Women and business don’t mix?

Would I Lie to the Duke Book Cover Would I Lie to the Duke
The Rakes
Eva Leigh
HarperCollins UK
August 25, 2020

Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible. . .

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’s heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?

Answer: Yes, about some things at least. and can get away with it.

So the time of Beau Brummell has just past but his influence lingers – especially his encouragement to bathe every day. Not everyone agrees, but enough do, to make soap for those bathing a profitable concern. If you can manufacture in sufficient quantity and quality as well as economically enough to make a profit. During the 19th century soap manufacture was a very fragmented activity. Many old plans of towns all over the country provide evidence of small local soap works, and some housewives in rural areas would still make their own soap in the home.

Interesting that the author has ‘thrown in’ people of colour owning businesses and being entrepreneurs not just servants. And women knowing enough to run businesses and invest sensibly too. I’m sure there were more them there is commonly acknowledged too.

I liked the story line and writing style, even though I thought there could have been social and political background to round out the commercial discussions.

English Heritage tells us about black workers in the 18th century the following:

Waged and enslaved servants formed the largest group of black workers. A black servant, often a young page or handmaid, was a status symbol, adorning the houses of the well-to-do. Their experiences and legal statuses varied enormously. Some, like John Rippon, lived comfortably. Others were displayed as walking, talking objets d’art, wearing silver and brass collars on which was engraved the name and address of whoever had bought their lives.

A small number rose from servitude (often with the help of their former masters) to enjoy independent lives. Prominent among this class were the Westminster shopkeeper, lettrist and composer Ignatius Sancho, the coal merchant and property owner Cesar Picton in Kingston-upon-Thames and the Nottingham-based George Africanus, who ran a servants’ register in the city.

Estimates are that in the late 18th century at least 10,000  black workers or servants lived in London, with a further 5,000 + throughout the country. In terms of the  most common businesses owned were Public houses owned by black men which could be found across the country, and here is Pablo Fanque, who was born  as William Darby in Norwich, and who rose to become the proprietor of one of Britain’s most successful Victorian circuses. There were also several well known musicians and many served in the army and navy – not always voluntarily.

 The main difficulty being that black people were frequently not identified as such in the registers and documented history of the time, race and colour was not considered important to record except when the person was special in some way

I liked the story about Egypt, antiquities and fakes! I wonder how many items in people’s special collection are good fakes? More than they care to admit I’m sure. This was the time when the rich made collections of the strange and wonderful from plants to china to mummies to… and is the reason we find Roman leaded sarcophagi being used as plant troughs in many Ducal gardens now. And Italianate looking buildings and ‘ruins’ dotting their gardens –  and a systematic looting of ancient monuments was undertaken by the young men undertaking their Grand Tours post the Wars.

Wikipedia says “Egyptomania was the renewed interest of Europeans in ancient Egypt during the nineteenth century as a result of Napoleon‘s Egyptian Campaign (1798–1801) and, in particular, as a result of the extensive scientific study of ancient Egyptian remains and culture inspired by this campaign. In addition to its aesthetic impact on literature, art, and architecture,”

Now as for John Soan’s house – it is real – a Museum now and I have visited. Really a strange place with collections of all sorts. Interesting but not so easy to visit (when I went) as a disabled person – too many stairs…Egypt was all the rage after the Napoleanic Wars and the great victories of Nelson at the Battle of the Nile, and Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria. And as for Cleopatra’s Needle this was donated to London in 1819 (slightly out of timeline for this book) in commemoration of the battles. I liked the writing style and the use of the ‘real’ English language without being too prissy as so many novels about this era are. They are inclined to pretend that everyone spoke in such proper style without using any cuss words. Which we all know would not have been the real case… .

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Down by the Lake

Beach Read Book Cover Beach Read
Emily Henry
Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Love and Marriage
June 2, 2020

He doesn't believe in happy endings. She's lost her faith that they exist. But could they find one together? January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she's the heroine in a blockbuster movie. Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale. January and Augustus are not going to get on. But they actually have more in common than you'd think- They're both broke. They've got crippling writer's block. They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer. The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first. The catch? They have to swap genres. The risk? In telling each other's stories, their worlds might be changed entirely . . .

Never quite figured out why this novel was called ‘Beach Read’, because for me, it wasn’t a beach read, and it seemed to have to have nothing to do with beaches..

That said, I enjoyed reading it.

The heroine was called January. She thought it had a meaning for her parents, just as they told her about ‘her’ song – the one that was number one in the hit parade when she was born did. Only not so much.

And then here was her father – and his lake house and his mistress.

 A complicated story with high emotions at times and good writing style and believable characters.

