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(The Merridew Sisters, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1816)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute…

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

…into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

**5 CAPTIVATING …”when a rake finally falls, he falls forever” STARS**

This was my first book by Anne Gracie and I will certainly be dipping into more of her books, based on how much I loved this one. It’s romantic, funny and full of characters who totally captured my heart. There are some darker moments, but they never overshadowed the lovely heart-warming feeling I had after I finished reading it.

How could anyone love such a wicked, funny, foolish man? How could they not?

Oh, Gideon is such a wonderful hero. Wickedly charming, amiable and flirtatious, he hides a vulnerable heart beneath his frivolous rakishness. A lonely, sad, loveless childhood has made him determined to embrace a carefree lifestyle, determined to show the world that he cares for nothing and no-one. He sees love as a weakness but that changes the moment he meets a certain Prudence Merridew!

I love how, when everyone else regards Prudence as plain, Gideon sees her as unique and beautiful.

“Plain! Is there something wrong with your eyes? She’s not the slightest bit plain! Those eyes, that smile, that hair— from top to toe, Prudence Merridew is a rare little gem!”

It is refreshing to see Gideon as the one falling hopelessly in love first and being open and honest about his feelings for Prudence. His kindness and thoughtfulness is so clearly revealed in the way he treats Grace, the youngest of the Merridew sisters, and how he brings joy back into all the sisters’ lives.

Prudence could have hugged him. Not since their parents had died had her sisters laughed and sung and giggled with such riotous glee.

It is chilling to read the abuse that Prudence and her four sisters suffered at the hands of their grandfather, a bitter, hate-filled old man, and discovering the true extent of his cruelty towards Prudence is truly heart-rending. Their plight seems more poignant knowing how different their lives had been before their parents died… filled with sunshine and laughter and love and happiness.

Prudence’s overwhelming love for her sisters shines through and she finds the strength, determination and courage to plan their escape from their grandfather’s clutches and find a safe haven with their caring Great-uncle Oswald. It tugged at my heartstrings when Prudence promises them that one day their lives will once more be filled with sunshine, laughter, love and happiness.

Gideon’s determination to win Prudence had me rooting for him all the way but Prudence’s misplaced loyalty to the pompous, mercenary Phillip Otterbury had me so frustrated. Luckily, as with any good romances, Phillip’s true colours are revealed. I love the scene where Gideon outmanoeuvres him with just wit alone.

I loved the kind-hearted Great-uncle Oswald, such a contrast to his brother, and the forceful Aunt Gussie who makes short shrift of Otterbury.

“I am morally responsible for this young lady, and I can see it will do her no good at all to be alone in your company. In fact, Mr. Ottertosh”— she rose from the sofa—“I think it is high time you departed. Shoebridge shall show you the way out.” She reached for the bellpull and yanked hard.

(Ottertosh is just one of various amusing names Otterbury gets called)

There is a sweet secondary romance between the Duke of Dinstable and Charity Merridew which is mostly played out off page and doesn’t detract from the main romance at all.

I love the humour which runs throughout the story and acts as a counterpoint to the darker moments. Here are a couple of my favourite humorous quotes…

“I would appreciate it if you would stop… stop… ogling me like that,” she hissed, tugging her very modest neckline higher. “It is very embarrassing.” She folded her arms across her breasts defensively.

“It wasn’t me”. He tried to look contrite. “It wasn’t me,” he confessed. “It was my eyes. They are bold and easily led and have no sense of propriety.’
~~~~

“You mustn’t disdain the protection of a frippery shag bag and a medium-sized duke with a tendency to stoutness. We can be formidable fellows when we try, you know.”
~~~~

MY VERDICT: A LOVELY GEM OF A BOOK AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read January 2016

 

The Merridew Sisters series (click on the book covers for more details):

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters, #1) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Waltz (The Merridew Sisters, #2) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Kiss (The Merridew Sisters, #4) by Anne Gracie

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(The Merridew Sisters, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute…

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

…into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Wonderful, witty and romantic, I loved the first book in this series and it certainly won’t be my last Anne Gracie. She writes with a great insight and understanding of human nature and, notwithstanding the darker elements of this story, this is a beautifully written, charming and extremely humorous love story.

