Tuesday

A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

September 22, 2020
 
Just One More Opinion
 
Last year Evie Dunmore appeared on the scene, and I was a happy camper. Why was that? Oh, for a number of reasons. One of them being she was a fresh voice who was published in a “traditional” way.  Before anyone jumps down my throat. Yes, I’m very happy the publishing world has changed. I’m happy for those struggling authors who are out there being independent! Good for all of you! However, on the flip side. A number of those books are rushed; a number of them seem as if they were a high school literature project, and I’m not even going to talk about editing. You may shout at me, “Oh, yeah! Those things happen in traditional publishing too!” I reply to that by saying, “Yes, I know. But it’s still nice to see some historical romance novels being published in the traditional manner.” To continue on…So, I was happy with a new author, a new author who seemed to have a fresh voice. Furthermore, I liked her first book, and I was looking forward to the next book in the League of Extraordinary Women series.

A Rogue of One’s Own is the second book in Ms. Dunmore’s, League of Extraordinary Women series. If you remember the series, you should know that the series tells the story of at least four fictional women who are involved in the suffragist movement in Great Britain. They are four very different women, so their approach to the movement will be different. This story is about Lacy Lucie Tedbury, and in my opinion, she is the most unbending of the four. By that I mean she is stubborn, and believes her way is the only way.

I will be honest, when I read romance books I read them for enjoyment. I don’t appreciate being preached to. There are some authors who bring their political agenda to fictional books, and since I am against censorship of all kinds, if they choose to do that, they have that right. But I have the right, not to read them, or agree with them, or whine about it. Which is why I say, I don’t like romance books with agenda’s. If I want to read about an issue, I will go elsewhere. So what does that make me? I think it makes me normal. We are all unique people, we have differences, and we have different approaches to our differences. Some of us just have louder voices. So, from the very beginning of this series, I was a little leery of reading it. But the author was able to manipulate her words enough so that her message was not too painful. Back to Lucie.

Lucie is what I would call a more radical suffragist, one who might have a feeding tube stuffed down her throat because she’s on a hunger strike. That doesn’t happen in this book. However, because Lucie is portrayed as so unbending, I didn’t like this book as much as the first story. All through most of this story, she continually harps about not giving up her freedom by marrying the man she loves. I grew tired of listening to her.

She could sneak around and have sex, but never commits to him. It’s hard to write historical romance, because we tend to give our heroes and heroines our modern values. I come from a long line of liberal women, some of those ancestors married, some didn’t. The ones who married, married men who were the right person for them. Those men supported them, they were true friends, lovers and partners. So, I know it’s possible to have a marriage that works. Historically, it was possible to have a marriage in which a woman doesn’t lose her freedom, even when the laws of that country say differently. It all depends on who she chooses for a life mate. For me, Lucie should have been smart enough to see that Tristan was the man for her. And, if he wasn’t, then she should have discontinued going to bed with him. Freedom doesn't mean bed-hopping. Being free doesn't mean you have to be like a man. I digress.

Tristan. Tristan is the heir to the Earl of Rochester. Rochester is a cruel man. He is the absolute ruler of his domain. Long ago, Tristan escaped to India so he would be out of his father’s reach. He spent many years living in India, and he grew to love the country. Now, because of the death of his older brother he is forced to return to England. Tristan tries to stand up to his father, but his father uses a bit of blackmail to get him to do what he wants – marry and begin a family. How does he pressure Tristan? He informs Tristan that he will put Tristan’s mother into an asylum if Tristan doesn’t do what he wants.

Time-travel. I have arrived at the conclusion that I am not made for time-traveling. The medical facilities were horrible. And, the asylums used for the treatment of people with mental issues were even worse. They were used as dumping grounds for what was lovingly called “hysterical” women. Therefore, Tristan takes his father’s warning seriously. He tries to come up with a plan to remove his mother from his father’s clutches before he is forced to marry. He decides to send his mother to India where she will be safe. I raised my eyebrows at that. I wondered if Tristan had thought that maybe his mother didn’t want to go to India. But then, that was just me. And, let me say one more time, there isn’t any time in the past I want to time travel to, not even to wear an Elizabethan ruffle.

