Friday, November 24, 2017

Lillian Marek’s LORD EDWARD’S MYSTERIOUS TREASURE – Romance and Treasure Hunt in Victorian France

Set in Brittany in 1871, this is the story of Lord Edward Tremaine, an Englishman summoned to the Chateau Morvan on the coast of Brittany by his friend Antoine (Tony”) who claims there’s a treasure to find.

Ned travels to France where he discovers a strange collection of people. The old vicomte, who appears to be dying, insists Tony and his two cousins search for the treasure. One young cousin, Delphine, beautiful and captures Ned’s attention but, as time goes on, he notices there is something wrong with her. The other cousin, Marguerite, an accomplished pianist, appears stern and withdrawn. In truth, she worries about Delphine and providing for little family. Ned’s friend, Tony is worried about funding his steel factory and only seeks the treasure for what it can give him.

The story is well written but moves along rather slowly with a fair amount of repetition in motives and introspection. The romance between Ned and Marguerite develops only after he precipitously asks her to marry him. Marguerite is happy to share Ned’s bed but resists marriage because she is a commoner and he’s an aristocrat. (Ned and his family think nothing of it.) All that seemed a bit strange for the Victorian era.

The story picks up when a few secrets are revealed, Ned has an idea of how to find the treasure and his parents show up to find out what’s behind their son’s letters. All the threads come together for a satisfying end.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!


For all my American subscribers, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am very thankful for you and all my readers.

Regan

Monday, November 20, 2017

Best Historical Romance Trilogies: Superb Talent in Threes!


It takes talent to write a great historical romance novel, but to write three in a row and make them all worthy reads is a challenge. Of course, I recognize this omits some wonderful single titles and some great multibook series, but if you like to read trilogies, as I do, here’s my list of the top ones I recommend:

1.       Laurie McBain’s Dominick trilogy: MOONSTRUCK MADNESS, CHANCE THE WINDS OF FORTUNE and DARK BEFORE THE RISING SUN

2.       Virginia Henley’s Medieval Plantagenet trilogy: THE FALCON AND THE FLOWER, THE DRAGON AND THE JEWEL and THE MARRIAGE PRIZE

3.       Virginia Henley’s Medieval Plantagenet trilogy: THE FALCON AND THE FLOWER, THE DRAGON AND THE JEWEL and THE MARRIAGE PRIZE

4.       Brenda Joyce’s THE CONQUEROR, PROMISE OF THE ROSE and THE PRIZE

5.       Judith McNaught’s Westmoreland trilogy: A KINGDOM OF DREAMS, WHITNEY MY LOVE and UNTIL YOU

6.       Lisa Kelypas’ Bow Street Runners trilogy: SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, LADY SOPHIA’S LOVER and WORTH ANY PRICE

