Review: An American Duchess by Caroline Fyffe –

Paperback, 348 pages      Publication: June 25th 2019 by Montlake Romance

ISBN13: 9781542091671

Rating: 4*

The rules of Victorian society are defied in  bestselling author Caroline Fyffe’s novel of romance, royalty, and a little revenge.

In Kent, England, the arrival of Beranger Northcott, Duke of Brightshire, causes quite a stir.  Berenger left home more than 15 years ago, never expecting to return. Never expecting that he was th legitimate heir to a dukedom he brings with him his new American bride, who isn’t quite what anyone expects!  By accepting the hand of her beloved, Emma Brinkman went from hardworking Colorado rancher to duchess. Now she’s expected to comport herself as nobility. Overnight. For Emma—stifled, homesick, and unable to shake the feeling she’s being watched—the metamorphosis is a challenge. And if Emma’s suspicions are correct, perhaps even a dangerous one.

Not one to deal in formality, Emma makes friends with the help and fortunately, for Emma she has found a trusted friend in the orphaned Charlotte, Brightshire’s scullery maid.   Charlotte has dreamt if only for a moment what it would be like to live a privileged  life with out the daily back breaking life she’s lived—if only for a moment. When one of the duke’s handsome cousins takes notice of Charlotte, the castle kitchen is set abuzz with speculation that she just might be swayed into being ruined.  

In navigating their two different stations, both Charlotte  and Emma alike will discover all they have in common—from secret fantasies to daring hearts to upending the rules of society. And that finding their places in the world—and love—is a dream that can come true.

Very charming story which I could have fallen in love with.  Just a bit of nitpicking here though that I thought a bit more editing of starting and stopping their stories would have made for a smoother read.  Otherwise, I truly liked this story.

Marilyn Rondeau

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REVIEW: Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

  • Print Length: 380 pages                                 ISBN: 1250295998
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks    Publication Date: June 25, 2019
  • Rating: 5*

Right from the description I had a feeling I was going to love this story – and I was right!  Lady Theodora Worth had grown up on a remote Scottish estate by her loving grandfather, actually a pretty idyllic childhood, until her grandfather began to show signs of forgetfulness and Theodora then fell into the reverse roll of caring for him.     As a Countess in her own right she had kept the estate of Ladykyrk in excellent shape and the many tenants happy – well nourished and thriving.   However when her grandfather died the new Duke challenges her claim to the title and Ladykyrk estate.  Her long time lawyer (who now threw his lot in with the ‘new’ duke) advised her she needed a husband.    Thea’s wise elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might have  the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except Thea has no intention of marrying the first man she meets, even if he’s so handsome he makes her flesh tingle!  

Naturally, Lord William Cavensham would do most anything to keep his Aunt happy but after a very youthful heartbreaking experience he was gun-shy of ever putting his heart on the line again.  But, there was no denying his honor and to help this beautiful lady in need he would be her ‘best’ friend and help her in anyway he could!

With wonderful dialogs, characters, and l even a nasty new duke there were many moments during the reading of this tome that I sat back in pleasure to simply bask in the delightful story.  One of the more relaxed (even if I had rouble putting it down) books I’ve read this summer!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate

Hardcover, 336 pages                 Publication: June 25th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

ISBN13: 9780735212572                 Rating:  5*

Venice (Italy) 

Based on the  intertwined fates of two Venetian orphans in Venice, 1736, fate brings Violetta and Mino together on the roof of the Hospital of the Incurables. They formed a connection that will change their lives forever. Both are orphans at the Incurables, dreaming of escape. But when the resident Maestro notices Violetta’s voice, she is selected for the Incurables’ world famous coro, and must sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors.

Years before Violetta had seen and saved Mino after she witnessed his mother leaving him at the Incurables (where unwanted babies were left and brought up as orphans) Mino desperately wanted to find his mother and after his declaration of love ends in heartbreak, Mino flees the Incurables in search of his family. 

Known as the “city of masks,” Venice is full of secrets, and Mino is certain one will lead to his long-lost mother. Without him, the walls close in on Violetta and she begins a dangerous and forbidden nightlife, hoping her voice can secure her freedom. But neither finds what they are looking for, until a haunting memory Violetta has suppressed since childhood leads them to a shocking confrontation.

THE ORPHAN’S SONG is mesmerizing, emotional, and totally spellbinding.  The history of the city of Venice in that century made for such a compelling read.   The sensuality and romance was both thrilling, emotional, and exciting.  And the reveal of Mino’s mother was a thrilling twist.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Say No to The Duke by Eloisa James

ebook, 384 pages          Publication: June 25th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062877840                    Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4

Rating:  5*

Beautiful, accomplished and with a mind of her own, Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed!  Unfortunately, her wild nature being what it was she wants one great adventure before marriage!       Obviously no gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. 

If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches. If he wins – she is his, for one night.  Jeremy has suffered over what his actions during the war in America ended up losing his entire regiment.  Jeremy’s  latest show of unfeeling and drunkenness is not who he truly is.   But Jeremy realizes that one night with Betsy will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say NO to the duke. 

Leave it to Ms, James to come up with another sensual and emotionally packed wonderful read.  Both the Duke and Jeremy were wonderful candidates for Betsy’s hand in marriage – I really loved them both and Betsy’s struggle in making the right decision was a really tough one!  

