Posts Tagged ‘The Hellions of Havisham series’

I know that I’m going to shed a bucket load of tears over this story of the Marquess of Marsden and beloved wife, Linnie.

 When the Marquess Falls

(The Hellions of Havisham, #3.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (late Regency and Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The long-anticipated and utterly extraordinary tale of the Mad Marquess that proves love truly does last forever

The Marquess of Marsden always follows the rules. Expected from birth to adhere to decades of tradition, he plans to marry a proper young woman from a good family. But when a beautiful, and completely unsuitable, woman snags his heart, he begins to realize that to get what you want, sometimes you have to break the rules.

Linnie Connor dreams of the independence of running her very own bakery. And while she may be allowed to be a marquess’ childhood companion, the baker’s daughter never ends up with the handsome nobleman. Determined to achieve at least one of her dreams, Linnie makes plans to leave her sleepy village for London, intent on purging him from her heart. And yet, when an invitation to the Marsden annual ball arrives, she can’t refuse her one chance to waltz in his arms.

It will be a night that stirs the flames of forbidden desires and changes their lives forever.



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(The Helllions of Havisham, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian, 1882)

Cover Blurb:

Love begets madness. Viscount Locksley watched it happen to his father after his cherished wife’s death. But when his sire arranges to marry flame-haired fortune hunter Portia Gadstone, Locke is compelled to take drastic measures to stop the stunning beauty from taking advantage of the marquess. A marriage of mutual pleasure could be convenient, indeed . . . as long as inconvenient feelings don’t interfere.

Desperation forced Portia to agree to marry a madman. The arrangement will offer the protection she needs. Or so she believes until the marquess’s distractingly handsome son peruses the fine print . . .and takes his father’s place!

Now the sedate—and, more importantly, secure—union Portia planned has been tossed in favor of one simmering with wicked temptation and potential heartbreak. Because as she begins to fall for her devilishly seductive husband, her dark secrets surface and threaten to ruin them both—unless Locke is willing to risk all and open his heart to love.


It is wonderful books like this that have made Lorraine Heath one of my top favourite authors. Her beautifully written and deeply emotional love stories keep me coming back for more.

After his mother died giving birth to him, Viscount Locksley (Locke)  watched his father, the Marquess of Marsden, slowly driven mad with grief over the loss of his beloved wife. Locke intends to marry eventually, but it will never be for love having seen first-hand the devastation such an emotion can cause. He chooses to bury himself in working alongside his men in the mines and managing the estates.

Concerned that Locke shows no signs of marrying soon and determined that his title and estates will not pass into the hands of his greedy cousin or his cousin’s son, the marquess plans to marry and acquire a “spare”. When he meets the prospective bride, Portia Gadstone, Locke is immediately suspicious of her motives and convinced she is nothing more than a social climbing, fortune hunter.  He will do anything possible to protect his father from her clutches, even marrying her himself.  In fact, she could prove the perfect wife for him.

Locke slid his gaze over to Portia Gadstone and, for the first time, clearly saw her for what she truly was. A mercenary, a title chaser, someone wanting to rise so badly above her station she would use any means necessary to accomplish her goal, including taking advantage of an aging gentleman. The sort of woman he could never grow to care for, could never love, could never give his heart to.
She was bloody perfect.

Locke is right about Portia in one respect – she will do anything to achieve her goal but not for the reasons he thinks.  Penniless, homeless and with a secret she must hide at all costs, marriage to the marquess will provide the safety and security she so desperately needs.  What she hasn’t bargained for is the Marquess of Marsden’s son thwarting her plans!  She could have charmed the elderly marquess but the handsome, virile, arrogant Locke is a very different proposition.

Ms Heath builds the romance between Locke and Portia beautifully, showing the gradual changes in their relationship. The scene where they first meet is full of barbed, witty exchanges and I enjoyed watching Portia getting a rise out of Locke in every sense of the word! Neither is looking for love but they are not averse to enjoying a physical relationship, leading to some steamy sex scenes.

I enjoyed watching Locke reluctantly accepting that his initial opinions of Portia are wrong. He sees how soft hearted she is when his father is talking about his beloved wife; she has no desire for “constant compliments, numerous baubles, and his undivided attention” like every other woman he has known; she makes him laugh and he finds that he wants to spend time with her as much out of the bedroom as in it.

I like Portia’s boldness in standing up to Locke and expressing her own views. She sees how deeply he cares for his father, his estates and his men and it is heart-warming to see how she brings light, joy and music back to the once dreary Havisham Hall.  She draws the marquess out of his reclusiveness and is the catalyst for Locke discovering so much about his mother he never knew.

It is obvious that Locke and Portia are falling in love –

Coming to know her husband filled her with a sense of satisfaction as well as a measure of dread, because she feared he had the power to shatter what remained of her fragile heart.


