Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT The Viscount And The Vicar’s Daughter by @MimiMatthewsEsq

Today’s team review is from Eleanor, she blogs here http://www.eleanorsauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Eleanor has been reading The Viscount And The Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews

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The premise of the novel was a nice take on the oft-used virgin-reforms-a-jaded-rake trope. I loved that Lord Tristan was considered a rake beyond redemption and persona non grata by most of the ton; most “rakes” you read about are still darlings of polite society and get away with their crimes. The fact that Tristan was considered beyond redemption by all, including his own father, added a quite unique twist to the novel that I really enjoyed.

The story is delightfully prim and proper in the style of a Jane Austen regency. Mimi is clearly a polished and practised writer and the novel flows very well and it was a joy to read from a technical perspective. Her historical research and deep understanding of the period is seamless with the story with no historical fact info dumps. Even I, a bit of a stickler for correct historical facts and behaviour, couldn’t find much to quibble over. Even the speech was evocative of the period so a big thumbs up from me here.

The thing that stopped this novel from being really great for me was the speed with which Tristan and Valentine fell in love. They had good depth as characters and appropriate motivations for their actions during the novel but I simply didn’t buy that they were in love after only a couple of days in each others’ company. I believe Tristan fell deeply in lust very quickly and Valentine certainly admired his manly form in her innocent way but I didn’t feel there was yet an overwhelmingly grand passion (difficult in a ‘proper’ Regency, I know) or connection between the two to account for them being in love so soon. I felt the groundwork had been wonderfully laid for them to go on and fall in love on further acquaintance but the novel ended too soon for it actually to be a believable reality for me. I’d have very happily continued reading about them for several more chapters to bed this in. It was just a bit unsatisfying as I felt there could’ve been so much more there but was curtailed by a likely word count requirement. Still a thoroughly enjoyable read though.

Book description

England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

A WORLD-WEARY RAKE

After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.

A PRIM VICAR’S DAUGHTER

Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

About the author

Mimi Matthews is the author of The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Pen & Sword Books, November 2017) and A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty (Pen & Sword Books, July 2018). Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. When not writing historical non-fiction, Mimi authors exquisitely proper Victorian romance novels with dark, brooding heroes and intelligent, pragmatic heroines. Her debut Victorian romance The Lost Letter was released in September 2017.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Fantasy The Last Dragon Rider by @ErrinKrystal @WildRosePress

Today’s team review is from Eleanor

#RBRT Review Team

Eleanor has been reading The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal

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The central premise of the novel is a high-fantasy take on Sleeping Beauty, focussing on the story building up to “Sleeping Beauty’s” epic nap. This is neatly shown by how the novel is bookended by a child being read a bedtime story, the story being the novel, exactly as one would a fairytale. However, there are many other elements thrown in here to make the story unique: Walking Dead type zombies, Terry Goodkind-esque battle magic and Tolkien-esque language and groups of characters, all of which were skilfully woven together in a fast-paced, action-heavy style.

Continuing the fairytale theme, the driving plot is good vs. evil. The novel is written from four points of view, including that of the villains, Celadyn and Mnuvae, as well as the two main protagonists. As we’re privy to evil’s thoughts, this gives a darker undercurrent to the novel. Our heroine and hero are Sairalindë and her fiancé, Prince Flintathriël. They are Elves and I was initially drawn to the novel for the romantic element. They are already a couple when the story begins but Errin still manages to impart the freshness, excitement and heat of a new relationship. Secondary characters are well-rounded and engaging and the cherry on top of the cake is that there are also dragons integral to the story.

My main complaint would actually be that the book was too short. I’m not a major fantasy reader but fantasy novels I have read are much longer which I think is needed when you’re immersed in a wholly imaginary world. Errin’s world building is very well executed and it was a bit of a jolt to finish it so quickly. I understand that this is just the first book in a series and that she may well have broken up the story into more easily digestible chunks which may suit a lot of readers but it actually frustrated me.

Book description

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.

When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.

The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

About the author

Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.

She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

Errin Krystal

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Beloved Besieged by @AprilMunday #HistFic #Romance

Today’s team review is from Eleanor, she blogs here http://www.eleanorsauthor.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Eleanor has been reading Beloved Besieged by April Munday

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Beloved Besieged by April  Mundy

“Limoges 1364 – After Elaine is rescued from a rioting mob by Joscelin, a handsome English pilgrim, neither expects to see the other again. Out of sight proves not to be out of mind, however, nor out of heart. Their unspoken love for one another continues to grow over the years they’re apart. When their paths cross again, Joscelin is a soldier in the army laying siege to Elaine’s home. He has to get to her before anyone can harm her… or worse.”

This was a really lovely, compelling and heart-warming tale of courtly love set in the height of the Middle Ages. All the characters were beautifully rendered and relatable. April’s well-researched narrative draws you into the medieval world seamlessly as the world building is perfect. All the contemporary tales of courtly love exaggerated romance and idealised love, placing a woman on a pedestal to be worshipped from afar – and this is exactly what Joscelin does to Elaine. It takes him time to realise his own feelings and to accept that Elaine can actually be his wife.

What I really loved was the very pure and chaste way in which Joscelin and Elaine loved each other. Joscelin is unlike many other contemporary knights; not only did the couple have to overcome physical logistical and emotional obstacles to be together, they also had to overcome their own ignorance and innocence. I think we forget in this day and age with sexual information and facts readily available how people previously discovered their own bodies and other peoples’ in a sexual context aside from actual experience. This was really tastefully explored and was also skilfully interwoven with a family scandal. It also nicely juxtaposed with religious considerations and how a knight who describes himself as “good at killing” can be a better person than a man of the cloth.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon reading this novel and will happily recommend to other historical romance fans.

Book Description

Can an army keep them apart?
Limoges 1364 – When Joscelin saves Elaine’s life in a religious riot neither expects to see the other again. Six years later Joscelin returns to Limoges with an army and lays siege to Elaine’s home. When the army enters the town he has to get to her before anyone can harm her… or worse.

About the author

April Munday

April Munday has been telling stories for almost half a century. It started as a way of keeping her younger sister entertained and out of trouble while they were on holiday.
In her early teens she started writing stories down. Many years later she finally finished one and then another.
Her stories are set either in the fourteenth century or the early nineteenth century. Her most recent novel is Beloved Besieged, set around the sack of Limoges in 1370.

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