Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Catherine Coulter’s LORD OF RAVEN’S PEAK – Intriguing Viking Tale with a heroine who is a Skald, a teller of stories

This is the third in Coulter’s Viking series and the second in her Viking trilogy. As with the others, it’s a good one. And, it’s rather unique. The heroine is a skald (a storyteller), so there are stories within the story and very cleverly done, too. I admire Coulter’s ability to do that so smoothly. She gives us a feeling for how important storytelling was to the Viking culture while weaving it into an intricate plot and a great romance. I loved it.

Set in 916, beginning in Kiev (and thence to Norway and Normandy), this is the story of Merrik Haraldsson (younger brother to Rorik from Lord of Hawkfell Island), a Viking who stops at the slave market to buy his mother a woman to help with the weaving. What he gets instead are two young boys he saves from a fate worse than death. And, as it turns out, one of the boys is actually a girl—18-year-old Lauren. A girl with beautiful breasts and a sharp tongue—and a mysterious past she won’t speak of.

Lauren has some ability as a skald, a teller of stories, and holds Merrik and his men spellbound with her tales. Lauren’s purpose is to gain their silver to buy her freedom and that of her younger brother, Taby. The two of them were abducted from her home and sold into slavery two years ago and they have barely survived. Merrik finds her enchanting, no matter her red hair and her skinny body (from near starvation) and he loves Taby and has no intention of letting him go.

Richly drawn characters and meticulous research are blended with the Viking culture, treachery, murder, cruelty and lust—a superb job. It’s going on my best Viking Romances list along with the others in the series I’ve read. I recommend it!

The Viking Series:

Season of the Sun (Related but not a part of the Trilogy)
Lord of Hawkfell Island
Lord of Raven's Peak
Lord of Falcon Ridge

Monday, January 14, 2019

Heather Graham’s THE VIKING’S WOMAN - 2nd in the Viking Trilogy - Great Viking Romance!

Set in 9th century Ireland (Eire), England and the north coast of France, these are the stories of Prince Olaf of Norway, the first Lord of the Wolves, and his bride, Princess Erin, daughter of the Irish High King, the Ard-Righ of Tara. I warn you that the Viking men are strong willed, arrogant and domineering, even though the two in the last books are half Irish. Their women are independent, stubborn and courageous and can fight with the best of the men. They have no intention of allowing a Viking male who has taken everything from them to dominate them.

Wolves and the cubs of wolves mate for life or so says the druid who is advisor to the Irish king's family and these men are wolves. Each of the marriages is arranged over the objection of the females who fight the husbands who have laid claim to their lands and to them.

This one tells of Rhiannon, King Alfred's favorite niece, who has lands on the Saxon coast of England, and Eric, second son of Olaf, King of Dubhlain in Eire (who we encountered in Golden Surrender). Alfred seeks Eric's aid to fight against his enemies, the Danes, and to defend Rhiannon's lands as most of her men are fighting with Alfred. But the message to tell Rhiannon that Eric is coming at Alfred's invitation is diverted through treachery.

When Eric comes to her castle in his Viking ships, she thinks he's attacking and she defends. In the ensuing fight, she wounds him with her own arrow. When Alfred learns how Eric was greeted, he knows he must make up for it as he needs Eric's sword. So he decides to give both Rhiannon and her lands to the Viking lord. But while Eric wants the land badly, he does not want the woman.

Meanwhile, Rhiannon loves one of her own people, Rowan, who she believed she would marry. Though Eric doesn't want her, he consents to the arranged marriage thinking he'll send Rhiannon to Ireland and be rid of her. As predicted, Eric does not treat her well. It is a battle between them for most of the book. But love wins in the end.

Graham's writing is, as always, very well done with superb historical references woven into a complex love story that befits the cultures of the hero and heroine. Wonderful characters, too. I recommend it.

