Monday, July 16, 2018

Anita Mills’ FOLLOW THE HEART – Enthralling Adventure From England to the American Wilderness During the French and Indian War

Mills is a great storyteller, her research is meticulous and her love stories gripping. And, if you loved the movie, Last of the Mohicans, I think you will love this book.

Set in the 18th century during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) when British America fought against New France, this is the story of Sarah Spender, whose baron father gambled away their wealth leaving Sarah in poverty.

Sarah has known the Hastings brothers, Devin, now Viscount Audley, and Adam, now Captain Adam Hastings, since they were all children. As Sarah grew into a beauty with spirit and uncommon courage, both Devin and Adam developed feelings for her. When her father died and her home is forfeited to the Hastings family for debts, Devin makes her a dishonorable offer, which she soundly rejects. Adam, unaware of his brother’s dishonorable act, offers marriage to Sarah. Having loved Adam all her life, she accepts.

As Adam readies to leave with his regiment for the war in the American wilderness, Sarah learns she is with child and so Adam’s plans to take her with him must change; she will stay behind in England—where his brother remains, a rising political figure aligned with William Pitt, and increasingly attracted to Sarah.

Much happens in both America and England in this well-written story. Mills has done the research to put you into the sweeping historical events, using real historic figures, such as William Pitt (in this story, Devin’s superior), and John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun, who in 1756 was made the commander of the British forces in America (in this story, Adam’s superior officer). Adam will join Rogers’ Rangers and lead his own group of rough men.

This time in American’s history fascinates me because it contains the seeds of what would become America’s war for independence. Mills brings it to life in a love story where two brothers love the same woman, who incidentally, is a very worthy heroine. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Christine Dorsey’s TO LOVE A REBEL – Unusual Revolutionary War Romance Between a Patriot and a Loyalist Scot

Set in 1775 in North Carolina, this is the story of Fiona MacLure and her clan that is loyal to the king of England. (After Culloden and the way the English treated the Scots, I found that hard to believe but in fact, it’s true.)

When Fiona decides to steal the plans of the local militia, she didn’t count on the fact Colonel Zeke Kincaid would return early to find her in his rooms. Fiona pretends to be a lady of the night but Zeke isn’t buying it; she is too much of an innocent. Before he can learn why she is there, she knocks him over the head with a candlestick and flees to her grandfather’s plantation.

On assignment to try and keep the Scots neutral, Zeke ends up at Fiona’s family plantation. Neither Fiona nor Zeke can tell her grandfather, a powerful laird, what happened between them and each sees the other as the enemy.

Zeke begins as something of a cad, seducing Fiona and taking her innocence because he wanted her. He gives no thought to ruining her or leaving her pregnant. In fact, Zeke blames her for putting herself in his way. And there is no doubt Fiona makes some reckless moves. But still. She is 18.

Based on a true happening during the American Revolution, it’s a well-told story based on solid research with lots of chemistry between the leads. Zeke eventually realizes his feelings for Fiona go beyond lust.

For the Scots loyal to the British Crown you might like to read THIS ARTICLE

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Marti Ziegler’s CLINGSTONE – Wonderful Love Story Set in Post Civil War America

The story begins as the Civil War is winding down. Mae Parrish works in a mill along with many other women in village of Roswell, Georgia—and one man, Creighton Branagan, who was not conscripted because he is deaf. Everyone assumes he is stupid, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Creighton, a handsome man, has been judged wrongly for his handicap but he is a smart man and protects his young nephew against all who would harm him.

When the Union troops show up, Mae and Creighton are arrested with hundreds of mill workers for treason and sent to northern prisons because they manufactured Confederate uniforms. The story tells of their journey by wagon and train and their imprisonment and after. During the course of many hardships, Mae and Creighton fall love.

I loved the story. The theme seemed to be a new life out of the ashes of the past and overcoming the hardships life throws at us. It’s very cleverly written and will draw you in. Ziegler shows us America as the war was ending, a country torn apart, a devastated South. People had to find new lives. In the midst of it, Mae and Creighton help each other. Only Mae can understand Creighton’s crude speech and protect him from those who would harm him. And he helps her move on. There is laughter, too.

