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And the fairytale retold?

From Cinderella To Countess Book Cover From Cinderella To Countess
(Mills & Boon Historical)
Annie Burrows
Fiction, Historical, Romance
HarperCollins UK
May 28, 2020
368

From Cinderella in the shadows To Countess in the spotlight?

Lady’s companion Eleanor Mitcham longs to escape her unhappy life. Having been told she’s too lowly to speak to Lord Lavenham, Eleanor defiantly accepts his challenge to teach her employer a lesson—by marrying him! He is an eligible earl after all! However, his determinedly cynical view of marriage makes her dissolve their convenient betrothal and flee—leaving the drama of the household behind and Lord Lavenham hot on her heels!

A sweet and sappy romance that lifts the spirit with its daft dowager who has servants who adore her.

And a naive beyond belief heroine, and the cynical hero – who recognised the truth of most of society’s  marriages – that they are purely for gain – wealth or land ,and that after the production of the heir and spare, the two ‘combatants’ need rarely see each other and can continue with their own amusements.

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Baseball metaphors

Stealing Home Book Cover Stealing Home
(A Sweet Magnolias Novel, Book 1)
Sherryl Woods
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
November 1, 2011
400

Coming to Netflix May 2020 Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there's been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.

This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who's suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she's somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it's nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son's baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie's faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

This is a metaphor title, for those who recognise it, for baseball. The very special feeling that ball players get when they advances to a base which they are not entitled to, and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner – them. … Successful base stealers are not only fast but have good base running instincts and timing.

There is a film called Stealing Home and a famous book about the Los Angeles Dodgers too. So a metaphor that would be familiar to US readers – but not UK I’m afraid.

However, the story gradually explains the very special feeling that baseball runners get when they ‘steal’ this run, and how important it is for them to play.

What is also interesting is how this story explores what it means to be a woman many years older than her lover/boyfriend and society’s reaction to this  combination – yes discrimination again as it is common among men and not commented on – other than sometimes salaciously by other men.

And adolescents and their hormones and their actions and reactions to their mother with a new life.

I thought the story was told empathetically and enjoyably. Well written in its genre.

nb re-issued due to Netflix Series – but don’t think it is quite the same as the book – it isn’t!

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Steele by name

Claimed By A Steele Book Cover Claimed By A Steele
(Forged of Steele, Book 13)
Brenda Jackson
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, (Mills & Boon Desire)
April 2, 2020
192

Is this playboy ready for the wildest ride of his life? A PR stunt would be good for business so trucking CEO Gannon Steele invites reporter Delphine Ryland to hitch a ride cross-country. But soon the trip turns from strictly business to strictly pleasure, and the consequences might be more than this rough-and-ready bachelor can handle….

Well I thought that these weren’t the first in the series about the Steele family, and checking on Amazon I find that they are books 12 and 13 in the series...
But that in the Kimani imprint (African American novels only) there is a number 89 in the series! So the story goes on...
These 2 novels take on the romances of the 2 youngest of the 6 sons of the family.
Whilst I thought these 2 books were reasonable for their genre, with gentle humour and nice story-telling, I found them rather short. But then if Brenda is turning out the numbers of books she is, she can’t write a longer length novel each time. And it may also be the norm for this imprint.
This left me wanting more depth from the characters and the stories.
Adequate but not exceptional.

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Steeley?

Seduced By A Steele (Mills & Boon Desire) (Forged of Steele, Book 12) Book Cover Seduced By A Steele (Mills & Boon Desire) (Forged of Steele, Book 12)
Brenda Jackson
Fiction, Romance, Womens' Fiction
HarperCollins UK
March 5, 2020
192

A notorious heartbreaker is about to meet his match... When the “thief” caught driving his stolen vintage car turns out to be a stunning runaway heiress, Mercury Steele is conflicted. On the one hand, Sloane Donahue triggers the billionaire playboy’s protective instincts. But she also triggers red-hot desire

Well I thought that these weren’t the first in the series about the Steele family, and checking on Amazon I find that they are books 12 and 13 in the series...
But that in the Kimani imprint (African American novels only) there is a number 89 in the series! So the story goes on...
These 2 novels take on the romances of the 2 youngest of the 6 sons of the family.
Whilst I thought these 2 books were reasonable for their genre, with gentle humour and nice story-telling, I found them rather short. But then if Brenda is turning out the numbers of books she is, she can’t write a longer length novel each time. And it may also be the norm for this imprint.
This left me wanting more depth from the characters and the stories.
Adequate but not exceptional.

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Let’s not eat Ribs

Risking Her Heart On The Single Dad Book Cover Risking Her Heart On The Single Dad
by Annie O'Neil
Romance , Women's Fiction, Medical
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 19 Mar 2020

Dare she dream of a family… …with a heartbroken single dad? Kirri West is dedicated to helping women who can’t have children. A heartache she lives with every day. But as she joins Ty Sawyer’s groundbreaking clinic, the gorgeous surgeon and his little girl become the kind of distraction she’s long avoided! While they could be a perfect family, Ty and Kirri would have to lay their hearts on the line first…

So there is this doctor- he is single, a widower in Atlanta, Georgia, with a daughter aged 6.
He had married his childhood sweetheart, never dated anyone else, and she died of cancer.
 
Along comes Kirri from Australia, with Australian gusto and charm, but yet she strives for a perfection one can never achieve. 
Her father thought only male children counted,  and her best was never enough to attract his attention. And her mother, having done her duty to provide children, retreated into her own world.
I emphasised with Kirri as I too had a father who only cared about his 'golden' son. Girls were for marriage, motherhood.
I too strove to be good enough to attract his attention but failed in so many ways.
Not an unusual situation and so often results in driven women.
I thought that Kiri was well drawn, and loved the mad Atlantan family.
Not so sure about the fixation on ribs these days though, when we know about the problems that too many beef cattle are causing. I applauded the guy who wanted to try BBQ aubergine!
 
 It was a nicely written, light story which I appreciated whilst ill in bed. Good for its genre. No poor grammar or proofreading.

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