Tristan and Lucie are both complex characters, Tristan a little more so. Lucie was just stubborn. Tristan and Lucie grew up together. Their relationship as children was combative. Tristan has always loved Lucie, but he expresses his feelings for Lucie by dipping her hair in ink. As a child, he had to develop a pretty hard shell to combat his father. In his adult life, he is portrayed as a user of people, all kinds of people, He seemed to be pretty unethical. He wasn’t a nice guy, in fact he reminded me a little of some of Anna Stuart’s “heroes.”  Did the author manage to redeem him by the end? Yes, I think she did, I just wish Lucie had discovered he was the man for her a little sooner.

Overall, this story had a lot of things going on, more than what I’ve covered. There is a fight over a publishing business between Tristan and Lucie. Tristan’s rat-faced father makes his vicious appearance throughout the story, There’s an odd solution for Tristan’s mother’s problem; it came out of the blue. Lucie’s relationship with her family, which isn’t good, is resolved at the end. Well, let me say this, it’s resolved, but I didn’t like the resolution. I thought Lucie’s mother was atrocious. For me, A Rogue of One’s Own didn’t work as well as the first book, Bringing Down the Duke. I’m still glad Evie Dunmore made her appearance, and I have marked my calendar her the next book. 
 
Time/Place: London 1880
Sensuality:  Hot



Wednesday

Someone to Romance by Mary Balogh

September 15, 2020
Time to take a nap

https://marybalogh.com/
Well, the Queen has done it again. She’s written a slow moving romance. The problem is, it’s so slow I started to nod off. Someone to Romance is part of Ms. Balogh’s Westcott series. I will be honest, this series has been all over the place. So far, there are eight books in this series. Out of those eight I liked three: Someone to Wed, Someone to Love, and Someone to Care. So, the percentage is a tad bit off.

Someone to Romance is Lady Jessica Archer and Gabriel Thorne’s story. If you have been following this story you may remember Jessica. She is/was the best friend of Lady Abigail Westcott. Jessica is not a very likeable person. She’s feeling blue because her bestest friend in the whole wide world is happily married. Yes, Jessica had planned on her and Abigail being spinsters and being together all of their life. How dare Abigail be happy with her man! Jessica is feeling sorry for herself. She sees the clock ticking away, she’s getting older, she’s twenty-five after all!!! Yikes! Since she can no longer roam the world with her spinster friend, she decides that she to will marry. She doesn’t necessarily care who she marries, but she just doesn’t want to be alone. Another case of depending on others to make you happy. It’s a real pity party.

Gabriel is also not a very likeable character. He is what one would call an absentee landlord. He’s been living in America for thirteen years. He’s been making loads of money, in the process he has also ignored what’s going on at his English estate. However, there is a fly in the ointment, his uncle Manley Rochford. You see, Gabriel is really the Earl of Lyndale, except everyone thinks he’s dead. Manley, his uncle, is going to have Gabriel declared dead, and claim the title himself. Gabriel’s uncle is a Snidely Whiplash kind of villain. Then one day he receives a letter from his aunt’s sister, Mary. She has been kicked out of her house on the Lyndale land by our villain, Manley. So after years of ignoring the people who depend on him, Gabriel decides to get off of his butt and help. He’s going to be sly about it and not let anyone know he’s back. There’s a good reason he is being shifty. He has to prove who he is. It won’t be easy because he’s changed a lot in the thirteen years. He will need to prove who he says he is. And he has a plan!

He is going to find an aristocratic bride. Someone who belongs to a powerful family. Someone who knows how to run an estate. His eyes fall on Jessica, the perfect person for the job. Now the story does a fast gear switch. When Gabriel suggests Jessica marry him, all of a sudden she wants romance. Now, she wants what Abigail has! Yes, she wants romance, and she wants to be romanced. Even though her original thoughts about marriage were cold, now she wants someone who doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Even though she’s not willing to give, she want’s someone to give to her. She was very selfish.

Gabriel’s idea of romance was interesting. While he may have no idea how to be romantic, he ends up being swoon worthy. He starts by sending her one rose every day. Who wouldn’t start to pay attention to something like that? While I thought Gabriel’s romantic technique was a winner, for me, both Gabriel and Jessica lack “couple” chemistry. Usually Ms. Balogh inundates her characters with thoughts, emotions, and slow burns. But they were strangely lacking in this book.

I think part of this was due to the fact that most of the Westcott’s put in an appearance. Now, that I’ve whined about the Westcott’s, I have to say, I did chuckle at Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby’s reason for disliking one of Jessica’s suitors: “He has too many teeth.” Brought a smile to my face.