Creighton is a complex, noble hero; Mae is a feisty heroine with an indomitable spirit… just what Creighton and his nephew need. Their adventures on the way to love will keep you turning pages.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Heather Graham’s ONE WORE BLUE – Enthralling Civil War Romance!

This is the first in the Cameron Saga’s Civil War trilogy (and follows the Cameron stories told in Graham's North American Women trilogy). These are stories rich in history, well told and with amazing detail, seamless dialog and a family of wonderful characters you will love.

One Wore Blue begins in 1859 with the Harper's Ferry incident involving abolitionist John Brown. Jesse Cameron is serving as a doctor for the federal troops under Jeb Stuart and his younger brother, Daniel, is serving under Robert Lee. They have grown up with the beautiful and independent Kiernan Miller in Tidewater, Virginia. Kiernan loves Jesse and is good friends with Daniel and their sister Christa Cameron. As they sense the approach of war, Jesse cannot abide a nation divided, but Kiernan is a loyal Rebel, a Virginian, who like Daniel, supports the Confederacy. Jesse will choose to wear the Yankee uniform to support the Union, and though Kiernan loves him and has given herself to him, she will marry another, a loyal Reb she does not love.

Right there, Graham had me. My heart was dying. Jesse was like all the Cameron men before him: tall, dark and handsome and strongly committed to the cause of liberty and truth--and capable of deeply loving his woman while brooking no rebellion. Ah...a REAL man. I wondered what Kiernan was thinking when she refused to marry Jesse. I wanted to slap her several times. But alas, she was a blind Rebel.

You will laugh and you will cry with this one, as you become a part of the lives of young people who were swept into the war that tore apart a nation and tore apart families...a time that shaped America. The ending is exciting, too. Graham has produced a series of keepers!

I highly recommend the entire 6-book Cameron Saga:

The North American Women trilogy:

Sweet Savage Eden
A Pirate's Pleasure
Love Not a Rebel
(Revolutionary War)

The Cameron Civil War trilogy:

One Wore Blue
And One Wore Gray
And One Rode West

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Leigh Lee’s Rules of Decorum – The Civil War and a Woman in the Union Army Medical Corps

Set in 1864, this is the story of Eugenia Johnson who dons the clothes of a boy and enlists in the Union Army to hide a horrible secret. She becomes a Sargent in the medical corps and does well until a new surgeon shows up.

Captain Jeffery Bradford is a disciplined man who expects the best of his men. And then he discovers one of his “men” is a young woman who turns his disciplined order into chaos. When he learns Eugenia’s secret, he wonders if she isn’t a Confederate spy.

This is a well-written tale featuring the medicine of the Civil War and the hardships faced by the men fighting for the Union, reflecting much research into the era. Several exciting scenes will have you on the edge of your seat. Eugenia and Jeff are great leads and perfect for each other.

A worthy patriotic tale!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Danelle Harmon’s CAPTAIN of MY HEART – An Unusual Tale of American Privateers in the Revolutionary War

This is part of Harmon’s Heroes of the Sea series and chronologically follows Master of My Dreams. It begins in 1775 on the eve of the War of Independence. Brendan Merrick, just promoted to Flag Captain in the Royal Navy, is shot, the victim of a fellow officer’s jealousy. Three years later, in 1778, the half Irish naval architect and rising young officer has defected to the American side to become a privateer, taking his former crew with him.

Brendan is on his way to Ashton Shipyard in Newburyport, Massachusetts to have a schooner built for him when an encounter with his former nemesis leaves him thrust overboard again, but this time he is rescued by the shipbuilder’s son, Matthew Ashton. Laid up with a head injury, Brendan meets Matt’s sister, Mira Ashton, dressed in mud-soaked boy’s clothes and carrying one of her many rescued cats.

Brendan is a bit like the absent minded professor when it comes to being a ship’s captain, brilliant but distracted by plans for his ship going through his head. Still, his crew loves him and he is a worthy strategist in battle. Mira is instantly taken with him as he is with her. To observe his prowess as a captain, Mira disguises herself as a boy and steals onto his ship as a gunner. His crew, loving the jest, aids her deceit.

