Do you want to read Chapter 1 of MARRYING WINTERBORNE (The Ravenels, #2)? Just follow the link below.


(The Ravenels, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable…the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Publication date: 31st May 2016

(The Merridew Sisters, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1816)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute…

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

…into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…


**5 CAPTIVATING …”when a rake finally falls, he falls forever” STARS**

This was my first book by Anne Gracie and I will certainly be dipping into more of her books, based on how much I loved this one. It’s romantic, funny and full of characters who totally captured my heart. There are some darker moments, but they never overshadowed the lovely heart-warming feeling I had after I finished reading it.

How could anyone love such a wicked, funny, foolish man? How could they not?

Oh, Gideon is such a wonderful hero. Wickedly charming, amiable and flirtatious, he hides a vulnerable heart beneath his frivolous rakishness. A lonely, sad, loveless childhood has made him determined to embrace a carefree lifestyle, determined to show the world that he cares for nothing and no-one. He sees love as a weakness but that changes the moment he meets a certain Prudence Merridew!

I love how, when everyone else regards Prudence as plain, Gideon sees her as unique and beautiful.

“Plain! Is there something wrong with your eyes? She’s not the slightest bit plain! Those eyes, that smile, that hair— from top to toe, Prudence Merridew is a rare little gem!”

It is refreshing to see Gideon as the one falling hopelessly in love first and being open and honest about his feelings for Prudence. His kindness and thoughtfulness is so clearly revealed in the way he treats Grace, the youngest of the Merridew sisters, and how he brings joy back into all the sisters’ lives.

Prudence could have hugged him. Not since their parents had died had her sisters laughed and sung and giggled with such riotous glee.

It is chilling to read the abuse that Prudence and her four sisters suffered at the hands of their grandfather, a bitter, hate-filled old man, and discovering the true extent of his cruelty towards Prudence is truly heart-rending. Their plight seems more poignant knowing how different their lives had been before their parents died… filled with sunshine and laughter and love and happiness.

Prudence’s overwhelming love for her sisters shines through and she finds the strength, determination and courage to plan their escape from their grandfather’s clutches and find a safe haven with their caring Great-uncle Oswald. It tugged at my heartstrings when Prudence promises them that one day their lives will once more be filled with sunshine, laughter, love and happiness.

Gideon’s determination to win Prudence had me rooting for him all the way but Prudence’s misplaced loyalty to the pompous, mercenary Phillip Otterbury had me so frustrated. Luckily, as with any good romances, Phillip’s true colours are revealed. I love the scene where Gideon outmanoeuvres him with just wit alone.

I loved the kind-hearted Great-uncle Oswald, such a contrast to his brother, and the forceful Aunt Gussie who makes short shrift of Otterbury.

“I am morally responsible for this young lady, and I can see it will do her no good at all to be alone in your company. In fact, Mr. Ottertosh”— she rose from the sofa—“I think it is high time you departed. Shoebridge shall show you the way out.” She reached for the bellpull and yanked hard.

(Ottertosh is just one of various amusing names Otterbury gets called)

There is a sweet secondary romance between the Duke of Dinstable and Charity Merridew which is mostly played out off page and doesn’t detract from the main romance at all.

I love the humour which runs throughout the story and acts as a counterpoint to the darker moments. Here are a couple of my favourite humorous quotes…

“I would appreciate it if you would stop… stop… ogling me like that,” she hissed, tugging her very modest neckline higher. “It is very embarrassing.” She folded her arms across her breasts defensively.

“It wasn’t me”. He tried to look contrite. “It wasn’t me,” he confessed. “It was my eyes. They are bold and easily led and have no sense of propriety.’

“You mustn’t disdain the protection of a frippery shag bag and a medium-sized duke with a tendency to stoutness. We can be formidable fellows when we try, you know.”




Read January 2016


The Merridew Sisters series (click on the book covers for more details):

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters, #1) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Waltz (The Merridew Sisters, #2) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Kiss (The Merridew Sisters, #4) by Anne Gracie

I’m delighted to welcome Award-Winning, Bestselling Author of Historical Romance REGAN WALKER to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

It’s a privilege to be one of your featured authors… a great blog for the historical romance community!



Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Except for a few stints on the East Coast as an adult, I have lived in California since I was 6 months old, which in Californian means I’m a “native”. I loved growing up in a place where the weather is not a concern. I like to be out of doors. When I spent two years in Boston, the winters depressed me and my years in Washington, D.C. told me I am a creature of the West, both in preferences and attitude.


How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Neither. I’m serious, intense and thoughtful and, for the most part, even-tempered. (My nickname in college was “Sunshine”.) However, some of my ancestors are Scottish and Irish (there are lots of redheads in my family) so I can get roused at times. I love vigorous discussions that challenge the mind, that make me think. Small talk is tiring.


When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Both. I like spicy food (Mexican, Indian, etc.) and I like dessert… dark chocolate is one of my food groups. Oh yes, I do have a sweet tooth. But most of my diet is vegetarian… salads… though I do eat seafood.


What is your most treasured possession?

There are many things I love… my Golden Retriever and my Mac desktop come to mind. And I have a large book collection that makes my rooms seem friendly as I’m an avid reader. But for “most treasured” it would be my Bible. A window into the mind of God. That I could not live without.


If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Funny you should ask. I have often thought of that. The Pacific Northwest appeals as I love woods and mountains, but if I had to choose, I think it might be in the Highlands of Scotland, perhaps on Skye. No place on earth calls to me like that place.

Me on the Isle of Skye


Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

I’ve had many regrettable moments and some wonderfully surprising ones but I cannot think of an embarrassing one.



Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Regan.

Thanks so much, Carol, for including me! I’m thrilled to be a part of your wonderful blog.



If you would like to find out more about Regan and her books, here are the links:


(The Dressmakers, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Regency , 1835)

Cover Blurb:

Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can’t see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax’s nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford.

Though he’s unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford’s never been part of fashionable society, and the blonde beauty, though not entirely bereft of brains, isn’t part of his plans. But Clara overwhelms even his infallible logic, and when wedlock looms, all he can do is try not to lose his head over her.

It’s an inconvenient marriage by ordinary standards, but these two are far from ordinary. Can the ton’s most adored heiress and London’s most difficult bachelor fall victim to their own unruly desires?


This, the final book in Loretta Chase’s The Dressmakers series, is Lady Clara Fairfax’s story. Lady Clara has been a popular secondary character throughout the series and I am delighted that she finally gets her well-deserved Happy Ever After. Although this book can easily be read as a standalone, I would urge you not to miss out on the other delightful books in the series.

Being considered the most beautiful and sought after girl in London might seem every girl’s ultimate wish, but for Lady Clara it is nothing but a burden. She is weary of the constant marriage proposals from men who never take the trouble to get to know the real person behind the beautiful face.

Her beauty surrounded her like a great stone wall. Men couldn’t see above, beyond, or through it. They certainly couldn’t think past it.

Intelligent, witty and strong-willed, Clara is stifled by the constraints imposed on her by society. She wants more from life than just being a beautiful adornment on a duke’s arm. She longs for a husband who appreciates her intelligence, challenges her and stimulates her mind.

As patroness of The Milliners Society for the Education of Indigent Females, she is very aware of the poverty that exists and the injustices inflicted on those less fortunate than herself. It is her charitable work that leads her to Oliver Radford’s door, when she enlists his help to rescue an orphan boy from the clutches of an unsavoury London street gang.

Oliver “Raven” Radford is the grandson of a duke but, when his father married a divorcée, his became the less desirable arm of the family. At Eton, he was continually bullied by his odious cousin Bernard, but survived by becoming detached and locking his emotions away.

He pretended that what was happening to him happened to somebody quite separate, that what he felt was felt by another self, who he observed with detachment.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a barrister and has earned a reputation for being super-intelligent, sharp-witted, provoking and tactless. His willingness to prosecute the villains of London’s underworld, who prey on helpless victims, has earned him dangerous enemies.

When the beautiful Lady Clara enters in world, he finds all logical and sensible thoughts flying out of the window.

