Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalRomance FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE by @AilishSinclair

Today’s team review is from Barb. She blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

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5 stars out of 5

Some time after moving to Scotland, I happened to meet with a group whose Jewish families had settled in the north of Scotland generations ago. I asked how that happened, and one lady said her family had been migrating to America, after investing almost everything they owned to book passage. When their ship had a stop in Scotland, they were told they’d arrived, as evidenced by people speaking English there. Of course, they discovered the deception, but by then that ship had literally sailed, leaving them near-destitute in Scotland. With no other choice, they made the best of things, settling in small villages and building new lives. I laughed at what I thought was an amusing, if improbable, tale. Until I heard it again. And again. In fact, it seems to be the main origin story for many, if not most, of the Jewish families in the north of Scotland.

Apparently, this kind of deception wasn’t new. A century earlier, over six hundred children and young people were kidnapped from the streets of Aberdeen and sold into indentured servitude in the American colonies, while city officials pocketed the proceeds and congratulated themselves on their novel solution to the homeless problem.

But if official history has ignored their story, how can you make sure it doesn’t disappear? Like the Banana Massacre by the United Fruit Company, which could only be told in a fictionalized version such as Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, or like Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s 400-plus character “intro” to modern times, Ailish Sinclair uses fiction to deliver historical fact.

When we meet sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Manteith, she’s a lonely young girl living in the north of Scotland. Although her father is the lord of their castle, their family fell apart when her young brother died. Her mother retreated into a world of mental illness while her father buried himself in the political machinations of the Jacobites seeking to return Charles Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” to the thrones of England and Scotland.

But Elizabeth doesn’t care about politics. Effectively abandoned by both parents, she dreams of the exotic drink—chocolate—she once had on a trip to London, of the magical bugs called fireflies that lived in far off lands, or even of meeting her true love.  All that is about to change.

As a birthday treat, Elizabeth is going to Aberdeen to choose a new horse. But when she’s assaulted, kidnapped, and forced onto a ship heading for the American colonies, she realizes her old life is over. Thanks to the physical isolation of the Manteith estate, the emotional isolation of her dysfunctional family, and to her rank as a member of the gentry, Elizabeth’s life has been sheltered and lonely but safe. Now she’s confronted with almost every type of evil, deprivation, and cruelty, along with natural disaster and danger.

Saved from despair by friendship with fellow prisoner Peter, she finds the strength to make it to the new world, where they are to be sold at Philadelphia’s slave markets. The story follows Elizabeth over the next four years, as she encounters racism, misogyny, greed, and despair, but also finds friendship and even a family.

Author Ailish Sinclair weaves many strands into this history. There are actual historical characters from Peter to Ben Franklin. Racial prejudice is a foreign concept to the young girl who has met few people in her life, and none from other races, so Elizabeth forms her new family from all those she encounters—slaves, fugitives, idealists, wealthy planters, and scholars.

I’m in awe of the research that went into building Elizabeth’s worlds, from Scotland to America. There’s just enough dialect in character’s speech to give a flavor of their accents, and I loved hearing words from my life in Scotland, as well as from Highland history. But most of all I loved watching as Elizabeth claims her emerging character as a strong woman and staunch friend, but also as a girl whose romantic dreams meet the reality of romantic love.

I absolutely have to comment on the writing itself. Not only is it lyrical and descriptive, but Ailish Sinclair has a gift for showing us a world instead of telling us about it. She weaves symbolic strands through Elizabeth’s story, like the fireflies and the chocolate she dreams of in Scotland, experiences in America, and realizes what they can—and cannot—accomplish in her life. Or like the onion the young Elizabeth uses to make her last dinner in Scotland, her first dinner in America, and her final decision between the two.

As an American now living in Scotland, I found Fireflies and Chocolate offers a rare look at the sometimes uncomfortable history we never learned in school. Author Ailish Sinclair takes the stories of real life characters and believably intertwines them in Elizabeth’s experience, while never losing sight of her main goal: telling a roaring good story with all the romance, danger, and dawning strength of character you could ask.  But Elizabeth’s story also puts the ‘story’ back in ‘history’ with an unforgettable coming of age tale for both a young girl and the new world she claims as her own.

If you’re looking for a beautifully plotted story which draws you in and has you racing for the finish—while googling for more information about all the new views of history—then Fireflies and Chocolate is for you.

