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And the scandal was the price of bread..

scandal - And the scandal was the price of bread.. One Night of Scandal
Wicked Dukes Club
Darcy Burke
historical fiction, Regency, romance
Darcy Burke Publishing
28 May 2019
five star - And the scandal was the price of bread..

Jack Barrett is an ambitious member of parliament with no time or desire for a wife. When he catches the Duke of Eastleigh’s sister sneaking inside one of London’s private gentlemen’s clubs, he’s shocked—and dangerously charmed—and assumes the role of protector, only to discover she has the means to destroy him. Social pariah Lady Viola Fairfax masquerades as a man to pen a column in a popular women’s magazine. When she stumbles upon a brewing scandal that implicates a prominent MP, she seizes the chance to establish herself as a real journalist. However, the infuriating and intoxicating man may not be the radical he’s purported to be, and the more time they spend together, the more she risks the one thing she’s sworn never to do: fall in love.

Whilst this is a typical Regency romance in the normal trope – there is an extra fillip to this novel that I particularly liked. It made the central storyline relate to the political unrest at this time.

This was a time of rebellions on the Continent and also minor rebellions and lots of unrest at home in the UK.

The story talks about the lack of female and universal suffrage and the people who were agitating for the latter – the former had not yet crossed the men’s minds.. nor that on marriage a woman lost all right to property and money, not to mention her body.

On 28 January, 1817: Henry Bankes records that the Prince Regent’s coach was attacked as he returned after opening a new session of Parliament [https://dcc.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/bankes-archive/attack-on-the-prince-regent/]. It was never clear whether it was a bullet or bullets shot, or stones that were thrown at the coach, but it certainly worried the Govt of the time. This was period when the Tories were in power (as opposed to the Whigs) and who were predominately made up of  the aristocracy and those who were more right wing in political leanings – Whig was a term applied to horse thieves and, later, to Scottish Presbyterians; it connoted nonconformity and rebellion, whereas Tory was an Irish term suggesting a papist outlaw – so both were originally terms of abuse, that were later taken on board as ways of defining political leanings. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Whig-Party-England]. Some politicians had hereditary boroughs to represent whereby one family held the seat for many years, some MPs represented what were known as Rotten Boroughs as they were in the ‘gift’ of a peer and rarely had many voters, and thus the MP had little to no work but still received his pay.

It was during this time that there was a great deal of unrest caused by poverty for instance the Bread Riots of 1800 and 1801 caused by a lack of bread for the poorer classes; lack of universal suffrage; and of course a number of philosophers – or writers of political treatises were being printed and widely circulated. Tom Paine was one such writer and his book, the Rights of Man was considered highly treasonable. [https://spartacus-educational.com/PRspencean.htm]

In response, the Govt decided that Habeas Corpus – ‘bring me the body’ – that was a Common law writ used when it was thought that a prisoner had been unlawfully imprisoned without trial and sentence, and which was generally used to require the prisoner to be brought to trial, was suspended in 1794.  Of course, if you don’t have any real evidence but just suspicions that this person is a rebel or is undertaking treasonable acts, then you don’t want to have to produce him.

By the early 1800s Thomas Spence had established himself as the unofficial leader of those Radicals who advocated revolution and similarly to current revolutionary cells, there was no central organisation, merely local groups which were autonomous. There was an argument that “if all the land in Britain was shared out equally, there would be enough to give every man, woman and child seven acres each”. The group of people who followed Thomas Spence were known as Spenceans. Whilst many who advocated reform at this time were peaceful, others were not and by 1820 a number of violent events had been planned – all were foiled by the use of police spies.

All this political unrest and the use of Govt spies provides a nice ‘spindle’ from which this story can be spun.

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Night-time is when you…..

darcy - Night-time is when you..... One Night of Surrender
(Wicked Dukes Club Book 2)
Darcy Burke
historical romance, Regency
Darcy Burke Publishing
30 Apr 2019
four star - Night-time is when you.....

After one passionate night a decade ago, Valentine Fairfax, Duke of Eastleigh, never forgot Isabelle, the intelligent, witty and forbidden daughter of a head of college at Oxford. However, since suffering a disastrous marriage to an unfaithful wife, the duke has vowed never to succumb to temptation again. Until the day he discovers his friend’s governess is the one woman who still haunts his dreams.

Once penniless, Isabelle Cortland has finally saved enough money to finance a school for impoverished girls. But when a chance encounter rekindles buried desires, Isabelle knows she can’t be a duke’s mistress and a headmistress at the same time. No longer a naïve girl, Isabelle won’t repeat the past. Not even for one night of surrender...

A series in conjunction with Erica Ridley (an author I have read extensively, and thus was comparing) about certain ‘Wicked’ Dukes, their friends, and their romances.

An enjoyable tale, written competently but I found it too short for me. It could easily have been several pages longer in my opinion and then a more complex story could have been told. Whilst following the usual trope of ups and downs of a romance that we expect I was not sure that this book has quite the story-telling sophistication that for me is needed when re-telling Regency romances for the modern day. However, I’m more than happy to try another novel by this author. It is often awkward when joining in a series written by another author.

