the first two books in this series and was delighted to receive this complimentary copy from Eva Devon.

ONCE UPON A DUKE (Duke’s Club, #1)My Review
DREAMING OF THE DUKE (Duke’s Club, #2)My Review

(Duke’s Club, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Cover Blurb:

A Widow Who Knows What She Wants:

Lady Imogen Cavendish loves making merry. After surviving years of marriage to an old man, having seized her freedom seems the only intelligent thing to have done. Even so, years of dancing her way through parties has lost its’ luster and all she wants now is to spend most of the year on the small estate she’s purchased in Scotland. There’s just one thing. Her neighbor is an infuriating, superior, and exceptionally handsome duke!

An Arrogant Duke Who Knows It All:

Duncan Hamish Fergus, Tenth Duke of Blackburn, does everything right. Duty might as well be his middle name. After his father very nearly ruined his mother and sister’s life, Duncan is determined to never let the family name be tarnished again. Sacrificing his own pleasure seems a small price to pay until he meets the mad capped English woman, Lady Cavendish. In all his years on the path of righteous, no woman has ever tempted him to stray into sin, but no woman has ever been as mischievous or voluptuous as his saucy sassenach neighbor.

Can Imogen teach the oh so proper duke how to have a little fun or will two hearts be broken by propriety?

**** .99 CENTS FOR TEN DAYS ONLY!!! PRICE INCREASES to 3.99 PERMANENTLY MARCH 5th!****

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: A Regency House Party –  Giveaway Prize

I was delighted to win in this book by new-to-me author, Janice Preston.

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Most girls would dream of marriage to the dashing Earl of Stanton, darling of the ton. For plain Lady Felicity Weston, who is used to being ignored, it’s a terrifying prospect!

Richard thought love was for fools. Although, after an explosive wedding night, he’s intrigued by his shy new bride.

Day by day the tentative trust between these newlyweds grows. But the stakes in this marriage of convenience are raised when Felicity falls pregnant… Will giving the earl an heir finally help this wallflower blossom into a confident countess?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

(Castle Brides, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Regency propriety and Scottish boldness clash in this Regency romantic suspense flavored with a liberal dose of humor and a dash of inspiration.

Here’s a short blurb:

Not a day has gone by that Ewan McTavish, the Viscount Sethwick, hasn’t dreamed of the beauty he danced with two years ago. He’s determined to win her heart and make her his own. Heiress, Yvette Stapleton, is certain of one thing; marriage is risky and, therefore, to be avoided. At first, she doesn’t recognize the dangerously handsome man who rescues her from assailants on London’s docks, but Lord Sethwick’s passionate kisses soon have her reconsidering her cynical views on matrimony. On a mission to stop a War Office traitor, Ewan draws Yvette into deadly international intrigue. To protect her, he exploits Scottish law, declaring her his lawful wife—without benefit of a ceremony. Yvette is furious upon discovering the irregular marriage is legally binding, though she never said, “I do.” Will Ewan’s manipulation cost him her newfound love?
♥♥♥♥♥

This was Collette Cameron’s debut novel and the first book in her Castle Brides series.  I enjoyed it immensely.

I loved Ewan’s playful nature and wit but also how strong, protective, caring and loyal he is. It was also refreshing to see him in love with a reluctant Yvette rather than the more common scenario of the heroine hopelessly in love with the hero. I understood why his fear of losing Yvette compels him to conceal the truth about their marriage and I felt he genuinely thinks he is doing his best to protect Yvette from the ever-present danger. He also willingly acknowledges how much he regrets betraying Yvette’s trust and I could feel the uncertainty he endures not knowing what her decision might be regarding the future of their marriage.

Yvette had to deal with lot – the mysterious deaths of her parents, her equally mysterious riding accident and her step-brother’s attempted abductions, culminating in her escape to England. She certainly has spirit not to mention “a gun in her valise and a blade in her reticule“! Though well-educated, strong-willed and independent, she has an air of vulnerability. Her wealth is something of a millstone because she always fears that her suitors have more interest in her money than herself. She is determined to live her own life, marrying only for love to a husband of her choice. I understand why she is so wary of Ewan’s motives for entering into the “fake” betrothal, fears which only seem to be ratified when she discovers how Ewan has tricked her. I enjoyed seeing Yvette discover that her wealth need not be a burden but a way she could not only help Ewan’s people but also Ewan.

Ewan and Yvette are an engaging couple and their romance is funny, emotional, romantic and, at times, steamy. There is an undeniable chemistry between them and watching them negotiate the rocky patches in their relationship made for a pleasurable read. Here are a few of my favourite moments:

Peeking at him from beneath her lashes, she reached to straighten her bonnet. It hung askew off the side of her head , like a giant, drooping peony. She shoved it back into place but the moment she removed her hand, it flopped over once again.

~~~

Lowering himself until his head rested on the same pillow she slept upon, he lay watching her sleep. Scant inches separated their faces. She murmured something intelligible and scooted closer to him, then nestled her head in the crook of his arm. Her silky head fit perfectly beneath his chin. Wrapping her in his arms, he snuggled her soft body closer, until she was cocooned within his embrace.
~~~

She sucked in a sharp breath, tensing as the water level rose, announcing her husband’s presence. She waited, anticipating his touch. When it didn’t come, she dared to steal a look over her shoulder, His hair was lathered with soap. Grinning, he winked at her. A nuance of desire smoldered in his eyes.

~~~

Lifting her left hand, he slipped a sapphire ring on her finger. Four sapphires framed a ruby. “The sapphires reminded me of your eyes, cherie, one for each corner of the earth, and the ruby is my heart. There’s nowhere on earth you may go, you’ll not carry my heart with you. ‘Tis wholly, now, forever and always, yours.”

