Victorian #Romance Based On A True Character. Rosie’s #Bookreview of Her Heart For A Compass by @SarahTheDuchess & @MargueriteKaye @MillsandBoon

Her Heart for a CompassHer Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson

4 stars

Her Heart For A Compass is a Victorian romance. It is based around a true character, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, and the authors of this book have created a fictional tale about her life. As a second daughter of a Duke, Lady Margaret was brought up to do her duty by both her family and the society in which she lived. However, she rebelled against her father’s wishes and she refused to marry the Earl of Killin, the man chosen for her.

Lady Margaret’s refusal set her on a lonely path as she was sent away from her family, but as the story progressed Lady Margaret followed her heart and grew in confidence to become an independent woman; a rarity in Victorian England.

During the story the reader is taken on a journey which included Scotland, Lambeth in London and New York, and I could easily picture the settings. The narrative is sprinkled with letters between Margaret, her family and friends,  as well as several newspaper articles written about Margaret; not usually a fan of such inclusions, I was surprised by how well I thought they worked for this book.

The author’s notes at the back of the book explain that Lady Margaret is loosely based on a relative of Sarah Ferguson the Duchess Of York, who wrote this book with her co-author Marguerite Kaye. I’m sure that the Duchess’s knowledge of royal etiquette must have helped enormously as far as giving the story authenticity is concerned.

I must mention this is a long book, with my paperback version reaching almost 550 pages. I felt there was room to shorten the narrative without taking away too much of the story.  In other areas, a few times dialogue was used to convey information to the reader, in a fashion that made the dialogue seem unnatural; the facts could have been interspersed in the narrative instead.

Overall, this is the first attempt at writing for an adult audience by the Duchess and I’m sure it will be popular. I look forward to seeing what she writes next.

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Desc 1

London 1865

In an attempt to rebel against a society where women are expected to conform, free-spirited Lady Margaret Montagu Scott flees the confines of polite society, and an arranged marriage. But Lady Margaret’s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, as close friends with Queen Victoria, must face the public scrutiny of their daughter’s impulsive nature, and Margaret is banished from polite society.

Finding strength amongst equally free-spirited companions, including Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, Margaret resolves to follow her heart. On a journey of self-discovery that will take her to Ireland, America, and then back to Britain, Lady Margaret must follow her internal compass and search for her place, and her own identity, in a changing society.

Incorporating research into her heritage and drawing upon her own unique life journey and experiences, the Duchess pens a fictional account of the life of her great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. Rich in historical detail, Her Heart for a Compass offers a compelling look at Victorian England and the fascinating journey of a woman, born into the higher echelons of society, whose only desire is to follow her heart.

With co-writer Marguerite Kaye, an accomplished Mills & Boon historical author, The Duchess has created a breathtaking romantic novel of daring to follow your heart against all odds. Set amongst the drawing rooms of Victoria’s court, and the grand country houses of Scotland and Ireland. 

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Rosie’s #Bookreview #HistoricalRomance A FORBIDDEN LIAISON WITH MISS GRANT by @MargueriteKaye @MillsandBoon

A Forbidden Liaison with Miss GrantA Forbidden Liaison with Miss Grant by Marguerite Kaye

4.5 stars

A Forbidden Liaison With Miss Grant is an historical romance set in Edinburgh. Constance Grant once lived in the Highlands and worked as a school teacher, but the Scottish Clearances caused the village she lived in to be destroyed in favour of sheep farming. A friend offered her a place to stay in the city; here she wrote outspoken articles against The Clearances.

Scotland, England, Edinburgh, Castle, Fortress

Grayson Maddox, a shipbuilding Glaswegian, was visiting Edinburgh when he met Constance. Their time together was a romantic bubble in which both of their normal lives ceased to exist, but it was short lived.

Grayson returned to Edinburgh a second time with his family for King George IV’s royal visit. Both he and Constance had been miserable in the weeks since they’d been apart, but becoming anything more than friends seemed impossible to both of them. Could they possibly find a way for them to be together?

Although the will-they, won’t-they relationship between Grayson and Constance was frustrating at times, I quite enjoyed the subtle history lessons which were slipped in between their dilemmas. The Clearances of the Highlands and the royal visit were both events which I knew nothing about. Kaye also painted a colourful picture of Edinburgh in the 1820s, especially the festivities and pomp organised for the king’s visit, which was very realistic. I enjoyed seeing it through the eyes of her heroine’s nom de plume, journalist Flora MacDonald. This was another good story from this author.

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Book description

An unexpected encounter…

Will change everything!

Self-made gentleman and widower Grayson Maddox has devoted himself to his children and business, leaving no time for pleasure. Until he has an impulsive, thrillingly sensual encounter with lady’s companion Miss Constance Grant! Their passion gives Grayson hope of a happiness he never thought he’d feel again. But there’s still much in both their pasts to confront before they can turn their forbidden liaison into a new beginning…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalRomance A Wife Worth Investing In by @MargueriteKaye

A Wife Worth Investing in: Penniless Brides of ConvenienceA Wife Worth Investing in: Penniless Brides of Convenience by Marguerite Kaye

4 stars

A Wife Worth Investing In is an historical romance.

It opens with a Paris setting from 1828. Phoebe Brannagh has been studying under top chef Pascal Solignac. The only woman in his kitchens, she has dreams of opening her own restaurant. One evening she meets Owen Harrington, a young Englishman who is searching for his life purpose.