Harmon has certainly done her homework when it comes to ships of the era, though you might have to look up a few nautical terms as there are dozens you will not be familiar with sprinkled throughout. Her characters are richly drawn. She is wonderfully gifted with words and describes the action scenes beautifully. As with Master of My Dreams, there is humor and whimsy here making it a less serious, though nevertheless enjoyable, historical romance.

If you love an unusual privateer romance, I recommend it.

Heroes of the Sea series:

Captain of My Heart
Master of My Dreams
My Lady Pirate
Taken By Storm
Wicked at Heart

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Jan Cox Speas’s MY LOVE, MY ENEMY – Exciting Love Story Brings the War of 1812 to life!

Set in 1813 in Baltimore, London, France and in the Atlantic, this is the story of an American girl and a British viscount. It is one of the wonderful historical romances that comprise the legacy of Jan Cox Speas.

Of the seven daughters born to Samuel Bradley, gentleman of the Chesapeake, Catherine Page (“Page”) was a rebel who tried the patience of Duncan MacDougall who worked for her father. But even he could not foresee that the bored 18 year old, wanting to spend her birthday money for some new frippery, would stow away on the small sloop Duncan sailed across the Bay to Annapolis to pick up her father’s Madeira. Once there, she manages to get into further trouble when she rescues a British gentleman from a local mob who want to hang him as a spy. When she and Duncan sail back to get the British man and his servant to safety, they run right into a British warship.

Taken aboard the English frigate, Page learns that the British gentleman she rescued is Jocelyn Trevor, Viscount Hazard of London. Lord Hazard claimed to be in America to visit his sister, however, Page questions that. (He was an officer on Wellington’s staff, and it seemed odd that he’d be allowed to leave the Spanish front for family business.) In fact, he is the spy the mob in Annapolis accused him of being, though Page doesn’t know it. But since Page and Duncan MacDougall end up on a British warship because of him, Hazard vows he will see her safely back to her father.

This story reminded me of the statement of Bilbo in Lord of the Rings when he says to his nephew, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Page steps out of her door and is swept away on one adventure after another as she gets caught up in the War of 1812 and the life of one particular British lord.

 

Speas allows us to see the conflicting emotions of those on both sides of the war. Lord Hazard is shamed by the British atrocities at Hampton, and Page experiences gracious treatment at the hands of the British officers when aboard their ship. Though there were several reasons America declared war on Britain, Speas deals specifically with the impressment of merchant sailors into the Royal Navy—sailors who considered themselves Americans. We also get to witness America’s clever privateers at work with the character Mason.

I love that Speas incorporates her extensive research of the history into this endearing and charming love story. It’s a bit lighter than her others but still quite wonderful!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Betina Krahn’s THE PARADISE BARGAIN – Superb Storytelling in This Tale of the post American Revolution Whiskey Rebellion!

Krahn has written a superb romance, even more, she has developed winning characters, people you would really want to know, and she has served up a clever plot with twists and turns in an interesting time of American history (just after the American Revolution when the young government is trying to establish its authority). The place is Rapture Valley in Western Pennsylvania and the bargain is for paradise. This unique story will draw you in, I promise. I was captivated from the beginning and could not put it down.

Despite her desire to remain a Peter Pan-like youth forever, Whitney Daniels body has betrayed her—while the men were away fighting the War of Independence, she grew into a woman. Oh, she still wears breeches and boots, but men have started to notice her curves and it’s most annoying. While the whiskey-distilling father she loves is gone to Pittsburgh to protest the burdensome federal tax that is crippling the farmers (who make whiskey from their surplus grain), Whitney is left in charge and must fend off the federal troops who come to ferret out the rogue stills. Their leader, one Major Garner Townsend (of the Boston Townsends, he is quick to point out), has drawn this despicable duty due to the jealousy of a superior officer.

Garner has no desire to take on the troublemakers. But when he encounters their leader, Whitney Daniels, who both bites and kicks in fending off unwanted advances, he is overwhelmed by his attraction to the slip of a girl with the lush curves. In Rapture Valley, the currency is not cash; everyone bargains for what they need. Whitney is the best bargainer of all, and as she well knows, every man has his price.