The Viking Trilogy:

Golden Surrender
The Viking's Woman
Lord of the Wolves

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Georgette Heyer’s LADY OF QUALITY – Another Regency with Delightful Characters and a Splendid Heroine

This is the story of Miss Annis Wychwood, who, at twenty-nine, is independent and determined to live on her own. But when Annis embroils herself in the affairs of Miss Lucilla Carleton, a young runaway heiress, she is confronted with Lucilla’s arrogant and very wealthy guardian, Mr. Oliver Carleton, who Annis considers the rudest man she has ever met. But it is clear that Mr. Carleton may be the only man Annis does not consider a dead bore.

I love the way Heyer slowly builds her tale with a wonderful cast of secondary characters. The chemistry in this tale is subtle. Annis and Oliver seem to thrive on their frequent conflicts. Heyer brings to life the Regency era and the life of the gentry at Bath with details of the Pump Room where visitors went to “take the waters” and the social whirl that characterized the Bath season.

The love story in this one comes out mostly through the comments of others until the end when the hero declares himself and Annis finds it hard to resist.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Mairi Norris’ VIKING SWORD: THE STRANDED ONE - Viking Trek Across 9th century England

Set in the Kingdom of Wessex, England in 882, this is the story of Brandr Óttarrson, a Viking jarl’s son who attacks a Saxon village only to be sent fleeing with his men by another band of Saxons who decimate the village. Among the ashes, a wounded Brandr discovers a Saxon maiden, Lissa of Yriclea, the sole survivor. He thinks to give her a merciful death but she persuades him to take her with him and his uncle as they leave. On the condition she becomes his thrall (slave).

His ship having left without him, Brandr and his uncle must journey across England, avoiding those who would kill them, including a Saxon who hunts for Lissa. As they travel, they pick up others along the way.

Norris does a wonderful job of bringing the reader into the Viking mind. It is obvious she has done much research to capture the speech, their way of thinking and their culture. Brandr, being the son of a jarl, must marry nobility, not a thrall. But he can make Lissa his concubine, and he wants her. Lissa, sees this as a possibility and she wants to remain with Brandr but not as his concubine. Secondary characters add to the complexity of what is otherwise a simple but very well told story of a trek across England to reunite Brandr with his family.

A worthy Viking tale with authentic terms (there is a detailed glossary). The first in the Viking Brothers Saga. I recommend it.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sabrina Jarema’s LORD OF THE RUNES – Rune Warrior Meets Shield Maiden

Set in Norway in winter 850 AD, this is the story of Asa Sigrundsdottir, a shield maiden, and Eirik Ivarson, the warrior she discovered frozen on his horse in the snow. Eirik had fled his home when outcasts attacked and killed his father, the jarl. Struggling with one of the attackers, he went over a crest into the sea.

Revived at Asa’s home, Eirik returns the kindness her people have shown him by reading the runes for the people, as he learned from his mother, and helping Asa carve the runes into the dragonhead she is working on for the stem of a longship.

Asa is afraid of a man’s touch from an incident six years’ earlier. The author was very slow to reveal what it was. From the beginning I assumed it was a rape (Eirik assumed it was abuse). Anyway, at the suggestion of her brother, Asa learned a warrior’s skills to be able to protect herself. In doing so, she earned the respect of the warriors, a shield maiden fighting alongside them.

Eirik tells no one he is a jarl or even where he comes from, which seemed odd, but blends in with the other warriors, fighting when the village is attacked by outcasts. He spends much of his days carving a stone tribute to Asa’s dead father, the former jarl of her people. Her brothers wonder just where he goes each day, but no one follows him to the nearby shed where he works.

Eirik had to be the most gentlemanly Viking I’ve ever encountered: polite to all, sensitive to Asa’s every mood, caring of her dark past which he thinks was abuse, and willing to do whatever he can for her with never a cross word. Asa did nothing to encourage his affection. It seemed to be mostly an attraction on his part until the end.

