The Vicar's Daughter, Tempting Kate, The Last Rogue by Deborah Simmons - The A-Team continued.

June 27, 2014
Whatever happened to...
Many many years ago there was a group of delightful books by an author named Deborah Simmons. This was in the days when a "series" wasn't as pre-ordained as it is now. Anyway, she had/has a regency series (without a name) and a medieval series (with a name). The first few books in the medieval series were a delight, but even more wonderful were her
regency books. She was/is a joy to read.

Then something happened over at Harlequin and she disappeared for a while, then she came back.  However, her last book was published in the early part of 2013. Her website doesn't show any recent activity and I am nervous.  Even though her last few books were a disappointment for me, I have continued to keep an eye out, but nothing seems to be happening. If you have never read any of her books, the three I'm going to talk about are gems and you should try to find them somewhere. Two of them have been released in electronic format, but The Vicar's Daughter is still out-of-print and hard to find.

Let's start with the first one - sort of - The Vicar's Daughter, 1995. I say sort of because I'm only talking about three of Ms. Simmons early regencies. There are earlier regencies with characters that are mentioned in these three books; however, I've always considered The Vicar's Daughter, Tempting Kate, and The Last Rogue the best of Ms. Simmons' regencies.

Back to The Vicar's Daughter, which I reviewed years ago and have not changed my mind. I love when I can go back to a much-beloved book and find that it still brings me pleasure. The Vicar's Daughter has one of my favorite type of heroes, an uptight stuffed-shirt who turns into an out of control befuddled male. In fact all three stories featured befuddled males. Max has mapped his life out completely, down to the last hair on his head. He has scheduled everything, he's orderly, everything is timed. He has time pieces that keep him on his schedule, he looks at them constantly. He doesn't have too much of a sense of humor, he's neat, precise, only drinks two glasses of wine and even has visits to his mistress penciled into his schedule. His secretary knows that Max has broken off with his mistress because he has scratched her name out of his time-table.

As luck would have it, he has purchased an estate in the country and is visiting it, adding it into his well-ordered life. It is while he is at this estate that he decides to pay a visit to the local vicar and there he meets his doom in the form of the vicar's second eldest daughter, Charlotte. From the moment he enters the ramshackle home of the vicar, his life is never the same. The vicar, you see, Mr. Trowbridge, has eight children and only one of those eight children is married and not living at home. Max's entrance into the home is very amusing. This house is full of exuberant children and nothing in it is anything Max has ever experienced. His first encounter with Charlotte is funny and sets the course for the rest of his encounters with her. Usually those encounters include food being spilled on him and her trying to wipe it up.

This is not a deep dark story, nor does it cause frown lines. Max and Charlotte are a great couple, and though they are complete opposites they bring into the relationship just what the other person needs to be a better person. It's filled with wit, charm and fun. I had a great time watching Max stutter, deny and flounder his way toward his HEA.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

On to Tempting Kate, 1997. Our hero in this story is Gray, the Duke of Worth. Gray happens to have been a suitor to Charlotte from The Vicar's Daughter. Tempting Kate is not has funny or light as The Vicar's Daughter; in fact, there is some of the story that comes close to dark territory, but it was still a pleasure to read. The heroine in this story is Kate and Kate is under the mistaken belief that Gray impregnated her younger sister and left her to face the consequences. For some reason Kate decides to kidnap Gray and force him to help with her sister. In so doing this, she accidentally shoots him, panics, and then she and her
man-servant stuff him in a carriage and take him to her dilapidated home to help him recover. Even though it doesn't sound like it, this part of the books is rather light-hearted. Once Gray regains consciousness he tells Kate she is mistaken in her conclusion regarding her sister, but now he knows there is someone impersonating him and he decides to stay and find out who the villain is. It is during this time of recovery that he and Kate become friends. Even though she is the one who shot him, he finds that he has a growing respect for her. Kate has managed to support herself, her sister, and a loyal man-servant on the funds that were left to her by her father.

