Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Linden’

(Wagers of Sin #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb (Amazon):

When you gamble at love . . .

When Hugh Deveraux discovers his newly inherited earldom is bankrupt, he sets about rebuilding the family fortune—in the gaming hells of London. But the most daring wager he takes isn’t at cards. A wealthy tradesman makes a tantalizing offer: marry the man’s spinster daughter and Hugh’s debts will be paid and his fortune made. The only catch is that she must never know about their agreement.

You risk losing your heart . . .

Heiress Eliza Cross has given up hope of marriage until she meets the impossibly handsome Earl of Hastings, her father’s new business partner. The earl is everything a gentleman should be, and is boldly attentive to her. It doesn’t take long for Eliza to lose her heart and marry him.

But when Eliza discovers that there is more to the man she loves—and to her marriage—her trust is shattered. And it will take all of Hugh’s power to prove that now his words of love are real.


This is the second book in Caroline Linden’s Wagers of Sin series and she succeeds in giving the popular ‘marriage of convenience’ trope a refreshingly different twist in this intelligently written and wonderfully romantic story.

On becoming Earl of Hastings, Hugh Devereaux was shocked to discover that his beloved father had frittered away the family’s entire fortune, leaving Hugh with a bankrupt estate, huge debts and no money for his sisters’ dowries or his mother’s widow’s jointure. How could he tell them that the man they all adored had left them virtually penniless? He simply couldn’t cause even more distress to his already grieving family and resolved to deal with matters himself. Only one option was open to him – marry an heiress, but not just yet. During the past few years, his luck at the card tables has enabled Hugh to pay off the most pressing debts and keep the family afloat but now, with his sister, Edith’s, imminent engagement, he needs to provide her with a dowry. So when Edward Cross approaches him with a solution to all his financial problems, Hugh cannot refuse. In return, he must court and marry Cross’s daughter, but she must never know of their agreement.

Edward Cross is one of the wealthiest men in England, having made his fortune speculating in shares. Ever since his wife died in childbirth, Elizabeth (Eliza), his only daughter, has become the centre of his universe and he is determined that she will acquire all the accomplishments befitting a lady. His ultimate goal is for her to marry an aristocrat and he is prepared to do anything to achieve it. Rather plain and shy, Eliza would rather remain single than marry a man who values her dowry more than herself, and is quite content looking after her father, playing with her dog, Willy, and tending her garden. However, when she meets and gets to know her father’s new business partner, the handsome and charming Hugh Deveraux, Earl of Hastings, she is soon hopelessly in love. To her delight, he seems to genuinely like her, and when he asks to court her and then proposes, she willingly accepts, totally unaware of the agreement made between Hugh and her father.

I couldn’t help but sympathise with Hugh who is caught between a rock and a hard place. He is an honourable man who cares deeply for his family and is determined to protect them from the harsh truth about his father. The only way he can achieve this is by deceiving a young woman who he knows will get hurt if she discovers the truth.

Eliza is such a lovely heroine – so warm-hearted, honest, generous and selfless, with a surprisingly droll sense of humour, and nothing like her manipulative father. I liked how she found such joy in simple pleasures and the scenes with Willy were charming and funny too. However, there is nothing weak about her because she has a core of steel when needed.

She would hold up her head and be strong, and not let any slight cow her. She was a countess now, Hugh’s countess—incredible thought—and she must rise to the demands of her position.

Watching Eliza win over Hugh’s mother and sisters with her warmth, kindness and understanding was so heartwarming.

I loved how the relationship evolved between Hugh and Eliza, particularly on Hugh’s part. He may have been blackmailed into marrying Eliza but he has every intention of being a kind and faithful husband, which only strengthened my opinion that he is honourable man. I love how each day he comes to appreciate Eliza more and more, discovering things about her that he had never anticipated.

He liked simply talking to her, which he had not expected. Eliza was a wonderful listener, caring and thoughtful, with clever ideas and a knack for making him laugh even when he didn’t mean to.

They are so perfect together both emotionally and sexually, and it’s obvious that Hugh is falling head over heels in love with his wife, but the fear of Eliza discovering the truth is constantly weighing on his mind. He knows that he should tell her but not only does he not want to lose her, he also knows how hurt she would be to learn of her father’s machinations.

