*REVIEW* ~ A Discarded Son (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book 3) by Lorna Peel

#historicalfiction #histfic #romance #victorian #ireland

Book Blurb

Can Will and Isobel right the wrongs of the past without hurting those closest to them?

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Isobel Fitzgerald’s mother, Martha, marries solicitor James Ellison but an unexpected guest overshadows their wedding day. Martha’s father is dying and he is determined to clear his conscience before it is too late. Lewis Greene’s confession ensures the Ellisons’ expectation of a quiet married life is gone and that Isobel’s elder brother, Alfie Stevens, will be the recipient of an unwelcome inheritance.

When a bewildering engagement notice is published in The Irish Times, the name of one of the persons concerned sends Will and Isobel on a race against time across Dublin and forces them to break a promise and reveal a closely guarded secret.

My Review

An emotional and well-crafted family saga ~ 5 stars

This is the third instalment of Lorna Peel’s excellent series The Fitzgeralds of Dublin. The author transports the reader effortlessly to Victorian Ireland and I quickly settled into the read.

Will and Isobel, once again at the centre of the story, continue to do their utmost to do the very best for themselves and their extended family and friends as they are confronted with numerous surprises, good and bad. It was a pleasure to follow them all as they endeavour to adapt and survive what life throws at them.

It is evident that the author has meticulously researched her subject material, from the day to day domestic endeavours of middle class families, to medical practices and the treatment of those with learning difficulties, the law and the wider social and political situation in Ireland at the time.

Will and Isobel are a couple whose lives I have followed since reading A Scarlet Woman and A Suitable Wife (click on book titles for reviews). I enjoyed reading how their love and mutual respect for each other continue to deepen as their relationship develops. I have also enjoyed reading about the other characters in their extended family and circle of friends, which the author develops further within this novel.

The read is perfect for readers who are looking for a rich and authentic work of historical fiction, one with elements of romance, family loyalties and commitment.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* ~ The Firebrand (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #3) , by Susan Wiggs

#historicalromance #suffragettes #romance

Book Blurb

On October 8, 1871, one small spark ignites the entire city of Chicago, sending its residents into panic. But amid the chaos, a chance encounter leads to an unexpected new love. Wiggs’s USA Today bestselling trilogy is now reissued.

Chicago is burning

And Lucy Hathaway is running for her life.
As she rushes past a fine hotel engulfed in flames, a wrapped bundle
tumbles from a window into her arms. Seconds later the building
crumbles–and Lucy is astonished to discover the swaddled blanket
contains a baby.

Five years later Lucy walks into Rand
Higgins’s bank and knows: the orphan she rescued that day actually
belongs to this ruthless financier. Now, to keep the child she’s come to
love, she’ll have to give up her hard-won freedom and become his wife.
But giving Rand her heart? That, she could never have expected…

My Review ~ Fantastic read! ~5 stars

This is the first book that I have read by Susan Wiggs and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has plenty of tension and conflict between the hero and heroine, which for me is always a strong plus. Not only that but it gave me an insight into the terrible fire that engulfed Chicago and the women’s movement in America at the time.

Rand, renowned for his strong business and financial acumen, is both a scarred and bitter man, the Chicago fire of 1871 having impacted on his life in a terrible way. Yet a miracle happens and the child he thought he had lost reappears in his life. To do right by her he is compelled to forge a marriage of convenience with the headstrong radical and social outcast, Lucy Hathaway. Lucy is everything Rand despises in a woman and sparks fly between the two of them as does an undeniable attraction …

Can this union of opposites ever have a chance of succeeding when many in Chicago society are against it? The journey both the hero and the heroine embark on is an emotional one and I admired their commitment to the child that they both love. Can Lucy reign in her radical views and activities and conform to the expectations of polite society or will she lose her sense of self in the process? Can Rand change his chauvinistic views and give a little? It is not an easy ride for either of them and there are many hurdles to overcome.

I loved this entertaining romance and the companion books in the series are now on my to read list. I’d highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Marquess to a Flame, Rules of the Rogue book 3, by Emily Windsor

#sensual #regency #romance #historicalromance

A London rogue with a winter’s heart… A Cornish lady with a glimpse of spring…. Seasons collide & passions flame as the seducer becomes the seduced.

Tone: Warm. Witty. Romantic.
Heat Level: Sensual. Moderate.