7.       Johanna Lindsey’s Wyoming trilogy: BRAVE THE WILD WIND, SAVAGE THUNDER, and ANGEL

8.       Pamela Clare’s Blakewell/Kenleigh Family trilogy: SWEET RELEASE, CARNAL GIFT and RIDE THE FIRE

9.       Pamela Clare’s MacKinnon’s Rangers: SURRENDER, UNTAMED and DEFIANT

10.    Kaki Warner’s Runaway Brides trilogy:  HEARTBREAK CREEK, COLORADO DAWN and BRIDE of the HIGH COUNTRY

11.    Kaki Warner’s Blood Rose trilogy: PIECES OF SKY, OPEN COUNTRY and CHASING THE SUN

12.    Kaki Warner’s Heroes of Heartbreak Creek: BEHIND HIS BLUE EYES, WHERE THE HORSES RUN and HOME BY MORNING

13.    Heather Graham’s North American Woman trilogy: SWEET SAVAGE EDEN, A PIRATE'S PLEASURE and LOVE NOT A REBEL

14.    Heather Graham’s Civil War trilogy: ONE WORE BLUE, AND ONE WORE GRAY and AND ONE RODE WEST.

15.    Heather Graham’s Viking trilogy: GOLDEN SURRENDER, THE VIKING’S WOMAN and THE LORD OF THE WOLVES

16.    Marsha Canham’s Pirate Wolf trilogy: ACROSS A MOONLIT SEA, IRON ROSE and THE FOLLOWING SEA

17.    Marsha Canham’s Scottish trilogy: THE PRIDE OF LIONS, BLOOD OF ROSES AND MIDNIGHT HONOR

18.    Marsha Canham’s Robin Hood trilogy: THROUGH A DARK MIST, IN THE SHADOW OF MIDNIGHT and THE LAST ARROW

19.    Kresley Cole’s MacCarrick Brothers trilogy: IF YOU DARE, IF YOU DESIRE and IF YOU DECEIVE

20.    Iris Johansen’s Wind Dancer trilogy: THE WIND DANCER, STORM WINDS and REAP THE WIND

21.    Shirl Henke’s Cheyenne trilogy: CAPTURE THE SUN, THE ENDLESS SKY, and SUNDANCER

22.    Shirl Henke’s Santa Fe trilogy: NIGHT WIND’S WOMAN, WHITE APACHE’S WOMAN and DEEP AS THE RIVERS

23.    Elizabeth Lowell’s Medieval trilogy: UNTAMED, FORBIDDEN and ENCHANTED

24.    Jennifer Blake’s Three Graces trilogy: BY HIS MAJESTY’S GRACE, BY GRACE POSSESSED and SEDUCED BY GRACE

25.    Lisa Jackson’s Medieval Welsh trilogy: ENCHANTRESS, KISS OF THE MOON and OUTLAW

26.    Lisa Jackson’s Medieval Welsh trilogy: IMPOSTRESS, TEMPTRESS and SORCERESS

27.    Mary Jo Putney’s Silk Trilogy: SILK AND SHADOWS, SILK AND SECRETS and VEILS OF SILK

28.    Susan King’s Medieval Maiden trilogy: THE SWAN MAIDEN, THE STONE MAIDEN and the SWORD MAIDEN

29.    Mary Wine’s Highlander trilogy: TO CONQUER A HIGHLANDER, HIGHLAND HELLCAT and HIGHLAND HEAT

30.    Connie Brockway’s Scottish trilogy: THE PASSIONATE ONE, THE RECKLESS ONE and THE RAVISHING ONE

31.    Laura Parker’s Rose trilogy: ROSE OF THE MISTS, A ROSE IN SPLENDOR, and THE SECRET ROSE

32.    Emma Jensen’s Regency Spy trilogy: ENTWINED, FALLEN and MOONLIT

33.    Renee Vincent’s Emerald Isle trilogy: RALIKSEN, MAC LIAM and THE FALL OF RAIN

34.    Tina St. John’s Warrior trilogy: WHITE LIONS LADY, BLACK LION’S BRIDE and LADY OF VALOR.

35.    Amy J. Fetzer’s Irish trilogy: THE IRISH PRINCESS, THE IRISH ENCHANTRESS and THE IRISH KNIGHT

36.    Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin trilogy: COUNTESS OF SCANDAL, DUCHESS OF SIN and LADY OF SEDUCTION

37.    Christine Dorsey’s trilogy: THE RENEGADE (first published as THE RENEGADE AND THE ROSE), THE REBEL and THE ROGUE

38.    Judith E. French’s Fortune trilogy: FORTUNE'S MISTRESS, FORTUNE'S FLAME and FORTUNE'S BRIDE

39.    Aleen Malcolm’s Cameron trilogy: THE TAMING, RIDE OUT THE STORM and THE DAUGHTERS OF CAMERON

40.    Sandra Worth’s The Rose of York trilogy (Richard III’s life and love): LOVE AND WAR, THE CROWN OF DESTINY and FALL FROM GRACE


And do consider my own award-winning Donet Trilogy: TO TAME THE WIND, ECHO IN THE WIND and coming in 2018, A FIERCE WIND… all Georgian romances.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Iris Johansen’s STORM WINDS - Masterful Sequel to Wind Dancer... a Keeper!

Johansen weaves a complex tale with many threads and many interesting characters. She does it so well you will be captivated. And one thing I really respect is that from novel to novel, her heroes and heroines are different with unique personalities and attributes.

Set in late 18th century France, it begins a few years before the dawn of the French Revolution as Jean Marc Andreas, heir to the Andreas shipping and banking business based in Marseilles, meets Juliette de Clement, a courageous but lonely 14-year-old girl whose mother is a courtesan at the court of Marie Antoinette. Juliette takes care of Jean Marc, who is 10 years her senior, when he is injured. Their time together at the inn is not forgotten by either of them.

