A Scandalous Winter Wedding (Matches Made in Scandal #4) by Marguerite Kaye

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Kirstin Blair has spent seven years trying to forget brooding Cameron Dunbar. Now self-made man Cameron needs her help to recover his missing niece, and Kirstin must face the truth: seeing him again sparks the same irresistible attraction that first brought them together! She must decide… Resist, or give in to temptation and risk Cameron discovering everything she’s fought so hard to protect…

Rating: B

The novels in Marguerite Kaye’s Matches Made in Scandal series have all been linked by the presence of the mysterious Procurer, a woman whose business is matching people with seemingly insoluble problems with someone who stands a very good chance of helping them to resolve them – and that person is usually a woman to whom life has not been kind and who deserves a second chance.

In A Scandalous Winter Wedding, readers are finally given more than a glimpse of the Procurer and we learn more of her backstory as she decides to undertake the search for two missing girls herself rather than finding someone else to take it on.  The two girls – a young lady visiting London with her mother,  and her maid – went missing from their hotel one night and have not been seen since, and the Procurer – otherwise, Miss Kirstin Blair – knows that she has the requisite skills and contacts most likely to ensure a happy outcome.  But that’s not the only reason she finds herself compelled to take on this particular case.  She’s been contacted by the girl’s uncle, Mr. Cameron Dunbar, a wealthy merchant from Glasgow – and the man with whom Kirstin spent one gloriously passionate night six years earlier when she was making her way to London after the death of her father, intending to make a new life for herself.  She has never forgotten either the man or their night together, and, in spite of herself, can’t help wanting to know what has become of him since.  After reading his letter, she decides to meet him in person as the Procurer, engineering their meeting in such a way as he won’t be able to see her face properly; and after hearing him out, agrees to help him track down the missing girls, fully intending to follow her usual procedure and find someone else to assist him.  Which, in a way, she does – sending Kirstin Blair to him while leaving her long-time assistant to oversee the Procurer’s business.

Ms. Kaye does a splendid job here of showing just how well suited to each other Kristin and Cameron are; he very clearly admires her intelligence, her perspicacity and her pragmatism and respects her for who she is, while Kristin appreciates similar qualities in Cameron and admires his determination to do the right thing no matter the personal cost.  They work together seamlessly, each playing to their strengths and recognising each other’s, and there’s no attempt on either part to exclude the other for their own protection.  This is very much a relationship based on mutual understanding and intellectual equality, which is one of the things that makes this second-chance romance work so very well.  Another thing, of course, is the chemistry between the couple that bubbles and sizzles nicely as the author allows the attraction that has never really diminished to build gradually until it becomes impossible for either character to deny it any longer.

The one thing that didn’t really work for me is something that happens towards the end – I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but put simply, Kirstin reacts to something in a way that seemed totally out of character for a woman who has, up until this point, been level-headed and clear-sighted about everything.  She suddenly turns into this over-emotional woman I didn’t recognise – and I understand that it’s partly a knee-jerk reaction to something she had hoped Cameron wouldn’t find out (and her big secret is fairly easy to guess even before its revealed), but it was such a huge character reversal that I felt almost as though I had whiplash!  And the way she attributed motivations to Cameron while knowing perfectly well what sort of man he was felt really off.

Fortunately, Ms. Kaye doesn’t draw out this point for too long, and effects a reconciliation swiftly and with Kirsten’s full acknowledgement of her error, showing her to be exactly the sort of woman I’d believed her out to be – someone with great personal integrity and the ability to weigh up a situation and come to a considered conclusion, as well as someone strong enough to be able to admit when she was wrong.  Cameron is a similarly appealing character – a successful businessman who has become so by dint of his own hard work and who, in spite of his illegitimacy, knows who he is and is comfortable in his own skin.  He sees Kirstin for exactly who she is and loves her for it, never for one moment wanting to change her or for her to be someone she is not.

A Scandalous Winter Wedding provides a fitting conclusion to what has been a very strong series from one of my favourite authors of historical romance.  Ms. Kaye always writes with intelligence and insight, her research is detailed and she rounds-out her characters so that they feel like real people with real dilemmas and real emotions rather than cardboard cut-outs.  If you’ve been following the Matches Made in Scandal series, you’ll need no urging from me to pick up this final volume, and if you haven’t, each book works as a standalone, so this is as good a place to start as any.  And if you’re just a wee bit tired of all those titled folks waltzing their way around ballrooms, this book will make a refreshing change.

