My Fake Rake
(The Union of the Rakes, Book 1)
Fiction, romance, historical
HarperCollins UK, Mills and Boon
January 31, 2020
Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to create the perfect man, to act as her suitor, and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.
To further his own research on English society, Sebastian agrees to let Grace transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t asked him to help her marry someone else…
Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.
This is a Regency Romance with a difference. @ There is plenty of bawdy talk and swearing and sexual escapades occur. The author does not pretend that all society young women are innocent or inexperienced. @ The young women are scientists. They write papers that are published- though I am not sure how accurate this is. @There are mixed races married in respectable’ society. Again, I would like some evidence. But there are some excellent academic points made about hypotheses. That they only stand until there is evidence that they must change if evidence dictates it. And that our biases influence our beliefs and how we explore the world and science. And that people (The author says men) only value what others possess…
The Secrets Of Lord Lynford
(The Cornish Dukes, Book 1)
Fiction, (Mills & Boon Historical)
December 26, 2019
He’s destined never to marry She might change his mind... Eaton Falmage, Marquess of Lynford, is an expert at distracting himself from the painful truth which means he’ll never wed. Seducing mining widow Eliza Blaxland seems the perfect diversion. Until he learns Eliza guards her heart as fiercely as her hard-won independence. He longs for more, but that would mean confessing his secret…and risk losing her forever!
This is an historical romance but written in a very different style and subject matter.
It does however, reemphasise the issue with marriage and property ownership of the Victorian ages and before. It wasn’t until The Married Women’s Property Act 1870 that women were allowed to keep their earnings rather than hand them over to their husband or father. But this was not enough, so in 1882 The Married Women’s Property Act was passed and now:
wife could hold her own wages and investments independent from her husband.
wife could inherit up to £200.00 in her own right and keep the money.
wife could keep property inherited from her next of kin as long as it was not a
wife could inherit and hold rented property.
the husband and wife could be made liable to support their children.
In 1893 an Act was passed that entitled married women the same
rights to their property as unmarried – and by the way, this Act also applied
to formally engaged couples. There were further Acts of Parliament in 1964 and
1970 to revise the earlier Acts and make them uptodate.
In the Novel, we have a widow who by virtue of the death of her
husband and the presents he had gifted her before, had become the majority
shareholder in a Mining Corporation and thus Chairman. As you can imagine, this
did not sit well with many of the other men on the Board who held shares as
they did want to be governed by a woman. They did not believe that women knew
enough about business and that their place was in the home having babies. So a
power struggle ensued. This was the time when Cornish mining reached its height, before foreign
competition depressed the price of copper, and later tin, to a level that made
the extraction of Cornish ore unprofitable. The areas of Cornwall around Gwennap and St
Day and on the coast around Porthtowan were among the richest mining areas in the world. And copper
had been mined and tin traded, in Cornwall since around 2000BC. At its height
the Cornish tin mining industry had around 600 steam engines working
to pump out the mines (many mines reached under the sea and some went down to
great depths). This boom went on until the late1800s as lead was also
discovered in these mines and around, but by 1880 the boom was failing and
mines began to shut down. [Wikipedia]
In the meantime, we have our Lord who had had measles as a teenager.
It is a rare complication of measles that can cause sterility in
males if there is severe testicular inflammation, although sterility is more
often caused by mumps of course. So a romance between these two was an issue –
firstly she was Trade; secondly she was older than him; and thirdly he believed
she would want more children. And our widow was very wary about the prospect of
marrying again as then she would lose control of her business and fortune and
her daughter’s future.
I thought this was an interesting story told with great style
and even though it lacked humour it was rich in snippets about just how the
Victorian world was developing in the Sciences and investigations of the
The Last Waltz
by Dorothy Mack
Historical Fiction , Romance
Pub Date 20 Nov 2019
Can Adrienne reverse her family’s misfortune? When her gambling father dies, young Adrienne Castle must find a way to support her family. In desperation, she visits a gaming house in disguise, intent on winning back some of her father’s lost fortune using her skill at cards. But when her brother falls ill and her luck runs out, Adrienne is forced to seek the aid of a wealthy distant cousin, Lord Dominic Creighton. With a beautiful fiancée and a promising military career, Dominic has everything he could wish for and to her surprise, Adrienne finds him generous and warm-hearted. Despite her poverty and lack of experience in respectable society, Dominic tries to make her feel comfortable in his world. And as their bond grows, it seems that Adrienne is in danger of staking her heart on a man who is already in love with another…
This historical story is set in Brussels just
before the time of the Battle of Waterloo, June 1815 Allied forces, consisting of British, Dutch, Belgian and German soldiers,
thwarted the attempts of European domination by the French general and emperor,
Napoleon Bonaparte. This battle marked
the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Waterloo was the definitive
battle for Wellington and and Napoleon and the war which took the
lives of 5 million people. See: https://booksgosocial.com/2019/10/29/the-regency-decade-1815-part-one-waterloo/
This site tells us a little about what was
happening in Brussels from 1812 after until just before the Battle and the
novel continues with this society as its backdrop. There was a social whirl
that ex-pat Britons and their Continental compatriots enjoyed, including of
course, the Officers from the Allied Forces – who were very dashing and usually
of a high social rank as such rank was purchased for the young family scions.