No hints here but all was not as it seemed to be an easy choice!   Just pick up this book and wrap yourself in romantic bliss – with a few chuckles along the way!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Montauk by Nicola Harrison

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. Once a humble fishing village and now it is serving as a playground for the New York City wealthy elite.  When her husband approached her with the plan to summer in Montauk, Beatrice Bordeaux was delighted thinking it would be just the ticket to help reignite the passion in her and Harry’s  marriage – that is until she understood that he would not be spending the weeks with her – just the weekends.  But, soon Harry had excuses that he wouldn’t be able to make the weekends because of being so busy pursuing other interests in the city.  

Raised as a country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days were devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. Beatrice longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she still remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted.  In spite of the  lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

Exploring the town rather than joining the society women at the Manor Beatrice drifts further from the them and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit.  Along the way, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic.  He  inspired her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and take a good look at what her future might hold.  

Time was racing and as the summer was coming to an end, Beatrice knew she had to make a choice to grasp what happiness she could.  However with a major hurricane blasting out to Long Island, would anyone survive to have a future.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

ebook, 384 pages Publication: May 28th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062861696         Series:   Women Who Dare #1, The Le Veq Family #4

Rating:  5*

This compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War and the historical references used in this novel were truly an eye opener in what and why the country became so divided.  Not only is this a very sensual and unusual love story but it’s one that needs to be read by all lovers of historical romance.  

Traveling to the South was both a very brave thing and not without risk for Valinda Lacey.  Her goal was a mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. However, she soon discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But Valinda was spoken for and as much as Drake wanted it otherwise, he was too much of gentleman to pine after a betrothed woman.  

In this I had to admire both Valinda and Drake – Valinda was all that was good and pure and as much as she felt the undeniable pulse of passion for Drake, she had made a promise to her very dear friend.  The secondary characters were so very much a part of the whole and added such substance to the entire story. Not only was this a wonderful love story but it was also about family love and values which I found to be incredibly satisfying.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages        Expected publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s

ISBN13: 9781250121677                         Series: Playful Brides #11

Rating: 4-1/2*

I absolutely loved this book!  It was so lifelike in that here are two protagonists, Delilah and Thomas,  who grew up sharing many daring escapades together and were like brother and sister with everything in common!  Perfect together but ‘clueless’ in that they couldn’t quite see they were made for one another!  But I digress.

Lady Delilah Montebank is a treasure, only her mother doesn’t see it and has hounded Deliliah to find a husband – or she’ll find one for her!  After being picked on once too many times Delilah pronounced she would have the most eligible Duke of Branville up to snuff by her birthday – within weeks of her announcement!  

Her best friend, Lord Thomas Hobbs, the Duke of Huntley, thinks Delilahs quest to become a Duchess is ridiculous.  Naturally he was a confirmed bachelor.  But with Delilah thinking her ‘love potion’could possibly win over Branville, Thomas switches rooms whereby Delilah mistakenly gave Thomas the potion.  

With room switching and ladies attempting to compromise other bachelors at the house party, the story gets pretty hilarious at times.  But when push came to shove it would be Dukes to the rescue, but who would win the prize of Lady Delilah?

To find out I highly recommend you read the book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Anything But A Duke by Christy Carlyle

Publish date  – 4/30/19     by Avon                                

ISBN13: 9780062854001              Series  Duke’s Den #2

Take one very independent lady who has the  capability and quick mind for inventions and one self-made man who often backs said entrepreneurs and what you get is an intriguing story of two brilliant people who haven’t got a clue that they were meant for each other.  

Perhaps because self-made man Aidan Iverson had more doors closed  in his thirty years than he’s ever cared he wasn’t being as broad minded by Ms Diana Ashby’s need to be recognized for the useful things she had invented.   As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need, but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into the aristocratic  hallowed halls, he’s ready to try a more extreme measure: marriage.

As  a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to create her own devices. When her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the backing for her invention. Knowing Aidan’s desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to a perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. Diana doesn’t want any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety.   As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore.

So much fun, loved all the gadgets Diana came up with to make life easier!  Definitely can recommend this book.

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: MARRYING WINTERBOURNE BY LISA KLEYPAS

Review: Marrying Winterbourne By Lisa Kleypas

Publishing – May 31, 2019

ISBN13: 9780062371843.            SeriesThe Ravenels #2

Characters  Lady Helen Ravenel, Rhys Winterborne

First of all MARRYING WINTERBOURNE was delightful and Ms Kleypas’        originality and creative scenarios have left me with that wonderful ahhhhhh…. feeling once again.     I discovered Lisa Kleypas many years ago, and I find that as the years progress her writing  gets more and more refined like a fine wine. It just gets better than ever and one must give high marks to this new series The Ravenels.    

Common-born Rhys Winterborne’s vast wealth and success weren’t given to him.  In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants through a unyielding determination to succeed.   From the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. And if it takes ruining her to ensure she marries him, then so be it.  However as his all consuming lust changes into a love he’s never felt before, he’s afraid of losing her.

Right from the start Lady Helen was a bit frightened of the Rhys but as she gets to know him better she sees the vulnerability and the gentleness of the man.   Helen realizes she is in love with Rhys but then discovered something about herself that could destroy the man she loves.  Her biggest decision, should she trust in love or continue the lie that if Rhys knew would destroy his faith in her?

Marilyn Rondeau