Great storytelling at its finest. You won’t regret getting this one!

Note: this was previously released as Love’s Brazen Fire.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Christine Dorsey’s THE CAPTAIN’S CAPTIVE – English Girl and American Privateer Fall in Love in the War of 1812

July is American Patriotic month on the blog, that time when I feature romances set during America’s wars up to and including the Civil War. I’m starting with one from the War of 1812, the last war fought with the British.

Set at the beginning of the War of 1812, The Captain’s Captive is the story of Charlotte Winston, a young Englishwoman who lived in her daydreams while caring for her dying mother. When her mother passes on, Charlotte sails from England to Montreal to join her father, a general in the British army who has arranged a marriage for her to Captain Levid of the Royal Navy.

When Charlotte’s ship is fired upon by the American captain Jonathan Knox, the British captain quickly turns over control and Charlotte becomes Jon’s prisoner. Charlotte tells him she is betrothed to Captain Levid. Jon wants to know where he can find the English captain who impressed Jon’s younger brother (impressment was one of the causes of the war). Charlotte has only a vague idea where Levid is, and doesn’t like the man herself, but tells Knox she doesn’t know. Jon doesn’t believe her and decides to keep her in his cabin until she gives him the information he wants.

Initially, I thought the heroine a bit simpering and over theatrical (her voice squeaks and she shuts her eyes when reality is too much for her) and I did get a bit tired of her “fantasy pirate” that supposedly was a twin for the hero. The hero seemed too much of a gentleman. Those impressions changed somewhat as the book progressed, because the characters changed. In the last half of the book, Jon became more "real" and Charlotte acquired a backbone.

To my thinking there was a bit too much introspection and too much sex...the latter seemed to be piled on irrespective of the plot (or any concern for her getting pregnant, I might add). Don’t get me wrong; I like a good love scene, but I don’t need one each time the hero and heroine meet. And why was his family surprised to learn she was British and her father in the Royal Army? After all, she was raised in England (Oxfordshire) and I assume had an accent and other characteristics that gave her away.

There is no question Dorsey can write well and tell a good story. And I admire how she wove in the history and the abuses of the British military along the Chesapeake. Her battle scenes are realistic, and she captured well the terror of the night the British sacked Washington. For all that she gets full marks and a spot on the best list.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Sally Platt’s CLYDE CONNOR – Mail Order Brides in Montana to Find Their Prospective Husbands Dead… and so the adventure begins!

The first thing you might notice about this story is the author's unique “voice”. Platt is a wonderful storyteller with a unique style. She repeats names and “head hops” between characters in rapid succession to give you a sense for all that is happening. Her stories are imminently readable, suffused with subtle humor and thoroughly delightful. And she gets the Western setting, the cowboys, the women who admire them and the small towns.

This one begins the Montana Lawmen trilogy set in the last 19th century. The story brings us three sheriffs and three mail order brides, who are cousins. Via correspondence, they make the acquaintance of three men who are hardworking miners who want brides who know each other. It seems a perfect match.

Janette Novak of Philadelphia arrived in Trizbee, Montana with her cousins only to learn the men they were to marry are dead. Sheriff Clyde Connor, together with his two fellow sheriffs, was in the middle of responding to death and destruction when he encountered Janette and, at her plea, took off to rescue her hatbox.

At first, Clyde Connor has no idea what brought Janette Novak—or her two cousins, Abigail Willetts and Lucy O’Brien—all the way to Montana. And it did not matter because he was “taking a break in the Romance Department”. But that soon goes out the window when he finds himself kissing Janette.

Platt has given us some wonderful characters, not the least of which are the three Sheriffs, a wonderful housekeeper at Clyde’s ranch, some funny messengers who deliver letters and the cousins. There is also a woman, Cora, who has long wanted the handsome Clyde as her own. And Platt has us in all their minds with a fun story I highly recommend.

Montana Law Men:

Clyde Connor
Wyatt James
Sam Humbolt (coming)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Best Western Historical Romances – Love in the Old West!


