Archive for the ‘Historical Romance’ Category

A Promise In Pieces-Emily T. Wierenga

April 12, 2014

A Promise In Pieces
Emily T. Wierenga
Abingdon, Apr 15 2014
ISBN: 9781426758850

In 2000, Clara tells her grandson Noah about her time as a combat nurse in WWII. Clara explains she enlisted in the military and was assigned to the Women’s Army Corp Nursing Team where she helped the dying and wounded in Europe.

Sometime after bloody D-Day, she and dying soldier Gareth meet. He dictates a farewell letter to his beloved wife Mattie and obtains Clara’s pledge to deliver the note in person once she is stateside. Back in America, Clara suffers from PTSD and feels inadequate to cope with the grief she anticipates when she brings the letter to Mattie. Still she made a deathbed promise so visits Gareth’s widow. Mourning her loss but grateful to the nurse who helped ease her husband’s passing, Mattie gives Clara the baby quilt she created for the children she planned to have with Gareth. Over the years Clara the nurse used the gift to snuggle newborns including her own.

The latest warm Quilts of Love inspirational romance (see A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare and Scraps Of Evidence by Barbara Cameron) is a wonderful epic that the audience will enjoy as Clara provides readers with the highlight film of her life over the decades with the baby quilt serving as the key. Character-driven, readers will appreciate this engaging entry as some relationships never end.

Harriet Klausner

What A Reckless Rogue Needs-Vicky Dreiling

March 31, 2014

What A Reckless Rogue Needs
Vicky Dreiling
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 978145552280

In 1821, frustrated with his thirtyish wastrel heir, Marquess of Chadwick tells his son Colin Brockhurst that he plans to sell the estate where they buried the latter’s mother years ago. Chadwick also says he will reconsider if Colin marries and ends his womanizing. Knowing he must prove to his father that he cares about their property especially this one about to go on sale; Colin decides to renovate it.

Colin asks his childhood friend scandalized Lady Angeline Brenham for help; she agrees to serve as the lead restorer with the goal of a wife would be proud to live there with him. As Colin and Angeline work together, they fall in love, but she rejects his proposal as burned her once and left her wary and his secrets also keep them from making a permanent relationship.

The latest Sinful Scoundrels Regency romance (see What A Wicked Earl Wants) is a delightful historical due to the pairing of two strong obstinate protagonists. Although both act too mature with rather quick logical acceptance leading to instant forgiveness of transgressions by the other as opposed to a fuming emotional tantrum, subgenre fans will appreciate What A Reckless Rogue Needs is mutual love and respect.

Harriet Klausner

The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell-Paula Quinn

March 29, 2014

The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell
Paula Quinn
Forever, Mar 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN: 9781455519514

Early in the eighteenth century, England’s Parliament pushes the Act of Union that merges their kingdom with Scotland. Most Scots strongly object to this merger as they believe it is an undesirable annexation of their beloved country under English rule.

Edmund MacGregor and his clan deploy a plan to prevent the abomination from happening by forcing the two leading advocates, the Duke of Queensberry and the Chancellor of Scotland, to back down. Pretending to have a title, Edmund attends the engagement ball of Queensberry’s niece Miss Amelia Bell and the Chancellor. To his chagrin and to her elation, they are attracted to each other from that first unbecoming dance. Still he goes ahead with the plot by kidnapping Amelia. Both fall in love, but his passion for a free independent Scotland seemingly keeps them apart.

Paula Quinn starts a new MacGregor clan saga (see Children of the Mist miniseries) with the wonderful first Highland Heirs historical romance. Amelia is a fascinating albeit typical heroine while Edmund suffers from divided loyalties to his nation and his woman. However, what makes this pre-Georgian romance super is the strong background into the controversial (and timely with Crimea) Act of Union 1707 law that grips the audience throughout even knowing the historical outcome.

Harriet Klausner

Rainy Day Dreams-Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

March 24, 2014

Rainy Day Dreams
Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith
Harvest House, Apr 1 2014, $13.99
ISBN: 9780736953498

In 1852 the Burgert patriarch relocates his family from San Francisco to Seattle. His daughter Kathryn is upset with the move as she enjoyed the pleasures of culturally rich San Francisco but now resides in a mud hovel.