The story reflects the author’s considerable research into the Norsemen’s pagan beliefs and religion. Beautifully written, much of the story is taken up with the description of applying the magical runes to Asa’s dragon head that seems to come alive under Eirik’s touch. One could have wanted more description of the setting, the winter landscape, the wildlife (never heard a wolf; never saw a dog; the men went hunting and brought back elk, but we didn’t see the hunt or the elk), and even the inside of the longhouse where most of the story took place I wanted more description. The characters are well developed, especially Asa’s twin brothers and Estrid, Asa’s jealous cousin who meant her ill.

Recommended for those who love Viking stories steeped in Norse mythology.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Theresa Scott’s FORBIDDEN PASSION – Worthy Viking Tale with an Irish Hero

Set in 10th century in Ireland and Greenland, this is the story of Yngveld Sveinsdatter whose father once contracted her to wed Ivar Wolfson of Dubh Linn. Since Yngveld lives in Greenland, Ivar sends his trusted Irish bodyguard, Thomas Lachlann, bastard son of Viking Lord Harald, to retrieve her. Meanwhile, Yngveld, whose father is dead, has no idea of the prior contract. Her biggest worry is avoiding marriage to a ruthless man in Greenland who wants her and her lands.

Thomas sails for Greenland only to have his ship seized by the same evil man who is after Yngveld. When she seeks a ship and a crew to escape to Norway where she has relatives, she purchases a ship and slaves to sail it, which turn out to be Thomas’s ship and he and his men. Ah, but Thomas has no intention of remaining a slave…

The story takes off and held my attention as Scott brought me into the Viking world, sailing on a Viking ship to Greenland. All that was to the good. And the hero and heroine are a worthy pair. I really liked Thomas. The middle of the book meandered a bit, but the ending was exciting. Viking fans will love it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Gina Conkle’s TO FIND A VIKING TREASURE – An Exciting Viking Tale!


January is Viking month! Stay with us as I present some wonderful stories of those Norsemen of long ago. I’m beginning with an exciting one my Gina Conkle.

Set in 1022 in the kingdom of Svea (Sweden), this is the story of warring Viking leaders and a rough yet noble warrior who serves the man who saved his life. Brandr wants to leave Uppsala to start a new life, but his desire to protect the slave, Sestra, keeps him from leaving.

Sestra is a thrall who has known only abuse from men who lust after her beauty. But when she tells the Viking leader of a treasure hidden by their enemy, Brandr and she are sent to find it. To Sestra, Brandr is a mysterious figure, a man of strength whose only words are ones meant to tease yet he always treats her with respect.

This is a Viking version of lost on a desert isle. Alone and facing the enemy who would be eager to kill them, Brandr and Sestra discover passion between them as they fight to survive. Choices must be made by each as to what is truly important. Brandr is a freeman and Sestra longs to be free. She hopes the treasure will bring her that freedom.

Conkle has obviously done considerable research into the Viking life, which enriches the tale. Some exciting scenes will hold your attention and for those who like a spicy romance, Conkle has delivered a romance with many scintillating love scenes.

The Norse series:

Norse Jewel
To Find a Viking Treasure
To Steal a Viking Bride
To Heal a Viking Heart

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!


I wish all my followers a wonderful New Year… more books to read, more friends to make and all that you dream of come to pass!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Georgette Heyer’s ARABELLA – Wonderfully Intricate Tale of an Unlikely Match


One of the things I love about Heyer’s stories is the detail she brings to the telling of them. This is a Regency about the daughter of a Yorkshire vicar, Arabella Tallant, who goes to London at her godmother’s invitation, hopefully to find a worthy husband. On the way, her carriage breaks down outside the hunting lodge of the wealthy Mr. Robert Beaumaris. Her pride is stung when she overhears him besmirching her purpose, so she pretends to be an heiress, a pretense that deeply amuses the jaded Beaumaris who decides it would be amusing to make sure she is thought by all of London to be just what she claims to be.

