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bookworm2bookworm features The Letter and The Training of the Marquess by the wonderful Sandra Owens.  

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If you haven’t already read THE LETTER, then you are missing one of the best Historical Romances of the year!

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Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.

When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

**In the interests of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author with no strings attached. It is my personal choice to write this review and these are my honest thoughts about the book.** 

THIS BOOK WAS JUST AMAZING… SO HEARTBREAKING YET SO UPLIFTING!

I found myself totally engrossed in the story and just could not  put it down. It was so compelling and so rewarding. I found myself experiencing so many emotions…revulsion, hatred, sorrow, hope, laughter and joy. This story touched me deeply on so many levels.

From the very first page when Michael reads his cousin’s letter, I hated Leo Standish. To put it bluntly he was an evil, manipulative, sadistic bastard! Even from the grave his malignant presence is all pervasive. Kudos to Ms Owens for creating one of the most repugnant villains ever. It made me all the more determined to read on and see his evil presence ultimately banished forever by the power of love!

To read about what Diana suffered at Leo’s hands was so heartrending but, despite everything, she still retained a core of inner strength. She was stronger than she thought…she survived. Not only did she survive but she also raised her son Jamie to be a fine boy. But she bears the scars of Leo’s horrific abuse, both physically and emotionally. She is a shadow of the beautiful, spirited, laughing girl she used to be. She no longer trusts any man and cannot bear to be touched by one. I understand the anger she feels towards Michael and her resistance in accepting his offer of help. She feels his betrayal deeply and fears the cold, powerful, determined man she sees now may be just like Leo. But she realises that Michael is nothing like Leo and, although it is a slow process, she comes to trust him and see the man she fell in love with all those years ago.

Michael is racked with guilt because he feels responsible for what happened to Diana. He had promised to protect and cherish her but he had simply walked away leaving her to Leo’s tender mercies. At first, he simply wants to help her…provide adequate food and somewhere to live… but soon it becomes more than that. He wants to see that spark she once had…he wants to see her smile again. When he is with Diana and Jamie he feels a sense of contentment, a feeling he does not want to examine too closely.

Following Diana’s journey to “finding her wings” again is, at times. heart-breaking:

Resentment and hurt, feelings she had long thought dealt with, hit her with the force of a fierce storm whose screaming winds toppled hundred-year-old trees. She hugged her knees, pressed her face against them and helplessly sobbed for the first time in years. And as she wept, she let the pain of Michael’s betrayal and Leo’s brutalities consume her. She cried until she had no tears left and when she was done, the heaviness in her heart eased a bit.

and, at times, heart-warming:

Michael picked up another slice and handed it to her. She stared at the bread in her hand, her heart beating furiously in her chest.
“Go on,” Michael said.
“Do it, Mama,” Jamie urged.
She looked at Michael once more to make sure she didn’t see any trickery in his eyes and then threw her bread. A tiny burst of laughter escaped and she slapped her hand over her mouth. Jamie giggled and Michael gave her a smile of approval. A sliver of the fear that had held her captive for eleven long years fell away. 

but so rewarding.

I totally fell in love with Michael. I love all the things he does to make Diana happy…the way he teases her and makes her laugh. Most of all I love the crazy letters he sends her about the imaginary cats after she runs away.

The scene, where she finally shows Michael the scars she has kept hidden from him, is so moving and so incredibly beautiful.

“This is what I see when I look at you.”
He held the up the rose. “Perfection, Diana. I see perfection.”

There is a fascinating assortment of secondary characters who add richness to the story :

* Michael’s French born, meddling mother, Lady Suzanne Daventry who insists on regaling her son with details of the “fun” she had with his father, something Michael definitely does not want to hear about!

* Michael’s valet Hansen who is always being threatened with dismissal. The repartee between these two is just so funny. Here is one of my favourite exchanges…

So it is my fault I am bleeding like a butchered pig?” Michael grabbed the mirror and glared into it, but couldn’t see anything past Hansen’s hand and the cloth. “Move your paw, man, and let me see.”
“Dogs and cats have paws, your lordship. I am human, thus I have a hand.”
“You are being impertinent. I have half a mind to dismiss you with no reference. What have you to say to that?”
“If your temper doesn’t improve soon, my lord, I have half a mind to quit, no reference necessary”.

* Jamie is such an adorable child and the scenes between Michael and him are poignant, charming and funny

* I must not forget one other important character…


Peggy , the three legged cat

I could wax lyrical about this book for hours but I simply want to say thank you to Sandra Owens for giving me the privilege of reading this fabulous book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2013

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These two July auto-buy books have been added to my bookshelves



The following three books were all Kindle freebies from Amazon.

(MacGregor Trilogy #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

HIS FAMILY OR HIS HEART–ONE OF THEM WILL BE BETRAYED…

Ian MacGregor is wooing a woman who’s wrong for him in every way. As the new Earl of Balfour, though, he must marry an English heiress to repair the family fortunes.

But in his intended’s penniless chaperone, Augusta, Ian is finding everything he’s ever wanted in a wife.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Official Blurb 

Ellie Montgomery’s beloved hotel is going up for auction. She must cater to the highest bidder, or she’ll lose her family legacy, her dreams, and the only life she’s ever known.

Carter Stratton plans to be the highest bidder, payback for how the Montgomery family treated him and Ellie’s long-ago rejection. Bent on revenge, he’ll accept nothing less than her complete surrender, body and soul.

When his intent for revenge turns into seduction, Carter must decide whether he wants a chance to even the score, or a second chance with the woman he never stopped loving.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Claire Tremaine, the widowed Marchioness of Derebourne, wears leather breeches, trains horses and helps the damaged ones find their lost spirit.

Chastain Warren, the Earl of Kensington, Chase to his friends, isn’t pleased when he learns he’s inherited the title of Marquess of Derebourne. Having recently lost his beloved wife and unborn child, the last thing he wants is to be attracted to Derebourne’s widow, but he is. This woman who wears breeches isn’t anything like the ladies he’s waltzed with in the ballrooms of London.

It doesn’t take Claire long to realize she wants this man, and when he resists, she comes up with a plan she calls The Training of a Marquess and works her horse whispering magic on Chase.

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I bought this debut novel from Jane Lark after reading some excellent reviews. I also bought the novella.

(Marlow Intrigues Book 1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee .He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

(Marlow Intrigues Novella 1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Rupert Stanforth, Earl of Morton, is missing his cousin’s company. He has too many burdens weighing down his shoulders, including the task of finding his sister, Rowena, a husband.

Meredith Divine has one friend in all the world, Lady Rowena Stanforth. She clings to their friendship as though it is a rope, when she is drowning in a lake of social isolation. Even Rowena’s elder brother cannot stand Meredith. Everyone judges her poorly, simply because her father is in trade. But despite Lord Morton’s constant rejection, Meredith’s heart still favors Rowena’s proud, judgmental brother.

Lord Morton would break the friendship his sister has with Miss Divine if he could, but the more he disparages Miss Divine, the more Rowena favors the girl. He’s ceased his complaints, in the hope the friendship would wither and die, believing the girl would make a wrong step soon. He just did not anticipate what that step might be..

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Sandra Owens is a new-to-me author whom I met via Twitter and she kindly offered me a copy of her book.

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb

THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.

When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

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