Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Holiday Reading

The Mistletoe Countess, by Pepper Basham — A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

‘Tis the season. This is the time of year that especially prompts me to curl up with my cat in a window seat, sipping tea, and breaking into my TBR pile.

Just in time for a Thanksgiving Day read, let me introduce you to a new Edwardian romance, The Mistletoe Countess, by Pepper Basham. Combining electric romance with mysterious adventures, this novel is sure to kick off this winter season with a bang. 

Gracelynn Ferguson – In the wealthy Ferguson household, rank and value follows birth order. Lillias, the firstborn, is silver tongued, secretive, and trained to marry a lord. Grace, the second born, is a wildling in love with books, adventure, and truth-telling. Continue reading “The Mistletoe Countess, by Pepper Basham — A Review  “

Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Regency Romance

Love and Lavender: A Mayfield Family Romance (Book 4), by Josi S. Kilpack — A Review    

From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

Unconventional heroines are becoming more common in Regency-inspired fiction, which is something worthy of applause. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the genre’s beloved originator. Jane Austen was the queen of unconventional heroines living in a conventional world; something Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Morland, and company attest to. But I ask: how often do we Janeites discover an equally unconventional hero? Josi S. Kilpack shares just that in Love and Lavender, her recent addition to the Mayfield Family saga. Both a unique romance and a sympathetic study of physical limitations in the Regency world, Love and Lavender shines a spotlight on two very unconventional leads.

After her uncle makes the shocking announcement that he will give each of his young relatives an inheritance if they marry, Hazel Stillman doesn’t feel grateful. No—she feels hurt and betrayed. To Hazel, Uncle Elliott’s Continue reading “Love and Lavender: A Mayfield Family Romance (Book 4), by Josi S. Kilpack — A Review    “

Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Regency Romance

With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 3), by Ashtyn Newbold — A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

When I was younger, I hated Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte’s tale of passion and self-discovery seemed a wasteland to my teenage self—bleak in Yorkshire moor and stark in romantic love. I watched every adaptation and read the novel countless times, but the results were the same. Until one day, in the midst of 2021, I was stunned to encounter colorful beauty where once I saw only monochrome. Evil cousins and madness in attics no longer reigned. What captivated me as never before was the magnetism of Rochester and Jane’s equal meeting of heart and mind. Enter With Love, Louisa, Ashtyn Newbold’s latest Regency novel. A tale set in the open skied Yorkshire moors that Charlotte Bronte loved. This novel champions another couple who stand side by side as equals.

When her sister marries and moves away, leaving her as the sole guest of a bachelor friend, Louisa Rosemeyer knows the time has come to leave Larkhall. Her two options are to marry without love or to request the status of ‘companion’ to her unknown elderly relative. Louisa votes for love and family. Continue reading “With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 3), by Ashtyn Newbold — A Review  “

Book Reviews, Regency Romance

The Scoundrel’s Daughter: The Brides of Bellaire Garden (Book 1), by Anne Gracie — A Review

From the desk of Katie Patchell:  

 When I was a teenager, I “met” Georgette Heyer for the first time. Bath Tangle was my introduction to her Regency world via a battered, coffee-stained copy housed at shoe-level in my library’s ‘H’ section. Serena and Rotherham’s banter and Heyer’s madcap plot was the perfect entry to the world of Heyer (I’ll never forget the line: “You may set the county alight, if you choose, but ride rough-shod over me you will not!”). In months I checked off the rest of her Regencies. Gray-eyed hero after gray-eyed hero made my acquaintance; so too did Heyer’s remarkably clever, daring heroines. Two of her main leads are the strong-willed younger woman and the independent spinster, equally fan favorites.  In Anne Gracie’s latest Regency and series opener, The Scoundrel’s Daughter, these two types of heroines are brought together in a romantic tale, one filled to the brim with its own madcap escapades.

Alice, the newly widowed Lady Charlton, has blessedly escaped her husband’s cruel neglect. With only a few of his debts left to pay, Alice looks forward to a life free of the ton, free of gossip, and free—finally—of any connection to her husband. Everything is going according to plan until a sinister man Continue reading “The Scoundrel’s Daughter: The Brides of Bellaire Garden (Book 1), by Anne Gracie — A Review”

Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

A Bright Young Thing: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

I have a question for you, fellow bibliophiles: Have you read P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves series? Written between 1915 and 1974, this series of short stories and novels is a sometimes biting (yet always fun) satire of Britain’s posh upper class. Starring wealthy and hapless Bertie Wooster and his much-put-upon butler, Jeeves, these stories dazzle with Wodehouse’s charming turn of phrase and list of characters with bizarre surnames. There’s a brilliant adaptation as well, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, that further brings to life these wonderful characters and their times. Brianne Moore’s 2021 release, A Bright Young Thing, echoes the glamour and glitz of the aristocratic set that Wodehouse immortalized. In this novel, readers meet a heroine who lives up to the title’s moniker–but who, like all of us, is so much more than merely a label or stereotype. Continue reading “A Bright Young Thing: A Novel, by Brianne Moore — A Review  “

Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Historical Romance

The Merchant and the Rogue: The Dread Penny Society (Book 3), by Sarah M. Eden—A Review  