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The Judas Kiss (Tyburn Trilogy #3) by Maggie MacKeever


This title may be purchased from Amazon.

England, 1820. The trial of Queen Caroline is underway. Prinny, George IV now, is determined to divorce his detested wife.

The Whigs hope that the Queen will win her case. The Tories pray that she will not. More than a few Londoners wish that the politicians, taking their monarch with them, would jump off the nearest pier.

London is about to become even more exciting. In the midst of all this uproar, Clea Fairchild returns home.

At fifteen, Clea had been reading Ovid’s ART OF LOVE. And scheming how to, once she acquired bosoms, introduce herself into rakehelly Baron Saxe’s bed. Clea is one-and-twenty now, a widow whose husband died under mysterious circumstances she is determined to resolve.

Kane is almost twice that age.

Reprobate though he may be, Lord Saxe is not sufficiently depraved to act on the unseemly attraction he feels for his friend Ned’s little sister, whom he is convinced means to drive him mad.

Clea wonders, is Kane trying to drive her mad? In the years since they last met, he has grown more dissolute, more jaded, and even more damnably attractive.

He has also grown skittish, and is avoiding her as if she carries the plague.

Clea isn’t one to sit quietly in a corner. She has a mystery to solve. Villains to elude. Schoolgirl fantasies to explore.

Providing her husband’s murderer doesn’t dispose of her first.

Rating: B

When I read Maggie MacKeever’s The Tyburn Waltz a few months back, I found myself rooting for a romance (in a future book) between the hero’s sister and his oldest friend, who had crazy chemistry in spite of the fact that she was a precocious fifteen-year-old and he was in his thirties.  I hasten to add that nothing ikky or untoward happened in that book; it was clear that Lady Clea had a crush on Kane, Lord Saxe, but he treated her like his best friend’s annoying little sister, and their banter was free of sexual references or innuendo – but still, it was apparent there was something there.

The Judas Kiss is set some six years after The Tyburn Waltz, and in it we’re treated to another complex and engaging mystery while at the same time, Clea and Kane are finally able to admit to what they’ve both known and wanted for a long time.

When we met her in the first book in the trilogy, it was clear that Clea was going to grow into an extraordinary young woman.  Highly intelligent, quick witted and insatiably curious, she had a Latin quote at her fingertips for every occasion and could hold her own with the best of them in any verbal exchange.  The one person who could fluster her was her brother’s good friend, Lord Saxe, whom she’s known forever, and on whom she had a massive crush. Rakishly handsome and devilishly charming, he’s fodder for her romantic dreams and yearnings, even though she recognises that such a notorious rake is not for her.

A year or so after the events in that novel, Clea accompanied her brother Ned, the Earl of Dorset, to Vienna, where it seemed all of Europe was gathered while monarchs and heads of state negotiated peace in the wake of Napoléon’s defeat.  There, Clea met and fell head-over-heels in love with a young officer, Harry Marsden;  they married when she was  eighteen but had only a year together before tragedy struck; and now, at twenty-one, Clea returns to England a widow, determined to make herself a new life following her young husband’s suicide.  Her journey has, however not been without incident, as she and her companion were set upon by highwaymen twice on the road – the second time on the outskirts of London, when Clea coolly despatched one of them by putting a bullet in his shoulder.  The robbers fled after that.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

TBR Challenge: Tempting Harriet by Mary Balogh

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Harriet, Lady Wingham, widowed after a four-year marriage to an older man, takes her young daughter to London to stay with friends. There she becomes reacquainted with the Duke of Tenby, the man who broke her heart six years earlier when he offered her carte blanche instead of marriage. This time he has honorable intentions toward her, but Harriet misunderstands and impulsively agrees to become his mistress for a short while until she returns home. And so begins an affair disastrous to them both, for their feelings for each other cannot be satisfied by such a casual and clandestine arrangement.