Book description

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #HistoricalRomance THE HEIR AND THE ENCHANTRESS by @PaullettGolden #TuesdayBookBlog

The Heir and The Enchantress (The Enchantresses, #5)The Heir and The Enchantress by Paullett Golden

4 stars

The Heir And The Enchantress is an historical romance. It is book five of the Enchantress series but could easily be read as a stand alone especially as it can be seen as a prequel to the series.

This is the story of Hazel and Harold, two young people whose fathers drew up a friendly marriage agreement for them when they were children. Now with Harold aged twenty and Hazel seventeen, they haven’t seen each other for years.

Rather than taking a meandering route towards getting wed, they find themselves thrown into an abruptly arranged marriage to save Hazel’s reputation.  Almost strangers, they must get to know each other. However, lingering in the background is a dark cloud of deceit which has the potential to ruin any happiness they might find together.

I have read all of the books in this series and it was a pleasure to finally read Hazel’s story. She plays a part in the other books and has always been a strong likeable character, so I was pleased to read her early years.

This was an easy read and a good way to spend a few hours of escapism.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Some love matches begin with marriage.

Hazel Trethow is infatuated with a notorious rake despite her father’s plans to betroth her to the heir of a wealthy barony. Her scheming to find a love match for her dearest friend and herself turns into a scandal that could ruin them both.

Harold Hobbs returns home from business in India with a plan to save his family from ruin. He does not anticipate his father’s plot to wed him to Miss Trethow. When he meets his intended, sparks fly.

This is the love story of Hazel and Harold as they find love in the most unlikely of places.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalRomance FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE by @AilishSinclair

Today’s team review is from AJ Lyndon. She blogs here http://ajlyndon.com.au

#RBRT Review Team

AJ has been reading Fireflies And Chocolate.

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This historical romance, by the Scottish author of The Mermaid and the Bear, continues following the Monteith family. Sinclair’s second novel is set in the 1740s during the fateful years leading up to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebellion and its aftermath. Beginning in the castle near Aberdeen, the action quickly shifts away from Scotland however, with most of the story taking place on a tobacco plantation in Pennsylvania.  The Scottish heroine, Lady Elizabeth Monteith from “the castle” is kidnapped from her native Scotland and views its tragedy from the far-off American colonies. She is sold as an indentured servant, cook to an enlightened, mysterious “master”, Michael.

The novel is written in the first person with Beth relating the events in chronological order. Elizabeth, or “Beth” as she becomes, is a warm, likeable and very determined character. Her humanity and sense of humour rarely desert her. It is only in the aftermath of Culloden when she hears of the Jacobite defeat that her resilience flags and she succumbs to depression. Wisely, Sinclair chooses not to second guess the events of Culloden. Although most readers will already know the outcome of the Jacobite rising, Beth does not and a suitable period of time rolls by until the news crosses the ocean from Scotland.

The story follows Beth’s transformation from scared teenage captive to a capable and confident, practical young woman as she adapts to her new situation, ultimately leading to a decision between the old life and the new. It is set against the background of slavery, the social inequalities between free whites, indentured servants, native Americans and black slaves. Beth has a disarming acceptance of all races which today might be dismissed as “colour blindness” but in the context of an 18th century character is refreshing. Relations between the different racial and social groups are handed sensitively, even if it is sometimes a little difficult to believe in Beth’s naïve and childlike views.

There is an interesting range of characters from the evil (historical) Alexander Young, first mate on the ship which transports Beth to her new life, to the central figures of Sarah, the unpleasant Mrs Sauer, the elderly man Comfort and the two men in Beth’s life. Peter, her young companion in captivity, a fellow Scot, disappears from the story for much of the book, while Michael, the manager of the estates, emerges from the shadows in a series of revelations and surprising twists. 

The sense of time and place is well drawn; and the modest sprinkling of Scottish dialect words adds to the authentic voice of the narrator. Despite the central themes of slavery and racial intolerance, the occasional savagery of a scene (the pregnant Nivvie being whipped by the foreman) and the references to the brutal traitors’ deaths of the captured Jacobites, this is a gentle, hopeful and entertaining book. The plot keeps the reader guessing its outcome until the very last page.

Book description

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #HistoricalRomance A MATCH FOR THE REBELLIOUS EARL by Lara Temple

A Match for the Rebellious Earl (Return of the Rogues, #2)A Match for the Rebellious Earl by Lara Temple

4 stars

A Match For The Rebellious Earl is book two of the Return Of The Rogues series of historical romances. It can easily be read as a stand-alone story.

Kit Carrington reluctantly returns from his time at sea to complete his duties as the new Lord Westford. Although he returned to England specifically to attend the wedding of his step-sister, he knows that he must face the challenges of his inheritance.

Genevieve (Genny) Maitland is on a mission to help her widowed sister find a new husband so that she can get away from harridan Lady Westford, Kit’s grandmother. Lady Westford’s one purpose is to make sure that one of her grandsons produces an heir; so far she has been disappointed.

An ambitious plan to fix all of their problems is agreed between Genny and Kit, but its execution means plenty of twists and bumps in the road—will they be successful?

This story opens with the introduction of quite a few characters and it took me a couple of chapters to get them all straight in my head. After a while they became more three dimensional, and I began to enjoy the story. I was intrigued by Kit’s life as a sailor and the many treasures that he had collected. I was also interested in Genny’s younger years when she lived with her Grandfather in Spain. Genny is a strong leader and her organisational skills and negotiation aptitudes were superb.

Overall, a good story and I enjoyed it once the story and characters became fixed in my mind.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Dashing and disreputable…

Now, he’s back in Society’s ballrooms!


Whispers of Captain Kit Carrington—now Lord Westford—have long scandalised the ton…so his arrival at the season’s most-anticipated ball sends society’s gossips into a frenzy!

Miss Genevieve Maitland needs his help to find an eligible match for her sister but assumes he’ll be reluctant to help the family that rejected him. Yet after one spine tingling waltz with Kit, sensible Genny finds he’s not her opponent—but a very tempting ally…! 

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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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.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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…

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #HistoricalFiction THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR by @AilishSinclair #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Mermaid And The Bear by Ailish Sinclair

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5 out of 5 stars

I chose this book from the review team list because I’ve loved looking at the author’s marvellous photos of Scotland on her website for some years now; I hoped that anyone so artistic and with such a love for the area in which this story is set would be a fine writer too, though this doesn’t necessarily follow, of course—but I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed.


The Mermaid and The Bear is listed as a historical romance, but it’s much more than that. At first, after protagonist Isobell escaped her London betrothal to ‘Wicked Richard’ and headed for a Scottish castle to work as a kitchen maid, I wondered if the book would be too ‘twee’ for me; beautifully written and a good example of its type, but I thought it would follow the well-trodden romance novel path of misunderstandings and awkward situations before the lovers come together, and that would be that. I was so wrong! Although the relationship is an important part of the story arc, it is not the sole focus.


Ailish Sinclair’s portrayal of 16th century, wild rural Scotland is quite magical. On one recent evening I was curled up in bed, head on cushions and lights dimmed, and I found that I was revelling in every description of the countryside, the day-to-day life at the castle (particularly the Christmas revellry; this made me long to be in the book myself!), the suggestion of ancient spirituality, and the hopes and dreams of the characters. Suddenly I realised that I’d gone from thinking ‘yes, this is a pleasant enough, easy-read’ to ‘I’m loving this’.  

From about half-way through, the book becomes very dark indeed, as the witch-hunts of the time rear their gruesome head; there is a strong sense of good versus evil. This is where, for me, it became even more interesting.


Much of the locals’ dialogue is written in the Scottish dialect, but this is not overdone, so it didn’t become irritating to read at all—it just added authenticity. I liked how Isobell’s inner thoughts and conversation took on the Scottish words and phraseology gradually, over time, as would be the case. Her development over the course of the story is so realistic, and the Laird of the castle is the sort of character you can’t help falling a little bit in love with. The notes at the back add interest to the whole novel, too.


If you adore historical fiction, especially set in the 16th century, I’d recommend this book without hesitation. If you’re a bit ‘hmm’ about historical romance, I would still recommend it, without a doubt—and this is coming from someone who usually runs a mile from any variation on the romance genre. Go buy it. Now.

Book description

Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.

AmazonUK | AmzonUS

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THE 9:45 To BLETCHLEY by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ #Historical #Romance #SundayBlogShare

The 9:45 to Bletchley (Dudley Sisters Saga #4)The 9:45 to Bletchley by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The 9:45 to Bletchley is book #4 of the Dudley Sisters family WW2 sagas.

This book is about Ena Dudley and her work in a factory making components for top secret Bletchley Park. During WW2 workers in Bletchley were central to the code breaking which British intelligence relied upon.

As with all the books in this series the emphasis is more on the characters and the romantic themes, less so the gritty depth and dark horrors of WW2, that each of the situations the Dudley girls find themselves in.

Once again the book is scattered with nostalgia from the era, as Ena gets herself embroiled in a spy ring whilst appearing to be the love interest for more than one fellow.