When compassionate Arabella rescues an abused chimney sweep and a mixed-breed mongrel, she foists them upon Beaumaris, who finds he rather enjoys being her partner in the role of rescuer. When Arabella’s younger brother, posing as someone else, gets into deep gambling trouble, Beaumaris comes to his rescue.

Arabella turns down her many marriage proposals knowing they only want the money they think she has and finds herself in a quandary knowing she can never marry a man unless he knows the truth, which she can never divulge.

A wonderful, well-told story. Arabella is a delightful heroine and Beaumaris is a great hero, a man who, in the end, does exactly the right thing for the women he has come to love.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Nora Roberts’ IN FROM THE COLD – Brilliant Christmas Story of a Scot and an Irish Lass on the eve of the American Revolution… A Keeper!

Set at the outset of the American Revolution, beginning in December 1773, this is the story of Ian MacGregor, who was wounded by a British soldier after participating in the Boston Tea Party. Ian fled to the wilderness of Massachusetts where he ended up in the barn of the Murphys and in the care of the young Irish widow, Alanna Murphy Flynn.

Alana is immediately attracted to the red-haired rebel but she fears his talk of revolution, not just for herself but for her brothers. Ian has fallen in love with Alana and means to have her as his wife. But he’ll need his aunt in Virginia to help him.

Brilliant descriptions and beautifully developed characters bring this story and the MacGregors to life. Revolution is coming to America and while Alanna would resist, Ian knows America must fight for her freedom. Roberts adroitly weaves the conflicting emotions of the time into a love story between two strong-willed people.

It’s a well told, fast-paced novella and so good one could only hope for more. The first story in the MacGregor series is Rebellion and I highly recommend it. However, all of the others that follow In From the Cold are, sadly, contemporaries. Would that Roberts would have continued writing historicals as it would have been fascinating to see her tell the history of America along with the MacGregor love stories. She did historicals so well.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Georgette Heyer’s VENETIA – Delightful, Witty and Wonderful… a keeper with a great heroine!

Set in the Regency era, this is the story of a sheltered but well read country miss and a jaded young man who once let his lust lead him astray. Venetia Lanyon lives in Harrogate, staying with her younger brother, a bookish young man who is lame from an accident. She has suitors, one a young puppy and the other a staid straight-laced sort. Neither captures her heart. Then, into her life comes her neighbor, the infamous Lord Damerel, who once ran away with an older married woman.

Damerel has a depth to him that belies his errant ways and Venetia sees beneath the surface. They share a love of Shakespeare and their sense of humor. Damerel begins to laugh as he hasn’t for many years. Venetia’s guardians are concerned that Damerel is a very bad influence, but when her brother is taken to Damerel’s crumbling estate after a riding accident, Venetia boldly follows, her reputation be damned. The thing is, however, that while Damerel has fallen in love with her, he believes himself unworthy and urges her to seek a husband.

Adroitly woven story of a family where our heroine takes care of all, happy in her isolated country life, until she meets her neighbor, the jaded rake. It’s in Venetia’s nature to make the best of what life gives her. And now that Damerel has come into her life, can she let him go when he would do the noble thing and bid her go?

A wonderful Regency from Heyer, one of her best. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Favorite Heroes & Heroines!


It’s that time of year when I share my favorite heroes and heroines--my Christmas gift to you! I have read and reviewed 1000 romances, most of them historicals. In those novels that I have rated 5-stars there are some wonderful heroes and heroines. Noble men who overcome tortured pasts, flaws and the odds against them to pursue love and heroines who persist against great obstacles to be with the man to whom they would give their heart—strong, intelligent women of character. Every one a worthy hero and heroine.

This just might be your next year’s reading list!