I first discovered Western romances by reading those written by my favorite authors who also wrote in other subgenres. Since then, I have become a true fan of the subgenre and find myself every now and then reaching for a good romance from the Old West. I love those Indian and gun-slinging heroes. So, it seemed a “best” list was in order to share some of these wonderful stories with you.

Here are the best of those I’ve read…all rated 4 or 5 stars by me. I think you’ll like these!

·               A Fire in the Blood by Shirl Henke
·               A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
·               Beautiful Bad Man by Ellen O’Connell
·               Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin
·               Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner
·               Branded Hearts by Heather Graham (Pozzessere)
·               Brave the Wild Wind, Savage Thunder & Angel, Wyoming trilogy by Johanna
Lindsey
·               Brighter Than Gold by Cynthia Wright
·               Broken Vows by Shirl Henke
·               Captive Melody by Nadine Crenshaw
·               Capture the Sun, The Endless Sky & Sundancer, trilogy by Shirl Henke
·               Colorado Promise by Charlene Whitman
·               Comanche Moon, Comanche Heart & Indigo Blue by Catherine Anderson
·               Clyde Connor by Sally Platt
·               Dancing on Coals by Ellen O’Connell
·               Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell
·               Fair is the Rose by Meagan McKinney
·               Fire Hawk’s Bride by Judith E. French
·               Fireblossom & Wildblossom, the Matthews duology by Cynthia Wright
·               Forever Mine by Charlene Raddon
·               From Fields of Gold by Alexandra Ripley
·               Golden Fancy by Jennifer Blake
·               Golden Lady by Shirl Henke
·               Haven’s Flame by Marie Piper
·               Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson
·               Heartbreak Creek, Colorado Dawn & Bride of the High Country by Kaki Warner
·               Her Bodyguard by E. E. Burke
·               Her Wicked Captor by Sandra Jones
·               Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer
·               Innocent Fire, Firestorm, Violet Fire & The Fires of Paradise (from The Bragg
Saga) by Brenda Joyce
·               Into the Light by Ellen O’Connell
·               Lavender Blue by Parris Afton Bonds
·               Lawless by Nora Roberts
·               Love a Dark Rider by Shirlee Busbee
·               Love Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne
·               Love Unwilling By Shirl Henke
·               McCrory’s Lady by Shirl Henke
·               Moon Dancer by Judith E. French
·               Mountain Mistress by Nadine Crenshaw
·               Night Flame by Catherine Hart
·               Night Wind’s Woman, White Apache’s Woman & Deep as the Rivers, trilogy by
Shirl Henke
·               No Other Man, No Other Woman and No Other Love, trilogy by Shannon Drake
·               Pieces of Sky, Open Country & Chasing the Sun, the Blood Rose trilogy by Kaki
 Warner
·               Reckless Angel by Elizabeth Awbrey (aka Elizabeth Stuart)
·               Savage Ecstasy and Defiant Ecstasy by Janelle Taylor
·               Silken Savage by Catherine Hart
·               Silver Nights with You and Desert Sunrise by Sawyer Belle
·               Sing My Name by Ellen O’Connell
·               Star of the West by Cordia Byers
·               Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers
·               Tears of Gold by Laurie McBain
·               Tender Touch by Charlene Raddon
·               The Ballad of Emma O’Toole by Elizabeth Lane
·               The Bequest by Candice Proctor
·               The Darkest Heart by Brenda Joyce
·               The Double Cross by Carla Kelly
·               The Outlaw Hearts by Rebecca Brandewyne
·               The Outsider by Penelope Williamson
·               The River Nymph by Shirl Henke
·               The Scent of Roses by Charlene Raddon
·               The Tiger’s Woman by Celeste De Blasis
·               The Vintner’s Daughter by Kristen Harnisch
·               To Have and to Hold by Charlene Raddon
·               Under the Desert Moon by Marsha Canham
·               When the Splendor Falls by Laurie McBain
·               Where the Horses Run by Kaki Warner
·               Where the Wild Wind Blows by Nancy Morse
·               While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee