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(A Lady Forsaken, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A Lady Shunned by All…

Lady Viola Oberbrook only wanted to forget the ill-fated early morning duel that took the lives of two young, wealthy, promising men of the ton and sent her fleeing for her father’s country estate. Eight years later, she has her life in order: a fulfilling business, a few trusted friends, and no plans to return to London society. What she doesn’t expect is to come face to face with her past.

A Lord Betrayed by One…

Brock Spencer, Earl of Haversham, only wants vengeance. Recently returned from his military service to the King, his plans include repairing his family estate, finding a bride, and destroying the girl responsible for the untimely death of his twin brothers. What he doesn’t anticipate is falling in love with the only woman who should never be part of his future.

An Impossible Match, Destined to Be…

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This was my first book by Christina McKnight and, although I found certain aspects disappointing, overall I enjoyed this emotive story of tragedy, revenge, betrayal, love and redemption.

I liked Ms McKnight’s use of the Prologue to show the 17 year old Viola as a foolish, shallow, selfish young girl. Moving forward eight years, this forms a sharp contrast to the hard-working and caring woman she has become.  Everything she does reveals just how much she has changed. She values simplicity over extravagance; she fears that should her true identity become known, it could disrupt her life and affect those who depend on her; she supports a children’s orphanage and the scene in the orphanage shows so clearly her care and compassion.

I really felt for Viola especially when she is writing the letter to Brock… pouring her heart out.

She wrote of regrets – not only of her girlhood mistakes, the tragedy of her first season, but also all she knew that would never be hers. The words flowed across the page, filled with sorrow, sadness, and sacrifice.

Brock feels overwhelming guilt and grief because he failed in his obligations to his family. He chose to join the military instead of staying to support his father in his time of grief and take care of his half-brothers who were foolhardy and reckless. He had also let his best friend, Harold, down.

…his friend had been left with a man who’d continually and without mercy crushed Harold’s will. His friend had needed him, but Brock had been too concerned with his own troubles to be bothered. He’d not only run from troubles at home, he’d abandoned his best friend when he’d needed him the most.

When Brock first meets Viola at Foldger’s Foals, he is not aware of her true identity and is attracted to Lady Posey Hale, the woman he believes her to be. So when he discovers her true identity, I liked the conflict within him.

The sweet girl his foal seemed to adore was indeed the cold-hearted wretch responsible for his family’s demise. How could they be one and the same?

I enjoyed the gradual pace of the romance between Viola and Brock to the point where they are able to put their pasts behind them but then I felt cheated because, the next minute, I was reading the Epilogue! I wanted to spend time with them, watching their love grow and blossom but this was a case of “telling” me rather than “showing” me.

The last month had passed in a haze of euphoria and disbelief. The euphoria was the love she saw in Brock’s eyes every time he looked at her.

I wanted to see what happened during that month. I wanted some of those lovely tender, romantic moments that make you sigh and believe that the hero and heroine are truly in love. There was some consolation in the delightful Epilogue.

I liked Viola’s best friend, Ruby and Brock’s best friend, Harold.  They are both loyal  but not afraid to voice their opinions when needed. I also enjoyed the banter between Brock and Harold. I have to mention Abby, the little orphan girl, who steals every scene she’s in.

Despite my disappointment with the romance side, this book still has a lot to commend it and I definitely want to read Ruby and Harold’s story in FORGOTTEN NO MORE.

 

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: KISSES

Read December 2014

A Lady Forsaken series (click on book cover for more details):

Shunned No More (A Lady Forsaken #1) by Christina McKnight Forgotten No More (A Lady Forsaken #2) by Christina McKnight Scorned Ever More (A Lady Forsaken, #3) by Christina McKnight – 15 March 2015

 

*I received a complimentary copy from the author in return for an honest  review.

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(The Brides of Bath, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency era)

Cover Blurb:

All the characters from the first five Brides of Bath books will be serving up some Christmas cheer, while Glee Blankenship sharpens Cupid’s arrow.

Unbeknownst to scholarly Jonathan Blankenship, his sister-in-law Glee has decided this Christmas he needs a little push to make him see that his dear friend of four years, Miss Arbuckle, will make his perfect mate.

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This was a charming, entertaining and heart-warming friends-to-lovers romance with an endearing hero and heroine.