Overall, Someone to Romance was very slow, and forgettable. It had a hero and heroine who were both unlikable. The story was just sort of bland. If you want to keep track of the Westcott family, then go ahead and read this one. But it’s really not all that exciting. 
 
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Bland

A Kiss from a Rogue by Elisa Braden

September 8, 2020
 
After nine books in the Rescued from Ruin series, I was ready for that series to end. Number ten in the series was A Kiss from a Rogue. This story involves a house party, a mystery, and an uncomfortable story line.

Ms. Braden has chosen to pair Hannah Gray and Jonas hawthorn. Both characters have appeared in previous books. Jonas is a Bow Street Runner, and he falls hard for Hannah in one of the previous books. Hannah is the half-sister of Phineas Brand. This story contains one of my least favorite themes: I’m-not-worthy. The, "I’m-not-worthy" attitude belongs to Jonas. Jonas is a lowly Bow Street Runner and he can never, ever, be good enough for Hannah. I do wish sometimes authors would stay away from class-system dependence. But, that’s one of the problems with historical romance novels. However, in this case Hannah was illegitimate, so I’m not sure if the “I’m-not-worthy” routine really works in this story. But I had bigger problems with this book. Hannah.

As I said, Hannah has appeared in a number of previous books, and she is a victim. She’s had tons of bad things happen to her. She’s been kidnapped, chased after by a killer, physically and psychologically abused. Hannah has a lot of issues, a lot of scars. Some of those scars show and some are hidden inside of her. She is leery of people, she doesn’t like to be touched, and she is a deeply troubled woman. Personally, I think the author has taken her too far down the trauma hole. But evidently, it just takes a couple of good hump sessions and all is resolved. I was uncomfortable with the quick manner in which she was able to participate in sexual antics. A few books ago, I realized that Hannah was going to have her own story. At that time I wondered how the author was going to do it. You see, Ms. Braden fills all of her stories with tons and tons of sex. Knowing that, and then seeing how troubled Hannah was, I was hoping the author would handle this book a little differently. I was hoping she would develop Hannah more, show us a gradual awakening. But, she didn’t. Once Hannah decided to marry Jonas, it was as if her previous issues never existed. Hannah’s recovery was toooo fast.

Then there were all the other characters from the previous books who showed up, plus all 50 gazillion of their children. This is the last book in a series and it shows. The character development of Hannah and Jonas suffered in the race to finish a series. This was not one of my favorites in the series.
 
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Troubling

Tuesday

A Marriage Made In Scotland by Elisa Braden

September 8, 2020

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

https://www.elisabraden.com/
A Marriage Made in Scotland is the ninth book in Elisa Braden’s Rescued from Ruin series. On the first few pages of this story I ran into some stumbling blocks. In this case it was the, “this-doesn’t-make-sense” stumbling block. I appreciate being drawn into a story from the very beginning, but it should be in a good way, not a “scratch you head way.” So, why did I scratch my head in the first few chapters?

Remember Eugenia Huxley? If you’ve read any of the books from this series, you should be familiar with the Huxley family. They are a charming, loving, supportive family. She is part of that family, the vibrant part. Here’s the deal. When this story begins, we find Eugenia working at a milliner’s shop. Yes, she is earning a living. Why is she earning a living? What could have possibly happened that would cause her loving family to boot her out? There was a scandal. But wait a minute! She’s still living with her family. They are still speaking to her. They are not shunning her. She eats at the same table that they do. They are still supportive of her. So why is she working at a hat shop? Because she doesn’t want to cause more scandal. Well, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Thank goodness Phineas Brand, Lord Holstoke was the hero of the book. At least his part of the story made sense.

Remember Phineas? He was the really nice guy from Confessions of a Dangerous Lord. He played a suitor of Maureen Huxley, Eugenia’s older sister. And, he got the shaft when Maureen chose a bonehead hero, Henry, over him. If you’ve read that book, you may be aware that Phineas has a few other problems to live with, his mother happened to be a maniacal killer. He is not the most widely accepted fellow in society at this point, plus someone is trying to blame him for some other murders. Lucky for him, or not, he has peppy Eugenia there to help him.

Yes, Eugenia is there to save our hero. Phineas, on the other hand wishes she would not help him. Eugenia and Phineas are complete opposites. He’s cold, she’s vibrant. He’s calculating, she’s spontaneous. He’s stiff, she bends so fast one cannot keep up with her. He tries very hard to maintain a distance from her, but he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame, or a fly to a web. Both characters are extreme, but I found myself liking their interaction. I just wish the author had decided whether she was going to write a romance, or a romantic suspense.