As the two of them get to know each other, the story starts to change. It does a subtle change from a fun story to a darker, intense offering. Where this story is different from The Vicar's Story is in the hero. Gray may turn into a bubbling, denier-of-love hero, but he also reveals a rather scary obsessive side. Gray seems to have a bit of a control problem, at least with himself. The most important thing for him seems to be never losing control, well we all know that heroes have no control over themselves when their heroine is around. And, that's what happens here. He becomes obsessed with Kate. He feels that if he uses her enough in bed, he will have control over himself. So, at night the bedroom is a giant cauldron of hot sweaty sex, but after it's all over, he closes himself off to her. He almost becomes crazed with his obsession to be in his control of himself. Of course, his rebuffing of Kate after all the hot whankee-loo is a tad bit wearing on her self-confidence.

Eventually, he accepts his loss of control and we have our HEA, but it is a teeny bit wearing on the reader to get to it. There were times that Gray was a bit too over the top for my taste, but in the end two dissimilar people complimented each other. Tempting Kate was almost too dark, but I still found it a refreshing to reread this very well-written novel.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot!!!!

Now we come to the last in the trio of novels, The Last Rogue, 1998. This tale sheds the darkness and returns to a delightful romp. In this one we have Deverell Fairfax, Viscount Raleigh, a peacock, coxcomb, dandy if ever there was one. I was excited to see the return of the quizzing glass in this one - that wonderful foppish prop isn't used as much in more current historical novels. This quizzing glass is also cause for a wonderfully poignant scene, or should I say the absence of the glass is cause for a poignant, charming scene.

Raleigh actually was a pretty strong secondary character in both The Vicar's Daughter and Tempting Kate. He's one of those overdressed, silly men who hands out advice to his love-lorn friends and in the process manages to get some funny jabs in at their expense. So, now the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak.

This tale starts with Raleigh waking up to a scream. Dear oh dear, he has managed to show up drunk at his friend Max's house, be shown to his regular room and fall asleep. Unbeknownst to Max and Raleigh, Max's wife Charlotte has put her sister Jane in that room. Well, of course there is nothing for it but for these two to marry after being found in such a compromising situation. Once again we have a couple who are completely different, both in appearances and their outlook on life. Jane refers to herself as Plain Jane and she was a very young secondary character from The Vicar's Daughter and a sister to the heroine of that book. Well, she's grown up now and she's grown up with quite a complex.

Plain Jane has always felt she was compared to her beautiful sister Charlotte and found lacking, so she dresses the part. She pulls her hair back in a tight 'do, she wears glasses, she dresses in browns and grays, and she is somber, humorless and condemning of any one with a frivolous nature. Well, of course Raleigh is about as silly as they come. He dresses in bright colors with high collars, he jokes, he laughs, he smiles, and quips just fall off of his lips. However all that nonsensical business hides some insecurities...he can never seem to please his parents. Because he can never seem to make them happy, he has taken on the facade of not caring.

The Last Rogue is a story about two people with facades and how they slowly chip away at those facades to the people underneath. This was bright story about two delightful people. I smiled a lot at Jane's loud sniffs when Raleigh did something that disgusted her. What made this couple even better was that they fell in love with each others foibles and they didn't change too much over the course of the book. Also mixed into the romance is a light-hearted Gothic story that is pretty humorous.  
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Overall, all three of these books are something everyone should read. I prefer The Vicar's Daughter and The Last Rogue over Tempting Kate, but they are all three wonderful, charming stories and they have aged really well through the years. I wish The Vicar's Daughter would be released to electronic format, because my copy of the book is getting mighty yellow.

And Deborah, please write some more!


Upcoming Historicals!!!!!!! July 15, 2014 to August 14, 2014

June 24, 2014
Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't Historical see Hey Delia!!! For: July 15, 2014 to August 14, 2014. *Author's name linked.  

Also notice that Ms. Feather and Ms. London's front cover heroines seem to be going to the same party.
Carolyn Hart

Cliff’s Edge
August 8, 2014
Grace Burrowes

The Traitor
Captive Hearts series
August 5, 2014
Jane Feather

Trapped at the Altar
Blackwater Brides series
July 22, 2014

Kate Noble

The Game and the Governess
New series
July 22, 2014
Katharine Ashe

I Adored a Lord
The Prince Catchers series
July 29, 2014
Katie MacAlister

The Truth About Leo
Noble series
August 5, 2014
Kelly Boyce

Salvation in the Rancher’s Arms
July 16, 2014
Lauren Willig

The Mark of Midnight Manzanilla
Pink Carnation series
August 5, 2014
Louise Allen