Heroes

Summerton from SUMMERTON by Becca St. John
Jacob from THE CALLING OF THE CLAN by Parris Afton Bonds
Night Hawk from NIGHT FLAME by Catherine Hart
Jamie from SWEET SAVAGE EDEN by Heather Graham
Thomas from HOME BY MORNING by Kaki Warner
Jason from THE TIGER’S WOMAN by Celeste De Blasis
Alasdair (“Dair”) from LADY OF THE GLEN by Jennifer Roberson
Brigham from REBELLION by Nora Roberts
Bret from WITHOUT WORDS by Ellen O’Connell
Ethan from MOOD INDIGO by Parris Afton Bonds
Sean from STORMFIRE by Christine Monson
Domenico from THE SILVER DEVIL by Teresa Denys
Felipe Tristan from THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL by Teresa Denys
Fulke from THE OUTLAW KNIGHT by Elizabeth Chadwick
Roger from LADY OF FIRE by Anita Mills
Alex from BRIDE OF THE MACHUGH by Jan Cox Speas
Tade from BLACK FALCON’S LADY by Kimberly Cates (formerly NIGHTWYLDE by Kimberleigh Caitlin)
Devon from THE WINDFLOWER by Laura London
Gabriel from BROKEN WING by Judith James
Gannon from ON A HIGHLAND SHORE by Kathleen Givens
Alex from KILGANNON by Kathleen Givens
Cord from EYES OF SILVER, EYES OF GOLD by Ellen O’Connell
Anthony from DEVIL’S EMBRACE by Catherine Coulter
Trevor from LIONS AND LACE by Meagan McKinney
Simon from ACROSS A MOONLIT SEA by Marsha Canham
Ethan from IF YOU DECEIVE by Kresley Cole
Derek from THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES by Kresley Cole
Rory from BROKEN VOWS by Shirl Henke
Hawk from CAPTURE THE SUN by Shirl Henke
Simon from THE DRAGON AND THE JEWEL by Virginia Henley
Shane from THE HAWK AND THE DOVE by Virginia Henley
Christian from DECEPTIVE HEART by Maureen Kurr
Drake from PIRATE’S ANGEL by Marsha Bauer
Adrian from THE BLACK HAWK by Joanna Bourne
Cougar from MOUNTAIN MISTRESS by Nadine Crenshaw
Derek from INNOCENT FIRE by Brenda Joyce
Johnny from THE OUTSIDER by Penelope Williamson
Julian from THE DUKE OF SHADOWS by Meredith Duran
Wolf from LOVE, CHERISH ME by Rebecca Brandewyne
Jesse from ONE WORE BLUE by Heather Graham
Zack from HEART OF THE WEST by Penelope Williamson
Shay from THE PASSIONS OF EMMA by Penelope Williamson
McCady from ONCE IN A BLUE MOON by Penelope Williamson
Jamie from OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
Brandon from THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Callum from LAIRD OF THE MIST by Paula Quinn
Lucas from WHISPERS OF HEAVEN by Candice Proctor
Daegan from RAELIKSEN by Renee Vincent
Roc from A PIRATE’S PLEASURE by Heather Graham
Francis from HEARTSTORM by Elizabeth Stuart
Gannon from ON A HIGHLAND SHORE by Kathleen Givens

