January 7, 2021
'With stunningly lyrical writing, Greeley elevates Austen-inspired fiction onto a whole new plane.' - Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society As a fussy baby, Anne was prescribed laudanum to quiet her and has been given the opium-heavy syrup ever since, on account of her continuing ill health. While Lady Catherine is outraged when Darcy chooses not to marry her daughter, Anne barely even notices. But little by little, she comes to see that what she has always been told is an affliction of nature might in fact be one of nurture - and one, therefore, that she can beat. She finally throws away her laudanum and seeks refuge at the London home of her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Suddenly wide awake to the world but utterly unprepared, Anne must forge a new identity among those who have never seen the real her - including herself. With its wit, sensuality and compassion, The Heiress is a sparklingly rebellious novel that takes a shadowy figure from the background of beloved classic Pride & Prejudice and throws her into the light. 'Haunting. The Heiress has all the hallmarks of nineteenth-century Gothic, which doesn't shy away from "modern" ills, such as the opiate crisis, Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and homophobia. Highly recommended.' - Finola Austin, author of Bronte's Mistress
This was a 5 star for me.
I found the writing style deceptive. Initially, I thought I was not sure of the story and that I may stop reading soon, but soon never came. The storyline and the style snuck up on me. I couldn’t put the book down.
The mother. The doctor. The laudanum. The father and the relatives. Society and its values. Mary Wollstonecroft. Schools and female education. And so much more were covered in this book – implicit in the storyline and packed into what seemed initially, on the surface, to be a standard typical historical romance. One that turned out to be so atypical and so empathetically written.
Forever Your Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas #12
Historical Fiction | Romance
Pub Date 18 Dec 2020
From a New York Times bestselling author: A forbidden love, opposites attract romp between a meticulously proper duke and an impishly improper spinster in this witty, feel-good romance!
This year, the Duke of Nottingvale's Christmastide house party doubles as a bride hunt. The handsome duke seeks a blue-blooded debutante as respectable as he is, and his parlor is brimming with paragons of propriety.
Inveterate spinster and unapologetic hoyden Miss Cynthia Louise Finch does not fit the mold. Any mold. Her younger cousin is perfect for the duke! By matchmaking the two, Cynthia will save her favorite cousin from a horrific fate. The only problem? Cynthia has always held a tendre for the duke. And for the first time, she seems to have caught his attention...
The Duke of Nottingvale knows his responsibilities: Duty and decorum above all else. A respectable lord would never sneak away for stolen moments with a fearless, audacious minx he cannot make his duchess. He definitely wouldn't kiss her. Or fall in love...
The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!
The 12th book in the 12 books of Xmas series and the one that ties up the final Duke. The dule that holds an annual party for Xmas but never lives in Cressmouth at any other time, and as he is always hosting his arty, never finds out what other delights the town has to offer. Until he meets up with an ‘older’ spinster, who having endured many ‘Seasons’ and not having acquit=red any interest in marriage from suitors- and in fact rarely even been asked to danced – had decided that she could enjoy her herself in what would be termed scandalous pursuits if she were marriageable. She lutes the duke out of his party and into Cressmouth delights, but has a number of accidents with him as she does – including skiing and almost breaking his legs.
This was as always light, stylish and fun to read.
The Duke's Wife
The 3 Mrs
General Fiction (Adult) | Historical Fiction | Romance
The Passionate Pen, LLC
Pub Date 11 May 2021
After she found out her husband was a bigamist with three wives, Abigail Montgomery’s world fell apart. She was still reeling when she found out he was courting yet another woman, the sister of the Duke of Gilmore. She intervened anonymously and Gilmore’s reaction brought her world down around her. She has seen him as an enemy ever since. An arrogant, interesting, very handsome enemy.
No one can push Gilmore’s buttons more than the fascinating Abigail Montgomery. They constantly butt heads and yet he can’t get her off his mind. But now that her year of mourning for the husband who betrayed them all is over, she is showing up in his life a lot more. When a series of playful wagers leads to a passionate moment, everything changes.
Now forced to marry after being caught together, the two must navigate a tangled past and a cloudy future. Could these enemies ever be more than lovers? Or will their stubborn hesitation to get closer keep them from being truly happy together?
Heat Level: Ohhhhhh my.
This is the third book in The Three Mrs series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.
This is the third in a series of 3 books but still manages to stand alone and be read without having pre-read the other two. There was enough mention within the story to be able to understand the important events that preceded.
To some extent, this is an Enemy to Lover trope with an unwanted marriage as the fulcrum of the romance.