Beguiled by Her Betrayer
July 15, 2014
Manda Collins*

Why Lords Lose their Hearts*
Wicked Widows series
July 29, 2014
Marguerite Kaye

Never Forget Me
July 15, 2014
Mary Brendan

The Rake’s Ruined Lady
July 15, 2014
Mary Wine

The Highlander’s Bride Trouble
Hot Highlanders series
August 5, 2014
Michelle Sinclair*

A Woman Made for Sin*
A Woman Made for series
August 5, 2014
Nicola Cornick

Claimed by the Laird
Scottish Brides series
July 29, 2014
Shana Galen

Love and Let Spy
Lord and Lady Spy series
August 5, 2014
Sherry Thomas*

My Beautiful Enemy*
August 5, 2014
Sophie Barnes

The Danger in Tempting an Earl
Kingsborough Ball series
July 29, 2014
Sophie Jordan*

A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin*
Debutante Tales series
July 29, 2014
Stephanie Laurens

Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair
Casebook of Barnaby Adair series
July 29, 2014
Susan Wiggs

The Mistress of Normandy  
July 29, 2014
Suzanne Enoch*

Rogue with a Brogue*
Scandalous Highlanders series
July 29, 2014


Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

June 20, 2014
Lydia oh Lydia, say have you met Lydia,
Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
And a torso even more so.

Lydia oh Lydia, that encyclopedia,
Oh Lydia the Queen of Tattoo.
On her back is the Battle of Waterloo.
Beside it The Wreck of the Hesperus, too.
And proudly above waves the Red, White, and Blue,
You can learn a lot from Lydia."
Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg
No, there are no tattooed ladies in this book, but there is a Lydia.  In fact, it's the second heroine in a row I've read with that name; which turned out to be confusing to my beleaguered brain.  I had to go back and check to make sure I had the correct name and all of a sudden I found myself singing an old Groucho Marx song.  Thanks Lydia.

And thanks to a friend at work who said "I have a book for you to read."  (Oh no...not a recommendation!  Oh the pressure!)  She said "Go ahead, take a chance."  She did feel the need to warn me about numerous anachronisms in the book.  (Oh no, a recommendation with anachronisms!!!)  Oh well, if I can get through a Julia Quinn I can get through Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle.  For some reason, I thought this was her debut novel, but it seems Ms. Conkle also has a Viking series she's writing.  Meet the Earl at Midnight is the first in the Midnight Meeting series and it isn't Regency but a Georgian, so the skirts are harder to handle.

Meet the Earl at Midnight
is a Beauty and the Beast story.  Lydia our strong-willed heroine is the sacrificial bride to Edward, our recluse hero.  He's a recluse because of a number of things. First of all, he likes plants better than people and he's got a giant scar on half of his face from a fire.  His last fiancĂ©e ran away from him in fear, so he's not taking any chances this time.  He's blackmailing his newest choice into wedded bliss.  Edward mistakenly believes that Lydia has agreed to the marriage; for some reason he believed Lydia's father.  I'm not sure why, because it is very obvious that her father and her brother are not the most trustworthy people in the world.  But after the first initial shock of seeing his face Lydia agrees to marriage.  So, Lydia and Edward are off to his castle.  And, there they start stepping on each other’s toes.

Lydia and Edward were an interesting couple to watch maneuver through romance.  They were actually quite honest with each other, told each other what they wanted and set up parameters.  Of course, a lot of these parameters were ignored, mostly by Lydia.  Lydia pushed her way into all of Edward's sanctuaries, just wouldn't leave him to his peace.  What eventually struck me about this couple was I could see Edward falling in love more than I could Lydia.  I have nothing against self-centered people; after all that's what we are - self.  However, I was a little disappointed that it took her so long to get past her ego to see what a really nice guy Edward the gruff was.  I did like Edward a lot, even though he was supposed to be an Alpha kind of guy; I think I would classify him as a Beta hero.  It was always Edward who was the one who seemed to be more easily hurt. 

Speaking of pain.  We have another contender for the Mommie Dearest award in Edward's mother.  What a truly horrendous woman.  She sloops down on Edward and Lydia like a big black spider with wings.  She does everything she can to make Lydia's life horrible, and she's not sneaky about it - she's a in-your-face kind of woman.  However, we must not forget that Lydia is a spunky heroine - she a in-your-face kind of woman also.  In the end Lydia won the war.