Rating: C+

Tempting Harriet is the final book in a trio which are all linked through the friendships between their heroes and heroines.  It’s an older Balogh title (originally published in 1994), and there are elements within it that I suspect some readers may find problematic today; but the author’s emotional intelligence and insight into what makes people tick is operating at full force, presenting a couple of principal characters who are flawed and who make ill-advised decisions and judgements before they are able to reach their HEA.

I’ll admit now that this month’s prompt – to read a book with a lovely or hideous cover – rather stumped me. I read pretty much exclusively on a Kindle these days, so I don’t take a great deal of notice of covers; plus reading a lot of historical romance, I’m used to the half-naked, man-titty covers that are de rigueur in the genre and usually just roll my eyes and move on to the actual words.  I do, however, rather like the minimalistic covers that have been given to these first-time digital re-issues of Mary Balogh’s Signet Regencies.  On its own, I suppose the new cover for Tempting Harriet might be a little dull (and the colour isn’t my favourite), but taken together, they’re quite striking because they’re so simple and uncluttered.  So that’s my excuse for picking this one, and I’m sticking to it!

Six years before this story begins, Miss Harriet Pope, daughter of an impoverished country parson, was working as companion to Clara Sullivan (heroine of Dancing With Clara) when she caught the eye of the young and handsome Lord Archibald Vinney, heir to the Duke of Tenby.  Thrown much into his company because he was the best friend of Clara’s husband, Harriet fell head-over-heels in love, but rejected Vinney’s offer of carte blanche not once, but twice, even though she was terribly tempted to do otherwise. A couple of years later, she  met and married a kind, gentle man in his fifties who wasn’t in the best of health, but whom she liked and came to love.  Now aged twenty-eight and a wealthy widow with a young daughter, Lady Harriet Wingham has emerged from her mourning period and has decided to enter London society and experience some of the things she was never able to do before – go to balls and parties and musicales and perhaps find herself another husband… and she can’t help hoping that perhaps she might set eyes on Lord Vinney again.

That gentleman is now the Duke of Tenby, and being young, wealthy, handsome, titled and unattached, is the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart.  Like many gentlemen of his ilk (and many historical romance heroes!) he has eschewed marriage for as long as possible but now, owing to a promise he made to his grandmother following his accession to the title, is going to look about him for a suitable wife.  His grandmother’s definition of ‘suitable’ is rigid; in addition to all the usual qualities a nobleman must have in a wife – she must be a gently-bred virgin with proper manners and the training to run a large household and estates – she must also be of appropriate rank, and in the dowager’s eyes, that means that no lady below the rank of an earl’s daughter will do for the Duke of Tenby.

But fate throws a spoke in the wheel of Tenby’s matrimonial plans when he sees Harriet again for the first time in six years, and finds himself utterly smitten all over again.  Harriet has no idea that after she rejected his suggestion she become his mistress six years earlier, he’d been about to overturn all the things that had been drilled into him by his family and upbringing about his duty to the title, and offer her marriage.  He stopped short, believing then that he was merely in the grips of powerful lust, although now he is fairly certain he was in love with her… and though he tries to deny it, still is.

The storyline is a familiar one – the hero has to court one woman while in love with another – but Mary Balogh doesn’t make it easy for Harriet and Tenby and examines their motivations and feelings with scalpel-like precision.  The real meat of the plot is based upon a misunderstanding, and yet it’s one that I can’t quite classify as the ‘typical Big Mis’ so often found in romance novels.  Yes, things could have been solved by a conversation, but that wouldn’t have been true to character for either Harriet or Tenby at the point in the story at which it occurs.  Because while Tenby has decided he’s going to offer marriage regardless of his promise to his grandmother, Harriet forestalls him and, believing he’s going to offer carte blanche again, says that she’ll accept him as her lover.  She knows he can’t possibly marry her, the widow of a lowly baron, but she’s unwilling to let the opportunity to experience passion with the man she’s loved for so long slip by this time.  And while Tenby is pleased that he’ll at last have Harriet in his bed, part of him is really upset that she’s given in this time when she wouldn’t before.