A huge amount of space was occupied with a killer, a mystery, and solving that mystery. It was a bit of a distraction. I read romance novels, a lot of romance novels. I am comfortable with the romance novel. Occasionally I will journey down paranormal lane, or once in a great while I will pick up a mystery. I am the one choosing what genre I read. When I read a story which is supposed to be a romance, half of the story should not be dedicated to solving a crime. That’s what romantic suspense is for.

Overall, this was a readable story. I was disappointed that more of the narrative wasn’t dedicated to our hero and heroine. If you are following the series, then read this story, just be aware that at least half of the book involves a mystery. 
 
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Spunky

 


Monday

Anything but a Gentleman by Elisa Braden

 August 31, 2020

At last! A good story….mostly!

Yes, finally Elisa Braden gave me a story I liked…a lot. Well she didn’t actually give it to me, I did buy it.

Anything but a Gentleman is the 8th book in the Rescued from Ruin series. If you’ve read any of the other books in the series, you should be familiar with the leads, Sebastian Reaver and Augusta Widmore. Both of these characters were eye-catching secondary characters in those stories, and I will be honest, this was one of those times I had high expectations for these two characters when they had their own story. I was happy that Ms. Braden didn’t disappoint.

Sebastian is a Romanceland gambling establishment owner. Hence he’s rough around the edges, and at first glance, he seems to be pretty menacing. He is also someone it is never wise to cross. But, he is about to meet someone who doesn’t abide by his rules…Augusta Widmore.

Alert! Augusta is one of those Romanceland women. You know the ones I’m talking about! Those red-headed females with long legs! Oh no, not long legs!!! Not vibrant red-hair! Of course, she doesn’t know what a beauty she is, but I liked her too much to care. Was she a perfect heroine? Of course not. She had a number of qualities which I didn’t care for, the most important of these not being able to listen to her sister. But, I forgave her, eventually. It seems that her younger sister, Phoebe, is pregnant, and not married. The man responsible for is a cad, a real bounder, and he’s also a gambler. And, not a good gambler. He has left a lot of “markers” at Sebastian Reaver’s gambling establishment. Augusta has a plan! I’m sorry, my little Petunias, but heroine think up Romanceland plans too. Yes, she has a Romanceland plan, and it’s a doozy. She means to get those markers from Reever…somehow. She hasn’t really thought out the how. Anyway, once she has the markers, she plans on forcing the “cad” to marry her sister. There is so much wrong with this plan, I don’t even know what to say. But I will go ahead anyway.

One of the things I disliked about Augusta was her mind-set on forcing her beloved sister, Phoebe, into wedlock with the “cad/bounder/worthless creep.” Augusta is rather strong-willed, as Sebastian finds out. She needs to talk to him, he refuses. Ok, he refuses to talk to her, so she will find ways to get into his establishment, and force him to pay attention. She keeps breaking into his gambling house. He keeps kicking her out. At one point, even throwing her over his shoulders and tossing her out. Augusta does not give up.  Eventually, he comes up with a plan. His plan is to scare her into running away. He offers to give Augusta the markers if she will become his mistress. And, he waits for her to turn tail and run. He waits, and waits. Much to his surprise, she accepts.

Now, we get to watch the menacing Sebastian turn into a cuddly bear. I enjoyed the relationship between Sebastian and Augusta. There were misunderstandings, snappy dialogue, and an occasional chuckle. The only fly in the ointment was the sister, Phoebe and the secondary romance she becomes involved in.

I found the secondary romance between the weaker Phoebe and Sebastian’s partner Adam Shaw a distraction. I was never fond of Phoebe. She waited too long to find her voice. Adam Shaw was an incredible scene stealer and deserved a book of his own, and a heroine who wasn’t so wishy-washy. The secondary romance didn’t add anything to the overall voice of the book.

In conclusion. So far, this has been my favorite book in the Rescued from Ruin series. I thought Sebastian and Augusta made quite a delightful couple. I would have given this book a higher rating if not for the secondary romance. It was a bit of a distraction, and Adam deserved his own book. The other issue which bothered me was Augusta’s stubbornness in insisting her sister marry such a blackguard. She should have talked things over with Phoebe. Her assertion that she had all the answers was frustrating. Also, Phoebe could have grown a backbone sooner. But I do recommend this book.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Tons

 

Holy Spaghetti and Meatballs!! Upcoming Historical Romance!!! September 15 to October 14, 2020!!!

