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A spinster and a spitfire

A Duke Will Never Do by Darcy Burke Darcy Burke Publishing Romance Pub Date 19 May 2020 Book Cover A Duke Will Never Do by Darcy Burke Darcy Burke Publishing Romance Pub Date 19 May 2020

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Untouchables series comes your next Regency obsession: The Spitfire Society... Meet the smart, independent women who’ve decided they don’t need Society’s rules, their families’ expectations, or, most importantly, a husband. But just because they don’t need a man doesn’t mean they might not want one.

After failing on the Marriage Mart, Jane Pemberton has two choices: submit to her parents’ edict to marry their boring neighbor or become a self-declared spinster and take up residence in the official headquarters of the Spitfire Society. It’s really no choice at all, and Jane is eager to embrace her newfound independence. She soon finds an unconscious viscount on her doorstep and nurses him back to health. When he offers to compensate her, she requests payment in the form of private instruction of a scandalous and intimate kind.

Having spiraled into a self-destructive abyss following the murder of his parents, Anthony, Viscount Colton, physically recovers under the care of an alluring spitfire. But it is her charm and flirtatiousness that soothes his soul and arouses his desire—until an extortion scheme forces him to face the sins of his past. Now, to save the woman who’s given him everything he lost and more, he’ll have to pay the ultimate price: his heart.

So once upon a Regency period, when a young girl fails to attract a suitor in the marriage mart before she become an old maid – usually around 21 years of age – she has to become an unpaid servant somewhere. To her family – her elderly parents, an ancient aunt as a companion, an extra nanny to her siblings’ children or similar.

And if you had the money yourself, which was very unusual, you could set up home with a companion yourself.

But young girls of 21 or even older women, seldom had their own money and so were dependant on others. So if you hadn’t got a husband and didn’t want to become an unpaid servant, what were you to do?

Luckily, for our young heroine, she knew someone who not only had money but also a spare house she could lend her to live in, and enough to spare her some money to maintain it and buy the necessaries and some fripperies.

So Jane refuses to marry the ‘last resort’ husband of her parents’ choice and sets up home as a spinster in the HQ of what was now he Spitfires Society. A society for women who wanted more than what was customary for themselves.

Hey wanted independence of thought and action and not necessarily an husband.

Jane is a nice young lady, nicer than her reputation appears – a scandal had been attached to her about which she had no inkling. And she takes pity on a rake because of her niceness and starts his reformation – very rockily.  A nice story but not with quite the oomph that I expect of Darcy, and little that’s new in discussion of society and customs that

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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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And Who’s your Father?

A Duke's Daughter
Kathleen Buckley
Historical Fiction | Romance
The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Pub Date 28 Apr 2020

Can a duke be thrown into debtor's prison? If so, Emily, dependent on her cousin, the heir to her father's impoverished dukedom, wonders what will become of her? With great reluctance, she agrees to marry a man willing to pay for an aristocratic bride. 

Rejected by the woman he loves, Ambrose Hawkins, shipper, importer, and former pirate, settles for a female who can further his social ambitions. His marriage to Emily is prospering until a man who blames Hawkins for the failure of his own courtship is murdered. Hawkins is the obvious suspect… 

 

…and the obvious suspect usually hangs. 

This is a competent story of Beauty and the Beast – here identified as a refined Duke’s Daughter and a rough shipowner and businessman, but it lacks any real spark.

For me, the characters seemed 2 dimensional with little depth. I also dislike women who knuckle under to stereotypes. The girl seemed particularly wishy washy at the beginning.

The story idea was reasonable, if not new, but needed to be better situated historically to give validity to the shipping, politics, coffee houses and fashions at the very least.

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Mystery Surrounds her like the Night?

The Mysterious Miss Fairchild Book Cover The Mysterious Miss Fairchild
(Mills & Boon Historical)
Sarah Mallory
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
April 30, 2020
368

An accomplished beauty…

But a most unsuitable match!

Natalya Fairchild can’t help but be drawn to Tristan Quintrell, Lord Dalmorren, with his effortless charisma, even if he’s not her intended bridegroom. Tristan is an eligible society catch…whereas Natalya’s unknown heritage could label her ruined! As he helps Natalya investigate her mysterious past, she starts to hope the truth of her conception won’t destroy her prospects…of a life with Tristan!

This was a Regency romance in much of the usual format except for Miss Fairchild herself.
Her education was clearly not that of the usual female of her time - and her reading materials were so limited that she could come to a completely erroneous conclusion. Aided by the type of school she attended and many of its pupils of course.
I’m afraid I had guessed her birth ‘secret’ well before half way through the book and thus she wasn’t quite as mysterious as she could be.
Also, she was too compliant for me. I prefer my heroines to have rather more life in them and to be more rebellious. She was too easy to keep constrained.
Other than that, it was typical of its genre with not enough to warrant to a 4 star rating.

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Marriage not a la mode

The Potential for Love Book Cover The Potential for Love
A Regency Novel
by Catherine Kullmann
Historical Fiction , Romance
Willow Books BooksGoSocial
(25 Mar. 2020)

When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for one interminable moment she thinks he is her brother, against all odds home from Waterloo. But it is Major Thomas Ferraunt, the rector’s son, newly returned from occupied Paris who stands in front of her. For over six years, Thomas’s thoughts have been of war. Now he must ask himself what his place is in this new world and what he wants from it. More and more, his thoughts turn to Miss Malvin, but would Lord Malvin agree to such a mismatch for his daughter, especially when she is being courted by Lord Henry Danlow? As Arabella embarks on her fourth Season, she finds herself more in demand than ever before. But she is tired of the life of a debutante, waiting in the wings for her real life to begin. She is ready to marry. But which of her suitors has the potential for love and who will agree to the type of marriage she wants? As she struggles to make her choice, she is faced with danger from an unexpected quarter while Thomas is stunned by a new challenge. Will these events bring them together or drive them apart?

This was my first novel by Catherine Kullman and although it is set in the same world as Darcy Burke’s and Erica Ridley’s books, ie the Regency period, this writer is very different in style and content.
This is a much more serious Regency romance. 
Set just after the battle of Waterloo with the regiments back in the UK on furlough as no longer on active duty. As a result the younger sons and gentlemen of the Ton were welcomed back in their best regimental finery - which of course was very dashing. Much more so than standard society dress.
However, it was not this that was to be the attraction between our two - Thomas and Bella. It was more the things that her father said were important for marriage. Friendship, companionship, similar interests and so on, and of course having compatible temperaments.  Bella’s father said love would come if the other elements were satisfactory and he should know as he was on wife 2. And again we had a number of women dying as they gave birth. 
He was also someone who believed that women could look after money and that they were sensible enough to own property.
This romance, typical of the genre has its ups and downs, with some excitement and rejected lovers etc etc and unexpected events that turn their expectations of their lives together upside down.
This novel was of a good length and thus Catherine could explore quite a number of elements of the story and make it richer and more diverse. It was also enhanced by the author’s research into the era and the incorporation into the story of true elements of history. Not just the boots described in the fashion magazine but also the way men thought about what happened when they were away in the army. According to them the Bible accepted concubines - or mistresses - and it was acceptable to find one as a companion - such as a widow to ‘provide a refuge from military life’. See also what happens when Muslims go on pilgrimage and are ‘rented’ a wife for their stay. Hey ho - the bible was written by men!
 
I thought the novel was written and thoughtful and enjoyed her take on a Regency Romance.

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