I must say that I found Meet the Earl at Midnight charming, humorous and worth the stumbling through the anachronisms.  The hero even says "you're in my space."  Hey, what do I know, maybe they said that in the Georgian time period, although I suspect they didn't.  Anyway, there were some minor hiccups that irritated me - interrupted love scenes.  While I don't mind one or two interrupted kiss/petting/bed sport scenes - servants walking in, tables breaking, mother's showing up - when it happens in every single sensual moment it becomes a distraction.  I'm assuming that those interruptions were to build sexual tension, but they were not needed because the tension was being built without them.  After the first two, I found the rest annoying.  The other hiccup I noticed was the abrupt jerks from one setting to another.  There were a couple of times I had to go back and reread the previous paragraph because I became lost.

Even though there were some hiccups and anachronisms, I found the story entertaining and I will be reading more of Gina Conkle.  Thanks for the recommendation.  This is for you…

“Oh Lydia, oh Lydia that encyclopedia,
Oh Lydia the champ of them all.
She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet.
The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat.
And now the old boy's in command of the fleet,
For he went and married Lydia.”

Time/Place: Georgian England
Sensuality: Warm 

The Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter

June 19, 2014
Please somebody say something!!! Puleeese!!!

I seem to be reading books with the same plot-line, although I suspect once again authors are hanging out at the same watering hole deciding what romance theme to include in their books.  The last time the flock of authors got together they must have decided it was "I've got a secret" time.  Secrets - mistrust - lies - deceit - misunderstandings - jumping to
conclusions...they are all connected.  Ponder there a romance book out there without those ingredients?  I'm sure there is, just can't think of one at the moment.  Can't there be tension without secrets/misunderstandings?

The Accidental Duchess is the fourth and final book in the Fairbourne Quartet series by Madeline Hunter.  This is a standard high quality Hunter story, although I prefer Ms. Hunter's medieval stories - the alpha males make a better fit in that time period.  Anyway, while this was a pleasant read, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, and a word of warning - there are a lot of loose ends that were tied up in this book, so I wouldn't consider this story a stand-alone book.  And, if you are like me, you may have forgotten what was going on in past books, so it might behoove you to review the others in the series.

If you remember Lydia from the previous books, you will remember she has a gambling problem, but the reason for her gambling isn't all that it seems; however, I can't tell you the reason 'cause it's a secret.  She is also being blackmailed for writing a novel that might be mistaken for a spy journal but she can't tell anyone about this. She must solve the problem herself and occasionally journey into TSTL territory, and in the hands of a less experienced author this would be ridiculous but Ms. Hunter keeps Lydia from being too much of a TSTL heroine.  I confess, I confess - I did find Lydia irritating in her non-speaking, I've got a secret moments.  So, Lydia isn't talking and not only isn't she talking, she's also has a grudge against our hero.  We don't know why because she's not talking...but hey, our hero has secrets also.

Penthurst, our hero is a typical Hunter alpha male, not a chest thumping Steve Morgan type of alpha, but close enough for me to want to shout out: Oh Yeah! Who do you think you are?  There were also some very hot whankee-roo scenes, but this time there wasn't any tying to the ol' bed post...just a bossy alpha male giving commands...Oh Yeah! Who do you think you are?  I think this might be some kind of trend with authors, adding a little bit of Fifty Shades to a book for titillation.  The alpha-commando bedroom scene seemed to me to be filler, because for me it did nothing to enhance the story.

Contrary to what you may think, I did find Lydia and Penthurst fascinating as individuals and as a couple, when they were not circling each other with their secrets.  It was a slow build to the romance, and as I said before the sex scenes were hot, hot, hot...except for the commando-in-the-bedroom scene which bored me.

All in all, this is a fitting end to a pleasant series, although I strongly believe Ms. Hunter's alpha males belong in a suit of armor jousting and eating out of trenchers.
Time/Place: Georgian England
Sensuality: Hot!!!!


Scandal's Virgin by Louise Allen

June 11, 2014
Was I just in the Wayback Machine?

I feel as if I've been transported to the 1980s. There was a lot in Scandal’s Virgin that reminded me of an old-school romance, and not in a good way. By the way, the title of this
story makes me cringe and according to the book is a nickname that society calls our heroine, Laura. I had a hard time believing that title would be broadcasted throughout society by both men and women. Besides that, I didn't understand the nickname, even after the explanation. It was something about Laura being a tease but never going alllll the way and all the boys are talking about her because she’s one of those kinda girls - you know the ones I mean - the “c” teasers, hence the nickname Scandal’s Virgin. Still don’t get it.