When Jean Marc has the chance to send his ward, Catherine Vasaro, to an abbey for an aristocrat's education, he asks the queen to send Juliette with her. Juliette thinks it is so she can watch over the sensitive and fragile Catherine, but Jean Marc has other plans in mind. At the abbey, the girls come to be great friends and Juliette pursues her love of painting.

Years later, as France's Reign of Terror begins, the revolutionaries attack the abbey, massacring and raping nuns and students. The two young women escape with their lives as one of the revolutionary leaders, Francois Etchelet, comes to their rescue and delivers them to Jean Marc's Paris home. Juliette, wanted for murder, asks for Jean Marc's protection in exchange for which she will use her connections with the queen, who is now imprisoned in the Temple, to recover his family's once-prized possession, the golden statue of Pegasus—the Wind Dancer—last owned by the royal family and now missing.

As Jean Marc and Juliette search for the Wind Dancer, they face treachery, danger and a city in the grip of the Revolution.

This is a well-told tale of a tumultuous time in the history of France. I loved Jean Marc, Francois, Juliette and Catherine. Great characters all. Amazing details and careful attention to history make this a very worthy historical romance. Highly recommended.

The Wind Dancer Trilogy

Wind Dancer
Storm Winds
Reap The Wind

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kresley Cole’s IF YOU DECEIVE – Absorbing Story of a Scarred Soul and a Broken Lady... A Keeper!

Set in the Victorian era, this is the story of Ethan MacCarrick, the oldest of three brothers, Scots who live under a 500-year old curse that promises death if any of them marries. Of course, the curse was not all readable so they don’t know the whole of it...

Ethan, the oldest MacCarrick was a heartbreakingly handsome rake until a powerful nobleman ordered him brutally beaten and his face scarred for a crime he didn't commit. In revenge, Ethan bankrupted the nobleman. Ten years later, a haughty, mysterious beauty captures Ethan’s attention one night at a masquerade ball. When he learns she is the daughter of his enemy, he decides to complete his revenge: he'll promise her marriage, seduce her, then cast her aside.

Madeleine (“Maddy”) van Rowen has had a hard life. She comes to London hoping her cousins can help her find a new path, but alas, an encounter with a man who takes her virtue has her returning in shame to the slums of Paris where she ekes out a living. When that same man, Ethan, comes to Paris to find her, he is shocked at her living conditions and awed by her courage and kind heart toward others.

I fell in love with Ethan and Maddie and their story (introduced in the second book, If You Desire). There is something about love healing a scarred man and a curse to overcome that melted me. The characters are well developed and the plot moves at a good pace. Cole does her homework on the historical setting—it feels authentic—and she makes you fall in love with Scotland and it's men. These three Scottish brothers are sexy and strong and love their women with a passion that is compelling. They will draw you in, I promise. And Maddie is, well, one of the most endearing characters I have ever met.

I couldn’t put this story down. And the rest in the trilogy are equally good.

The MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy

If You Dare
If You Desire
If You Deceive

Monday, November 13, 2017

Lillian White’s THE UNSCHOOLED HEART – Unusual Victorian with a Staunch Heroine

Set in England in the 1860s, this is the story of Lord and Lady Peaton of Highton Manor, who have a troubled marriage due to his infidelity. He’s even brought his young mistress into their home, ostensibly as governess to his children. Elizabeth, Lady Peaton has nowhere to turn. When her husband befriends Noah Parlow, a former Royal Hussar, now crippled, Elizabeth gains an ally. Then into her dull existence comes an event that changes everything.

White writes well and brings you into the home of this troubled couple. You won’t see much of the children or any secondary characters, but the story is rich in Elizabeth’s emotions as she struggles to give meaning to her life. The romance between her and Noah comes on slowly but blossoms quickly, particularly after a tragedy.

The ending came as a surprise as the virtuous wife takes her revenge and Elizabeth and Noah get away with a terrible crime. Not for those who like their heroines without major flaws but intriguing nonetheless. 
If you are looking for an unusual Victorian romance, this is one to try.

Friday, November 10, 2017

New Release! A Secret Scottish Christmas!


Just in time for Christmas! My newest installment in the Agents of the Crown series, this one set in snowy Scotland.