Heroines

Venetia from VENETIA by Georgette Heyer
Caroline from SUMMERTON by Becca St. John
Catriona from THE CALLING OF THE CLAN by Parris Afton Bonds
Sarah (Flame) from NIGHT FLAME by Catherine Hart
Jassy from SWEET SAVAGE EDEN by Heather Graham
Anna from TOUCH OF LACE by Elizabeth DeLancey
Chess from FROM FIELDS OF GOLD by Alexandra Ripley
Tess from THE BLACK ROSE by Christina Skye
Katherine from CLANDARA by Evelyn Anthony
Cat from LADY OF THE GLEN by Jennifer Roberson
Anne from HEARTSTORM by Elizabeth Stuart
Margaret from ON A HIGHLAND SHORE by Kathleen Givens
Mary from THE TIGER’S WOMAN by Celeste De Blasis
Miranda from ONCE MORE MIRANDA by Jennifer Wilde
Oriana from ORIANA by Valerie Vayle
Serena from REBELLION by Nora Roberts
Briar from SLEEP IN THE WOODS by Dorothy Eden
Lysistrata from RANGOON by Christine Monson
Catherine from STORMFIRE by Christine Monson
Juana from THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL by Teresa Denys
Felicia from THE SILVER DEVIL by Teresa Denys
Lissa from WHEN ANGELS FALL by Meagan McKinney
Jamelyn from SILK AND STEEL by Cordia Byers
Eleanor from LADY OF FIRE by Anita Mills
Elspeth from BRIDE OF THE MACHUGH by Jan Cox Speas
Sarah from BROKEN WING by Judith James
Fallon from PRINCESS OF FIRE by Heather Graham
Mary from KILGANNON by Kathleen Givens
Katherine from DANCING ON COALS by Ellen O’Connell
Anne from EYES OF SILVER, EYES OF GOLD by Ellen O’Connell
Kayleigh from MY WICKED ENCHANTRESS by Meagan McKinney
Cassie from DEVIL’S EMBRACE by Catherine Coulter
Isabeau from ACROSS A MOONLIT SEA by Marsha Canham
Maddy from IF YOU DECEIVE by Kresley Cole
Nicole from THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES by Kresley Cole
Darcy from BEYOND THE CLIFFS OF KERRY by Amanda Hughes
Lauren from THE PRIDE OF THE KING by Amanda Hughes
Scarlett from SCARLETT by Alexandra Ripley
Eleanor from THE DRAGON AND THE JEWEL by Virginia Henley
Sara from THE HAWK AND THE DOVE by Virginia Henley
Summer from THE PIRATE AND THE PAGAN by Virginia Henley
Justine from THE BLACK HAWK by Joanna Bourne
Flame from MOUNTAIN MISTRESS by Nadine Crenshaw
Adair from A DANGEROUS LOVE by Bertrice Small
Clementine from HEART OF THE WEST by Penelope Williamson
Emma from THE PASSIONS OF EMMA by Penelope Williamson
Jessalyn from ONCE IN A BLUE MOON by Penelope Williamson
Heather from THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Shanna from SHANNA by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Aislinn from THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Jessie from WHISPERS OF HEAVEN by Candice Proctor
Whitney from THE PARADISE BARGAIN by Betina Krahn
Skye from A PIRATE’S PLEASURE by Heather Graham
Katherine from THE GAME by Brenda Joyce
Kat from CHILDREN OF THE MIST by Aleen Malcolm
Amelia from THE VISCOUNT’S CHRISTMAS TEMPTATION by Erica Ridley

Friday, December 21, 2018

Candice Proctor’s WHISPERS OF HEAVEN – Tasmania and Love in the 19th Century—a Great Story with a Wonderful Heroine!

Proctor has delivered an enthralling romance set “down under,” on that mysterious island country, Tasmania, lying south of Australia.

Set in 1840, it tells the story of Jesmond (“Jessie”) Corbett, an independent thinking, science-loving heroine who, while raised in Tasmania, spent two years in London studying geology. Returning home to the country she loves, she notices a new convict laborer, a handsome, green-eyed Irishman who, when he is not putting on the brogue, speaks as a gentleman.

Lucas Gallagher, son of an Irish shipbuilder, was studying to become a barrister when the English brutally attacked his sister and him, scaring them forever. Spared a hanging, Lucas was transported to Tasmania to serve a life sentence as a convict slave. After brutal treatment by the English there, he determines to escape or die trying—that is, until he meets Jessie.

Proctor sheds light on the life of those transported to the Australian colonies as convicts destined to suffer cruel treatment and spend years, even their whole lives in some cases, as servants to the landowners. It’s a bit of history we should all know about and it causes me to respect those who made mistakes and more than paid for them. Night In Eden, her first book, is another great one that does this, only set in New South Wales.