The chemistry between these two is absolutely delicious and they are so well-matched. Both are intelligent which makes Clara more than a match for the caustic Radford. I love their sarcastic repartee and Radford’s funny internal monologues between his logical self and his emotional, irrational self.

Remarkably fine figure, he was aware of his irrational self thinking. It proceeded to imagine said figure in its natural state. Such meditations were not conducive to clear thinking.
He wrestled the other self into a dark corner in the back of his mind …

The scene where Radford nurses Clara after she falls sick reveals how much he truly cares for her and I love the unique concept of the “trial” scene, showing his determination to fight for Clara.

As in the previous books, Ms Chase’s descriptions of the outrageous hats and the wondrous confections of gowns are a visual treat and I like how her social commentary on women’s role in society and the poverty and injustice existing at the time is woven into the fabric of the story.

…a lady must not find herself in any situation involving lawyers. If she was so misguided as to need one, she must put the matter in the hands of her husband, father, guardian, brother or son.

The danger lurking in the form of a London underworld gang leader intent on killing Radford, his complicated relationship with his cousin Bernard and the need to adapt to his unwelcome change in circumstances, all add extra layers to the story.

MY VERDICT: A fabulous finale to this series and one I can definitely recommend.




Read January 2016

The Dressmakers series (click on the book covers for more details):

Silk Is for Seduction (The Dressmakers, #1) by Loretta Chase Scandal Wears Satin (The Dressmakers, #2) by Loretta Chase Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers, #3) by Loretta Chase Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers, #4) by Loretta Chase

I’m delighted to welcome to USA Today Bestselling Author KATHRYN LE VEQUE to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much for having me today, Carol! I know your blog is called Rakes and Rascals, but I’d like to call it Rakes and Rascals and Knights for today, lol! Yes, I’m bringing the Medieval England Sassenach contingent with me, as usual, but it’s such a fun and vibrant genre. I’m so excited to be able to share a bit of myself with your readers today!



Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

I was born in at Glendale Adventist Hospital in Glendale, CA. My parents lived in Pasadena but my mom’s doctor worked in Glendale. I was taken home from the hospital to our home in Pasadena, the city I lived in and grew up in. I can only remember living in two houses as a child – one when I was very small and then when I was about seven, my parents purchased the home they still live in today. Talk about going home again! I have so many memories in that 1925 English Tudor, so even though I’ve lived in many homes since moving out, that house is still ‘home’ for me. I have a younger brother and we had a pretty average childhood. We received bikes at Christmastime (when what I really wanted was a horse!) and, being the older sister, I tended to bully my brother and push him around. I was a mean big sister. But then my brother grew up – he’s about 6’4” and I’m about 5’4”. Needless to say, I don’t bully him any longer… lol! Actually, I adore him. He grew up to be one of my best friends.

My schooling was also unspectacular – I was an excellent student (though school bored me, mostly. Snooze.) and my favorite classes were History, English, and music. Fun fact: I play four different instruments (flute, piccolo, viola, bassoon), read music in all three clefs, have played in marching bands and symphony orchestras, played flute semi-professionally, and I also took a hand at writing music in my music theory classes. I have a very big musical background that, unfortunately, I didn’t continue past college.


How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

That’s an interesting question – I am fairly easy going but definitely an A-personality. I’m a live and let-live type. I can be flexible and very understanding, and I try to be thoughtful and generous especially when it comes to my readers. Without them, there is no me, so I make sure to show my appreciation. But on the flip side, I stand up for myself and for others. I don’t take anyone’s crap. I have my opinions, and they are strong ones, and I run my business like I run my life – with honesty, integrity, determination, and joy. I get things done. I’m a producer. I work 12 hours a day, sometimes more on a deadline, so I am dedicated to succeeding and to producing the best product I can. I am definitely a workhorse. But I’m not all work – I laugh a lot! I love my friends but, as any writer will tell you, writing is a solitary life and an introverted one to a certain extent. I love my alone time when I can focus and create. My husband will tell you that I’m ‘bossy’, but moms usually are, aren’t they?