On the bright side, Kathryn thinks her dad appointed her to manage Faulkner House; but that dream turns into a nightmare when she learns he expects her to be a maid. Kathryn’s spirits lift again when she meets hotel guest widower Jason Gates; but that turns into a nightmare when the lumberjack makes it clear he is uninterested in her or any woman; though he conceals from her that he fears life in the Pacific Northwest too harsh for females. As Kathryn and Jason fall in love in spite of his efforts to shutter his heart, the new sawmill brings hope to many residents although some plan to sabotage it as a means to destroy Seattle.

The second Seattle Brides inspirational saga (see A Bride For Noah) is a strong historical romance that once again uses the founding of the Pacific Northwest city as a fabulous background. The protagonists are a delightful pairing as she needs to mature and he needs to complete his grief if they are going to make it together. However, it is the beginnings of the logging industry that enable backwater Seattle to survive and show early signs of thriving if adversaries allow it that make this a superb historical Christian mid-nineteenth century Americana.

Harriet Klausner

Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter-Anne Clinard Barnhill

March 23, 2014

Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter
Anne Clinard Barnhill
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 18 2014, $15.99
ISBN: 9780312662127

In November 1558, Elizabeth becomes the Queen of England. In that same month, three year old Mary Shelton becomes an orphan with the deaths of her parents within a fortnight and because of her late father’s being a King Henry knight a royal ward of her second cousin the new Queen.

Under Elizabeth’s rule, England has prospered by the monarch keeping her country out of entanglements with other nations and manipulating foreign suitors so that she remains single without alienating them. In fact she has more issues from within as rebellious Catholics rally around her rival Mary Queen of Scots. At the same time teenaged Mary continues to enjoy life at court though she knows she must marry her guardian’s choice. Elizabeth selects the powerful Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, as her ward’s mate. Everyone marvels at the pick, but Mary fears Edward who she knows conceals his vicious side from the Queen. Instead Mary loves kind widower of five, older Sir John Skydemore. However, she knows her guardian will reject her choice as unacceptable; somewhat because he lacks Oxford’s wealth and influence, but mostly because he is a Catholic.

The latest Tudor historical (see At The Mercy Of A Queen) is an enjoyable Elizabethan tale made fresh by the focus on Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter. Although the depth inside the royal court is fascinating, the immense amount leaves the pacing somewhat slow. Still subgenre fans will appreciate the story of Mary Shelton as she falls into forbidden love with an innocent “enemy” of the throne.

Harriet Klausner

Captain For Laura Rose-Stephanie Grace Whitson

March 12, 2014

Captain For Laura Rose
Stephanie Grace Whitson
FaithWords, Mar 4 2014, $15.00
ISBN 9781455529056

In 1867 with the death of her brother Joe, Laura Rose White knows she probably will lose her late Papa’s riverboat, the Laura Rose; as her sibling served as the pilot of record while she actually steered the ship. She hopes to obtain her license and related certification to pilot the Laura Rose, but understands the overwhelming odds against her achieving her objective due to her gender; as no woman ever legally piloted a riverboat. Those in charge set stringent stipulations starting with her finding a willing licensed pilot to oversee her steering of a full cargo to Fort Benton, Missouri.

Joe’s best friend pilot Finn MacKnight agrees to join Laura on her ship as they sail the Missouri. During the trek, Laura changes her opinion of Finn from wastrel to caring individual while he now appreciates her drive that he used to detest. As the couple fall in love to the euphoria of their families, each finds happiness with the other.

The romance serves as a wonderful secondary subplot to a strong Americana that provides readers with a deep look at life on the Missouri (with a nod to Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi). Fans will enjoy this warm gender-bender as Laura tries to prove she deserves being captain of the Laura Rose.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Surrender-Erica Ridley

March 12, 2014

Dark Surrender
Erica Ridley
Intrepid Reads, Mar 1 2014, $9.99
ISBN: 9781939713216

In 1835 at the Livingstone School for Girls in Lancashire, teacher Violet Whitechapel frets for her students and that her life is over since the benefactor died and his heir Mr. Percy Livingstone gives the staff and children one week to vacate. The philanthropy is over as Percy plans to change the school into a sanitarium for the affluent to bury undesirable relatives. When the new benefactor and his surveyor accost Violet and fifteen year old Emma; the former London street urchin turned teacher reacts with paint and turpentine. As the females escape, Emma knocks over candles, which places the building on fire.

In Shropshire Widower Alistair Waldegrave tries his best to keep his daughter Lillian safe from the sun, as the child suffers a life-threatening painful allergy to the star. His efforts only make his nine year old child angry and resentful while the villagers fear a vampire lives amongst them. When Violet arrives in town, Alistair offers her the position of governess to Lily. As she falls in love with the Waldegrave pair, her past comes to Shropshire.