As with her other romances, Proctor gives us a worthy heroine and a noble hero. Jessie struggles between doing what her family expects of her (an arranged marriage), and following her heart. Lucas struggles with whether freedom and/or death are preferable to being with Jessie as her convict servant. Neither can resist the other and both live desperate lives since they know they can never be together. Thank God this is romance and you know a happy ending is coming. But there is much angst and suspense along the way. This is a great novel and a great love story. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Anita Mills’ LADY OF FIRE – A Keeper with a Great Heroine!

For medieval romance lovers, this one should be on your keeper shelf. I loved it, and though it was my first by Mills, it will not be the last.

Set in 11th Century Normandy and England, this is the story of Eleanor of Nantes, daughter of a Norman count. She is young and innocent, but oh so courageous and spirited. When William I first encounters her defending her bastard half brother, Roger FitzGilbert, the king is taken with her and would betroth her to his own son, Henry. But fate takes a harsh turn upon her mother’s death and 12-year-old Eleanor is sent to a convent to stay until she is 19. And another would swear to have her, rich, powerful and cruel Robert of Belesme. Her heart, however, belongs to Roger, who unknown to her, is not her brother at all.

Eleanor is a heroine to admire, consistent in her strength, intelligence and nobility of character. Roger is the kind of knight every woman longs for. He sees all Eleanor’s faults and loves her passionately, proudly, notwithstanding. Robert of Belesme, the villain who is obsessed with Eleanor, is terrible and cruel yet also strangely sympathetic. The story is rich in historic details with an intricately woven plot, fast-moving dialog and action. It’s a page-turner and so well written. I recommend it!


The Fire Series:

Lady of Fire
Fire and Steel
Hearts of Fire
The Fire and The Fury
Winter Roses

Monday, December 17, 2018

Tessa Dare’s ONCE UPON A WINTER’S EVE – A Christmas Novella with a Great Heroine

Set in Spindle Cove on the coast of England in Sussex, beginning in 1813, this is the story of Violet Winterbottom, who is recovering from having lost her heart and her innocence to a man who quite suddenly thereafter left England, leaving her only a short note. She calls him “The Disappointment.”

On the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas ball, a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and collapses at Violet’s feet. He has a remarkable resemblance to The Disappointment and is speaking only Breton. The men of Spindle Cove believe him a spy and are keeping a close watch on him.

This is a well written and intriguing story, albeit with limited characters and a very abrupt ending. Still, it will hold your attention as you learn Violet’s secrets and the mystery of the half-dead stranger is uncovered. Violet is a remarkable heroine who speaks many languages and is determined to get over the man to whom she gave her heart and her virginity.

One could have wanted more characters and more story. Alas, that is often the case with a short novella.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Becca St. John’s SUMMERTON – Wonderfully Complex Mystery and Fabulous Love Story


This Regency (no date given) was my first book by St. John and I loved it. She writes with a smooth fluidity that captured me from the beginning. Lots of atmosphere surrounds the mystery with twists and turns aplenty.

The characters came alive on the page. The Duke of Summerton is a gallant man, one worthy of any woman’s love. And his match, Caroline Howlett, a wealthy commoner from Manchester, was enchanting. She had loved him as a girl; he didn’t know she existed.

He married her for her money, or that’s at least what she believed. She only married him because she was forced to do so by her uncle. In the match, the Duke of Summerton would be able to restore his family estate and Caroline would gain a title. But she cares nothing for that. She only wants to return to Manchester to see to her family’s mills.

Caroline is attempting to run away when murder suddenly arrives. First her maid is found in the woods, strangled. And it seems that Caroline is the real target. Can Summerton protect her. And will they both find love in the process? Indeed, they shall. And Summerton’s Aunt Eleanor is a Regency detective with skills!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, did not want it to end. Highly recommended.