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Fries and Alibis Book Cover Fries and Alibis
Mitzy Moon Mysteries #1
Trixie Silvertale
Fiction, Women Sleuths, Mystery
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
October 20, 2019

A gift that's too good to be true. A murder she didn't commit. A barista in a latte trouble... Mitzy Moon believes she's an orphan, so she's dumbstruck when a special delivery to her low-rent apartment reveals a family. But her shock turns to awe when she discovers her grandmother left her a fortune and a bookshop of rare tomes brimming with magic. No sooner does she set foot in the quirky village of Pin Cherry Harbor to claim her inheritance, than the handsome sheriff catches her standing over a corpse. Desperate to prove her innocence, she's forced to accept help from her granny's entitled cat and a spirit from beyond the grave. Can Mitzy and her otherworldly helpers uncover the real killer before the long, sexy arm of the law hauls her to jail? Fries and Alibis is the first book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like amateur sleuths, small town intrigue, and a dash of the supernatural, then you'll love Trixie Silvertale's twisty whodunit. Buy Fries and Alibis to serve up the guilty today! 

So here we have a an orphan with a gift from the grave - a magical bookshop and a cat.
As normal per me, I wondered what a pin cherry was as this was a tree /bush that was not familiar to me, and discovered that here in the UK we would call it a Bird Cherry - and if you want one for yourself, you would need to sow a seed - uncooked - because some people in the States, do eat these fruits.
And then our plucky heroine, having relocated to obtain her inheritance finds herself with a dead/murdered person, a hot sherriff and a cat - a Caracal who has apparently spent 17 years in captivity and calls himself Robin Goodfellow / Puck.
Caracal | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants
The amazing thing about Caracals are their ears and the great tuft at the end. They are quite large cats if you want a domesticated one - around 12 kilos. Our Maine Coon is 8 kilos and believe me you feel it when he sits on your lap - he may get up to 12 kilos as he is still growing!
This is a Cosy Modern Mystery with a Female Sleuth and is the first of a series. It is funny and warm and a good light read.


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Business means takeovers

The Takeover Book Cover The Takeover
The Miles High Club
T. L. Swan
Fiction, Adult Romance
Montlake Romance
August 27, 2020

In bestselling author T L Swan's second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he's sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good. I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband's company. He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date. I would rather die than date a man like him--though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year. Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France. Still arrogant and infuriating--but this time, surprisingly charming and witty. When he looked at me, I got butterflies. But I can't go there. He's just a player in a hot suit, and I'm just a widow with three unruly sons. I just need this conference to be over. Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants...and what he wants is me.

I liked this book enough to read the first story in this series, Mr Masters. Which I didn’t like as much. For me, this author wrote better as the series developed.

There was enough humour and snark and character and boys being boys for the story to read true.

I did think that her agency was really large – the numbers of employees seemed big, and I did wonder who it was who had given her funds when she had refused so many people – this seemed to be a point that should have been addressed as it enabled her agency to survive longer.

I liked how the story went between the different characters thoughts – this way of looking at interactions and occasions gives, when written well, an extra dimension to the story.

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Clean a room? Easy!

Roommaid Book Cover Roommaid
Sariah Wilson
Fiction, humour, romance
Montlake Romance

From bestselling author Sariah Wilson comes a charming romance about living your life one dream at a time. Madison Huntington is determined to live her dreams. That means getting out from under her family's wealth and influence by saying no to the family business, her allowance, and her home. But on a teacher's salary, the real world comes as a rude awakening--especially when she wakes up every morning on a colleague's couch. To get a place of her own (without cockroaches, mold, or crime scene tape), Madison accepts a position as a roommaid. In exchange for free room and board, all she needs to do is keep her busy roommate's penthouse clean and his dog company. So what if she's never washed a dish in her life. She can figure this out, right? Madison is pretty confident she can fake it well enough that Tyler Roth will never know the difference. The finance whiz is rich and privileged and navigates the same social circles as her parents--but to him she's just a teacher in need of an apartment. He's everything Madison has run from, but his kindhearted nature, stomach-fluttering smile, and unexpected insecurities only make her want to get closer. And Tyler is warming to the move. Rewarding job. Perfect guy. Great future. With everything so right, what could go wrong? Madison is about to find out.

Clumsy maid [Original] : animemaids

What are you to do if you want to be a teacher – so much so that you are prepared to be cut off from your family – and nasty witch mother – and all that they represent – money and servants and…?

Of and somewhere to live that you can afford on your exceedingly small probationer salary. You start by couch surfing and when that gets old – for you and owner of the couch – you ask your realtor aunt to help. And she shows you what you can afford and you shiver in disgust – so when she offers you the opportunity to share a flat rent free in return for dog sitting and cleaning, you jump at it.

Oh you fool. If you only knew the future.

This is a lighthearted and warm story about he nasty machinations of the rich and privileged and all he politics and games they play and a naïve young woman who tries to change her life around. She finds herself in a really nice place, with a nice friend or two but her mother does everything she can to try and ruin it. And almost, but not quite, succeeds. So we end up with a good result and happiness all round – for most people anyway.

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