The Merridew sisters have escaped their tyrannical grandfather after years of physical and mental abuse. Their goal is to marry off Charity, the second eldest of these delightful siblings. Prudence has always been the surrogate mother of the family after the tragic death of their beloved parents. She was the one who suffered the worst treatment at the hands of their grandfather leaving her self-esteem is at an all-time low. The reason she was the main butt of her grandfather’s cruelty becomes clear later in the story.

Prudence embroils herself in all sorts of scrapes trying to explain the appearance of her family in London. They arrive at the home of their great uncle Oswald, the younger brother of their grandfather, who is the antithesis of his brother, being kindly, loving and eccentric. He immediately agrees to launch the eldest two girls into society, but he is a stickler for propriety and will not allow Charity to appear until her elder sister is ‘fired off’. Prudence has her own reasons for not wanting to be married and devises a scam involving Edward, Duke of Dinstable, a man she has never met. Feeling safe from the duke, who hasn’t been seen in society for many years, she tells her uncle they have been secretly engaged for more than four years. Disaster strikes when the said duke arrives in town and Prudence must somehow stop her Uncle from calling on him to persuade him ‘to do the honourable thing’! Her problems only snowball from this point on.

The comedy of errors continues when Prudence arrives at Edward’s home to explain and beg for his complicity in her lie and to assure him she is not attempting to trap him into marriage. Unwittingly she explains to the wrong man and Edward’s cousin, Gideon, a rake and confirmed bachelor, is highly and comically amused, and utterly captivated by the plucky little Prudence. He sees a beauty, invisible to most, and there follows a brilliantly funny interchange between these two characters talking at cross purposes. Prudence does not realise she is not talking to Edward and Gideon very quickly realises what is happening and ruthlessly exploits the situation, initiating her into the joys of kissing.

The rest of the story follows at a fast pace with some sad, poignant moments but also some hilariously uproarious interactions between Gideon and Prudence, whom he renames ‘Imp’ deciding her name is totally inadequate to her nature; he much prefers ‘Imprudence’. There is also a comical and entertaining scene between Gideon and great uncle Oswald where Gideon unwittingly becomes betrothed to Prudence. However, not unhappy about the situation, Gideon does his best to make it fact. His complete and utter belief in Prudence’s beauty – the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” comes to mind – and his fear that every other man will try to take her away from him is endearingly sweet and funny and proves that this rake has fallen completely under her, albeit unintentional, spell. He becomes her champion and protector whether she wishes it or not. Gideon has his own demons to slay but in the process of falling heavily for his Prudence his strong loveable and honourable character emerges, in short, Gideon is the perfect hero.

5 plus stars for a wonderfully funny, sad but poignant read. This is pure entertainment and Gideon is one of those heroes I will not forget.

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5  STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

The Merridew Sisters series (click on the book cover for more details):

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters, #1) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Waltz (The Merridew Sisters, #2) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3) by Anne Gracie The Perfect Kiss (The Merridew Sisters, #4) by Anne Gracie

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When I read this book was inspired by one of my all-time favourite movies, the 1940 romantic comedy “The Philadephia Story”, with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, I knew I had to read it!

Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a honest review.

(Playful Brides, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Daphne Swift comes from a family with two brothers who have proudly served the Crown. She may be a female, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes to prove that she’s as useful to the war effort as her brothers. She even went so far as to secretly marry a spy. The fact that she just happened to have been pining for Captain Rafe Cavendish for years didn’t hurt matters. But after their first mission, when she realized their marriage had been strictly business, Daphne immediately wanted an annulment. The fiery Daphne has always been a multi-tasker and now she’s hell bent on two things: finding the men who killed her brother and securing her engagement to another man to forget about Rafe forever.

