Posts Tagged ‘Regency Era’

I’ve added this to my must-read list.

(Once Upon a Rogue Novel, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion. But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage. Behind her husband’s sudden icy facade, Sophia believes dwells the caring, passionate man she loves. To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives.


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(Scandalous Seasons, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Geoffrey Winters, Viscount Redbrooke was not always the hard, unrelenting lord driven by propriety. After a tragic mistake, he resolved to honor his responsibility to the Redbrooke line and live a life, free of scandal. Knowing his duty is to wed a proper, respectable English miss, he selects Lady Beatrice Dennington, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, the perfect woman for him. Until he meets Miss Abigail Stone…

To distance herself from a personal scandal, Abigail Stone flees America to visit her uncle, the Duke of Somerset. She finds herself helplessly intrigued by the hard, too-proper Geoffrey. With his strict appreciation for decorum and order, he is nothing like the man she’s always dreamed of.

Abigail is everything Geoffrey does not need. She upends his carefully ordered world at every encounter. As they begin to care for one another, Abigail carefully guards the secret that resulted in her journey to England.

Only, if Geoffrey learns the truth about Abigail, he must decide which he holds most dear–his place in Society or Abigail’s place in his heart.


I have fallen in love with this series and, in this third book, Christi Caldwell weaves an emotional, passionate and romantic opposites attract story.

Geoffrey was introduced in NEVER COURTED, SUDDENLY WED as the heroine Sophie’s aloof and rigidly proper older brother. Duty and responsibility are his bywords but he hadn’t always been this stickler for propriety. Five years ago, Geoffrey had fallen in love and chosen to put his own desires before everything else… a decision that was to have tragic consequences. It is easy to understand the guilt he has subsequently carried and his overwhelming need to somehow atone for what happened by putting duty and honour above all else. He knows he has an obligation to marry and produce a heir and he believes he has found the perfect candidate in Lady Beatrice Pennington… a demure, polite and respectable young lady. I love the ways in which Ms Caldwell reveals Geoffrey’s desire for an orderly life, like the list he compiles detailing the essential components for wooing a respectable young lady…

Ices at Gunter’s.
A walk in Hyde Park.
Several waltzes
A trip to the theatre.

or calling his dog “Decorum”..

Abigail has come to England to stay with her uncle in the hope of leaving her scandalous past behind in America. This one mistake has resulted in her having to leave her family, home and everything she loves, knowing that nothing in her life could ever be the same again.

Her heart twisted. It would never be the same. She could not regain what had been lost; her virtue, her pride, her good name.

It is easy to feel her pain ad regret and understand her feelings of guilt for letting her family down. Her fear that she may never be able to return home is all too real.

Although there is an instant attraction between Abigail and Geoffrey, the actual romance builds slowly. I love the scene where Geoffrey rescues Abigail from the clutches of the lecherous Lord Carmichael. With nothing more than simple touch, Ms Caldwell conveys a wonderful sense of intimacy between them.

As if a man possessed, Geoffrey’s hand came up of its own volition to stroke the silken curve of her cheek.


“Thank you.” Abigail leaned up and placed her lips along his cheek. “I…just, thank you.” The husky timbre of her voice washed of him.

Abigail turns Geoffrey’s orderly world upside down. Unconventional, bold and outspoken, she is totally unsuitable but he can’t resist her. Propriety seems to fly out of the window! I love his jealous reaction when his friend, Lord Sinclair, shows an interest in Abigail – he wanted to snarl and toss the table aside and bloody Sinclair.

Geoffrey’s rejection of Abigail, after he learns of the true reason she left America, is so heart-breaking. I felt for both of them and it was hard to imagine how such a rift could be healed. It takes some straight talking from Lord Sinclair to make Geoffrey realise just how much Abigail means to him. Cue happy ending….not quite because there is one more twist in the story that I certainly didn’t see coming.

I love the significance of the tale of Dionysus and Ariadne and when Geoffrey gives Abigail a certain gift towards the end of the book, it is wonderfully romantic. In the Epilogue, Geoffrey is finally able to shed the guilt he has carried all those years.
I like the charming, roguish Lord Sinclair and Abigail’s cousins, Beatrice and Robert, who treat her with such kindness and concern. Of course, it is always a pleasure to see characters from the previous books.

Overall, an enchanting story that is both heart-warming and heart-rending.



Read March 2015

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):
Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons, #2) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons, #3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons, #4) by Christi Caldwell A Marquess for Christmas (Scandalous Seasons Book 5) by Christi Caldwell Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love (Scandalous Seasons, # 6) by Christi Caldwell

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(Scandalous Seasons, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Christopher Ansley, Earl of Waxham, has constructed a perfect image for the ton—the ladies love him and his company is desired by all. Only two people know the truth about Waxham’s secret. Unfortunately, one of them is Miss Sophie Winters.

Sophie Winters has known Christopher since she was in leading strings. As children, they delighted in tormenting each other. Now at one and twenty, she still has a tendency to find herself in scrapes, and her marital prospects are slim.

When his father threatens to expose his shame to the ton, unless he weds Sophie for her dowry, Christopher concocts a plan to remain a bachelor. What he didn’t plan on, was falling in love with the lively, impetuous Sophie. As secrets are exposed, will Christopher’s love be enough when she discovers his role in his father’s scheme?


This is the second book in Christi Caldwell’s “Scandalous Seasons” and, once again, she enchanted me with her delightful characters and captivating love story.

God, how he loathed the written word. The constant reminder of his failings; a secret shame he carried.

My heart ached for the young Christopher, struggling academically because he had difficulty reading (what we would now recognise as dyslexia) and trying desperately to win his father’s approval, only to be treated with scorn and physical abuse. Over the years he has acquired some of the finest horses and his wit and charm have made him the darling of the ton and popular with the ladies. However, ever present is the knowledge that one day Society will discover his shameful secret.

Christopher’s father, the Marquess of Milford, is a thoroughly detestable man. Not only does he constantly remind Christopher of his shortcomings but, facing financial ruin because of poor investments and his gambling habits, he is intent on forcing Christopher into marrying Sophie for her fortune. He threatens to expose his son to Society as a “penniless simpleton” and even have him committed to Bedlam if Christopher refuses to agree his demands. Christopher hates the idea of being a fortune hunter and is determined to come up with a scheme to thwart his father’s plans. He has no wish to marry the hoyden who made his early years a misery and who, in Christopher’s eyes, has come to ‘represent an extension of his father’s cruelty
Society had their diamonds of the first water. In Sophie’s case, she’d never been considered a paste gem on the muddy Thames.

I love Sophie because I can so easily relate to this unconventional heroine. She is short, plump and, at the age of 22, fast approaching spinsterhood but also bold and spirited. She is regarded as a social oddity and her unfortunate tendency towards clumsiness makes her fodder for Lady Ackerly’s Tattle Sheet. Her mother and brother are pushing her to find a husband and, although she longs for a loving husband and a family of her own, she is practical enough to realise that she is unlikely to make a match of her own choosing.

When her brother, Geoffrey, proposes Christopher as a good match, Sophie refuses point blank to marry him. At the time Sophie made her come-out, she had hoped that their childhood animosity was a thing of the past and she could rely on Christopher’s friendship and support to ease her way into society. But he had pointedly ignored her and his flawless image among the ton only served to highlight her own imperfections.

I love the scene in the library when the masked Sophie and Christopher are unaware of each other’s identity. They are just two strangers meeting for the first time and sharing an instant attraction. I enjoyed the irony of the situation and the fact that a certain item in this scene becomes important towards the end of the book in bringing about Sophie and Christopher’s Happy Ever After.

They are such an endearing couple and their romance is heart-warming, funny, emotional and romantic. As always I’m sharing some of my favourite moments which I hope will provide a taster for this delightful romance.

He wiped away a lone tear from her cheek, and then froze. It was as though a bolt of lightning had jolted him right there amidst Hyde Park’s lush greenery. Emerald green and turquoise flecks dotted her irises, a shade of blue to rival the purest ocean waters. They were the kind of eyes a man could lose himself in.


All along she’d thought him no better than the fanged monsters of the Red Parlor. In actuality, he’d been a kind of Lancelot, intending to slay her demons.


Only Christopher had come to appreciate her wit , intelligence, and …the candlelight bathed her face in a soft glow— the depth of her beauty.


There had also been a niggling of something deep and dark that he didn’t recognize . Something green and ugly that had festered inside him the moment Sophie’s bow-shaped lips had tipped up in a smile for Mallen. An emotion that felt like… jealousy.


“He loves you.” He glanced back out the window.
“How do you know?” The question tumbled from her lips , exposing the hope and dream in her heart.
A slight smile pulled at his lips. “How do I know?”
She nodded . “Yes,” she said, remembering he couldn’t see her.
“Because it looks as though he’s been dragged through hell without his valet.”
Her brow wrinkled. “What?”
Mallen nodded toward the window. “Your husband has arrived, my lady.”