against this background we have the story of a small family struggling
with poverty but well-bred and distantly related to those with more money and
titles. It was common amongst the better
off in English society to take in poorer relatives and help them either to
launch themselves into Society, or to find suitable employment. Here we have a
child with rheumatic fever, which of course is serious even today and then could
easily kill or leave sufferers with heart conditions. Whilst this disease is now rare, in the late
eighteenth century it was more common and also becoming recognised as a result
of streptococcal infections that include
pharyngitis, impetigo, and scarlet fever but rarely recognised
as the continuum of these illnesses. It becomes Rheumatic Fever when it begins
to affect the organs. Scarlet fever seems to occur in waves and thus
rheumatic fever follows.
Part of the storyline involved the game of
Piquet and gambling. Piquet is a card game rarely played these days, it is a 2
player game with 32 cards. Similar to whist it has card combinations and tricks
but where the object is to reach 100 points within 6 deals. If you fail to
reach 100 then you are penalised. I guess you gamble on winning the 100 points.
There is a set of complicated instructions about being called the Elder or the
Younger that you can obtain if you really want to play by a gentleman called David Parlett.
Interestingly the rules now played were not established until much later in the
19th century than this book is set even though the game started in the 16th
century. You can also buy sets of Piquet cards.
I liked this story. It was complex and long enough
to develop the characters and their situation and imbed it into a historical
context. The style was easy to read and flowed well.
The Duke's Embrace
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction , Romance
Pub Date 3 Dec 2019
Unpaid and under-appreciated journalist Miss Eve Shelling never goes anywhere without a trusty notebook and her overprotective Duenna—who happens to be a bullmastiff. Eve learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted. She’s definitely not falling head-over-heels for the deceptively charming subject of her front-page column. Local blacksmith Monsieur Sébastien le Duc is the pillar of his community—when he’s not pillaging elsewhere. He’s a rakish dandy with a heart of stolen gold and two teeny tiny secrets. One happens to be a wee international smuggling operation. The other involves losing his heart to an ambitious journalist determined to expose the truth at any cost… The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!
Another story about Cressmouth in the series of the 12 Dukes. This time we meet Bastien another of the le Duc family. He and his brother Luc run the Smithy for the town, the only smithy, which means that as they want to return to France and sell the smithy business, property and all apart from the cottage, the town will be without a blacksmith.
this we have an enterprising yung woman who runs the Cressmouth Chronicle. Her
father claims to own it and run it, but a. He took her dowry to finance the
purchase of the type and printer, and b. She does all the writing and printing
work, he just OKs the content! So much for women’s property rights in this
when she wants to write a juicier story than the usual ‘How wonderful
Cressmouth is’ and ‘The town that celebrates Christmas’ etc etc they disagree.
Especially when she wants to write about the Frenchmen running the Smithy…
so a romance ensues.
usual standard of writing we come to expect from Erica and nice content. Again
we growl when we hear about the property rights of men versus women and how
women are ‘ruled’ by the men in their family.. and find ourselves grateful that
we no longer need a co-sponsor for our mortgages (I did when I was much
younger) and that we can vote and run our own businesses.
Joy to the Duke
(Love is All Around Book 3)
Darcy Burke Publishing
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019
Denied the woman of his dreams by his father’s meddling, Calder Stafford, has spent the last decade proving himself to be self-sufficient, austere, and utterly uninterested in joy. Now that he is the Duke of Hartwell, he’ll enact his revenge by abolishing the holiday traditions his father loved so well. His sisters will not sway him and neither will the woman—newly returned to town—who was stolen from him.
Returning to Hartwell to care for her mother, widow Felicity Garland is delighted to be back home, especially for the holidays. However, the jolly festivities she expects are nowhere to be found. When she goes to the source of the problem—the duke—she’s astonished to see how much the young man she once loved has hardened. It’s up to her to break through the impenetrable fortress around his heart—not just to save Christmas, but to save him.
As always a nice read from Darcy. We follow up Mr
Grump from the previous novels and his love life and what happened with him and
The storyline continues with orphans and women who
need homes due to missing husbands for whatever reason and we have a type of
Dickens Xmas novel without the ghosts of Christmas Past but lots of Actions of
Father’s Past to replace it.
This book really just rounds up the story lines from
the previous novels in the series without any more social commentary of the era
– except a side of doctors bleeding people when they are very ill which really
did no good at all. Doctors were basically, mostly, incompetent and a
transmitter of diseases.