This is a terrific nineteenth century historical starring three emotionally battered protagonists who find healing in their love for one another. The sun allergy is brilliantly executed as the child is for the most part left inside a loving prison while Alistair’s fears and smothering enhance the impact of the chronic illness. Violet’s guilt re the fire round out this trio as each finds solace in one another in Erica Ridley’s delightful Dark Surrender.

Harriet Klausner

The Warrior’s Bride-Amanda Scott

February 26, 2014

The Warrior’s Bride
Amanda Scott
Forever, Feb 25 2014, $8.00
ISBN 9781455514380

In 1426 impulsive Lady Muriella MacFarlan is known to leap without looking. Her narrating of tales often gets her in trouble but that does not stop her as she wants to become the clan’s seanachie storyteller.

Her propensity for trouble leaves Muriella held captive by clan enemy Dougal MacPharlain for trespassing on his family’s land. Muriella’s worried father Andrew asks the Baron of Ardincaple heir Robert MacAulay to rescue his daughter. He agrees as he has business with Dougal’s father. When he arrives at the MacPharlain clan, Rob finds Muriella undergoing a trial in which her accuser insists her penalty is marrying him. Muriella shakes up Dougal and shocks Robert when she claims to be MacAulay’s wife. By failing to deny her assertion, under Scottish law they are married; a relationship neither wants ever since she learned he rejected her father’s offer of her as his wife. However, soon both newlyweds want to make their arrangement real.

The third Lairds of the Loch medieval Scottish romance (see The Laird’s Choice and The Knight’s Temptress) is an engaging tale made fresh by the foolish, eccentric and entertaining behavior of the unique heroine. Muriella’s out of control antics turn the overused historical rescue romance into a brisk affair in which her warrior mate can barely keep up with her one of a kind pace.

Harriet Klausner

Romancing The Duke-Tessa Dare

February 7, 2014

Romancing The Duke
Tessa Dare
Avon, Jan 28 2014
ISBN: 9780062240194

Miss Isolde Ophelia Goodnight became motherless at a young age. Her father became a successful writer so Izzy lived okay though never as the romantic heroine of the fairy tales she adores. When Papa died, Izzy was left a penniless friendless orphan who no longer cared whether Prince Charming arrived as avoiding starvation supersedes romanticizing.

Lord Archer writes Izzy that her godfather the Earl of Lynforth recently died and left her a bequest; he asks for her to meet him at Gostley Castle in Northumberland. With no other prospects, Izzy travels to the castle where the executer tells her she inherited Gostley. However, her castle also contains a reclusive resident, scarred and blind Ransom William Dacre Vane, Duke of Rothbury. He demands she leave so he could wallow in peace, but she refuses. As they cohabitate in the castle, Izzy regales him with fairy tales and begins to believe her bitter castle mate may be her Prince Charming with the twist that she rescues his heart.

The first Castles Ever After Regency romance is an amusing gender war that purposely uses anachronisms and comedic situations as subgenre satirical humor. The lead couple is a nice pairing of two people who at first seem like the anti-Cinderella and anti-Prince Charming. Although his original trauma fails to convince the reader of its genuineness, fans will enjoy Tessa Dare’s fractured ode to romantic fairy tales.

Harriet Klausner

Why Earls Fall In Love-Manda Collins

February 5, 2014

Why Earls Fall In Love
Manda Collins
St. Martin’s, Jan 28 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250023841

In Bath, impoverished war Widower Mrs. Georgina Mowbray knows she is fortunate to have become companion to the affluent elderly Lady Russell. The only negative in her current situation is her employer’s nephew the Earl of Coniston.

Lady Russell adores her dedicated companion; so when threatening letters arrive that frighten Georgina, she notices the change in her employee’s demeanor. The aristocrat asks Con to investigate, but Georgina, distrusting him, refuses to cooperate. Her fears grow immensely when she sees someone who looks like her late abusive husband Robert outside her window. That and her observation of how kind Con is towards his aunt and others lead Georgina to tell him what she knows and did. As people are murdered, Con vows to keep safe his precious aunt and the widow he loves.

The second Wicked Widows Regency romantic suspense (see Why Dukes Say “I Do”) is a fabulous historical amateur sleuth romance. The cast is solid, but the key to this great read is the predominant focus on the whodunit as the falling in love subplot supports the mystery.

Harriet Klausner