This is just one of the things I referred to as being problematic.  It’s obvious that Tenby has put Harriet on some pedestal labelled “virtuous woman”, and when she offers to sleep with him without marriage, she falls off it, he’s disappointed – and it’s a horrible double standard.  Tenby is often cold and unpleasant towards Harriet – seeming to blame her for the fact that he’s attracted to her – and the terms of their affair are completely dictated by him.  This is understandable in the circumstances, as is the fact that he has a house he uses specifically for the purpose of conducting love affairs – many an historical romance hero has a hidden love nest – and I wondered if perhaps it was the author’s intent to deliberately show Tenby’s bad qualities so she could eventually redeem him.

I’m not sure if she really managed that in the end.  Her exploration of the emotions experienced by Harriet and Tenby during the course of their affair is incredibly well done, and nobody does this sort of relationship angst quite like Mary Balogh.  Ultimately, neither character is happy about their relationship being based simply on physical pleasure, both want more but believe the other is content with things as they are.  And thinking that all Harriet wants from him is sex, Tenby continues his courtship of an eminently suitable earl’s daughter while Harriet starts to despise herself because she’s compromised her beliefs.

It’s messy and complicated, and in spite of its problems, Tempting Harriet was one of those books I found myself quite glued to almost in spite of myself.  It’s a difficult one to grade because on the one hand the writing is excellent and the characters, who are both flawed (Tenby moreso than Harriet, it’s true) nonetheless feel like real people who operate within the strict societal conventions of the time.  On the other, Tenby can be unsympathetic, and sometimes Harriet’s internal hand-wringing gets a bit wearing.  So I’m going with a C+ – not a universal recommendation, but will end with the suggestion that those who enjoy angsty stories peopled by imperfect characters whose motivations are skilfully  peeled back layer by layer might care to give it a try.

The Purloined Heart (Tyburn Trilogy #2) by Maggie MacKeever

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Poor Maddie Tate. Widowed with two children. An ordinary sort of female, no more memorable than a potted palm. Seven and twenty years of age.

Lucky Angel Jarrow. Temptation incarnate, lazy and spoiled – and why should he not be, when the whole world adores him, save for the notable exception of his wife?

Maddie Tate and Angel Jarrow. In the ordinary course of events, their paths might never cross. But then comes the Burlington House bal masque, when Maddie witnesses something she should not, and flees straight into Angel’s arms.

And he discovers that he does not want to let her go.

Mysterious masqueraders. Misbehaving monarchs. Political perfidy.

While in the background the ton twitters, and a fascinated London follows the Regent’s preparations for his Grand Jubilee.

Rating: B

A few months back I picked up Maggie MacKeever’s The Tyburn Waltz for a prompt in the TBR Challenge, and enjoyed it enough to want to read the other books in the Tyburn Trilogy.  At that point, only the second book – The Purloined Heart – was available, but I was pleased to learn the third was on the way, especially as it would feature two secondary characters from the first book who were clearly destined for one another. Although there are a couple of characters who appear in both books – most notably Kane, Baron Saxe – The Purloined Heart can be read independently of its predecessor, and proved to be an enjoyable mix of mystery and romance.

Maddie Tate is, at twenty-seven, the widowed mother of two young sons, and has gone back to live under her stentorian father’s roof.  Sir Owen Osborne Is dismissive and dictatorial, and Maddie fears he may try to separate her from the boys if she doesn’t dance to his tune.  But that particular dance is palling quickly and she’s chafing under her father’s constant criticisms of her manner, her clothes and, well, everything about her; hence her decision to sneak out to a scandalous masquerade being held at Burlington House one night, where she’s borrowed the costume that was supposed to have been worn by a friend who is unable to attend.  She’s nicely tipsy when a young gentleman dressed as Henry VIII approaches her and starts spouting Shakespeare and fiddling with the arrows in her quiver. (Get your mind out of the gutter!  She’s dressed as Diana the huntress!) Puzzled as to why Henry should have been lurking outside the ladies’ withdrawing room, Maddie follows him as he wends his way along the more private corridors of the house, watching as he enters an out-of-the way room. Hearing raised voices, Maddie peers through the keyhole, and witnesses a man dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh clubbing Henry over the head; he falls to the floor just as the door inconveniently swings open, revealing Maddie behind it.  She runs, only to collide with a gentleman dressed as a Cavalier, and demands he kiss her – to hide from her pursuer of course. One kiss turns into two… three, and into something more than a simple matter of expediency.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

The Duke of Lies (The Untouchables #9) by Darcy Burke (audiobook) – Narrated by Marian Hussey

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

Verity Beaumont has suffered domineering men most of her life; first with her father and then with her husband. Free from both men, she has finally found peace even meeting a kind and hard-working gentleman who just might be the perfect father her young son so desperately needs. But as she dares look to the future, her carefully ordered world is shattered when her dead husband returns.