Spies and Scots and Shipmasters, oh my!

Scotland 1819

Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.

Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?

Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!

Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?


“Masterfully crafted, wholly intriguing, utterly captivating.”
 Collette Cameron, USA Today Bestselling Author

“Walker stuns with her gift for storytelling, magically entwining historic fact and fiction to create a thought-provoking, sensual romance, one that will stay with you.”
Chicks, Rogues & Scandals

“A beautifully developed romance with political intrigue and such well developed characters you’ll swear this is your favorite of Walker’s stories… until the next one. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very well done!” The Reading Café


Available on Amazon as an ebook and in paperback. And in paper from Barnes & Noble.

Read an excerpt as the Powell twins meet Ailie's Gordon Setters.

See the Pinterest Board for the story!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Betina Krahn’s THE LAST BACHELOR: Hilarious Victorian Romance!

Betina Krahn is a favorite author of mine with her detailed, well-crafted stories. And this is one of my favorite Victorian romances.
 
Set in London in 1882, a beautiful young widow, Antonia, Lady Paxton, occupies her time by saving widows and trapping gentlemen into marrying them by using their own perfidy against them. When a bachelor seeks to take a young widow's virtue--albeit a woman he's ostensibly been courting--Antonia follows them and, interrupting, forces the man to do the gentlemanly thing and marry the girl.

With 13 marriages to her credit, the men of White's club in London become concerned. They decide they must see “The Dragon Lady of Matrimonia” brought down, and what better man to do it than Remington Carr, Lord Landon? A confirmed bachelor, handsome as the devil, who advocates the vote for women and sending "surplus women" off to work to earn their keep, he is definitely against marriage. Antonia, on the other hand, believes marriage is a noble state and the salvation of many a widow.

Antonia offers Remington a wager...two weeks of women's work to change his mind about a woman's place. And if his mind isn't changed, she will do two weeks of a man's work. He accepts the wager, thinking to seduce her, but Antonia has her own plans.

Krahn had me laughing out loud when Remington put on a corset (after all, how could he do work as a woman does without having to bear the restrictive garment?). You will be amazed at the history contained in this seemingly light romance. It isn't really light at all. It's a meaningful tale of what widows suffered in Victorian times, when they were raised to be wives and mothers but were left bereft with no way to earn income.

Remington is an intelligent rake you will come to love and Antonia is a woman we would all want to know...a woman with a kind heart and a good mind who crafts devious plans to prove the damn men wrong. Even Queen Victoria supports her. Remington and Antonia are well matched and in an ironic twist will end up advocating each other's positions. The story is detailed, historically accurate and charming. I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Becky Lee Weyrich’s THE SCARLET THREAD – The “red lantern” district of New Orleans in the Victorian Era… oh my!

Having read and loved Tainted Lillies, I was anxious to read another by Weyrich.

This is the story of Desiree La Fleur. It begins in 1885 when she is seven and her mulatto nurse flees Desiree’s drunken father with Desiree and her infant sister, Innocente. In the swamps they become separated and Desiree is recaptured by her father’s men. We don’t learn much of her youth after that except she is taken home and though she has a stepmother who has no love for her, Desiree is educated in the East. In 1899, when she is 21, she decides to take the money she gained from a writing contest and join her best friend, Nanine, in New Orleans.

As soon as she gets off the train, Desiree is mistaken for a woman named “Garnet” who, she later learns, is a prostitute living in “Storyville,” the red lantern district of New Orleans. It’s “the scarlet thread” on Basin Street. Right then I realized, even if Desiree did not, that she’d found her long lost sister.

Meanwhile Nanine plots to match Desiree with Dr. Roman St. Vincent, dubbed “the saint of Storyville” for the help he gives to the young prostitutes. And the prostitute named Garnet is in love with him. Two sisters both in love with the same man. Because of their beginnings, one is ostensibly good and the other a fallen woman, raised to believe she is a woman of color when she is not.

Neither Desiree nor Roman want marriage but decide, at their early encounter, to pretend they are engaged to appease Nanine and her husband in whose home Desiree lives.

Weyrich writes well and tells a good story so, of course, I was sucked in from the start. There were lots of improbable twists and turns but once I got over that, I had to find out if this smart girl was really going to be so dumb as to do some of the things she did. And what of Garnet who really loves Roman but who he thinks of as a young sister? And then there is this “ripper” guy who goes around killing prostitutes. Ah, yes, lots to think about. And did I mention it’s a bodice ripper?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Victoria Holt’s THE SECRET WOMAN – Victorian Romance with Many Secrets and a Sail to the South Seas

First published in 1970, this is a wonderful story that begins in England but eventually sweeps you to the South Pacific. Set in the late 19th century in the Victorian era, it’s the story of Anna Brett who was born in India but whose parents sent her to live with her maiden Aunt Charlotte, an antique dealer who populates her old house with furniture in the process of being sold.

Anna’s one solace is her friend Chantal Loman, the beautiful nurse who tends Anna’s ailing aunt. When Aunt Charlotte suddenly dies, Anna takes a job suggested by Chantel, as a governess in the home of a wealthy English family in the shipping business. The family has two sons, one legitimate, Rex Crediton, and one a bastard, Redvers Stretton. Anna is very attracted to Red, but then she learns he is married. 

Rex is the heir apparent, consumed with the business, but Red is not unhappy about that since he loves his ships and the sea. It was on one of those South Pacific islands, however, where Red met his wife, and island beauty whose family forced him to wed her when she came up pregnant.

In this fascinating story, it seemed everyone harbored secrets, even Anna, who hid from her friend her love for Red Stretton. And even though I knew Chantel was capable of doing wrong to accomplish her purposes, I was surprised at all the twists at the end.

Holt did a good job of bringing us into the drama and the places to which the characters traveled. I could feel the heat of the island and Anna’s exhilaration with the wind on her face while they were at sea. As she and Red finally admitted their love, I could feel her emotion at finding herself in love with another woman’s husband.

No one does Victorian suspense and mystery like Holt and this is a great one!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: Mimi Matthew’s THE LOST LETTER – To Love a Scarred Hero

November is Victorian romances month on Historical Romance Review (as well as Romance Trilogies month). I’m beginning with a debut romance author’s first story, a delightful romance set in Victorian England in 1860.

It’s the story of Miss Sylvia Stafford, daughter of a baronet and a sought after beauty in her first season. But when her father committed suicide, she is cut by her friends and forced to become a governess. Silvia is happy in her work but misses the life she had.

One day, the sister of the man she once loved, a colonel serving in India, shows up to plead with Silvia to come to visit her brother to save him from despair. Colonel Sebastian Conrad, now the Earl of Radcliffe, is horribly disfigured from a sepoy’s saber, and hides away at his estate in Hertfordshire.

From the beginning, it is clear these two people are in love, but each believes betrayed by the other. Given the title of the book, I assumed it had to do with a lost letter and a misunderstanding, which proved correct.

A well-written story, the chemistry between the characters is good, the emotions well developed and the secondary characters (Sebastian’s valet and his sister) delightful. And, importantly, all comes right in the end.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bertrice Small’s BIANCA – Intriguing Love Story from Florence and the Black Sea in the 15th century!

Set in Florence and the area around the Black Sea, beginning in 1474, this is the story of Bianca, oldest daughter of Giovanni Pietro d’Angelo, a Florentine silk merchant. When his son’s indiscretion threatens to ruin the family, Giovanni is blackmailed into giving Bianca in marriage to the debauched blackguard Sebastiano Rovere. Rovere treats his delicate new bride abysmally and she loathes and fears him.

Her mother, appalled at what has befallen her daughter, helps Bianca flee to a seaside villa where she meets Prince Amir, grandson of Memhet the Conqueror. Two years later, Bianca’s husband is murdered (I couldn’t have been happier), leaving her free to find love with Amir. She wants no husband and would have him for her lover, but neither Amir (who wants her for his 3rd wife) nor her mother (who considers him an infidel) accepts that decision.

Ms. Small never holds back on the evil of others, so the beginning of the book shows in vivid terms the perversions of Rovere. But once we are at the sea cliff villa, beauty is restored. Amir is a gallant, romantic man who loves Bianca. And Bianca has changed from the docile, obedient daughter to a strong woman bent on her own destiny.

It’s a fascinating look at the culture of the day in both Florence and in the world of the merchants of the Black Sea. A good start to a new series for Ms. Small.

The Silk Merchant’s Daughters series:

Bianca
Francesca
Lucianna
Serena