As an example of its type, it worked well, and the rationale was interesting. Bigamy was not a component that I had come across before in these historical romances, but it explained the heroine’s reluctance to trust a male valid and to be expected.
The style, content and language were of a (slightly) more contemporary type and took the story telling up above the trite level. I liked it.
The Viscount's Unconventional Lady
The Talk of the Beau Monde, Book 1
by Virginia Heath
Romance | Women's Fiction
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 21 Jan 2021
The notorious ViscountAnd the most gossiped-about lady… After years as a diplomat in the Napoleonic wars, Lord Easton is reluctant to return to London society. His scandalous divorce has made him infamous, not to mention cantankerous! To halt the rumour mill, he should marry a quiet noblewoman – instead it’s bold, vibrant artist, Faith Brookes, who’s caught his attention. They are the least suitable match, so why is he like a moth to a flame…?
A nicely written story that reminds us that in the 18th and nineteenth century (not to mention before) having a female name meant it was difficult to get published if you wrote a novel (looking forward to this next story in the series), or get accepted to have a showing if you were a painter, let alone accepted in the Royal Academy.
The Royal Academy is still prestigious for painters but perhaps less so than it used to be? Certainly, the Summer Show now incudes paintings that are perhaps rather on the twee side – that is to say, lots of paintings of puppies, (bunny) rabbits and kittens in the area for the ‘less professional’ artists.
But to become an Academician that is something else.
“There were several reasons for women’s exclusion from the institutional structures that provided entry to the art world. Women were simultaneously viewed as a threat—male artists hardly needed more competition in an already-crowded field—and as naturally inferior and incapable of creative genius. While it was useful for women to draw recreationally, or even to make a living with decorative china painting or other stereotypically feminine work, they were not taken seriously as professional artists.” [women-artists-in-paris-1850-1900-clark].
And as is mentioned in this article from Clark, most of them had to decamp to Paris to be recognised.
Indeed Christies’ says when considering female-artists-of-the-Victorian-era: ‘When one thinks of Victorian artists, it is generally the members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and various Royal Academicians, who spring to mind,’ says Sarah Reynolds, Victorian Art specialist at Christie’s in London. ‘While images of women predominate their canvases, what is less known is that there was a group of highly talented female artists working alongside them and sharing ideas.
Traditionally these women have been viewed in relation to their male counterparts, implicitly seen as inferior to their famous husbands, fathers and brothers. But in recent years, they have begun to be recognised as talented pioneers in their own right.‘
I always like an historical novel that brings out, however unlikely, some of the issues around society and culture during the period in which it is set. Especially, being female as I am, if it looks at the constraints among women (and a lover of art). So this book hits the spot in that respect for me.
I also rather liked the characters and their families and enjoyed the basic storyline and the young nine year girl was certainly very astute for age, and this will have been a result of being encouraged to be so, by her family and especially her uncle.
The Duke's Privateer
Fiction, Historical, Regency
January 5, 2021
When it comes to women, the Duke of Danby is an audacious rake... but when it comes to ridding the kingdom of smugglers, he's leading the charge. The Prince Regent has bankrupted the country more than once, and Danby isn't about to go down with a sinking ship. The Honorable Eleanor Kent hides behind the image of a self-proclaimed spinster... though in truth she's one of England's most sought-after privateers. When their paths cross at a royal dinner... Danby suspects the stunning redheaded woman is more than she seems. He engages her to consult on a chinoiserie remodel and Eleanor gladly accepts. Indeed, she'd rather keep her enemy close where she can watch his every move. Though neither duke nor lady has a clue of how tangled the web they're spinning will become. As the heat ratchets up, so does their unbidden attraction. Will they get burned before it's too late to run?
Oh a woman who is not doing as Society expects – but has to do it in private because women can’t run businesses – of course. And then the business that she runs just happens to have an illegal side to it. Smuggling!
Well Society likes its fine linens, silk, alcohol and so on, but wants it a really ‘good’ price. And there are, as always, taxes to pay on imports.
So if you can be a profitable importer, it pays to add a cargo without taxes!
Eleanor has managed to buy a ship – The King’s Jewel – which is fast and travels into exotic locations like Japan and China and brings back artifacts from these countries for Prinny – the Prince Regent. Who likes exotica and has furnished his palace in Brighton with a marvel of artifacts that did not come in through the usual ports… If you supply the Prince, it would be difficult to accuse you of smuggling as that would implicate the Prince. But if you need income for the Crown to pay for wars etc then there is are in a dilemma.
The Brighton Pavilion still stands mostly how Prinny furbished it and is really wonderful to go and visit.
This is a nice story, well written, with some solid economic and political points.