The Earl’s Inconvenient Houseguest is set in 1818. This is book one of A Very VillageScandal series of historical romances. It opens with villagers discussing the new lord of the manor and his possible plans for the estate. Many of the villagers fear that he will turn them out of their homes or sell the estate to a ruthless money-grabbing lord.
Rafe Hockley has inherited much of the land and village of Whittleston-on-the-Water, but what he really wants is a horse stud in a remote part of the country, far away from gossiping villagers; the quicker he can sell his inheritance, the better. However, he must first deal with Miss Sophie Gilbert, the leader of the Save Our Village brigade.
Sophie and her aunt live in a ramshackle cottage which the previous Lord Hockley refused to repair. She will do anything to save her aunt and the other villagers from being sent packing by any hard-hearted lord.
This is a fun story with some great battle lines between Rafe and the villagers. It took me a few chapters to get into the book and enjoy the characters, but once we began to learn more about them I soon became enchanted.
Sophie Gilbert has thwarted the standoffish new earl’s plans to sell his country estate and the quaint village that forms part of it. But when disaster strikes and he offers her refuge, she must reconsider everything about this vexing, determined man. After the heartbreak in her past, it’s a revelation to feel her pulse racing and her body yearning for his touch…
Never Fall For Your Fiancée is the first book in a new historical romantic comedy series.
The Earl of Fareham, Hugh Standish, has spent the last two years creating a fictional fiancée to appease his mother and to stop her parading a never-ending line of young ladies in front of him. The fact that she now lives in America has helped him to keep her from meddling in his life; however, she has now announced her intention to meet his bride-to-be.
Hugh has mere weeks to produce a fiancée who fits the vision he has delighted in creating for his mother. While out pondering his dilemma, Hugh feels duty bound to rescue a young women; Miss Merriwell, it appears, is struggling to get the financial reward that she is owed by a businessman. With Hugh’s forceful assistance the man begrudgingly pays up, but it is the discovery that the young woman is called Minerva, the very name of his made-up fiancée, that captures his interest.
Hugh rashly offers Minerva a new business deal; he’ll pay her handsomely to be his fiancée, just until he can fix the lies that he’s been telling.
The story that follows is fun to read as Hugh and Minerva plan to fill the plot holes of Hugh’s story while preparing for his mother’s visit. However, as you can probably guess, not everything goes to plan.
With this new series, author Virginia Heath has stepped away from her previous style of story into this longer version with added comedy. I liked Minerva and Hugh and there were some interesting secondary characters which I hope to see in future books. I particularly enjoyed Hugh’s mother and the lengths she went to when she thought she smelled a lie. I shall look forward to reading the next book in the series.
The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.
Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.
Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh’s estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?
How Not to Chaperon a Lady is the third book in the Talk of the Beau Monde trilogy, a series of historical romances.
Charity Brookes is an opera singer who is following in the footsteps of her very succesful mother. Charity’s rise to stardom offers her a tour of some Northern theatres and she has asked her best friend, Dottie, to travel with her.
Charity’s reputation for mischief and spontinaity worries Dottie’s brother Griffin and he insists on chaperoning the ladies. This sparks yet another argument between Charity and Gruff Griff, as she calls him. They have sparred for almost seventeen years of family friendship and it looks like it will be a very long and tedious trip for them both.
I am not going to give away the rest of the story, except to say that these two characters must have fought with the author as well as each other all the way to the end of the book; what a delightful but troublesome pair. I was engrossed with the tale and loved every moment of the conflict, which made for a very satisfying ending.
Chaperoning Charity Brookes while she’s on a singing tour should be easy for Griffith Philpot—he’s spent his whole life sparring with her over her flighty ways! But as he discovers that she’s much more than the impetuous girl he thought he knew, a passion ignites between them… Sharing a steamy kiss leaves him torn—he’s supposed to be responsible for guarding her virtue!
From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.
The Talk of the Beau Monde
Book 1: The Viscount’s Unconventional Lady Book 2: The Marquess Next Door Book 3: How Not to Chaperon a Lady
The Marquess Next Door is book two of The Talk of the Beau Monde series of Regency romances. Hope Brookes is an aspiring author of gothic horror, a voluptuous redhead who despises the sycophant Lords who never look further than her décolletage.
Whilst hiding from a particularly over eager beau one evening at a ball, she is interrupted by fellow escapee, a rather drunk lord whose long hair and earring giving him the look of a pirate.
