Enter the Con

From Duke Till Dawn Book Cover From Duke Till Dawn
(The London Underground, #1)
Eva Leigh
Regency romance, historical, humour
Mills & Boon
March 26, 2018
384

Eva Leigh launches a seductive new series that sizzles with the dark secrets of London's underworld... 'It's not my habit to seduce impoverished widows...' The Duke of Greyland lost his heart - and a princely sum - to a charming, beautiful and destitute widow who, after one passionate night, vanished without a trace. Cassandra Blair grew up on the city streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a rich mark - to be fleeced and forgotten - only she'd never forgotten him. Years later, chance brings them together again, in a London gaming hell. Grayland is desperate to have her... never suspecting everything about his lover was a lie. But finding herself in dire financial straits, at risk of losing everything, Cassandra has no choice but to beg the man she betrayed for help. The proud Duke will assist her under one condition: she doesn't leave his sight until her debts are paid! But can the real Cassandra - the smart, streetwise survivor - steal his heart all over again? Book one in the Scandalous Ladies of London series

For me this was a generally enjoyable book, but there was one area that I felt let the book down – the sex scenes. They somehow didn’t flow well. It was as though the publisher or editor said ‘we must have some sex in the book’, and the author complied but wasn’t confident or didn’t really like this type of writing.
That said, I thought that the story contained some interesting reflections and reminders about the lot of girls born into the slums. The story told us not only about the hierarchy of the Underworld and criminals but that girls had little choice but to work in brothels and get the ‘pox’ from a very young age,; work in the cotton mills (or similar) and get a lung disease; or learn to be thieves. Remember that the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ came from the lead poisoning that working in a hat factory brought with it and the subsequent brain deterioration.
So thieving was perhaps the best option for them.
‘Respectable’ trades required references, from scullery maid to shopgirl and unless you had a reference you couldn’t obtain legal work.
The sadness of being dirty, hungry, lice ridden and without belongings was brought out clearly – no belongings because a. you had probably stolen what you had from other, and b. they stole it back…
I felt very much for the female character in this novel and thought that she had made the very best of her sad life.

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Female Astronomers in the 19th Century

The Governess Game Book Cover The Governess Game
(Girl Meets Duke, #2)
Tessa Dare
Regency romance, historical, humour
HQ
August 20, 2018
384

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud. The ladies of London have tried―and failed―to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

This is a really interesting book as not only is it well written it contains, for us in this year of celebrating Women’s Suffrage in the UK, a good reminder that women have been working in scientific fields long before the history books remind us.
Mary Somerville, for instance, born in 1780, was jointly the first of two female astronomers, the other being Caroline Herschel, who were invited to join the Royal Astronomical Society in 1835. Caroline Herschel was awarded their Gold Medal in 1828.
This story brings this science to life and demonstrates the difficulty women had to be taught such sciences and to have a career that matched their intellectual abilities.
We did have a typical love story alongside this of course.

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When the nobility is dark

The Demon Duke Book Cover The Demon Duke
Put Up Your Dukes #1
Margaret Locke
Regency romance
Locked on Love Publishing
May 20, 2017
304

Behind every good man is a great secret. Banished to Yorkshire as a boy for faults his father failed to beat out of him, Damon Blackbourne has no use for English society and had vowed never to return to his family's estate at Thorne Hill, much less London. However, when his father and brother die in a freak carriage accident, it falls on Damon to take up the mantle of the Malford dukedom, and to introduce his sisters to London Society-his worst nightmare come to life. He never planned on Lady Grace Mattersley. The beautiful debutante stirs him body and soul with her deep chocolate eyes and hesitant smiles. Until she stumbles across his dark secret. Bookish Grace much prefers solitude and reading to social just-about-anything. Her family may be pressuring her to take on the London Season to find herself a husband, but she has other ideas. Such as writing a novel of her own. But she has no idea how to deal with the Duke of Malford. Will she betray him to the world? Or will she be his saving Grace?

A very different Regency romance in that it highlights the problems of ignorance, and the effect it had on people in this time. A time when ‘tics’ were believed to be either voluntary or a sign of possession by a demon! A time when the ‘less than perfect’ were locked away from society, and often placed in Lunatic Asylums.

Facial tics in children of course, are not necessarily a sign of Tourettes, although they are often associated with this.  Though the swearing is not always a symptom. They tend to begin in childhood and as the child grows can become less severe. stress, fatigue or excitement can aggravate these symptoms and the child/adult may be able to learn to control them through relaxation techniques and – now – medications and psychotherapy.

Apart from the social commentary, it is a Regency romance in the (more) traditional form, with a semi-reluctant bride-to-be, and a husband chosen through some misadventure, yet they are in love with each other anyway.

Nice writing and a good twist and a decent length of story.

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Love a good Regency romance?

Lord of Secrets
Rogues to Riches #5
Erica Ridley
Romance, historical, Regency
WebMotion
June 15, 2018

Some secrets should never be unveiled…

Heath Grenville is the problem-solver for London's elite. Unmask the devious cretin skewering the tonwith audacious caricatures? With pleasure. His success should keep the powerful happy. But when his work leads him to a young lady outside his class, surely he won’t do anything so scandalous as to fall in love...

By day, Miss Eleanora Winfield is a proper, unremarkable paid companion. By night, Nora’s skillful hands sketch the infamous penny caricatures rocking high society. Nora desperately needs the money…andher anonymity. But how can she keep them both, when she’s fallen for the one man whose livelihood and reputation requires him to expose her?

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erica Ridley, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

As always with Erica Ridley, you get a good solid Regency romance, with a twist, and with identifiable, real people. Who are far from prim and proper, but are indeed lusty and have real emotions.

Erica writes well and amusingly, and has enough knowledge of the period to make the stories ring true.

 

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Please don’t tempt me….

Lord of Temptation Book Cover Lord of Temptation
Rogues to Riches #4
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance
WebMotion
March 30, 2018

Be careful what you wish for...

When Lord Hawkridge inherits a penniless marquessate, he must abandon his courtship of the lowborn girl he loves. Years later, she rises from commoner to textiles heiress. Hawk has never banished her from his heart. Here's their chance to share his home! But how can he convince a woman whose trust he destroyed that he desires her far more than her money?

Faith Digby's chaotic world is too full to bother with men. She controls half a boarding school, one life-endangering secret, and two recently gentrified parents. There's no time for the old flame roaring back into her life. Not when admitting she still loves him would imperil everything and everyone she holds dear...

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erica Ridley, Cinderella stories aren't just for princesses... Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

A nicely told tale (as always from Erica) that follows on from the story of the school for indigent girls we’ve read about before in this series.

This is now the story of Faith, the co-founder/headmistress/accountant. We now find out how her family came into their money and just how recent it was – they are seriously nouveau-riche and ‘trade’ and thus far from respectable to the haughty ‘ton’. We also meet young Christina. the book-worm. But I found her reading matter a little young by my standards but still, she was Victorian/Regency period and thus perhaps it was advanced for that age.

Victorian/Regency morality and class prejudice are nicely explored.

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