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Not so much a Rake – more a Beau

My Fake Rake Book Cover My Fake Rake
(The Union of the Rakes, Book 1)
Eva Leigh
Fiction, romance, historical
HarperCollins UK, Mills and Boon
January 31, 2020
384

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…

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Mining in Cornwall

The Secrets Of Lord Lynford Book Cover The Secrets Of Lord Lynford
(The Cornish Dukes, Book 1)
Bronwyn Scott
Fiction, (Mills & Boon Historical)
HarperCollins UK
December 26, 2019
368

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:

  • A wife could hold her own wages and investments independent from her husband.
  • A wife could inherit up to £200.00 in her own right and keep the money.
  • A wife could keep property inherited from her next of kin as long as it was not a Trust asset.
  • A wife could inherit and hold rented property.
  • Both 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 natural world. 5

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When is a River a Virgin? Answer when it is …

Virgin River Book Cover Virgin River
Virgin river #1
Robyn Carr
Fiction, romance, military romance
Mira Books, Mills and Boon
October 22, 2019
384

Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all... Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included. When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving--the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she's made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning. But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans...and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

The Virgin River is a tributary of the Colorado River in the U.S. states of Utah, Nevada, and … The river is named for Thomas Virgin, a member of the first American party to see it, led by Jedediah Smith in 1826. Smith named it.

I liked this book and thought it a interesting storyline, although a woman moving to a small town after heartbreak is a common theme amongst romance novels.

Especially if the town is very isolated as this gives more opportunity for excitement and crises.  And here we are in the wilds of California with drug growing and lots of woods, wild animals, hunting, shooting and fishing and all the opportunities for stories they bring.

The one thing I would mention is that this series – of which this is the first book in a series of 18(!!) is now also on TV and the TV version is nothing like the book – after episode one.  You can see the novel’s events in the TV version, but tey are much magnified or changed, and no doubt some are in follow on books. So don’t watch TV first!

I thought that the story had some interesting sub-plots and was well written within its genre.

As an English person I would like to point out that some Americans have no idea of the concept of a normal sized house when they think that 1200 square foot is cosy and  cocoon like. This is the size of an average UK 3 bedroomed house…

@MillsandBoon on Twitter,

Mills and Boon on Facebook,

@millsandboonuk on Instagram

Robyn Carr @RCarrWriter.

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A Fortunate Texas

A Fortunes Of Texas Christmas Book Cover A Fortunes Of Texas Christmas
Fortunes of Texas
by Helen Lacey
Romance , Women's Fiction
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 30 Nov 2017

Now a channel 5 film Christmas in Paris

The Yuletide season brings something tres magnifique to Texas, in the form of sexy French enterpreneur Amersen Beaudin. The sexy but standoffish playboy has zero interest in meeting his newly discovered Fortune relatives, least of all the man who is his biological father. But when matriarch Kate Fortune dangles an all-too-attractive business proposition, he is intrigued. And once he meets Kate's beautiful gardener, Robin Harbin, he starts to rethink his holiday plans . . .

A spicy affair with the blue-eyed, blonde is now at the top of Amersen's wish list. But all Robin wants for Christmas is the flirty Parisian’s heart and soul. Can she convince him that love – and family – can lead to a Joyeux Noel?

Whilst clearly part of a series of stories about the Fortunes – a family – living in Texas, this can also be read as a stand-alone – just – as I got very intrigued about all the other Fortune children mentioned if not by name, that seem to be scattered around. One really wishes that Mr Fortune, father of all these children, learnt his lesson after the first illegitimate child! And maybe had a vasectomy…

I like stories which include horses and where the young woman can stick up for herself and this story had such a character.

Otherwise it was a fairly normal boy meets girl, and finds out hat his previous tom-catting ways no longer suit him, the meetings go well, not so well, badly, then better and finally very well and a…

A competently story-teller with nice style in the genre.

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Let’s travel the world!

Lady Traveller's Guide To Happily Ever After Book Cover Lady Traveller's Guide To Happily Ever After
(Lady Travelers Society, Book 4)
Victoria Alexander
Fiction, victorian, Historical
HarperCollins UK, Mills and Boon Historicals
August 27, 2019
384

Can she find her Happily Ever After... #1 New York Times bestselling author

For the past seven years, Viola Branham has enjoyed the luxury of traveling the world as an independent woman, and confining her awkward past to a distant, if painful, memory. But now she has been summoned home to England over a stipulation in the will of her late uncle, the Earl of Ellsworth, one that decrees she lose everything unless she reconciles with the man who broke her heart and ruined her life—her husband.

This was a lovely book, well written and Victorian times, were not missish about sex nor innocent – as was said – women share, even their most intimate moments….

We have independent women who are not afraid to go off and find out about the world with no men in tow or to ‘protect’ them, but are happy to take trains, ferries and other forms of transport to go to, what were then considered, tricky places to reach such as Egypt. To learn languages and to make friends – even risqué friends.

It is a romance and we do have the normal ups and downs of the genre but it is written in such a way as to make it believable that the characters would act that way.

I liked Violet from the start and gradually fell for James – the winks did it for me… I could just visualise them.. which is the sign of a good story-teller. I look forward to reading more from Victoria Alexander.

Ps – the book cover shows Regency dress, Violet wears a bustle! We are in Victorian times in this book.

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