As we journey in our Wayback Machine, we come across an old plot device: The “secret baby.” This time it’s the heroine who doesn’t know she has a baby. Quite a trick, huh? How can that be, you might ask. Well, I'm here to tell you. Her mean ol’ mother told her the baby was dead; instead, unbeknownst to her the child was packed off to the countryside to be raised by a woman with eight children and in need of a little cash. Now as it just so happens, I was in the mood for a "secret baby" story because I've been wracking my brain trying to remember one I read eons ago. This one came along and I thought whoopee just what I’m looking for! However there were just too many banal trust issues in Scandal's Virgin for me to really enjoy this story. (I really don’t like that title.)

Wayback Machine trust issues or lack thereof. Avery, our hero, and Laura just would not talk to each other. By the way, this is also one of those stories that readers will find themselves saying, "if only they would just talk to each other." Of course, we all know the story would be over if they did. Ponder moment. Why is it some stories with couples that don't talk to each other are irritating and other stories that have non-communicating couples are fascinating? I found myself asking that a zillion times while reading this book. In the case of Scandal’s Virgin, I found the couple awfully juvenile. They played too many games with each other. Laura starts off by pretending to be someone else and all the time is stalking the child she thought was dead. I had a hard time liking Laura, as she plans to kidnap Alice, her daughter, from the man who has raised her. I thought this bordered on creepy. Thank goodness Laura was able to see that Alice and Avery had a loving bond, because child abduction isn’t something I relish reading about in my romance novels. 

Wayback Machine lies. As I said, Laura lies about who she is, then when our hero finds out who she is, she doesn't tell Avery the whole story, then she traps him into marriage and lies some more. You just can’t win with this couple. Avery is just as bad, only his problem is trust and that's because of his mother. Yes, his mother was a floozy so he can never luv or trust any woman. Of course, Laura did lie to him and then trap him into marriage, so, she's not really all that trustworthy.

Let me clear up the reason Avery has Laura's child Alice. You see the man/boy Laura had an affair with when she was eighteen was Avery's cousin Piers. Then Piers ran off to war because Avery was trying to get him away from Laura, who by the way Avery had never met, but all women are bad so he had to break it up. Anyway, Piers goes off to war without knowing Laura is pregnant with his child, she sends him a letter telling him she's going to have his baby, Piers dies and blood gets all over the letter, which when Avery reads the letter, he jumps to the conclusion that Laura is an e-v-i-l woman because some of the words are covered by blood. Anyway, Avery finds out Piers' child is being taken care of by couple with gazillions of kids in the country, he goes to them, exerts his authority, they gratefully give him the child and he raises the child as his. All this time, he thinks Laura has abandoned her baby. He has no idea she thinks the baby is dead, and even when Laura shows up to claim the child after six years he still thinks she abandoned the child. And do you know why? Because they don't tell each other their secrets. Aaaaakkkkkk. 

If Laura's not lying about something, Avery is having trust issues about something. When they get one thing sorted out, something else crops up to set them back. There is also whankee-roo with only one partner enjoying it because the other partner is deliberately ending before everyone is happy. There are a number of eavesdropping moments, numerous jumping to the wrong conclusions; so many old-school romance moments I just wanted it to end. If I hadn't already had one DNF this week I would have closed this book without finishing it, but I trudged onward. Even the HEA had a shadow thrown into the mix when Avery asked Laura why she hadn't told him she was having his baby. Well, that would be because you are a Jack-wad, Avery.

I did not enjoy this story. The couple acted like juveniles through most of the book and the story was filled with too many 1980-styled tricks/traps/lies/misunderstandings for me. Sorry to say, I cannot recommend Scandal's Virgin.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot


Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

June 5, 2014
No more wire hangers... in stereo.

Sweet Disorder is the first in the Lively St. Lemeston series by author Rose Lerner. Let me say this about Ms. Lerner - this is her third book and I have to say that all of her books are unique
historical tales. If you are one of those people who get tired of having dukes, earls, duchesses, princesses and princes wandering through your romances, then this author is for you. I would have to say that Ms. Lerner is a gritty author and after you have finished reading one of her books you will need to refresh yourself because her books are full of the sights, sounds and problems of everyday life. Maybe realism in your romance isn't what you're looking for and if that's true than this story may not be for you, but Sweet Disorder will stay with you long after you put the book down.