Release Date: 30th January 2019

Blurb

A winter’s heart…

“Debonair, handsome and with a devil’s smile. How could any woman resist?”

The Marquess of Winterbourne has long been guided by his Rules of the Rogue, but as emissary for the Crown, his next mission will break every single one. Sent to the wilds of Cornwall to beguile secrets from a country miss, the last thing this rogue expects is to unearth his own buried heart.
A taste of spring…

“A rogue and a fribble. How could any woman succumb?”

Miss Tamsyn Penrose remains far from impressed by charming London scoundrel Lord Winterbourne, preferring a wild gallop over the moors to flashing black eyes and fulsome flattery. But as danger lurks and prejudice ebbs, she uncovers a complex man who awakens her hidden strength and arouses her forgotten fire.
Seasons collide…

Desire sparks and passion flares in this Cornish land of cove and tor. Can Tamsyn step from the shadow of her past? And will Jack Winterbourne tear up the rules for a woman who maddens his senses and thaws his heart?

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes a fusty valet with a secondary love story, picnics, swordplay, peacocks and…piskies.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Witty and Suspenseful 

I loved this witty and suspenseful Regency Romance, penned by Emily Windsor. In it, the quintessential London rake, Jack Winterbourne, is brought to his knees by a country miss, Tamsyn Penrose. We met Jack in previous books in the series and I have been eagerly awaiting his story as he appeared to be a rogue beyond redemption! Although it is not necessary to read the other books in the series, I’d urge you to do so as they are equally as enthralling as this one.

I loved both the hero and heroine. Indeed, I went through the whole gamut of emotions when reading this novel – a number of scenes had me recoiling in horror, whilst others had me laughing and crying with laughter – the antics of Jack, Tamsyn and the cast of supporting characters kept me entertained throughout. The read contains a secondary romance between Jack’s valet and Tamsyn’s companion and this added to my enjoyment.

The book refers to moving events from both Jack and Tamsyn’s past, events which have shaped their characters. The author does an excellent job of illustrating how both the hero and heroine need to overcome their inner conflicts to ensure their HEA. It is not an easy path but throughout the read I was rooting for them to be together, although at times I did want to shake them and give them a good talking to!

Emily Windsor skilfully weaves romance coupled with sparkling and witty dialogue with danger and suspense which kept me guessing throughout. Will Jack and Tamsyn overcome issues from their past and take a chance on love before it’s too late? Will dangers from Tamsyn’s past come back to ruin her future happiness? Can a rogue’s heart finally thaw?

All in all a super read for fans of sensual Regency Romance which contains wit, charm and romance in spades. Thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* – The Path to Horn Cottage: A Cunning Folk Mystery, by Prudence S Thomas

#fantasy #alternatehistory #suspense #magic #crime #mystery

Blurb

Horn Cottage, an ancient cave house, has been home to the cunning folk of Thornton Cleveleys for generations. The early death of her mother left Meryall as the cunning woman for her village before her training was complete. A young man seeking Meryall’s help to find his missing sister draws her into an ever more complex and sinister mystery. Can she use her divination skills to help solve the mystery of the missing woman and avert a tragedy? An atmospheric journey through a mystical land, The Path to Horn Cottage is the first book in the Cunning Folk Mysteries series.

My Review

A Delightful Read – 5 Stars *****

I found Prudence S Thomas’ A Path to Horn Cottage to be a thoroughly entertaining read, which effortlessly transported me into a world of magic and belief in the old gods and their ways.

Also what a gorgeous cover – it perfectly reflects the essence of the story and it’s central character, the young ‘cunning woman’ Meryall, as she strives to reveal the whereabouts of a missing woman whilst balancing her own responsibilities to fellow villagers. As the story unfolds Meryall finds she has to journey from her home in her quest to uncover the shocking truth.

The author does an excellent job of creating an alternative reality where England has resisted the conversion to Christianity, instead cleaving to the old religion and its associated magic. I liked the central character Meryall: a strong and capable young woman, who is finding her way in life. She harbours her own doubts and frustrations as she seeks to balance her duty as her village’s ‘cunning woman’ with her natural curiosity to explore more of the world. Her partner Madoc is a perfect foil for her. The book is full of many interesting secondary characters, not least Meryall’s adversary.

I enjoyed the world the author has created,  – it is clear she has done a considerable amount of research into making it both credible and diverting. I look forward to reading more about Meryall in future works.

Recommended for readers who enjoy a suspenseful read set in a historical/fantasy context.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* ~ A Suitable Wife (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin #2), by Lorna Peel

#historicalromance #historicalfiction #Dublin


Blurb

The lives of the Fitzgerald family are about to change forever…

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

My Review

A stirring and heartfelt read with colourful characters – 5 stars

I just loved this latest release from Lorna Peel! A Suitable Wife, set in 1881, continues the story of the Dublin doctor Will and his wife Isobel who we first meet in A Scarlet Woman (click on title for my review). The book can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend that you pick up the first book to get the most of this most emotional and page turning read.

The book delves deeply into relationships between the sexes and between social classes  – not solely the relationship between the couple, but those between other family members and wider society. All is seen through the eyes of Will and Isobel whose love manages to hold everything together despite all of the many difficulties that come to pass – cue you will need a handkerchief! Isobel in particular is one strong character and the couple are well matched in terms of wisdom and strength. I have read a number of this author’s books and she excels at interweaving deep characterisations with an emotional and stirring plot line.

The revelations which come to light after the tragic death of his brother Edward in India throw a huge curveball into the lives of Isobel, Will and his family and lead to a great deal of soul searching for the family. This puts more stress on the relationship between Will and his father. Isobel’s past is difficult for some to accept but it is surprising what goes on behind the closed doors of others. Other characters have their own secrets and I enjoyed how the author weaved further revelations into the story which is full of twists and turns.

There are certainly some eye opening scenes concerning the couple, their relatives and social circle and the author has clearly carried out a great deal of research into medical issues and social mores of the time, research which helps make the book such  compelling read,

The read totally sucked me in and transported me into the late Victorian era within Dublin, a time when women clearly played second fiddle to men and where appearances and perceived if not actual social mores are all important. Will and Isobel really go through the wringer, but their strength and love shine through and the read is above all an uplifting and life affirming read with a satisfying conclusion.

Recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction with romance and strong characterisations and which gets to the heart of the social issues of the day.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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*REVIEW* ~ The Militia Man’s Lady (Dreda’s Men Book 2) , by Alexie Bolton

#historicalfiction #historicalromance


Book Blurb

This is the second book in the series ‘Dreda’s Men’ and follows the exploits of the men in the Taylian State Security Bureau and their ladies. A post-Napoleonic war romance about ‘alpha’ militia men and their feisty, strong resourceful ladies.

Taylia is divided by civil war. Lady Helena von Vagna’s brother has gambled most of her family’s fortune away and it is rumoured he has helped the rebels. Her fiancé has deserted her and she toils to save her family farm. She has no desire to be intimate with any man, particularly the irritating, domineering, provoking Militia man Officer Peter Denman who saved her when she was being attacked by bandits.

Officer Denman is intrigued by this woman. He tries to help her when she is accused of murder and follows her to the sordid bowels of the city where she is vulnerable to the attentions of pimps and brothel keepers.

Lady Felea Whelani, the heroine in the first book, is now married to Francis Dreda, Commander of the Bureau. Their marriage is still tempestuous as Felea finds it difficult to conform to the expected behaviour of a dutiful nobleman’s wife. Her telepathic qualities are developing and her visions are now becoming clearer. The enemies of her husband are trying to undermine and destroy him. Can she and Helena prevent them destroying all she values and loves?

Can Denman manage to save Helena and claim her for himself? Will she want this ruthless militia officer?

My Review

Tension, adventure and romance – 4 and a half stars

The Militia Man’s Lady, a story of tension and adventure, recounts the romance between Lady Helena von Vagna and the militia man Peter Denman. It is the second book that I have read in the Dreda’s Men series, penned by author Alexie Bolton, the first being The Spymaster’s Redeemer (click on the title for my review).

I felt for Helena from the off as she has been badly treated by men – her brother has gambled away the family fortune and she has since been thrown over by her fiancé. Helena is left to help her mother manage the family estate and works tirelessly to make it pay its way. She not only has to tolerate her brother’s dissolute behaviour but has to put up with rumours that he was involved with rebels, putting her under suspicion.

Peter Denman encounters Helena first by chance and the by design as their lives become increasingly entwined. Denman performs many roles ~ her saviour, accuser and would be confidant and friend. Although attracted to Denman (and he to her) Helena is wary of men, especially those as controlling and domineering as he appears to be, as she values her independence. I loved that she did not fawn over him as did other women of his acquaintance.

As for Denman, he fears that Helena sees him only as a brotherly figure and in any case he tells himself and others that he is not ready for marriage. However, it is clear to all but the couple themselves that they are a perfect match for one another. As the plot progresses Helena manages to get herself into one scrape after another, due to a combination of her independent spirit and the designs of those who would do her harm. There are a number of well recounted dangerous and nail biting scenes where Denman is often on hand to save her.

However, Denman is not always in Helena’s life and I enjoyed the tension filled plot where the couple come together only to be torn apart by their own perceptions of what they as individuals want and what they perceive the other to feel. I was intrigued as to how they could secure their HEA after such an impasse, although at times I wanted to slap them both on account of their stubbornness! Nevertheless I enjoyed how the author resolved their differences. I also enjoyed meeting Francis and Felea, whose romance was featured in the first book in the series.

Readers who enjoy historical romances with strong heroes and characters and a plot full of adventure will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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~*ARC REVIEW ~ Let Sleeping Dukes Lie, (Rules of the Rogue Book 2), by Emily Windsor ~*

#sensual #historical #regency #romance

 

Book Blurb

“Strait-laced. Ruthless. Arrogant.”
Alexander Westhide, the Duke of Rakecombe has no quarrel with such faint praise as he has forever shunned marriage, women and anything remotely resembling love. Indeed, the damning words merely serve to enhance his haughty façade. But beneath the controlled demeanour lies a duke beset by tragedy, a man turbulent and restless.

“Forthright. Impudent… Capricious saucebox.”
Miss Aideen Quinlan can’t quite express why she feels the need to taunt, tease and generally annoy the Duke of Rakecombe. Maybe it was for the heart-racing spar of words that always ensued, or maybe it was to see the duke’s broad fist clench on his ebony cane, green eyes glittering.
Or maybe it was because she was unable to erase the memory of his vehement kiss…

An unlikely couple.
Torn between his world of espionage and this unquenchable passion, the duke still refuses to lower his fierce defences.
If Aideen is to capture her resistant duke’s troubled heart, it is she who must follow the Rules of the Rogue.
Resistance is futile…

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes unpalatable chefs, a darling of the Season with a secondary love story, deadly walking canes and sheep…

My Review – 5 stars

A troubled Duke meets his match… 

I loved this, the second in Emily Windsor’s Rules of the Rogue series. This delightful Regency romp pairs the dark and forbidding Alexander Westhide, Duke of Rakecombe, with Miss Aideen Quinlan, a lively and unconventional Irish miss who proves to be both his match and his undoing! It features some characters from the first book in the series, An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Aideen and Alexander first encounter each other after he rescues her from a kidnapping. Since that fateful meeting, the pair have been circling each other on the rare occasions their paths cross at society functions. Aideen cannot resist baiting the Duke, rather than being repelled by his dour and standoffish behaviour, she finds herself drawn to him. Alexander is all alpha male: dominant, in control at all time and sinfully sexy – what woman could resist the challenge? Not Miss Aideen Quinlan for sure!

For his part the Duke recognises how this woman threatens his ordered existence – his work as a spy for the Crown is most definitely not conducive to forming close bonds with significant others. To ensure her continued safety and his own sanity he knows he needs to avoid becoming entangled with her at all costs – if only Miss Quinlan wasn’t so meddlesome (not to mention so damned attractive to him)!

Fate continually throws them together… Can the Duke protect this wild creature who is slowly, against his better judgement, becoming to mean everything to him, whilst still discharging his duties to the Crown? Can he safeguard her from harm? Can Aideen break through his hard exterior and charm the most inflexible of men, when he guards his secrets so well? Can she penetrate the darkness he is hiding before she loses her heart in the process?

I so enjoyed the battle royal that ensues between this couple and the games they play. Aideen is a fantastic heroine and she really is the Dukes undoing – he has never encountered an adversary quite like her. The dialogue and the push and pull between them make for a hugely entertaining read, full of witty dialogue, sensual scenes, sexual tension, danger and suspense. There is a scene at the end of the book which had me in tears (in a good way), I was so invested I their story- the characters and their relationship had become so real to me.

Recommended for lovers of sensual Regency Romances who enjoy dark, brooding and tortured heroes and spunky heroines who challenge them at every turn.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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