~~~

The secondary characters play an important role in the story and I love Ewan’s family…the way they interact with each other and their loyalty to Ewan. I particularly like Ewan’s eldest sister, the fiercely independent, breeches wearing, Adaira. I’m looking forward to reading “The Earl’s Enticement” to see what happens between Adaira and Yvette’s other step-brother, Roark, the Earl of Clarendon, particularly after their rather tense first meeting. I must mention the bombastic, busy-body Mrs Pettigrove, Yvette’s unwelcome companion for a time, who suffers from unfortunate “digestive disruptions”!

Ms Cameron maintains the suspense well as Ewan seeks to protect Yvette from some nasty villains and uncover the identity of the traitor within the Diplomatic Corps.

While I appreciate that Ms Cameron wanted to create authenticity with the use of the Scottish and French dialects, I just found it distracting. I couldn’t understand either why Ewan, a Scotsman, would continually use French endearments when talking to Yvette. This stopped me from giving the book a 4.5 star rating.

Despite this criticism, I did enjoy this story and certainly want to read more of Collette Cameron’s books.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2015

Castle Brides series (click on the cover for more details):

Highlander's Hope (Castle Brides Series) by Collette Cameron The Viscount's Vow by Collette Cameron The Earl's Enticement by Collette Cameron

 

Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review.

Genre: Historical Romance (Medieval – 1136 A.D.)

Cover Blurb:

Earned respect is sweet…but deserved revenge is sweeter.

Warren de Tracy was assured the Welsh village of Dinefwr would be an easy conquest, as would the widow of its fallen prince. Wedding her will appease the locals and win the respect of his liege, the usurper King Stephen.

Instead, Warren is ambushed, taken prisoner by a hooded Welshwoman with skin that glows like moonlight. If he must die at her hands, at least his honorable death will silence the whispers of disloyalty hanging over his name.

Princess Eleri has never seen a knight as stoic—and as eager to die—as Warren. She’d love to oblige the bastard, but something in his ocean-blue eyes stays her hand. Plus, suspicion nags at her, for the arrows that wounded him and killed his men are Norman, not Welsh.

A ghostly prophecy portends danger that thrusts the enemies closer together, where hate explodes into passion that won’t allow Eleri to surrender Warren to her vengeful clan. But returning him to his king breaks more than it mends…and for Warren, retaliation will be sweet, indeed.

Warning: Contains a Norman warrior with a thirst for justice, a Welsh rebel princess with second sight and a steady bow hand, magical prophecies, and a plot of royal proportions

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review.

(House of Haverstock, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Another of Cheryl Bolen’s classic marriage-of-convenience stories

An innocent visit to the Duke of Aldridge’s to request a donation for her war widows puts Lady Elizabeth Upton in the midst of a most shocking scandal. . .

The Duke of Aldridge offers for his best friend’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Upton, after a mix-up sends her to his bedchamber—just as he’s emerging from his bath. She most certainly does not want to force the duke’s hand, but how can she bear the shame her scandalous behavior has cast upon her dear brother, the Marquess of Haverstock?

Once she agrees to marry her childhood heartthrob, Elizabeth realizes she wants nothing more than to win her husband’s love. But capturing his heart is no easy task when former loves threaten to destroy the fragile bonds of their marriage.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review.

(The Heart of a Duke, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Polite Society doesn’t take Lady Anne Adamson seriously. However, Anne isn’t just another pretty young miss. When she discovers her father betrayed her mother’s love and her family descended into poverty, Anne comes up with a plan to marry a respectable, powerful, and honorable gentleman— a man nothing like her philandering father.

Armed with the heart of a duke pendant, fabled to land the wearer a duke’s heart, she decides to enlist the aid of the notorious Harry, 6th Earl of Stanhope. A scoundrel with a scandalous past, he is the last gentleman she’d ever wed…however, his reputation marks him the perfect man to school her in the art of seduction so she might ensnare the illustrious Duke of Crawford.

Harry, the Earl of Stanhope is a jaded, cynical rogue who lives for his own pleasures. Having been thrown over by the only woman he ever loved so she could wed a duke, he’s not at all surprised when Lady Anne approaches him with her scheme to capture another duke’s affection. He’s come to appreciate that all women are in fact greedy, title-grasping, self-indulgent creatures. And with Anne’s history of grating on his every last nerve, she is the last woman he’d ever agree to school in the art of seduction. Only his friendship with the lady’s sister compels him to help.

What begins as a pretend courtship, born of lessons on seduction, becomes something more, leaving Anne to decide if she can give her heart to a reckless rogue, and Harry must decide if he’s willing to again trust in a lady’s love.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is Lady Phoebe Batten and Captain James Trevillion’s story – publication date: 26th May 2015

Follow this link to Elizabeth Hoyt’s website to read an excerpt.

http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/books/dearestrogue.php

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