The secondary characters add an extra layer to the story. Ms Caldwell succeeds in making Christopher’s father a truly hateful character which makes me all the more sympathetic to Christopher’s dilemma. I wanted to cheer from the rooftops when Sophie confronts him:

“It pains me to know the abuse Christopher endured at your hands. Hopefully, at some point, in these late years of your life, you reconcile the harm you did to your son… and search for peace, because if not, I’m certain there is a dark place in hell reserved for the soulless cowards like yourself .”

Although he really cares for Sophie, her brother Geoffrey is the epitome of everything that is rigid and proper and it will be interesting to see him paired with the highly unconventional and bold American, Abigail in “Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous”.

Emmeline and Drake (Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride) make a welcome appearance offering support to Sophie when she is in desperate need of a friend.

I must mention Sophie’s partner in crime, her dog, Duke, and this exchange between Sophie and the Duke of Mallen was particularly amusing.

“You named your dog Duke?”
She nodded, hugging the dog close. “He is a commanding, arrogant little thing and so it seemed perfectly appropriate…” Sophie swallowed the remainder of her words as she realized the insult she’d dealt the powerful peer.

The final column Christopher puts in Lady Ackerly’s Tattle Sheet for Sophie is just so heart-warmingly romantic and the Epilogue left me with a lovely warm glow.

Overall, another enchanting addition to this delightful series. Definitely recommended.



Read February 2015

Scandalous Seasons series (Click on book covers for more details):

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons, #2) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons, #3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons, #4) by Christi Caldwell A Marquess for Christmas (Scandalous Seasons Book 5) by Christi Caldwell Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love (Scandalous Seasons Book 6) by Christi Caldwell

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(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.



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.

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(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.



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


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(The Spies of Mayfair, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then, weak fool that he is, he kissed her…

Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago — when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss…


I thoroughly enjoyed this second book in Maggi Andersen’s The Spies of Mayfair series with its engaging story, appealing characters and delightful romance. There is also mystery, drama and intrigue.

John Haldane, Earl of Straithairn:

Somehow, the surge of adrenaline and sense of living on the edge banished the anguish he carried. And nothing else had thus far come close.

John is a man of action rather than words and, after returning from the Napoleonic Wars, he can’t contemplate hours of debating in the House of Lords. So he inhabits the dark and dangerous world of spying in an attempt to uncover Napoleonic sympathisers threatening to destabilise the British Government. The intelligence work has also given him a purpose in life that he found missing after his return from the war. It also helps keep at bay the terrible wartime memories that continue to haunt his dreams.

John and Sibella have shared a close friendship but his feelings have deepened beyond friendship. But he knows that, in his line of work, death could be lurking just around the corner and he is determined to remain single. His resolve is further strengthened when a close colleague is murdered leaving behind a wife and child. He could never subject a wife to such pain and so he keeps his feelings in check.

Lady Sibella Winborne

No wonder her mother was giving any likely candidate for her hand a push. Unfortunately, Mama didn’t push; she shoved.

Whilst her mother has been occupied with bringing out the last of Sibella’s three sisters and enjoying her grandchildren, Sibella has managed to avoid several suitors over the years since her own come out. However, at the age of twenty six, she is in danger of being left on the shelf and her mother is now pressurising her to marry.

John Haldane, a family friend, is the only man she has ever desired but he has a strong aversion to marriage. Believing John will never be hers and longing for a home of her own and a family, she may be willing to settle for her brother’s choice of suitor, the polite and well-mannered Lord Coombe.

Sibella and John’s story has all the elements I look for in  a romance:

A protective, caring hero:

He fought the strong pull of attraction; he could not bend. His life was too dangerous; he would never risk Sibella. She was far too precious.

A strong-willed, intelligent heroine:

But now, after that kiss! She’d find a way to make him face the truth. They were after all, perfectly suited.

Delicious sexual tension:

With a swift movement, he cradled her face in his hands; his lips, firm but gentle, covered hers, stifling her gasp of surprise. Coherent thought slipped away as his arm encircled her waist and pulled her hard against him. His hold tightened and the kiss deepened, teasing her lips and stealing her breath.