After six years away, Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn, returns to claim his place and protect his family. Only, the life he finds is not the life he left, and he must convince his wife that their marriage is worth fighting for; that he’s not the man he was.

When the truth about what happened to him leaks out, he must prove that not everything about him, especially his love for her, is a lie.

Rating: Narration – A- : Content – B

I’ve read and/or listened to a number of the books in Darcy Burke’s The Untouchables series and generally enjoyed them, but what attracted me specifically to The Duke of Lies was the fact that the premise is reminiscent of one of my favourite films, The Return of Martin Guerre. Set in medieval France, a man returns to his village – and his wife – after a long absence and is welcomed and accepted by all… until doubts begin to creep in as to whether he really is who he says he is. (The film was remade in the 1990s as Sommersby, and the setting shifted to the American Civil War).

In The Duke of Lies, the returning character is Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn, who has been absent for six-and-a-half years after disappearing without explanation during a visit to London. His wife, Verity, is not exactly heart-broken at her husband’s continued absence; he was a thoroughly unpleasant, boorish man who routinely ill-treated her and humiliated her, and she was actually relieved at the news of his sudden disappearance. At the beginning of the book, she is visiting an old retainer, the former steward of Beaumont Tower (Blackburn’s seat in the north of England), with her young son, Beau, whom she hadn’t known she was expecting until after she learned her husband had vanished without a trace. She has become concerned of late with the behaviour of the current steward – a man who was appointed by her interfering father – and has decided it’s time to do something about it and plans to dismiss him. Feeling lighter now that she’s made the decision, she returns home only to have her peace and happiness shattered by a completely unexpected – and unwelcome – arrival. Rufus.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

Beauty and the Brooding Lord by Sarah Mallory

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Ruined by a rake…

Rescued by the reclusive Baron!

Following the death of his fiancée, Lord Quinn has sworn off all matters of the heart. But when he happens upon an innocent lady being assaulted his sense of honour insists he step in and rescue her…even if that means marriage to protect Serena’s reputation! However, his new wife remains distant—a stranger to his bed. Can Quinn help Serena fight her demons and finally defeat his own?

Rating: B+

I’ve been bemoaning the fact for months that 2018 has been a pretty poor year for historical romance.   Thankfully, however, some authors are bucking that trend and many of those write for Mills & Boon (Harlequin) Historical.  Authors such as Louise Allen, Marguerite Kaye, Virginia Heath and Janice Preston have provided some excellent reads lately, and to that list, I’m adding Sarah Mallory, whose latest release, Beauty and the Brooding Lord is a rather lovely compromised-into-marriage tale in which a society beauty and a brusque, somewhat anti-social lord have to work at a relationship formed under difficult circumstances.

Serena Russington (whose half-brother, Charles, was the hero of The Ton’s Most Notorious Rake) is in her second Season and has yet to choose a husband.  She’s beautiful and has a considerable dowry so has no shortage of suitors… the trouble is that they’re all rather dull and she can’t face the prospect of spending a lifetime with a man who bores her and has no interest in her beyond her money and value as a potential brood-mare.  Having seen Charles fall in love and settle down, she has the (rather ill-conceived) idea that perhaps a rake – who will reform, of course – will make her a good husband, and to that end, arranges to attend an event at Vauxhall Gardens with the handsome Sir Timothy Forsbrook.  Unfortunately, however, she fails to take into account that his intentions may not be honourable, and instead of a trip to Vauxhall, finds herself being borne off to Gretna and to a hasty marriage.  It’s a long journey though, and when they stop for the night at an inn, Forsbrook is intent on sealing the deal by rape if necessary – but Serena’s screams are heard by another traveller who bursts into the room, sees immediately what’s going on, knocks Forsbrook out and takes Serena away.

This traveller is Lord Rufus Quinn, whom Serena had met briefly at a ball earlier that week and with whom she’d had a brief exchange during which she’d thought him rude and boorish.  But Serena is too shaken up and scared to think of anything but the terrible events that have overtaken her;  and as there is no suitable female to remain with Serena until such time as her family can collect her, Quinn takes her to his home – which is close by – where he entrusts her to the care of his housekeeper.  But while he has ensured Serena’s physical safety, keeping her reputation intact could prove problematic.  Quinn sends for her brother and sister-in-law – who doesn’t stop haranguing Serena about her thoughtlessness and ruined reputation – and they take her back to London, hoping that other scandals will prove juicier than any she has created, but word soon gets out that Serena was away overnight and it’s not long before the gossip starts.  Forsbrook is putting it about that Serena persuaded him to an elopement, and it doesn’t help that her mother – her father’s second wife – infamously ran away with her Italian lover, and society is quick to paint Serena with the same brush.  There’s only one thing to be done – Serena must be married off and removed from London until things die down and she can be made respectable again.

Through all this, nobody but Quinn notices how entirely subdued Serena has become.  Their one previous encounter showed her to be a lively, spirited young woman, but since the night he rescued her from Forsbrook, she’s been a pale shadow, self-effacing and drab – and he’s surprised to discover how much he wants to see the vivacious side of Serena again.  After a couple of weeks in the country, hearing from friends how much worse things are getting for her, Quinn heads to London to see for himself – and ends up offering for her.

Sarah Mallory does an excellent job in this novel of developing the relationship between Quinn and Serena and of getting across just how badly her near-rape has affected her.  The plotline of the heiress being abducted and compromised into marriage is a common one, but often, the villain is foiled before he can force himself upon the heroine; here, however, even though Ms. Mallory doesn’t show the violence brought to bear on her, the danger to Serena feels real, as do its after effects.   She loses herself for a while, attempting to fade into the background and to turn herself into the sort of quiet, biddable wife her sister-in-law insists men want.  She knows she behaved irresponsibly and now doubts her every instinct as a result, allowing her sister-in-law’s harsh criticisms to inform her decisions and mistrusting her new husband’s words and gestures of affection.

Quinn might have a reputation for being the rudest man in London, but when it comes to Serena he’s nothing but kind and thoughtful.  The majority of the book is dedicated to building the relationship and the trust between Quinn and Serena and it’s beautifully done.  Quinn’s kindness and attentiveness gradually coax Serena out of the protective shell she’s drawn around herself, and their affinity for one another and the emotional connection between them is palpable.  Sadly, however, the final few chapters of the book suddenly shift the focus away from the romance to a somewhat convoluted revenge plot which gives rise to a Big Mis on Serena’s part.  It’s a big tonal shift and if felt rather out of place, coming as it did at the end of what had been a gently moving, character-driven romance; I knocked off half a star/grade point as a result.

Even so, I’d definitely recommend Beauty and the Brooding Lord to historical romance lovers for its engaging and well-rounded principal characters and superbly developed romance.

The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2) by Tessa Dare (audiobook) – Narrated by Mary Jane Wells

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

The accidental governess…

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud. The ladies of London have tried – and failed – to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart…without risking her own.

The infamous rake…

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling…and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

Rating: Narration – A : Content – B-

If you’re a fan of historical romances, then you’ll know pretty much what you’re going to get from a novel by Tessa Dare. Something mostly frothy and fluffy (with maybe just a little bit of darkness), plenty of humour and flirty banter, and well-written naughtiness. What you won’t get is a great deal of originality when it comes to the plot, or historical accuracy when it comes to the situations or dialogue; there’s no real sense of being in the early nineteenth century other than, as happens here, a few references to people who lived at the time (in this case, a group of female astronomers and mathematicians – brava!). Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews regularly will know that I generally prefer historicals with a strong sense of period in which the characters operate (mostly) within the constraints of the time in which the novels are set; but I recognise that there are readers and listeners for whom that isn’t important and who just want to enjoy an engaging, well-written story.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.