August 24, 2020
 
Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! Release dates mostly between September 15, 2020 and October 14, 2020. For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! **Book by an author who is either new to me or has fallen off of my list and I might read.

Series indicates a series, spin-off, sequel, trilogy, brother/sister, secret society/spies, good friends who attended Oxford/Eton, vampire/werewolf - anything that has something continuing - even if written 20 years ago. Anthology/novella/short stories could be an anthology or a bunch of books in one print or novella - one tiny book or an anthology with a bunch of novellas - could be a short stories by one author, could be short stories by multiple authors - could be - I'm getting a headache. Ebook, only sold electronically for now. Debut - congratulations!

By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me. Let me also add this warning - since I am now using different sources, I am finding that one person's genre isn't necessarily another persons - sorry if your book is in the wrong genre. 
 
By the way - not toooo fond of the Blogger upgrade.
 
Historical Romance
A.S. Fenichel**
http://asfenichel.com
Misleading a Duke
The Wallflowers of West End
September 29
Adele Clee
http://www.adeleclee.com/
Raven, ebook
Gentlemen of the Order series
October 7
Amy Jarecki
https://amyjarecki.com/
The Highland Laird     
Lords of the Highland series
October 13
Anabelle Bryant
http://www.anabellebryant.com/
London's Most Elusive Earl, ebook
Midnights Secret series
October 13

Annabelle Greene
https://annabellegreene.com/
The Vicar and the Rake, debut, ebook
Society of Beasts series
October 12

Bethany Bennett
https://www.bethanybennett
Any Rogue Will Do      
Misfits of Mayfair series
October 13


Blythe Gifford*
http://blythegifford.com
Jenni Fletcher
http://jennifletcher.com
Amanda McCabe
http://ammandamccabe.com/
Tudor Christmas Tidings
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 1 - ebook

Bronwyn Scott
http://bronwynswriting.blogspot.com/
The Confessions of the Duke of Newlyn
Cornish Dukes series
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 1 - ebook

Bronwyn Stuart
http://www.bronwynstuart.com/
The Slide into Ruin, ebook
Daughters of Disgrace series
September 15

Christi Caldwell
http://www.christicaldwellauthor.com
A Winter Wish, ebook
The Reed Family
September 27

Christina McKnight
http://www.christinamcknight.com
A Lord of Her Own
September 15

Courtney Milan*
https://www.courtneymilan.com/
The Duke Who Didn’t
The Wedgewood Trials
September 22 -
Yes, she's still writing

Diana Quincy
http://www.dianaquincy.com/
Her Night with the Duke
Clandestine Affairs
September 29

Grace Burrowes
http://www.graceburrowes.com/
My Heart's True Delight, ebook
True Gentlemen, series
September 22
Greta Gilbert
The Roman Lady's Illicit Affair     
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 1 - ebook
Helen Dickson
Wedded for His Secret Child
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 1 - ebook
Jenna Jaxon
http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com
The Widow's Christmas Surprise
The Widow’s Club series
September 29

Joanna Johnson
A Mistletoe Vow to Lord Lovell
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 1 - ebook
Julie London
http://www.julialondon.com/
A Princess by Christmas
A Royal Wedding series
October 13
Kerrigan Byrne
http://www.kerriganbyrne.com
All Scot and Bothered
Devil You Know series
September 29
Larissa Lyons
http://LarissaLyons.com
Daring Declaration
Mistress in the Making series
September 22

Lorraine Heath*
http://www.lesliedicken.com
Beauty Tempts the Beast
Sins for All Seasons series
September 29
Madeline Martin
http://www.MadelineMartin.com
Kinsey's Defiance, ebook
Borderland Rebels series
September 15
Meriel Fuller
Protected by the Knight’s Proposal
Sept 29 – paperback, Oct 2 - ebook
Merry Farmer
http://merryfarmer.net
The Road to Scandal is Paved with Wicked Intentions, ebook
The May Flowers
September 25
Sandra Sookoo
http://www.sandrasookoo.com
Trimmed in Blue, ebook
Colors of Scandal series
September 15
Sasha Cottman
http://www.sashacottman.com
Devoted to the Spanish Duke
London Lords series
October 1
Stacy Reid
http://www.stacyreid.com
A Rogue in the Making, ebook
Forever Yours series
October 12