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Weight it up and read all about it

nighht - Weight it up and read all about it One Night for Seduction
#1 Wicked Dukes Club
by Erica Ridley
historical, fiction, romance, Regency
WebMotion (
8 April 2019)
750px English wine cask units - Weight it up and read all about it
This is the best Erica Ridley book I've read so far - and I've read a large number! Why? Because I've learnt a lot of new things about life and shopping in the Regency age.
I had no idea that there were so many different weights and measures around in this time. and I've discovered the origin of why the American gallon is not an English gallon. All of which was very mysterious before.
So in real life there was an Act of Parliament in 1824 that laid down the exact weights for measures in the UK.
A gallon was to be measured as the volume of 10 pounds of distilled water weighed at 62 degrees Fahrenheit, with a barometer pressure of 30 inches or 277.274 cubic inches.
So very precise!
The old Troy pound was later restricted as being used only to weigh drugs, precious metal and jewels.
But it was not until 1963 that the rod and chaldron (who has ever heard of that?! But it was apparently a measure of coal being 36 bushels), were finally abolished.
Now isn't that fascinating?
But to add to the confusion, the American weights and measures guys adopted the units the English used before 1824. This means that an American gallon is based on the Queen Anne wine gallon of 231 cubic inches and is thus 17% smaller than the English. The Old English (Queen Anne) Wine Gallon was standardized as 231 in3 (133 fl oz) in the 1706 Act 5 Anne c27, but it differed before that, as an example the London 'Guildhall' gallon before 1688 was 129.19 fl oz.
And the US bushel is 3% smaller; with the American dry pint being .551 cubic decimeters and the English keeping the wet and dry pint the same at .586 cubic decimeters. Yes the wet American is the same as the English to confuse us all...
I do hope everyone followed all of that!
So for me, the story was in the usual good form of Erica with a great heroine and a somewhat bemused hero but for me,  being a history buff, the weights and measures issue sent me off into research land which doesn't often happen these days. Well done Erica!

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Convenient Marriage?

countess - Convenient Marriage? The Earl's Countess of Convenience
Penniless Brides of Convenience, Book 1
Marguerite Kaye
Romance , Women's Fiction, Historical
Mills and Boon
04 Apr 2019
four star - Convenient Marriage?

A countess in name only…

…tempted by a night with her husband!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Eloise Brannagh has witnessed first-hand the damage unruly passion can cause. Yet she craves freedom, so a convenient marriage to the Earl of Fearnoch seems the perfect solution! Except Alexander Sinclair is more handsome, more intriguing, more everything, than Eloise anticipated. Having set her own rules for their marriage, her irresistible husband might just tempt Eloise to break them!

Once upon a time there was an Earl who need a bride in order to inherit his estate and sort out the mess and debts his profligate father and forebears had left him with. But where was he to get one? With money? And in need of a hasty marriage and preferably without the need for a marriage bed.

Not that he swung that way, but more that he couldn’t be bothered to have a real wife who would need him to do things with him.

And then there was a girl – or young woman more like, who also needed a hasty marriage, but she didn’t really have a fortune and to cap it all was American! And Trade! So not really a suitable marriage prospect at all.

But as with these novels the two were brought together and a marriage of convenience for them both, was organised.

A nice novel in this genre wit some amusing touches and well written even if sticking closely to the script. I like these as long as the heroine doesn’t simper, and this one didn’t!

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Smelling nice enough?








Kiss of a Duke




Twelve Dukes of Christmas #2





Erica Ridley





romance, Regency, historical, humour




WebMotion




(6 Nov. 2018)


four star - Smelling nice enough?

Just one more kiss… (Milady, it’s cold outside)

Lady chemist Penelope Mitchell took England by storm with Duke, a perfume for men that has women swooning at their feet. To prove the same aphrodisiacal potency of her upcoming version for ladies, the new perfume must cause a rake to fall in love with her in ten days. And she has just the man in mind…

Sexy pleasure-seeker Nicholas Pringle—known as “Saint Nick” for his wicked ways—wants to end the absurd cologne that has every young buck believing himself a ladies’ man. How hard can it be to charm a spinster into changing her mind? But when Penelope does the charming, this rakish scoundrel must decide between losing the war... or losing his heart.

The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a laugh-out-loud historical romance 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!

This is number 2 in this great series.

We met Penelope before – the scientist who creates perfumes in the castle – somewhat messy and unusual indeed in being a ‘lady’ chemist at these times., in book #1.

Here we find her having successfully created a perfume for men that has proved to be a scent for the male tonthat has taken them by storm – and has made her notable.

Now she has to make a female perfume that will do the same.

Another of Erica’s heroines that is naturally a scientist in an era when women were not that educated and one we can empathise with, one who is a natural philosopher as those who worked with natural essences were called, and one who experimented in a laboratory. A grand example for our own girls.

I always enjoy a novel by Erica Ridley. They are light but also have great heroines who are not conforming to the societal norm. which i approve of. She doesn’t attempt to copy Georgette Heyer even though the books are set in the same time period. Rather she makes the time period her own creation, and this series of short novels is a grand idea – 12 before Xmas – quick writing!

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