Lucius (Luke) Duff has recently inherited all that comes with being The Marquess of Thundersley, including a widowed sister-in-law with remarriage in her sights. He is delighted to assist Hope to rid herself of unwanted attention at the ball and the kiss they share is memorable.
Desperate to leave his over-zealous sister-in-law, Luke moves to Bloomsbury only to discover that he is now neighbours with Hope and her artistic family. Casual conversations from adjoining balconies allow Luke and Hope to get to know each other and a secret friendship begins, but how long can it remain that way?
This was a wonderful story and I read it all in one sitting, reading late into the night as I became wrapped up in this Regency setting with two very likeable characters. Hope had an arsenal of put downs which she showered over the drivelling fools who pursued her, but it took Luke and his interest in more than just her looks to break down her barriers to all men. Luke had made himself his own man after his aristocratic family abandoned himself and his mother, and his humble hard-working background appealed to Hope and her family. There was also a theme which dealt with what would later be known as post-natal depression, and I thought that the author wrote this in a very sensitive way.
Although this is part of a series, this was can be read as a stand alone story; either way I would easily recommend this to Regency romance fans.
To avoid an unwanted suitor at a ball, Hope Brookes asks another gentleman to rescue her. He obliges—with a surprisingly passionate kiss! He’s revealed as her sinfully handsome new neighbor, Lucius, Marquess of Thundersley, and they forge a friendship over their balconies. It’s refreshing that Lucius is more interested in her writer dreams than her looks, so why can’t she stop thinking about that kiss?
The Viscount’s Unconventional Lady is book one of The Talk of the Beau Monde series of Regency romances.
Faith Brookes is a painter and the daughter of famous portrait artist Augustus Brookes. Faith will start the background for her father’s latest commission, a family portrait for the Earl of Writtle. Recently the Earl’s son, Piers, has been the victim of society gossip and shunned by many after a scandalous divorce. Faith already has a preconceived opinion of him, and she allows her anger about his apparent treatment of his wife to show when they meet.
However, the newspapers have only reported one side of the story and while Faith works on the canvas for her father, she begins to learn more about Piers and finds that he isn’t all that the rumour-mongers make him out to be.
Piers is fascinated by Faith; the woman creates her own dress style and has an unusual sense of wit. But he doesn’t want his heart broken again so soon after the breakdown of his marriage, while Faith has her own reasons to be cautious about forming anything more than friendship with a Lord.
I enjoyed losing myself in this story for a few hours of pure escapism; I was quite happy to be drawn into the Regency era and to forget the real world for a while. Virginia Heath always writes characters that I want to befriend, and this is another winner for me from this author. I shall look forward to reading the rest of the series.
After years as a diplomat in the Napoleonic Wars, Lord Eastwood is reluctant to return to London society. His scandalous divorce has made him infamous, not to mention cantankerous! To halt the rumor mill, he should marry a quiet noblewoman—instead it’s bold, vibrant artist Faith Brookes who’s caught his attention. They are the least suitable match, so why is he like a moth to a flame?
The Scoundrel’s Bartered Bride is a Regency style historical romance. Lady Lydia Barton’s family are desperate; they plan a marriage contract for Lydia to pay off their multiple debts. Their only choice is an odious lecher – the Marquess of Kelvedon would certainly have enough money to clear the family debts and, sadly, Lydia’s family care little that he would be a dreadful husband for her.
Owen Wolfe spent seven years in a penal colony for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he owns a high end gambling hall in London, but he began life as a stable-hand. Lydia Barton’s impending nuptials interest him, enough for him to put his own offer of marriage on the table. Now there is a choice: an old man with bad breath and a wandering eye, or an ex-convict.
I liked the dark brooding and mysterious Owen Wolfe; his years spent in the Antipodes were an unusual theme for this genre. I also enjoyed the sub-characters who were part of his ‘new family’; they were a fun and lively mix.
Lydia and Owen’s relationship had several expected highs and lows, but they still managed to add a fresh feel to the story arc with their surprising responses to situations. I liked this and read almost all of it in one sitting; a very easy book with which to escape for a few hours.
Lady Lydia Barton cannot seem to avoid Owen Wolfe since he’s returned after being wrongly transported for stealing her family’s jewels! But Lydia has more pressing problems, like her impending arranged marriage. Until Owen makes her father a counteroffer for her hand. Is Owen purely after her society connections, or dare Lydia hope that the charming stable boy she once loved is still within her ruthless, wealthy new husband?
Lilian and the Irresistible Duke is book four in the Secrets of a Victorian Household series of historical romances. Each book in the series has been written by a different author, but the characters from each one are closely connected.