A few stumbling blocks along the way:

“I don’t enjoy having to say this to you John, but it befalls me as head of the family. Sib has a love of home and hearth. She looks for a husband who will sit by the fire with her at night. That isn’t you, is it?”
“She deserves the best, and no, it isn’t me, Chaloner.”


And somewhere, a ruthless murderer lurked, well-armed and with some evil design to bring chaos to England

Of course, this is a romance, so assuredly there will be a Happy Ever After…

Moments later, Straithairn slipped the gold band on her finger. He exhaledon a long sigh of contentment.
She was his.

Once again, Ms Andersen has woven true historical events into the story, creating a real sense of the era with its political and social unrest.

A charming romance and a touch of intrigue combine to make Taming a Gentleman Spy a wonderfully entertaining story.




Read February 2015

The Spies of Mayfair series (click on the book cover for more details):

A Baron in Her Bed (The Spies of Mayfair) by Maggi Andersen Taming a Gentleman Spy by Maggi Andersen What a Rake Wants by Maggi Andersen


I would like to thank the author, Maggi Andersen, for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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(Marlow Intrigues, #1.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

From Kindle bestselling Historical romance author, Jane Lark, comes a brand new FREE novella to accompany her breathtaking Marlow Intrigues series.

This novella tells the story of secondary characters from The Illicit Love of a Courtesan…

Rupert Stanforth, Earl of Morton, is exasperated by his sister’s choice of friend. Meredith Divine clings, using Rowena’s plain appearance as a foil for her auburn curls and fuller figure. He would break the friendship, but the more he complains, the more time the girls spend together. Ceasing his disagreement, he hopes the friendship will die, believing Meredith will take a wrong step soon…

Meredith clings to her only friend, Lady Rowena Stanforth, despite the disgusted looks thrown by Rowena’s proud, judgmental brother. Lord Morton cannot abide Meredith because of her low standing, but Meredith’s heart favours him . . . then in his single act of kindness, Meredith grasps an opportunity she cannot resist…


Last year I read and loved Jane Lark’s The Illicit Love of a Courtesan but this novella just didn’t work for me. It lacked strong character development and a believable romance.

My Thoughts

I believe the story would have benefited from being a full-length novel. Rupert and Meredith had the potential to be such interesting and complex characters but, within the confines of this novella, they lacked the necessary in-depth  characterisation  and seemed very one-dimensional. So I found it difficult to relate to them and understand their thoughts and actions.

Rupert came across as a stuffy, pompous snob and I disliked how he judged Meredith to be a scheming opportunist simply because her father was in trade.

He wished nothing to do with the little schemer. Her father was in some sort of trade. Rupert had not even wished Rowena to befriend Miss Divine , let alone become so thick with her.

Even his final change of heart seemed to be based more on the fact that Meredith was “a delicious, sultry hoyden” in bed on their wedding night (hard to believe when she is a virgin!) rather than his truly falling in love with her.

Why did it have to be him her heart favoured?

I asked myself that same question. I couldn’t understand what attracted Meredith to a man whose every look conveyed dislike, disgust and suspicion. It made her seem weak. I did have some sympathy for her because of her unhappy childhood and lack of fatherly love. She was only tolerated by the ton because several of them were in business with her father and I understood why her friendship with Rupert’s sister, Rowena, was so important to her.

I never felt any real chemistry  or deep emotional connection between Rupert and Meredith. Their falling in love wasn’t very believable, especially as there was no gradual build up…it seemed to happen too suddenly.

Thank goodness for Rupert’s cousin, Edward (hero of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan), who opened Rupert’s eyes to the fact that not everything can be viewed in simple black or white and there is a vast spectrum in between.

This one disappointment certainly isn’t going to deter  me from reading the other books in this series because I know that Jane Lark can write romances that are passionate, intense and engrossing.



Read February 2015

Marlow Intrigues series (Click on cover for more details):

The Lost Love of a Soldier (Marlow Intrigues #0.5) by Jane Lark The Illicit Love of a Courtesan (Marlow Intrigues, #1) by Jane Lark Capturing the Earl's Love (Marlow Intrigues, #1.5) by Jane Lark The Passionate Love of a Rake (Marlow Intrigues, #2) by Jane Lark The Desperate Love of a Lord (Marlow Intrigues, #2.5) by Jane Lark The Scandalous Love of a Duke (Marlow Intrigues, #3) by Jane Lark The Dangerous Love of a Rogue by Jane Lark The Secret Love of a Gentleman by Jane Lark – 23 July 2015

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a place for romance lovers!

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History in the buff


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