As a spy for the War Office, Captain Rafferty Cavendish has been on dozens of missions. But one mission haunts him, the mission that resulted in the death of Daphne Swift’s eldest brother, Donald. Rafe agreed to work with Daphne once and put her life in danger. Now he must find the men who killed Donald, avenge the family, and convince Daphne to give him one more chance. But Daphne’s enlisted her other older brother, Julian, to help her get a quick and quiet annulment so that she can marry a fop who only wants her for her title and money. Can Rafe convince Daphne to give him one more chance, on the mission and with her heart?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

So many of my friends have recommended this book and I’ve finally succumbed to buying it.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Merridew Sisters, #1))

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute...

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

...into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I’m way behind reading this series but, as this one was free on Amazon, I downloaded it.

Source: Free from Amazon Kindle


(Lonely Lords, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

David, Viscount Fairly, has imperiled his honor…

Letty Banks is a reluctant courtesan, keeping a terrible secret that brought her, a vicar’s daughter, to a life of vice. While becoming madam of Viscount Fairly’s high-class brothel is an absolute financial necessity, Letty refuses to become David’s mistress-though their attraction becomes harder to resist the more she learns about the man…

Perhaps a fallen woman can redeem it.

David is smitten not only with Letty’s beauty, but also with her calm, her kindness, her quiet. David is determined to put respectability back in her grasp, even if that means uncovering the secrets Letty works so hard to keep hidden-secrets that could take her away from him forever…

Award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’s extraordinary writing will immerse you in a Regency world unlike any you’ve experienced.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I was lucky enough to meet up with Miranda Neville last week in London and I received a signed copy of this book complete with a personalised message.

Source: A gift from the author

(The Wild Quartet, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love…

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love Christi Caldwell’s books and, even though I’m way behind in reading her prolific output, I still feel compelled to download each new book. How could I not buy this book when it has the following Acknowledgement?

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Heart of a Duke, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Ruthless, wicked, and dark, the Marquess of Rutland rouses terror in the breast of ladies and nobleman alike. All Edmund wants in life is power. After he was publically humiliated by his one love Lady Margaret, he vowed vengeance, using Margaret’s niece, as his pawn. Except, he’s thwarted by another, more enticing target–Miss Phoebe Barrett.

Miss Phoebe Barrett knows precisely the shame she’s been born to. Because her father is a shocking letch she’s learned to form her own opinions on a person’s worth. After a chance meeting with the Marquess of Rutland, she is captivated by the mysterious man. He, too, is a victim of society’s scorn, but the more encounters she has with Edmund, the more she knows there is powerful depth and emotion to the jaded marquess.

The lady wreaks havoc on Edmund’s plans for revenge and he finds he wants Phoebe, at all costs. As she’s drawn into the darkness of his world, she risks being destroyed by his ruthlessness. And Phoebe, who desires love at all costs, has to determine if she can ever truly trust the heart of a scoundrel.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This book comes highly recommended by my friend and Guest Reviewer, Wendy Loveridge, and it’s also a period in British history that fascinated me when I was younger.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


Genre: Historical Romance (17th century – 1666)

Cover Blurb:

It is 1666 – the year when people who take prophecy seriously believe that the world is going to end.

For Chloe Herveaux – twenty years old, half-French and practical – marriage to wild, unpredictable Alex Deveril offers escape from a home she hates. For Alex, it is a refuge of a different kind. But while the marriage remains in name only and both, for reasons of their own, agree to seek an annulment, other forces are gathering.

England is once again at war with the Dutch and Prince Rupert, now commanding the Royal Navy, suspects that sabotage is at work within the fleet. Instructed to find the arch-traitor, Alex enters a dark labyrinth of intrigue – where no life is safe and nothing is what it seems.

Chloe, meanwhile, navigates the malice and scandal of Charles 11’s licentious Court and plots a course of her own aimed at financial independence. But as the surprising facets of Mr Deveril’s personality are gradually revealed to her, the long-awaited annulment becomes a double-edged sword.

Absorbed in his search for a traitor, Alex spares little thought for his bride – until a hot June night on the Falcon Stairs when he and Chloe stand united by tragedy.

As the flames of the Great Fire sweep over London, Alex and Chloe face their ultimate test. Their world is at risk … their choices may save it.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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