The story revolves around our heroine, Phoebe, a strong woman who is struggling to survive in her small two room attic dump. She is barely making a living writing stories for young girls. She also helps her brother-in-law turn out the local Whig newspaper, the same paper that she and her late husband published. Yes, Phoebe is a widow living on her own away from her horrible mother and sixteen year-old sister Helen. Phoebe has a variety of heroine-guilt-ridden problems. The last year of her marriage wasn't the best and she doesn't ever want to get married again. She is still going through some trauma involving the miscarriage of her child and she feels guilty for leaving her sister behind to live with their you-can't-do-anything-right-you're-too-fat mother. Yes, Phoebe has a weight problem, or she perceives herself as having one. I was actually happy with Phoebe's physical appearance; too many times in romance novels the heroine is supposedly too skinny, which in our modern minds translates as a perfect size 1. (A short rant: I've never understand how mostly women authors continue to encourage the myth of skinny women in their novels. In most cases it takes a whole lot of horrible food and non-eating for a woman to maintain a body that looks like a starving model. I think continuing the idea that the perfect weight is a thin size 1 to 4 only encourages false hope in young girls and eventually a lack of self-worth in a lot of women.)

Back to Phoebe. While Phoebe may have some self-worth issues and has the beginnings of martyrdom written all over her, she also has something both the Whigs and Tories want - her vote, or I should say her father's votes. You see, she's living in a time period where women didn't vote, but she does hold her father's vote in "trust" and she can bestow it on her future husband to use. And that's why both the Whigs and the Tories want her - they need her vote for a very close election. 

Enter our hero, Nick. Nick is the second son of an Earl - yes, an aristocrat, but you don't really notice. You might say his family is involved in politics - really involved. In fact, everyone but Nick lives, breathes, and eats politics. And now we turn to the other horrible mother in the book, Nick's mama. Politics is her life, her passion! It comes first with her, even before her own children. Because of this, her three sons have grown up trying to please her, trying to earn just a little of that love she so lavishly gives to the political world. And, this is why Nick finds himself in Lively St. Lemeston playing matchmaker. His mother has picked out a Whig husband for Phoebe. You see, Nick's youngest brother Tony is running in that county and they need Phoebe's vote (or Phoebe's father's vote), which would be passed to Phoebe's husband, because only a man can vote. Anyway, when Nick meets Phoebe and his mother's choice of husbands, Mr. Moon the baker, he knows that these two aren't a match. Besides that, he is attracted to Phoebe right from the beginning, but because he must prove himself to his mother he tries to overcome the feeling Phoebe creates in him.

There is so much going on in this book. Nick not only has feeling of inadequacy because of his mother, but he also was injured in the war and is depressed because this injury is making him feel less than a man. However, it's really not the injury but something much deeper, which is slowly revealed to us. So, we have an angst hero and an angst heroine. And, if that's isn't angsty enough, Phoebe's sixteen-year-old sister is kicked out of her mother's house because she's pregnant and won't name the father. So then Phoebe decides to sacrifice herself on the altar of matrimony by choosing either the Whig baker Mr. Moon or the sanctimonious Tory suitor Mr. Fairclough. There are also numerous secondary characters - all of them fully developed and all just as angst-filled as Nick and Phoebe. About halfway through this book I had to stop and make a note to myself about all the horrible - depressing people in the story. There are not a lot of laughs, so have that piece of chocolate cake nearby.

I am not giving this story as high as a rating as I wanted to in the beginning. The story started to drag in the middle and without giving too much away, I was disappointed that Nick and Phoebe seemed to be more forgiving at the very end of the story than I felt they should have been. 

This is not the typical Regency romance most readers may be familiar with.   It is not a light fluffy story, it does not contain ballrooms, spies, dukes, chase scenes, kidnappings or murderers.  This story is filled with characters that are vividly real with everyday problems.   And, those everyday problems are very complex in their simplicity.  Sweet Disorder is a fully-developed story of a small town and the people who live there and a couple who fight their way to a happy ending. This is a darker, grittier romance novel and may not be everyone’s cup of tea - but it is one that should be read.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot