Archives for category: Regency

Yours Until Dawn Book Cover

In A Nutshell

    • Genre: Romance, Angst, Regency England, Historical Romance
    • Notes: Fluffy but with a plot strong enough to keep you interested the whole time.
    • Recommended For: People who like the Beauty as Florence Nightingale meets the Beast plots.

Proof that sometimes the run-of-the-mill romance novels can surprise you . . . I took a chance on this one because of it’s high rating on Goodreads and it’s synopsis reminded me so much of my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, that I knew I had to give it a shot. I really love it when romance authors draw from the fairy tale plots and use that story as a skeletal structure and give the reader something to enjoy that also holds a sense of nostalgia. Another successful retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve reviewed on this blog is Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier. While both of these books draw from the same source material, the results are emphatically separate.

Marillier’s book is completely steeped in Irish Mythology and celtic legends and so it’s result plays more with the fantasy, mystery and magic of the original fairy tale. Yours Until Dawn on the other hand plays up the victimized “beast” character in Gabriel and introduces a new kind of “beauty” in Samantha who is his strict, but caring, nurse.

SYNOPSIS

Gabriel Fairchild’s valor during battle earns him the reputation of hero, but costs him both his sight and his hope for the future. Abandoned by the fiancée he adored, the man who once walked like a prince among London’s elite secludes himself in his family’s mansion, cursing his way through dark days and darker nights.

Prim nurse Samantha Wickersham arrives at Fairchild Park to find her new charge behaving more like a beast than a man. Determined to do her duty, she engages the arrogant earl in a battle of both wit and wills. Although he claims she doesn’t possess an ounce of womanly softness, she can feel his heart racing at her slightest touch. As Samantha begins to let the light back into Gabriel’s life and his heart, they both discover that some secrets — and some pleasures — are best explored in the dark …

I enjoyed reading this very fluffy and fun book. It’s not often I find Regency Romances, that contain a good amount of angst, fun. Medeiros’ style, in this novel, reminds me greatly of Julia Quinn’s ability to play up humor alongside heart and angst. That being said, it’s not the best regency romance novel I have every read. It wasn’t always a driving plot that kept me awake through the night, but it was able to surprise me with it’s twist towards the end. It’s not an earth-shattering twist but I didn’t see it coming and it made the book stand up and make me take notice.

As for the characters, Gabriel is a bit whiny in the beginning. He plays up the role of solitary, victimized hero in a completely predictable way and Samantha responds in the expectably strict, but caring nurse way. All that predictability being said, I was continually curious as to why Samantha sought out the position and Medeiros keeps you guessing.

You could say this book was an unexpected surprise as I expected to be reading the same-ol’ same-ol’ regency romance and I found a mysterious, light, and sensual romance. So if you’re looking not to think too hard but want a book with a more substance than the “Cotton Candy Novels” I mention in another review then this is your book.

★★★1/2

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In a nutshell

  • Genre: Romance, Mystery, Regency
  • Notes: A fun mostly sappy jaunt through a regency era romance between an over-bearing, but caring man and a naive but stubborn princess.
  • Recommended For: Garwood fans, Those looking for a light read and some sap.
When formulas are enough . . . I read this book a long time ago and forgot a lot of it and thought I’d re-read it for this blog. I enjoy Julie Garwood’s easy reads and while she reminds me of Kleypas’ plotlines her writing lacks the spunk and dynamics of Kleypas. Before I get ahead of myself let’s get the basics out-of-the-way. The synopsis is as follows:
Orphaned and besieged, Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Cainewood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were kindled. Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone…yet Alesandra’s tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel…
Things I enjoyed about this book:
  1. The mystery regarding the murderer who you get little snippets of his inner monologue continuously throughout the novel. I can honestly say I didn’t guess who it was until the end.
  2. I thought Alesandra’s sense of humor was good. The ways she gets around Colin while staying true to her promises was very cute.
  3. I liked that Alesandra found ways to utilize her ability with numbers and was shown to be intelligent, if at times common sense stupid.
Things I got tired of in this book:
  1. I found it obnoxious after a while when something would happen or something would be said and Garwood would take the time to explain what that meant. The first time was annoying the 10th time it felt like she thought I couldn’t read sub-text. Hel-lo we got it.
  2. While in romance novels (especially set in Regency times) I realize the men are more domineering and that women had/have fewer rights and little say. I also acknowledge that sometimes in these books its sexy when the man takes charge. But there is also a point where you go from in charge to controlling and Colin had moments where I wanted Sassy Gay Friend to come and let Alesandra know what’s what.
    1. For example, at one point Alesandra is coming down the steps wearing a necklace and  “[Colin] didn’t like the idea of Alesandra wearing it. ‘I have a special fondness for this necklace,’ she remarked once they were settled inside the carriage and on their way to the ball. ‘But I can tell from your frown you don’t care for it. Why is that, Colin?’ ‘Why do you like it?’ Her fingertips brushed the necklace. ‘Because it belonged to my mother. Whenever I wear it, I’m reminded of her. The necklace was a gift to her from my father.’ Colin’s attitude immediately softened. ‘Then you should wear it.’ ‘But why did it displease you? I saw the way you frowned when you first noticed it.’ He shrugged. ‘I was displeased because I didn’t buy it for you.’ She didn’t know what to make of that remark.” I do. In the words of SGF, “Tina Turner? We need to private dance it outta here!”
I don’t want people to think I hated this book or that Colin was an abusive character. I just found that it hit one note for the majority of the novel and between the controlling Colin and the pedantic narrative I got tired half-way through and only finished it because I couldn’t remember the murderer. But Garwood has a system where she takes damsels in distress puts them with men-in-charge who have a vulnerability and makes a happy-ever-after with some sap and a litttle danger. It works.
I also acknowledge that I haven’t read this full series so there might be other aspects of this story that I’m missing out on. But I will say if you can’t pull me into reading a series from one novel then the series is damaged, in my opinion.
I wouldn’t go out and buy this book, but it’s a perfect beach read or I’m on the bus and don’t want to make eye-contact read.  Garwood is still a good writer in my opinion and I am going to re-read some of her other novels I remember liking (like her Laird’s Series) so more on that later.
RATING: ★★★

 

In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Regency Romance
  • Notes: This is one of the few books of this series that I believe could stand alone with no assistance from any of the other books in this series. I think many different kinds of romance lovers would be pleased with this book.
  • Recommended for: Kleypas fans and those who enjoy The tortured soulmate kinds of books.

It’s always the quiet ones . . . This is arguably my favorite of The Hathaway’s Series. The synopsis is:

Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation…and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Then, Win returns to England…only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…

I almost didn’t read this book. A) Because, while I enjoyed the previous book (Mine Til Midnight), it wasn’t amazing and so I hesitated. B) Because after reading the back of this book I was afraid I was going to be re-reading Kleypas’ Again the Magic, which is a story of a titled girl falling in love with a boy servant and being separated for years only to come together again. I feared that I had just purchased the same novel with a different cover, but once again Kleypas defies the odds.

I’m extremely glad I took the time to read this book. It is arguably my favorite of the series – tied only with Love in the Afternoon. There are a wide range of romance lovers who will eat this book up. But I also acknowledge that if you aren’t able to get into the love-with-all-your-soul-angst-powerful-love kind of books, then you will not like this one.

Kev is an interesting Hero. He does “long for” Win, but he never tries to get her. After a childhood of much abuse, Kev holds himself in afraid of being a violent danger to those around him. He never feels worthy of Win. While I found this to be a key plot point, there were some moments when I felt his pushing Win away was overdone. It sometimes rode that line, but I was still able to enjoy it greatly.

As for Win, you can’t help but respect her. After suffering from Scarlet Fever years earlier and barely surviving she is left mostly an invalid. But unlike other people who would accept this fate, she fights it. She goes off to France to recuperate because she wants to live a full life. I think the best part about Win’s character is how relatable she is. At first you worry that she may be too perfect – but she’s not. She’ll do anything to get Kev to finally be with her – even crossing some moral lines. She’s overly stubborn and hates it when people treat her like the invalid she used to be. She’s a character that you can see exactly why she acts and does everything she does.

I won’t give anything away but I will say that the plot line following the “villain” of this story could have been resolved a little more clearly. I’m very much into hearing how the full weight of justice strikes the evil-doer in stories and I don’t like simply being told in a sentence that we don’t have to worry about them anymore. Like when Law & Order ends the episode in such a way as to let you assume what you will and instead of a satisfying ending you get that damn black screen with the name Dick Wolf in your face.

In the end I would say read this for fun, and be prepared for a powerful love. If you have trouble letting your imagination revel in that kind of romance. then you should skip it.

★★★★1/2

In A Nutshell

  • Genre: Regency, Historical, Romance
  • Notes: One of my faves, Always in my Go-to Queue
  • Recommended for: Kleypas Fans, and All Romance Fans

It’s Worth the Gamble . . .

A heroine from a small town who defies convention by writing books and getting them published, a young man who came from nothing and who now owns property all over Europe and runs a Gambling club. It isn’t often you read a book that follows the same path of other novels only to blow it to pieces in the end.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because, if you like romance, you really should read it.

Saying that, the things that really stood out to me and grabbed me in this novel:

    • Sara was a joy to read. She lives in the past and thinks like a modern woman.
    • Derek reads at first like every other rake in every other novel. But I think what makes him different is how Kleypas writes him.
    • Kleypas’ writing in general – she makes you seriously care about the characters she writes.
    • Everytime I thought this book could pack it in and say “The End” it kept going. I can’t tell you how rare that is in a book like this, Kleypas doesn’t take the easy way out.

So you all have a reference point here is B&N’s synopsis:

She stood at danger′s threshold–

then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Feilding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven–and into Derek Craven′s dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from, poverty to become lord of London′s most exclusive gambling house–a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world–with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper “mouse” can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress–and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion. . .and the promise of love.

When I first read this synopsis I put it away in my been-there-read-that queue. When I heard from friends and read the “Goodreads” reviews how good this book was I finally grabbed it. In a lot of situations like this where the book is built up so high, I end up disapointed. This is a rare case where it lives up to the hype.

Even though this review is starting to sound like a love letter to LK, I do one major criticism: *Minor Spoilers*

  • There is a plot line with Sara’s Fiance (Not Derek), that I felt was such a crucial element of the storyline, and it ends a little abruptly. I wish she had delved a little deeper into this conflict.

That said if you are looking for a good Historical Romance, look no further than Dreaming of You.

★★★★★