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Italian Marriages?

Confessions Of An Italian Marriage (Mills & Boon Modern) Book Cover Confessions Of An Italian Marriage (Mills & Boon Modern)
Dani Collins
Fiction, women's fiction
HarperCollins UK
August 20, 2020
192

He’s back to reclaim her... But where has he been?

What do you do when your husband goes missing? Flush him out by pretending to marry again! Billionaire Giovanni’s dramatic return forces Freja to confront the deep hurt she felt at his desertion…and the sparks that continue to fly between them…

Giovanni had to go into hiding to protect his new bride, but he’s shocked by the consequences his mysterious past had on Freja. Now he’ll have to let her closer than he’s allowed anyone before, if he’s to save the whirlwind marriage he’s suddenly so compelled to fight for!

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Kisses under the Mistletoe?

A Mistletoe Vow To Lord Lovell Book Cover A Mistletoe Vow To Lord Lovell
(Mills & Boon Historical)
Joanna Johnson
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
October 1, 2020
368

Will their vows last a lifetime... Not just for Christmas? Abandoned by her husband, and society because her father was a slave, Honora Blake will never rely on anyone again. Until dashing Lord Lovell breaks the news that she is a widow – and penniless – and insists she spend Christmas with him and his pregnant ward. Beneath the mistletoe, passion flares between Honora and Isaac. Then childbirth places his ward’s life in jeopardy, and these strangers suddenly face marriage to protect the baby!

Another in the Black Lives Matter and slavery theme. Set in the time period (1817) when being Black in England was unusual and not always recognised well by Society. Even when people were born free. And the ideas that brought about Abolition of Slavery were still in their infancy.

Honora came from America and had been courted for her dowry by a scoundrel – of which there were quite a few as Society men didn’t dabble in Trade or work to make a living – other than gambling of course! She existed, one can’t really say lived considering the state of it, in a house her husband had left her in, 3 years previously, with no money and no way of gaining any – her only options being to wait on her husband to deign to send her some, or for her to sell her possessions. She was far too proud to go home – even if she could afford the fare – and admit just how right her family had been about Frank Blake.

We also have the illegitimate children theme added in to this story and the need to conceal a pregnancy from Society as it would impact on future marriage possibilities let alone the difficulty of concealing the existence of the child if you were a woman and the father did t take responsibility. It was not uncommon for a rich man to require his wife to take into her family the offspring of his lovers – as long it wasn’t too many! It was easy enough to isolate yourself in the country if you were married, for a few months after a discrete bit of padding to enhance the lie…

A nice story line bringing out some of the social issues of the time. And a promise to kiss under the mistletoe…

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Who likes a wedding?

Happily This Christmas Book Cover Happily This Christmas
Happily inc #6
by Susan Mallery
Romance | Women's Fiction
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 29 Sep 2020

It’s the season of love, forgiveness… and tidings of trouble!

Wynn Beauchene is exactly where she wants to be: a successful business owner and single mum. Lately, however, something feels like it's missing. Even worse is Wynn's attraction to the gorgeous policeman next door.

With his pregnant daughter coming to stay, Garrick McCabe has one last chance to repair their strained relationship. Except his daughter seems to have turned into the Grinch, and now Garrick needs Wynn's help to turn this festive fiasco around… before it's too late.

For Garrick and Wynn, a little chaos is the perfect gift for revealing what—and who—matters most

Everyone in Happily Inc of course – after all this is what the town does – provides destination weddings. Not my first read of this series and hopefully, not my last.

So in this story we do neighbours and second chance romances; plus a few unexpected babies and pregnancies and how single mothers/fathers and others deal with them.

We concentrate on Garrick and Wynn, neighbours. She runs a printing and design company, has a son of 14 born out of wedlock; he is a Captain in the town police force and had a child when he was 17, who initially lived with her mother, but has come home to roost now at 21, pregnant, with her Marine husband deployed overseas.

Babies are very much the theme and how they grow up to become difficult teenagers! I am sure that many mothers will empathise with the problems discussed and the feeling that whatever you do you could be wrong but you just have to do the best you can.

And of course, you hear about some of the zany wedding themes that people can have.

As a UK person I still flinch when the talk comes round to guns and the police, and how the Military, in all its forms, has an element of hero-worship for many citizens in the States. The current situation in the States with police, guns and vigilantes re-emphasises this concern in me.

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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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