Me in my marching band days in 1980


When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Savoury, definitely! I’m a salt fiend! Seriously, I’m pretty simple in my tastes. I like simple dishes, well prepared, and I’m not huge on meat although I’m not a vegetarian. Fun fact: I have a lot of food allergies and I have a severe tree nut allergy, so that keeps my scope of food I’m able to eat somewhat limited. You’d be surprised what has nuts in it!


What is your most treasured possession?

My grandmother’s locket that has original pictures of my grandfather and father from the 1940’s. I remember her wearing it and when I wear it, I feel her. Hard to describe, but it really means something to me. She was actually the first person I ever saw reading a romance novel (Barbara Cartland or a Harlequin paperback) and she was my first real introduction into the romance genre. Unfortunately, she passed away before I become published, but I like to think that she would have really loved my books.


If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Something my husband and I debate every day! I’d love to have a beach house along the Pacific coast, or a townhome in San Francisco. I’d even like a country cottage in England, in Norfolk or Dorset. Love those areas. But I’m definitely a California girl – it’s God’s country. I’ve seen some of the world but California, around Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, are beyond compare. Spectacular.

My husband and I at Yosemite National Park in the snow


Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Holy smokes! What a question! Lol! I’d have to say at my wedding in 2013 – I did a very stupid thing and wore shoes that were new, and very high, and about two minutes into the ceremony, my feet were killing me. As in ‘I’m about to die’ killing me. So I spent a lot of time shifting around on my feet to relieve the pressure and people thought I had to go to the bathroom. That’s all I heard afterwards. Oh, brother……! lol


Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Kathryn.

You’re so kind to have me as your guest. Thank you so much for sharing me and other authors with your readers. I know I speak for all of your guests when I say that we are very grateful for your interest and enthusiasm in who we are and what we do. And to your readers – thank you for taking the time to read my novels (if you have), and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll pick up one (or three or ten)!


If you would like to find out more about Kathryn and her books, here are the links:




Congratulations Margaret! I have passed your email details to Stella so that she can arrange to send your prize to you.

Happy Listening!


I have been tagged to do the Disney Book Tag by the lovely Frankie of Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Blog


This was one Tag Game I was happy to do because it presented such an interesting challenge. So without further ado, here is my selection.

The Little Mermaid: a character who is out of their element, a fish out of water.

My choice is Mick Tremore from Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, a cocky Cornish ratcatcher who has to pass himself off as a gentleman.


Cinderella: a character who goes through a major transformation.

This has to be “Charming” Mickey O’Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3), the ultimate bad boy who transforms into a swoon-worthy hero.


Snow White: a book with an eclectic cast of characters.

I’m selecting Renee Bernard’s Devil May Care which is full of unique and off-beat characters.


Sleeping Beauty: a book that put you to sleep

I can’t really recall any books that put me to sleep so I’m selecting Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4) which turned out to be a tremendous disappointment.


The Lion King: a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood.

Amy Masters from Catherine Anderson’s Comanche Heart (Comanche, #2) is my choice here. She suffered a terrible ordeal at the age of twelve, when captured by a band of Comancheros.


Beauty and the Beast: a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful.

This is not so much a book as a whole series. J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is now on its 13th book and that equates to an awful lot of pages!!


Aladdin: a character that gets their wish granted, for better or worse.

Sebastion St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3) is in need of a fortune and wishes for a miracle which comes in a unlikely form.


Mulan: a character who pretends to be something or someone they’re not.

In Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) barmaid Pauline Simms pretends to be a future duchess.


Toy Story: a book with characters you wish would come to life.

It has to be all the characters from Lisa Kleypas’s wonderful Wallflowers series.


Disney descendants: your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.

No hesitation here, it has to be the deliciously wicked Viscount Ludovic DeVere from Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series.


I am not tagging anyone but, if any of my fellow bloggers would like to take part in the Disney Book Tag, please feel free to do so.

LovesHistorical Book Reviews

Mother. Blogger. Southern Belle. Makeup geek. Avid reader. Books are my addiction. Highlanders are my passion.

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where romance novels intersect with my inner heroine

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