Jonathan has always considered Miss Arbuckle (Mary) as his dearest friend. They share the same reading interests and he admires her intelligence but has never really seen her as a woman.

Poor Mary has been in love with Jonathan from the moment they first met but is pragmatic enough to accept that he wouldn’t look twice at a shy, drab, bookish spinster like herself in a romantic way.

Enter her fairy-godmother in the shape of her friend Glee, Jonathan’s sister-in-law. Glee is convinced that Jonathan is in love with Mary and just needs a push into realising it. According to Glee…

“I do know that he loves you. He first fell in love with your mind; now, he needs to be stunned by your appearance”.

And stunned he is! I love Jonathan’s reactions to Mary’s transformation.

For some confounded reason, he could barely catch his breath, and against all his control, this…this attractive Miss Arbuckle had a profound effect on him. Below the waist.

In addition, he can’t seem to take his eyes off her womanly bosom and has the urge to do bodily harm to her newly-acquired suitors. Jonathan is adorably sweet but somewhat slow in realising that he is in love with Mary and so it takes some sneaky scheming on Glee’s part to bring about the couple’s Happy Ever After.

I love how Glee is constantly making the prim and proper Mary blush with her complete openness. It was amusing to visualise Mary looking anywhere but below Glee’s neck as she is nursing her baby.

I haven’t read the other books in The Brides of Bath series but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. I like Cheryl Bolen’s engaging writing style and the story had an authentic Regency feel to it.

Full of romance, charm and humour, this novella was the perfect holiday read and I look forward to reading more of Cheryl Bolen’s books in the future.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: KISSES

Read December 2014

The Brides of Bath series (click on book cover for more details):

The Bride Wore Blue (The Brides of Bath #1) by Cheryl Bolen With His Ring (The Brides of Bath #2) by Cheryl Bolen A Fallen Woman (The Brides of Bath #3) by Cheryl Bolen To Take This Lord (Brides of Bath, #4) by Cheryl Bolen Love In The Library (The Brides Of Bath, #5) by Cheryl Bolen A Christmas in Bath ( Brides of Bath, #6) by Cheryl Bolen

 

 

I would like to thank Cheryl Bolen for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

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I am spotlighting Frances Evesham’s debut novel AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN which is released today.


ABOUT THE BOOK


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Genre: Historical Mystery Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

With nothing left from her childhood except a tiny portrait of a beautiful woman, some skill with a needle, and the knowledge of a dreadful secret, Philomena escapes her tormentor, Joseph, and the dank fogs of Victorian London, only for a train crash to interrupt her quest for independence and freedom.

Trapped between the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a great country house, Philomena hears whispers of the mysteries and lies that lurk in empty corridors and behind closed doors. Her rescuer, the dangerous, enigmatic Hugh, Lord Thatcham, wrestles with his own demons and makes Philomena’s heart race, but she must fight her passion for she can never marry.

Haunted by her past, Philomena’s only hope of happiness is to confront the evil forces that threaten to destroy her.

Buy links:-

The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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EXCERPT

A new light shone in the grey eyes as Lord Thatcham bent his head ever closer. She must move away. She begged her body to obey her. Instead, it leaned closer as though a magnet  pulled the two together. She could not resist.

“Philomena,” Lord Thatcham murmured. “Is that name real? Who are you? What brought you here to make me—” He stopped abruptly and straightened a little, searching Philomena’s face. He lingered on the black curls, the blue eyes, and then his gaze slid down to rest on her mouth. His lips parted. “You are very beautiful.”

Philomena could not speak. Her body, responding to the hitherto unknown power of male magnetism, yearned for the first touch. Lord Thatcham’s breath escaped in a rough gasp. He surrounded her, his arms gentle, and eased her body forward until Philomena felt his heartbeat in time with her own. Her eyes were half closed. His lips brushed gently, soft and warm, over her mouth. For an endless moment, she stayed quite still, beguiled by the spicy sharp taste of his lips. A charge electrified her body.

Then her head cleared. She gasped. Was she mad? This was Lord Thatcham, and she was nothing but a penniless waif in his power. He meant to have his way with her, just as Joseph had tried to do.

She tore herself away from the embrace. “How dare you.” Her voice shook with fury. “How dare you treat me so?”

Lord Thatcham’s arms fell away. Blood drained from his countenance, leaving the dark eyes aglow in a white face. He said not a word.


 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I write, collect grandsons and Victorian trivia. I love to smell rosemary and garlic as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other.

I’ve visited the Arctic Circle and seen the Northern Lights. One day I’ll get to see the penguins at the South Pole.

A speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper in the past, I also work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs. I believe it’s possible to speak all known languages using nothing but gestures, pictures and signs.

Writing psychological thrillers, historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.

Social Media Links:

Website :http://francesevesham.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

Twitter: @FrancesEvesham

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

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Frances is kindly giving away a digital copy of AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN for your Kindle (or other reader). Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle because Frances can provide a PDF copy instead. To be eligible for the Giveaway, just leave a comment and your email address.

 The Giveaway will run for one week from June 11-18.

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MY REVIEW

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Frances Evesham’s debut novel considering it is a clean romance and I’m sure you all know how I love plenty of heat in my romances. Perhaps I was just in the mood for this charming blend of mystery and romance.

How I imagine Philomena…
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Orphaned Philomena had been raised by her guardian and employer, the kindly Samuel Tailor but, when he dies, she finds herself the object of the unwanted attentions of his vile son, Joseph. Desperate to escape from London and Joseph’s clutches, she disguises herself as a boy and boards a train for Bristol, determined to gain her independence and fulfil her dream of having a business of her own. However, fate steps in when the train she is travelling on crashes and she is rescued by the stern but fascinating Hugh Dainty, Lord Thatcham.

How I imagine Hugh...
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Hugh is still living with the aftermath of his disastrous marriage to Beatrice and her death in a riding accident. He has sworn never to be fooled by a woman again. All his energy has been put into restoring the hall and his estates…a legacy to pass onto his son, John. When he rescues a young ‘boy’ from the wreckage of a nearby train crash, his life will change in ways he never anticipated.

I admire Hugh for his forward thinking. He understands that the world is changing and is keen to embrace new ideas and I could just picture him drawing his plans for new machinery. He also respects those who have worked hard and made something of themselves.

I enjoyed watching Philomena stand up to Hugh, something that he’s not used to. I also admired her for fulfilling her dream of setting up her own business and her resolve to stop running away and finally confront the demons of her past.

It was heart-warming to see how Philomema’s influence enables Hugh to build a warmer relationship with his son, John.

Love for his son welled up in Hugh’s heart. John beamed so proudly, his eyes so full of mischief: such a small, happy child. Raising the boy should be a pleasure. Why had Hugh never seen it like that before.

The romance between Philomena and Hugh is beset by various obstacles along the way…deceit, distrust, dark secrets and fiendish villains before true love finally conquers all. As previously mentioned, there are no explicit love scenes but Ms Evesham does create a lovely sense of intimacy, which fits perfectly with the mood of the story.

She was alone with this man. Lord Thatcham’s face, so close, made her pulses race. She had never known such desire. Her eyes travelled across every feature, as if she would learn it by heart. Strong, sharp planes angled below deep grey eyes. Lines ran from nose to mouth. Forbidding and frightening, Lord Thatcham fascinated her.

I took an instant dislike to Hugh’s snobbish, interfering mother, the Dowager Lady Thatcham and loved the scene where Hugh gives her an ultimatum.

You have overreached yourself for the last time. For the future, you will stay out of my affairs, or you will no longer be welcome at Thatcham Hall.” Hugh turned on his heel. The Dowager watched, speechless, as he left.

I soon warmed to Hugh’s high-spirited sister, Selena, because she becomes a true friend to Philomena. She cares nothing for rank unlike her mother. I adore Hugh’s son, John, and his mischievous antics raised quite a few chuckles…

“I should perhaps add, my lord, that Master John has broken three pudding basins and severely damaged a silver sugar bowl by swinging the sword in a dangerous manner.”

The mystery surrounding Philomena’s past adds another intriguing layer to the story and the villains are suitably venomous.

I appreciated the historical details that give the story an authentic Victorian feel and I was interested to read on Ms Evesham’s website that the train crash, which features in the book, is based on a real incident.

Overall, this is definitely a book which will appeal to those who enjoy a sweet, clean romance, likeable characters and a perplexing mystery to solve. 


REVIEW RATING:  4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  KISSES

Read June 2014

I would like to thank Frances Evesham for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

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