It didn’t help matters that it always caused this odd sense of swelling in his chest that made it difficult to breathe for a few seconds whenever she flashed a smile.

but I knew any future happiness would soon be tested when Portia’s secret is finally revealed. The scene where she tells him of her deception is so heart-breaking and, although I understood Locke’s initial reaction, I very much sympathised with Portia and the choices she was forced to make. I like how Ms Heath always brings an element of social commentary to her books; in this case, the lack of women’s rights in the late Victorian era which forces Portia to take such drastic action to protect all she loves. Despite Locke’s cruel words, once he learns Portia’s full story and accepts his true feelings for her, I love how he confronts her sanctimonious father and moves heaven and earth to find her.

I especially adored the marquess who is kind, gentle and perceptive, such as when he tells Locke –

“Your mother’s beauty was all inside. Portia has a good bit in there as well. Don’t forget to look there”.

I like how he cleverly tricks Locke into marrying Portia. Perhaps he’s not as mad as everyone believes.

Although tinged with a little sadness, the Epilogue left me with a warm glow and a desire to read the forthcoming WHEN THE MARQUESS FALLS, the love story of the Marquess of Marsden and his beloved wife, Linnie.

MY VERDICT:   Another captivating and beautiful love story with characters that will touch your heart. Highly recommended!




The Hellions of Havisham series (click on the book covers for more details):

Falling Into Bed with a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham, #1) by Lorraine Heath The Earl Takes All (The Hellions of Havisham, #2) by Lorraine Heath The Viscount and the Vixen (Hellions of Havisham, #3) by Lorraine Heath When the Marquess Falls – March 14th 2017

**I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**

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(The Hellions of Havisham, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.

After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.

For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.


Once again, Lorraine Heath enchanted me with this beautifully written and deeply emotional love story. It takes an exceptional writer to make such a challenging and potentially unpopular plot line work and, although I know some readers will disagree, I think she does this brilliantly.

“Do you know what I think, Allie? I think the weasel— who is supposed to be the villain of our tale— may just turn out to be the hero.”

For me, the success of this book hinged on Ms Heath’s ability to make me see Edward as a worthy hero and Julia’s words to her daughter echo my thoughts precisely (the weasel reference makes sense when you read the book).

Edward has always accepted his place as the second son without ever being envious or jealous of Albert. He is happy receiving an allowance and living a life free of responsibility. Early on, we learn that Edward has had feelings for Julia ever since they first met, but he loved his brother too much to do anything to hurt him. So he was willing to cultivate a disreputable reputation in order to protect Albert and Julia from any potential gossip.

I felt so much sympathy for Edward. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. He must fulfil the promise he made to his brother knowing just how devastating it will be when he has to admit the truth to Julia.

In manner, thought, and deed, he had to become the Earl of Greyling. At least until Julia delivered the heir.
Then he would be obliged to do what he did best: give her another reason to hate him by revealing the truth, breaking her heart, and shattering her world.

Constantly thrown into intimate situations with Julia, Edward struggles to keep his passion for her in check. I could feel his torment…to know that everything Julia did, said or felt wasn’t for him but for the man she thought he was.

Edward shows his true colours in so many ways. He has never wanted responsibility, but he steps up to oversee the running of his late brother’s estate, even before he officially becomes the Earl of Greyling. He shows his care and compassion when he personally looks after Mrs Lark and her family even at risk to himself. Who could not fail to love a man who is so gentle and tender with his little niece.

Nanny was sitting in a chair with a lamp burning low and a book in her hands. Not Alberta. She wasn’t holding Alberta.
   Edward was. Lying on Nanny’s bed, his eyes closed, Alberta on his chest, her knees tucked beneath her so her tiny bum was sticking up in the air. Pillows formed a barrier on either side of his body so if she rolled she wouldn’t roll far. Not that Julia thought she was likely to move at all. One of his large hands was splayed over her back, holding her in place.

Julia see changes in her husband and puts these down to the effects of travelling with his friends. He has become more forceful, more determined and more attentive, all of which makes him more appealing and she finds herself falling more madly in love with him.

His touches came more frequently, his interest in her more intense. He seemed to care about every aspect of her. She thought she’d loved him as much as it was possible to love any man. Strange to realize that she loved him a little bit more each day.

Although she missed Albert, in his absence Julia has changed becoming more independent, more confident and making her own decisions. I love that she is not as prim and proper as she appears. She has always wanted to be sexually imaginative but feared her rather upright husband would be appalled.

I was just waiting for the moment that Julia would discovers Edward’s deception, and when she does I could feel all her pain and the subsequent scene in the mausoleum is so heart-breaking. At this point, it was impossible to imagine how their relationship could ever be salvaged but Ms Heath gradually brings them back together again. There is still one apparently insurmountable obstacle to overcome, but I found that Ms Heath’s note at the end of the book, in which she highlights her research into this particular aspect, not only provides some interesting historical background but also a believable path to Edward and Julia’s Happy Ever After.