Recommended for those who enjoy a light historical romance.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

In the midst of the Second World War, and charged with taking vital equipment via the 9:45 train, Ena Dudley makes regular trips to Bletchley Park, until on one occasion she is robbed. When those she cares about are accused of being involved, she investigates, not knowing whom she can trust. While trying to clear her name, Ena falls in love.

About the author

Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

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MISS BRADSHAW’S BOUGHT BETROTHAL by @VirginiaHeath_ @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon #Romance

Miss Bradshaw's Bought BetrothalMiss Bradshaw’s Bought Betrothal by Virginia Heath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Miss Bradshaw’s Bought Proposal is a historical romance from Harlequin / Mills & Boon. I read an ARC copy of this book.

It opens in Mayfair, London in 1816 at the engagement of Fergus Matlock, the Marquis of Stanford, and Miss Evelyn Bradshaw. Evie is currently living with her stepmother and two stepsisters, and this hasty engagement is her chance to run away from them and become a strong independent women.

Evie has entered into a secret business arrangement with Fergus and once she is free of London she intends to buy her own home and then break the engagement. Fergus escorts Evie and her great aunt to Yorkshire, but he dumps her on his brother and takes off to squander the first installment Evie has paid him.

Finn Matlock hasn’t seen his brother for three years and there is no love lost between the pair. He reluctantly allows Evie to stay until she finds a new home. He is grumpy and ungracious preferring to wallow in his own pity for his deceased wife.

In Yorkshire Evie blooms in her new found freedom. Yet she still fears her step-family and the constant threat they hold over her. Can she pull off the final coup and escape their hold or will she be found out and taken back to London?

A good book which fits the genre well. I liked that it stood up for curvaceous well built women and watching Evie blossom was a delight. I liked Finn too, a dark brooding male in need of rescue. I will definitely read more from this author.

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Book Description

She’d done it! Plain, invisible Evelyn had escaped…
Fed up with being a doormat to her evil stepmother, heiress Evelyn Bradshaw pays a dissolute rake to pose as her betrothed so she can secure her freedom. But then her fake fiancé leaves her with his estranged brother Finn Matlock and disappears!
Having withdrawn from the world, Finn knows the last thing he needs is the temptation of a woman, especially one like Evie. She has an irritating habit of causing chaos wherever she goes and being in places she shouldn’t…including, as he soon learns, his heart

About The Author

Virginia Heath

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.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE CROWN SPIRE by Catherine Curzon @MadameGilflurt #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham

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THE CROWN SPIRE by Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham

4 out of 5 stars

Historical romance, moi?  Not usually, but I’ve read non-fiction by both Catherine Curzon and Willow Winsham, so was sure this would be beautifully written and well-researched, and indeed it is!

Alice and her daughter Beth are fleeing from Alice’s brute of a husband in London, and travelling to Edinburgh, where they are accosted by highwaymen.  Just before all is lost, though, two dashing masked riders swoop in to save them.  The excitable and frustrated Beth is eager for adventure and falls for her gallant rescuer immediately, though Alice needs some persuading.  They stay the night at an inn, where they meet equally dashing landlord Edward Hogan, and the dour but most likeable Dr James Dillingham. Their journey comes to an end at the house of Alice’s dour but less likeable sister, Josephine; Beth is eager to break out of the staid lifestyle forced upon a girl of her class, and find romance and thrills.  Alice, too, wonders if she has leapt from frying pan to fire, and is persuaded to venture out with Dr Dillingham.  All will be revealed…..

The story flows so smoothly; it’s witty, almost tongue in cheek in style, in parts, and I am certain lovers of the Regency romance will adore it.  Edward Hogan is a fine hero (I was quite jealous of Beth!), and the characterisation is excellent all the way through.  The sex bits didn’t make me cringe, either, which is good for me, because they usually do, but it’s written in a relatively realistic way (relative for this type of romance, I mean!), and avoids the stock phrases and descriptions.

I did have slight doubts about an upper middle class girl like Beth sneaking around and going in to pubs at night on her own, but it didn’t really matter, and my disbelief remained suspended; I don’t think the story is meant to be a hundred per cent realistic.  The rest seems to be perfectly researched; I’d sum it up as charming fantasy escapism for the romantically inclined.

Book Description

Scotland, 1795

When the coach carrying Alice Ingram and her niece, Beth, to Edinburgh is attacked, they’re grateful for the intervention of two mysterious highwaymen who ride to their rescue. Beth is thrilled by the romance of it all, but Alice, fleeing her brutish husband, has had more than enough drama in her life. 