Suzan Tisdale
http://www.suzantisdale.com
Lachlan's Heart, ebook
The MacCulloughs
September 25
Tammy Andresen
http://tammyandresen.com/
Who Wants a Brawling Baron, ebook
Romancing a Rake series
October 6
 
Tanya Anne Crosby
http://www.tanyaannecrosby.com
Lord of Shadows, historical/fantasy
Daughters of Avalon series
September 24
Vivienne Lorret**
http://www.vivlorret.net
My Kind of Earl
Mating Habits of Scoundrels series
September 29
Historical Fiction
Beatrice Colin
http://www.beatricecolin.com
The Glass House
September 15
Carol Bruneau
http://carolbruneau.com/
Brighten the Corner Where You Are
September 30
Clare McHugh
A Most English Princess
September 22

Ken Follett
https://ken-follett.com/
The Evening and the Morning
prequel to Pillars of the Earth
Sept 15 – ebook, Oct 28 - paperback
Signe Pike
https://www.signepike.com/
The Forgotten Kingdom
The Lost Queen
 

Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden

August 24, 2020

Watch out for the red herrings!

https://www.elisabraden.com/
Confessions of a Dangerous Lord is a spy, thriller story – sort of. It’s supposed to be a romance, but the intrigue takes over the story. Remember Henry, the fop, from previous books? He is every ones favorite jovial friend, always witty, always up for a good laugh. He dresses in foppish clothes and likes to hunt. But, there is more to Henry, Earl of Dunston, than our little eyes can see. He is out to catch the villain who murdered his father. Also, along for the ride is our heroine Maureen Huxley, yes part of that Huxley family who have shown up in a few of the earlier books. Well, it seems that Maureen and Henry fell in love with each other years ago at her sister’s wedding. Ever since then Maureen has been trying to get Henry to confess his love for her, and propose marriage. And, Henry – well Henry has been running away. He wants nothing to do with her. He has a reason, or at least he has a hero-reason. A hero-reason is similar to a hero-plan in that it doesn’t necessarily make sense, and it could change at any time.

Maureen’s life-long dream is to be married and have babies. She longs for Henry, but she’s feeling blue because he keeps rejecting her. She decides, ok enough is enough, I’ll find someone else. And she tries. She is popular with the other men in her world; she has a number of suitors. Most of them meet her requirements, which in this case is to have a Timothy Toad. Anyway, something odd keeps happening; her suitors just keep changing their mind. She just is not able to understand it. She checks her underarms for any smells. Unbeknownst to her, Henry has been scaring her suitors away. He cannot have her, and he makes sure that no one else will have her either. It does not sound very sporting to me. I believe this puts him in the running for bonehead hero.

Eventually, Maureen lands a suitor who is not intimidated by Henry: Phineas Brand, Lord Holstoke. Holstoke happens to be a secondary character who steals scenes. He’s a handsome, self-composed, cool customer. That’s a good thing, because he gets his own book. He’s also a nice guy, and very likeable. He is actually more likeable than Henry, the bonehead Maureen is mooning over.

The presence of Holstoke panics Henry, and Henry marries Maureen. The end. Not really. You see there is a problem, the reason Henry maintained a distance from Maureen. The villain of the book.

The villain of the piece is well written, and pretty much hidden. When the villain made their first appearance on the pages, my little gray cells started to stir. But then the author threw some wonderful red-herrings into the batch, and I was distracted away from the true villain. For the most part, I thought the villain was pretty creepy, the only small problem I had was the “this-is-why-I-did-it” explanation when the villain is caught. There must be a better way to find out why villains do what they do than to do a three-page dissertation. Regardless, the villain was delightfully evil.

So, what does the villain have to do with Henry being a bonehead. Well the villain is murdering people who are close to Henry. Henry thinks if he ignores the woman he loves, the villain will leave her alone. Then he panics and marries her, so all those years of ignoring her are totally wasted.

As in the other books in this series, there was an overload of sex scenes. For the most part, they serve no purpose, and they happen at odd points in the narrative. The mystery overwhelmed the romance in this story, and that’s too bad because Henry and Maureen could have been a great couple. They were just hidden behind the suspense, the villain and Lord Holstoke. I sort of recommend this book, it’s not going to be something you will remember as one of the bestest romance stories ever written, but it’s a good way to while away a pandemic day.
 
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Same as others