Lilian’s three grown-up children have persuaded her to take a well-deserved holiday away from The Fairclough Foundation, a safe haven for destitute women in London. Lilian is looking forward to her visit to Rome; it brings back memories of a secret but delightful kiss from Duke Pietro Venturi.
Pietro Venturi is surprised to bump into Lilian in his home. Knowing that she is a widow he suspects that his sister is trying to matchmake, but when Lilian insists that she is only looking for friendship he relaxes and instead delights in their joint love of art.
This romance involves characters who are older than many others in this genre, but there was still plenty of enticing ardour. I liked Lilian’s passion for art as seen from her unique perspective, and although I’m not generally an art lover, this book had me wanting to see some of the paintings that were mentioned.
This is a stand-alone book which can also be enjoyed as part of the series, or for those who might fall in love with Rome.
Responsible widow Lilian Fairclough is persuaded to travel to Rome for a hard-earned break and to let down her hair! She’s surprised to be reunited with passionate, cynical Italian duke Pietro Venturi. He reawakens her sensual side and intrigues her with glimpses of pain beneath his rakish surface. Enticed into a secret and temporary affair, what will happen once she returns home?
The Mysterious Lord Millcroft is a regency romance. Written as part of the King’s Elite mini-series, the book has links to The Wild Warriners, but it can also be read as a stand-alone.
It opens in 1820 Nottinghamshire. Seb Leatham is currently recovering from a serious bullet wound. Whilst a patient, in the home of Dr Joe Warriner, Seb meets Lady Clarissa Beaumont.
Lady Clarissa has her eyes set on capturing a certain Duke, but despite all her best efforts, The Duke of Westbridge is dragging his feet over a marriage proposal. When Seb returns to work, he’s given an undercover job which requires him to pretend he is Lord Millcroft. The aristocratic role makes him uncomfortable until he persuades Lady Clarissa to help him with his cover story. She in turn hopes to use Seb to make her Duke jealous enough to propose. There follows a delightful simmering romance.
I’m currently enjoying reading books in this genre and this one is a lovely off-shoot of the Wild Warriners series. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet found the books which are linked to this one, to start at the beginning to get the best overall experience.
Part of The King’s Elite: constantly told her beauty and charm are all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only, first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa that leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…
His Mistletoe Wager is a Christmas Regency romance. The prologue opens with Lizzie Wilding jilted on her wedding day.
Five years later: two characters are unwilling to join in the parties and balls of the festive season. Lizzie is being paraded by her father in the hope of snaring a husband. Meanwhile, reknowned rake Hal Stuart, the Earl of Redbridge, fears the hordes of single young ladies and their determined mothers who see him as an ideal catch.
To add a little excitement to an otherwise dull occasion, Hal’s brother-in-law, Aaron, challenges Hal to obtain five kisses from a lady of Aaron’s choice, before Twelfth Night. Unable to refuse a tantalising wager, Hal agrees, assuming the task an easy one.
However, Aaron choses ‘sullen Lizzie’, who has a reputation as a frosty wallflower and Hal must look for a new tactic to charm his way to her side.
For five years Lizzie’s family have kept a secret. But now her father’s constant attempts to find her a husband are relentless; Lizzie has decided that after Christmas, she will leave London and make a new life for herself away from the gossips and prying eyes of society.
Lizzie knows of Hal’s scandalous reputation, so is very surprised when he offers to form an alliance with her; he would act as a suitor and her interest in Hal would deter other young ladies.
What begins as a game soon becomes serious when one persistent suitor threatens to expose Lizzie’s secret. Hal finds himself wanting to do all he can to protect Lizzie, the woman who has inched her way into his heart.
This is easily a stand alone novel, but links to Her Enemy At The Altar. I enjoyed, once more, meeting the characters from the first book, and Hal was a lovely rogue. I especially liked how he set out to teach his nieces to be hellions. Lizzie was a strong, wronged woman and I liked seeing her bloom under Hal’s attentions. Not just for Christmas, this book is an ideal Regency romance for any time of the year.
“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”
Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet—until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!
Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret—her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust—with her heart and her son…
I live on the outskirts of London with my understanding husband and two, less understanding, teenagers.
After spending years teaching history, I decided to follow my dream of writing for Harlequin.
Now I spend my days happily writing regency romances, creating heroes that I fall in love with and heroines who inspire me.
When I’m not doing that, I like to travel to far off places, shop for things that I do not need or read romances written by other people.