As the women find sanctuary in a tavern on the Great North Road, Beth is thrilled to meet Edward Hogan, the roguish publican. Despite the difference in ages and backgrounds, the couple have instant chemistry and when Ed invited Beth to visit his Edinburgh tavern, she resolves to get to know him even better. Yet Beth is also taken with the highwayman who rescued her; after all, there’s something irresistible about a rogue. 

Shaken from the attack, Alice grudgingly allows herself to be seen by Doctor James Dillingham, Ed’s best friend. Though Dillingham sees the telltale signs of physical abuse on Alice, she refuses to speak of it. Dillingham is dour and Alice frosty, and the two take an instant dislike to each other, so why does their shared coach journey to Edinburgh the following day seem to sizzle?

Once in Edinburgh, Beth starts secretly spending time with Ed, who she begins to think might know more about those highwaymen than he is letting on. By day, Alice sorts Dillingham’s paperwork at the charity hospital he runs yet by night she sneaks off to meet her own highwayman, travelling the backroads of the city with the masked figure. Slowly, Alice is coming back to life. But will the husband she is fleeing find her out? And will her highwayman come to her rescue again? 

Set during the heady days of the Georgian era when bodysnatching and highwaymen were never too far away, The Crown Spire is a thrilling romantic adventure rich with excitement and packed with historical detail.

About the authors

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian, best known for her non-fiction books Life in the Georgian Court and Kings of Georgian Britain.  She also writes a fascinating 18th century history blog under the nom-de-plume of Madame Gilflurt.

Her work has been featured on the official website of BBC History magazine and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austen’s Regency World.

She has provided additional research for An Evening with Jane Austen at the V&A, which she has also presented around the country.

Willow Winsham

Willow Winsham is the author of Accused: British Witches throughout History and she brings readers regular tales of witches and witchcraft on her blog The Witch, the Weird and the Wonderful

Combining a passion for research and history with a love of storytelling, she dedicates her time to investigating some of the most intriguing stories from the history of the British Isles.

When she isn’t digging out tantalizing historical tit bits or tracing elusive family members, she is busy home educating her two children.

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THE DISCERNING GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE by @VirginiaHeath_ @HarlequinBooks #TuesdayBookBlog

The Discerning Gentleman's GuideThe Discerning Gentleman’s Guide by Virginia Heath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide is a Georgian historical romance from the Harlequin stable. The book is set in London in 1816.

Amelia Mansfield is a companion to Lady Worsted, they are travelling from Bath to spend a month with her nephew in London, once the daughter of a Viscount, Amelia suffered a terrible loss when he turned both her mother and Amelia out, in a cold-hearted move. Left penniless, they did the best they could on the streets of London. When Amelia’s mother died in the work-house, Amelia became determined to improve her position and worked hard to get a job and a place to live. But her interest and support of those wanting radical change in the city got her into trouble. Her luck changed when she applied for the job as ladies companion, but it took her away from London.

Returning now to the city Amelia has plans to visit her old haunts and help the poor at a local soup kitchen whenever possible. She’ll need to be discreet as they’ll be staying with the sixteenth Duke of Aveley.

Bennett Montague was a Duke and a politician. Dedicating his whole life to follow the plans and footsteps of his father, his life is rather lonely. The need for a wife has lead to him make a list of potential candidates. His guidelines for suitability of a wife-to-be are from a book he once wrote from lessons learnt from his own father, and there is a long line of ladies who would love to make the final cut.

Amelia has read Bennett’s book describing it as “drivel”, she’d never marry an aristocrat, they are pompous and out of touch with reality and she shows no qualms at voicing her opinion and challenging Bennett about his.

Bennett’s search for the perfect bride are soon turned upside-down with Amelia’s presence in his life, but how could a Duke ever consider marrying a mere ladies companion?

There were some great sub-characters in this book; Lovett, the butler, Bennett’s Uncle George and Lady Worsted, to support Bennett and Amelia is this charming rags to riches romance.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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Book Description

“Choosing a wife is not a task that should be undertaken lightly.” 

Bennett Montague, sixteenth Duke of Aveley, is seeking the perfect bride. He’s narrowed his search to five worthy “Potentials”…until the arrival of his aunt’s companion unravels his carefully laid plans. 

Having fought for everything she has, Amelia Mansfield is incensed by Bennett’s wife-selection methods. But as she’s forced to spend time in his company, she begins to see another side to Bennett—and that man is infinitely more tantalizing and enticing… 

About the author

Virginia Heath

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.