He didn’t want to hurt his wife, and he damned sure didn’t want to risk losing her. Not when he thought he might be falling in love with her. So he added one more facet to the bargain he’d made with the devil: keep the truth from Eliza at all costs, for her sake and for his own.

I knew it was only a question of time before Eliza discovered Hugh’s duplicity and the scene where she confronts him is so heartbreaking that it was hard to believe that they could ever be reconciled. But when the reconciliation does come, it really touches the heart.

He tipped up her chin until her gaze met his. “I want you for you, my love. If you no longer want me -“
“I do,” she said, blinking back tears.

Eliza’s dearest friends, Sophie and Georgiana, are on hand to offer her moral support and advice when she most needs it.

I couldn’t really hate Edward Cross because he loved his daughter and, however misguided his actions were, he only wanted to do what he thought would make her happy. He hoped Hugh would see what a treasure she was and he did. I was pleased to see hints of a reconciliation between father and daughter in the Epilogue.

I loved this book and Caroline Linden proves yet again why she is one of the foremost Historical Romance authors. Highly recommended.

Originally posted on Goodreads

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My Once and Future Duke.jpg

(The Wagers of Sin, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance  (Regency 1807 & !819)

Book Blurb (Amazon):

What happens at the infamous Vega Club…

Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.

Stays at the Vega Club…

Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her—for a week.

Until now.

A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her, her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off . . .


Recently, I have been thinking about the authors whose books first encouraged my love of Historical Romance. Regrettably some of these authors, such as Caroline Linden, seem to have fallen by the wayside as new authors came along to capture my interest. MY ONCE AND FUTURE DUKE, the first book in her new The Wagers of Sin series, provided the perfect opportunity to rediscover this talented author.

Orphaned at the age of twelve, when both her beloved parents died of consumption, Sophie Graham was left under the guardianship of her grandfather, Viscount Makepeace. Having disowned Sophie’s father when he ran off and married a French opera singer, Makepeace wanted nothing to do with his granddaughter, a sentiment Sophie fully reciprocated. Anxious to be rid of his unwanted burden, her grandfather enrolled Sophie in Miss Upton’s Academy For Young Ladies, agreeing to pay her tuition fees until her eighteenth birthday – then she would be on her own.

I loved Sophie’s courage and resilience in the face of such life changing events. She does not wallow in self-pity and knows that the only person she can rely on is herself. She could have accepted a position at the academy teaching mathematics but I admired her determination to pursue her Grand Plan in the wider world and to forge a better life for herself.

It was a simple plan, really. Once she had secured her independence, she would be mistress of her own fate and able to chart her own course.

A legacy from her late employer and a small amount of personal savings enable Sophie to travel to London, posing as the widowed Sophie Campbell. Having learned several card games from her father and dicing from the stable boys at the academy, gambling is the one skill Sophie can use to gain the necessary funds to achieve her ultimate goal of marrying a respectable gentleman who could give her the security and family she longs for.

…everything had been proceeding according to that plan . . . until Jack.

At the age of twenty-four, Jack Lindeville’s carefree lifestyle ended abruptly when his father, the Duke of Ware, died after a boating accident. Jack was neither ready nor prepared to assume the heavy burden of responsibilities that came with the dukedom. During the past seven years, Jack has devoted his life to fulfilling his duties, earning him a reputation for being dour and aloof.

I had a lot of sympathy for Jack who, as a young man, had expected to have many more years of freedom before being weighed down with ducal responsibilities, which also included looking after the widow and daughter of his father’s best friend, who had also died in the accident. I hated his mother who constantly showed a preference for her younger son, Philip, making excuses for his excesses while constantly drumming into Jack the need be above reproach in all things, and even resorting to emotional blackmail if he did not do as she wished.

Jack has worked too hard over the years to continue settling his brother’s gambling debts. He has agreed to pay Philip’s latest debt on the condition that he refrains from gambling for a month, and learns to moderate his gambling. However, whilst at the Vega Club to settle said debt, Jack is furious to see his brother there, but his attention is captured by the woman in crimson with whom Philip is gambling. He has not had such a powerful reaction to a woman in years and it leads to him doing something he vowed he would never do — gamble.