The pair agree to meet again in two years, when they will report back about their successes. Much happens in that time, and Owen does not make the rendezvous, while Phoebe’s own circumstances have changed dramatically. However, she is still determined to open her own restaurant, but, with few friends who could help, she seeks out Owen at his London home.

They agree to enter into a business venture, but is London society ready for such a bold move from a woman such as Phoebe?

I enjoyed the food theme of this book as well as Owen’s use of gymnastics, which added an unusual story thread; it worked well. I think this book would be much enjoyed by fans of this author and genre.

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Book description

A convenient proposal…

Makes a scandalous match!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Knocking on Owen Harrington’s door, impoverished and desperate, Miss Phoebe Brannagh wonders if London’s most eligible catch will recognise her. But injured and reclusive, Owen is no longer a carefree man. And he’s in urgent need of a convenient wife! Owen’s shock proposal allows Phoebe to fulfil her life’s ambition to open a restaurant…but his heated kisses tempt her to hope for a new dream – marriage, for real!

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Romance Regency Surrender: Notorious Secrets by @MargueriteKaye

Regency Surrender: Notorious Secrets: The Soldier's Dark Secret / The Soldier's Rebel Lover (Mills & Boon M&B)Regency Surrender: Notorious Secrets: The Soldier’s Dark Secret / The Soldier’s Rebel Lover by Marguerite Kaye

4 stars

This book consists of two stories.

The Soldier’s Dark Secret (story #1 of the Comrades In Arms series) is a Regency romance. It opens in England in 1815. Jack Trestain has recently resigned his army commission and is staying with his brother’s family at Trestain Manor. Jack is suffering from recurring nightmares caused during his time with the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic wars.

Celeste Marmion is a French landscape artist. She has come to England to paint some pieces for Jack’s brother and to find answers to a family mystery. Estranged from her family for most of her life, Celeste’s late mother left her a letter hinting at family relatives that Celeste has never known.

Celeste is just the distraction that Jack needs, and he offers to help her search out answers. She has few clues; just a locket and a ring.

Once Celeste has finished her painting, they travel to France on the trail of lost relations. The search has a healing effect on both of them as their feelings for each other increase. This was an easy read, in places a little predictable but still a pleasant historical romance.

 

The Soldier’s Rebel Lover (story #2 of the Comrades In Arms series) is a Regency romance. This story is mainly set in Spain and begins in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars.

Finley Urquhart is on a reconnaissance mission when he meets a member of a partisan group. Shocked to find it’s a woman, he’s impressed when she eventually discloses her link to the famed rebel known as The Ghost or El Fantasma.

Two years later, the war is over, but loose ends need tying. El Fantasma is a thorn in Spain’s side; he speaks out against the elite rulers and King Ferdinand wants him silenced. Word of the crackdown on former partisans has reached England. The Duke of Wellington is concerned about the sensitive information that the rebel leader might leak, if captured. He too wants El Fantasma silenced.

Finley is sent back to Spain. He starts his search by following leads to the rebel woman he met. When he does find her, he’s shocked by the secrets she keeps, but the pair must move fast as the Spaniards are hot on their trail.

There’s a lovely Spanish vineyard setting for much of this story of romance and rebellion. A solid second book in this series.

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Book description

Which will it be hero or rebel?

The Soldier’s Dark Secret

If only Jack Trestain could easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within… Perhaps Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? With Celeste’s every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

The Soldier’s Rebel Lover

Two years after they first met Finlay Urquhart has one final duty to perform for his country – one that reunites him with Isabella Romero! Isabella is now a woman filled with secrets, ones she can’t let him uncover. But soon she finds herself letting her guard down… one scorching kiss at a time!

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Regency #Romance His Rags To Riches Contessa by @MargueriteKaye

His Rags-To-Riches Contessa (Mills & Boon Historical) (Matches Made in Scandal, Book 3)His Rags-To-Riches Contessa (Mills & Boon Historical) by Marguerite Kaye

4 stars

This Rags-To-Riches Contessa is a Regency era romance set in Venice.

It opens in the infamous streets of The Rookery of St. Giles’, London; a dangerous place. A woman known as The Procurer has been asked to employ a woman with both acting and card-sharp skills.

Becky Wickes is hiding from the authorities after a public scandal where she was accused of fleecing a minor member of the Royal family. If she’s caught, she’ll be hanged. So when The Procurer offers her the chance of escape, she gladly takes the job.

Luca del Pietro wants Becky to make a man destitute; a man who murdered his father. By day she’ll be pale, shy cousin Rebecca, but by night she’ll be disguised as the mysterious card player, The Queen Of Coins.

The book has a colourful and opulent setting. Luca wants Becky to play cards during the weeks of Carnevale, when Venice is alive with masks, costumes and when gambling is allowed. I really enjoyed all the descriptions of Venice and its society, particularly the waterways, palaces and the idea of rooftop gardens in a city of water. This was a refreshing scenery change to other books I’ve read in this genre. Recommended to readers who enjoy historical romance.

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Book description

Matches Made in Scandal story: To catch his father’s murderer, broodingly arrogant Conte Luca del Pietro requires help from a most unlikely source—Becky Wickes, London’s finest card-sharp. Against the decadence of Carnival, Becky’s innocence and warmth captivates Luca, but as their chemistry burns hotter the stakes in their perilous game are getting higher. For Luca is no longer playing only for justice—but also to win Becky’s heart…

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