I love the idea of Julia’s whimsical creatures and I also enjoyed seeing Ashe, Minerva and Locke. For those of you who love Epilogues, there is a lovely heart-warming one

MY VERDICT: Lorraine Heath weaves a complex, captivating and beautiful love story. Highly recommended!




Read April 2016


The Hellions of Havisham series so far (click on the book covers for more details):

Falling Into Bed with a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham, #1) by Lorraine Heath The Earl Takes All (The Hellions of Havisham, #2) by Lorraine Heath

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(The Hellions of Havisham, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

In the first in a dazzling new series, New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath introduces the Hellions of Havisham—three charismatic rogues destined to lose their hearts…

After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady’s desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime’s pleasure?


I think I am in danger of repeating myself here when I say that this is another beautifully written and deeply emotional love story from Lorraine Heath. Over the many years that I have been reading Ms Heath’s books, I have never once been disappointed.

Orphaned when their parents are killed in a train crash, the Duke of Ashebury, the Duke of Greyling and his twin brother, Edward, are taken under the guardianship of the Marquess of Marsden in the forbidding Havisham Castle. Since losing his beloved wife, Marsden has become unstable and is considered by many to be mad. He keeps himself to himself, rarely having anything to do with his wards or his own son, Locke. As a result, they have been allowed to run wild, earning the name of Hellions of Havisham. As adults, they have spent much of their time travelling abroad, having adventures and generally raising hell, if rumours are to be believed. Falling in Bed With a Duke is the Duke of Ashebury and Minerva Dodger’s story.

If you have read the preceding series, The Scandalous Gentleman of St. James, you will know that Minerva Dodger is the daughter of Jack Dodger, who was raised on the streets but rose to become the rich, powerful owner of London’s most famous, exclusive gentleman’s club. As a result, Minerva has had an unconventional upbringing, her parents allowing her the freedom to choose what she wants to do with her life.

Minerva is smart, outspoken and with a head for business inherited from her father.These are not the qualities a gentleman wants when seeking a demure and biddable wife but her immense dowry has ensured plenty of offers. Minerva wants a man who loves her for herself and not for her money; someone who will respect and value her opinions. She wants the sort of deep love and passion that her mother and father and her brother and his wife, Grace, her dearest friend, share and is unwilling to accept anything less. She has chosen spinsterhood rather than a loveless marriage, but is determined to experience the passion that exists between a man and a woman.

I admire Minerva for refusing to compromise when it comes to what she wants from life and for her courage and daring in going to the Nightingale Club. I could also relate, on a personal level, to her insecurities about her herself. She neither sees herself as pretty nor believes that men could be attracted to her in a sexual way.

Men don’t find me appealing in that way. They don’t have improper thoughts or consider me alluring.

I love Ashe…such a complex character. On the surface, he’s handsome, charming and devil-may-care but, over the years, he has been haunted by his final hurtful words to his parents on the day they died. To try to dispel the nightmarish images of his parents’ horrific deaths, he has visited the Nightingale Club in the hope of finding a woman who is willing to fulfill his special needs. At this point, I have to applaud Ms Heath for making his special needs unique and not at all what I expected.

I also like how Ms Heath tackles serious issues in her books. Ashe is suffering from what we now call dyscalculia, a difficulty in making arithmetical calculations. This would certainly not have been diagnosed in Victorian times and I can understand why Ashe feels ashamed and never tells anyone about it.

Put a series of numbers in front of him, expect him to make sense of them, and it was as though his brain considered them to be little more than colorful ball to be juggled around.

His secret will have repercussions later in the story.

Ms Heath builds the relationship between Minerva and Ashe slowly which makes their romance both believable and emotionally satisfying. I love how Ashe sees Minerva’s true worth…

She’s bold, courageous, goes after what she wants. She’s unlike any woman I’ve ever encountered. Why I failed to notice her before is beyond me. Why no man has taken her to wife simply demonstrates the foolhardiness of men. She is remarkable.

and Minerva realises that with Ashe she can be herself.

With him, she had a sense of equality that she had never experienced with anyone outside of her family and closest of friends.

There is conflict when Minerva believes Ashe to be a fortune hunter but it’s soon resolved and I love the scene between Ashe and her fearsome father, Jack Dodger.

Edward intrigued me. He seems like a man hell-bent on nothing but pleasure but I feel there is something deeper going on with him.

MY VERDICT: Once again, Lorraine Heath delivers a beautiful and deeply emotional love story. Highly recommended!



Read November 2015

The Hellions of Havisham series so far (Click on the book covers for further details):

Falling Into Bed with a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham, #1) by Lorraine Heath The Earl Takes All (The Hellions of Havisham, #2) by Lorraine Heath

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