Worst of all, he was breaking his own vow to avoid gambling—at hazard, the game designed to beggar a man as speedily as possible. But there was something about this woman that provoked and entranced him beyond all reason.

Ms. Linden writes a tender and sensual romance and I enjoyed the time Jack and Sophie spend alone together at Alwyn House. Although it is only a few days, their relationship blossoms in a natural way that never seems rushed. Alwyn House has always been Jack’s retreat from his relentless duties – a place where he can relax and be himself. I could feel Sophie’s attitude towards Jack softening as they spend time together and she discovers that, beneath that cold, haughty exterior, Jack is a charming, warm-hearted man with a dry sense of humour and a willingness to laugh at himself.

…when he smiled and let down his guard. That flicker of humor and humanity turned him from a cold, haughty duke into an irresistibly attractive man.

Sophie is clever and funny and nothing like the scheming charlatan he had thought her to be. She is clever and funny and the first woman who has ever made him feel like a man, not simply a duke.

As the days pass, it is obvious they have both fallen hopelessly in love and can no longer deny their desire for each other.

His expression was fierce, his eyes burning. “I want to make love to you, Sophie, so badly I can hardly bear it.”
His heart was hammering; she could feel it beneath her palms. Her blood was running just as hot, and she looked him right in the eyes and said, “Yes. Yes.”

But their idyll has to come to an end and, although I knew that their happy ending was never in doubt, there were enough impediments to overcome to keep me turning the pages. My only complaint is the unnecessary drama towards the end and Sophie’s reaction which seems out of character, but this is only minor point and didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the story.

I was touched by the scene in the attics at Alwyn House where Sophie is surrounded by decades of Jack’s family history, something she had never had in her own life but secretly craves. So I was delighted when she discovers that she does have a genuinely kind relative who is keen to get to know her.

I liked Miss Eliza Cross and Lady Georgiana Lucas, Sophie’s best friends and future heroines. I was also intrigued by Nicholas Dashwood, the enigmatic owner of the Vega Club, and I’m hoping he might get his own book one day.

The Epilogue is not only charming but also provides a teaser for An Earl Like You (Eliza’s story), the second book in the series.

MY VERDICT: I’m so glad to have rediscovered Ms. Linden’s books and I can definitely recommend MY ONCE AND FUTURE DUKE.




 The Wagers of Sin series (click on the book covers for more details):

My Once and Future Duke (The Wagers of Sin, #1) by Caroline Linden An Earl Like You (The Wagers of Sin, #2) by Caroline Linden When the Marquess Was Mine (The Wagers of Sin, #3) by Caroline Linden








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I’m delighted to welcome Award Winning author CAROLINE LINDEN to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

It’s a pleasure to be here.


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

I grew up in the Midwest. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a bit. What was it like? Hot! I remember one summer we had 50+ days in a row where the temperature was over 100 F, and people made T-shirts: I survived the heat wave. And my mother did not like air conditioning—it ran up the electricity bill, plus she actually liked the heat—so mostly we suffered. I live in New England now, and I am relieved that it doesn’t get that hot here.


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

Very easy going. I try not to let stuff get to me too much, unless it’s really important stuff.

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

Definitely both! But cookies are my weakness. I can resist just about anything else sweet or savory, but not a fresh of warm, fresh cookies.

What is your most treasured possession?

I have a quilt, hand-made by my grandmother. It’s beautiful, embroidered (all by hand!) with flowers and vines. When I got married, she had just finished it, so she embroidered my and my husband’s name on the back, in her handwriting. She died only a year later, and I still miss her.

She was a marvelous quilter and knitter. I remember visiting my grandparents when she had her quilting frame set up, and we would crawl under it and play—only on the condition we not touch whatever quilt she had stretched on it.

Caroline Linden interview -quilt (1)
My grandmother’s quilt (the cat would not go away, so he’s in the photo too)

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

That’s a hard one. We live in Massachusetts, and sometimes vacation on Martha’s Vineyard—it would be wonderful to have a home there, where we could easily get away for a few days at a time. But it would also be nice to have a flat in London, or a condo in Aruba.

Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

I have a bunch of brothers, all younger, including one who is much younger; he was born when I was in high school. When he was about 2, my other brothers coached him to call me Mommy whenever we went somewhere like the ice cream shop. Obviously he looked like me a little bit, and I was taking care of him… My teenaged self was MORTIFIED (and yes, I did spend a long time enacting revenge on those other brothers—turning off the hot water while they were showering, showing their girlfriends the naked baby pictures, waking them up by blasting my music next to their heads, etc.)


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

Thank you so much for inviting me! I love all the beautiful photos and places you post on Facebook.

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


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Source: Received a complimentary copy from the author in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

As the Black Raven, she’s cold, distant and alone…untouched by the gossip and scorn of her aristocratic peers. Until he enters her house—and her life—then suddenly her icy shell is no match for the heat of attraction…

Notorious Widow Lisbeth Carslake, Countess of Blackhurst was acquitted of her husband’s murder, but no one believes in her innocence. Known as the Black Raven, bringer of bad luck and death, she is eviscerated by the gossips and mocked in the clubs.

She’s also the subject of London’s most scandalous wager.

Oliver Whitely, Earl of Bellamy, needs money, but it takes more than a few drinks to take on The Black Raven Wager. He finds himself drunk, at her house, and—more surprisingly—agreeing to a business proposal at the end of a fire poker.

She will let him win the wager, and he will help find her husband’s killer before the killer finds her. But business agreements don’t mean trust, and Lisbeth certainly doesn’t trust Oliver, her body’s reaction to him, or her heart.

Love may be the biggest gamble of their lives, but is it a wager their hearts can afford to lose?


Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What if Fitzwilliam Darcy refused to approach Elizabeth Bennet when he observes her upon the grounds of Pemberley? What if Elizabeth permits Mr. Darcy to think her the one ruined by Mr. Wickham? What if love is not enough to bring two souls together?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY’s pride makes the natural leap to ELIZABETH BENNET’s ruination when the lady appears, without notice, upon Pemberley’s threshold to plead for Darcy’s assistance in locating his long-time enemy, George Wickham. Initially, Darcy cannot look beyond the pain of lost hopes, but when Charles Bingley demands that Darcy act with honor, Darcy assumes the task. Even so, the idea of delivering Miss Elizabeth into the hand of Mr. Wickham leaves Darcy raw with anguish. Yet, Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet too much to see her brought low. He sets his heartbreak aside to save the woman he loves, but it is not long before Darcy realizes Elizabeth practices a deception, one Darcy permits so he might remain at her side long enough to convince the lady only in each other can they find happiness.

Their adventure takes more twists and turns than does the original “Pride and Prejudice,” but the reader will enjoy the devotion displayed by Darcy and Elizabeth as they bring Wickham to the line in Lydia Bennnet’s defense, as well as their working their way through multiple misconstructions and vulnerabilities. Darcy’s final wooing of Elizabeth brings to very private individuals to a very public declaration of their love.


Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Forget the horrors. Remember…me…

A shivering young woman leans against a lamppost in the most notorious street of ill repute in all London. For Asher Colborne, Baron of Wenlock, this is a haunting vision of beauty and wretchedness. Uncharacteristically halting his carriage, he is shocked to discover the thin, dressed-in-rags creature is none other than Chastity Armitage, a beautiful angel who captured his heart at a grand ball more than two years past. For Colborne, her circumstance is a mystery he feels honor bound to unravel.

Chastity and her siblings have been on the run for more than two years. Desperate for food and lodging money, she is forced to sell herself. She never expected a tall, handsome man to appear as if from mist and change her life forever. She is given a choice, continue down the path of never ending poverty or become the baron’s mistress.

Though they are both determined the arrangement remain an emotionless business transaction, the attraction between them is scorching. Many barriers and obstacles lay in Chastity and Ash’s path. Can the baron and the mistress embrace true love?


Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Anna, a widow battling alcohol addiction is convinced she is worthless unless she bears a child. She hires a lover to prove she is not frigid and may marry again and have children.

Devlyn, sterile from an accident, has returned from an assignment for the Foreign Office and inadvertently becomes Anna’s lover.

Anna and Devlyn join forces to protect an innocent child from a blackmailer. Can they come to terms not only with their feelings for each other but whether they will allow society to dictate the true significance of life?


Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Scandalous, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Nothing wagered…

Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin.

Nothing won

Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?


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