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Thanks to Charles Dickens’ vivid imagination and keen eye for the overlooked, Victorian England’s readers met paupers and rag-sellers, prostitutes, and orphans. Many other authors followed his example in showing the light, the darkness, and everything in between, that are a very real part of our world. John Thornton, Dorothea Brooks, Helen Huntingdon, and more came to life alongside Oliver Twist, each fighting for truth, justice, and hope in a hard world. Sarah M. Eden’s latest in “The Dread Penny Society” series, The Merchant and the Rogue, is set in the city of Dickens: the mad, bustling, glittering, foul, terrible, great streets of 19th century London. Like the Victorian classics, it shines a light on the individuals who are not wealthy or aristocratic, and like the dread-penny novels of the time, it does this with plenty of flair, humor, and mystery.

If laughter truly were the best medicine, Brogan Donnelly would have been the healthiest Irishman in all of England. Jests came as easy to him as breathing, and that was more-or-less all anyone knew about him. He preferred it that way. – Chapter 1, Location 59 

Continue reading “The Merchant and the Rogue: The Dread Penny Society (Book 3), by Sarah M. Eden—A Review  “

Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Regency Romance

The Indebted Earl: Serendipity and Secrets (Book 3), by Erica Vetsch – A Review

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch 2021From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

Hello, fellow Austenprose readers! Finally—the winter is over and spring is here. To commemorate this season of growth and new beginnings, we bring you Erica Vetsch’s latest Regency creation, The Indebted Earl. The third in her Serendipity and Secrets series, it can be read as a standalone or as a continuation of the series. This novel’s themes of making (and forgiving) debts and starting afresh are universal, but this time, they come with the added flair of a wild seascape and even wilder hearts.

Portugal, 1814: As he sits by his friend’s deathbed, Captain Charles Wyvern wishes he could trade places. An oversight risked both of their lives during a Naval battle, and he believes it unfair that he—career member of the Royal Navy with no loved ones waiting for him on shore—healed from his near-fatal wounds, while Major Rich Richardson will leave behind his devoted mother and charming fiancé, Sophie. In Rich’s moments, Charles agrees to his friend’s final request: Will he temporarily leave the sea and do whatever he can to take care of the two women Rich is leaving behind?

Things were simpler at sea. The rules of engagement were clear, and the chain of command set in stone. Feelings and opinions didn’t enter into the equation, and total obedience was expected. Yes, things were definitely simpler at sea…but lonelier, too, if he was to be completely truthful. (118)

England, 1814: Lady Sophia Haverley—Sophie, to her friends and family—never expected to lose Continue reading “The Indebted Earl: Serendipity and Secrets (Book 3), by Erica Vetsch – A Review”

Book Reviews, Regency Romance

Flirtation & Folly: A Season in London (Book 1), by Elizabeth Rasche – A Review

Flirtation & Folly by Elizabeth Rasche 2020From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen’s greatest gems, yet one of her most underrated novels. It is a coming-of-age tale of Catherine Morland, a comedy, a romance, and a commentary on the Regency-era literary scene. In all of that, it is both a down-to-earth study of real-life and a beautifully plotted promise that even the most mundane of circumstances hold a glimmer of heaven. In Elizabeth Rasche’s Regency debut, Flirtation & Folly, these same ingredients are bound together in the endearingly flawed, eternally hopeful heroine, Marianne Mowbrey.

Marianne Mowbrey is a dreamer. Fresh from the country to visit her aunt in London, she believes with all of her heart that she will become a heroine just like those in her favorite novels. As she soon discovers, wishing is not the same as getting. Under her aunt’s disapproving gaze, Marianne tries to learn the skills needed to be a society darling from her new “friends,” the beautiful yet mocking Stokes’ sisters. Continue reading “Flirtation & Folly: A Season in London (Book 1), by Elizabeth Rasche – A Review”

Book Reviews, Editor's Picks, Regency Romance

Georgana’s Secret: (Proper Romance Regency), by Arlem Hawks – A Review

Georgana's Secret by Arlem Hawks 2021From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Captain Frederick Wentworth: bold, self-confident, and passionate. At fifteen, I thought him boring, far preferring Mr. Darcy’s distant, sophisticated persona. Now at twenty-five, I find that Wentworth, Jane Austen’s final hero, has captured my attention. As I sit here and type this, I ask myself ‘What’s changed?’ For one, Wentworth has energy–vibrancy–that leaps off every page. There is no brooding silence or long caution with him. A man of action, he strides through life with a joie de vivre and a strong sense of compassion for those he encounters. Now that I look at this list, I wonder at my ability to ignore this very worthy hero for years! Before I crack open my copy of Persuasion for a re-read, let me introduce you to a novel starring Captain Wentworth’s equal in character and bravery. In Georgana’s Secret, Arlem Hawks’ debut Regency novel, readers meet a hero and heroine bound irrevocably to each other and the sea’s mercurial waves.

Dominic Payton loves the ocean. It is his life, career, and passion. Despite his mother’s growing pressure to look for a wife, he knows that few women would be willing to live an unconventional, often dangerous life on a Navy frigate. To care for his single mother–and because life isn’t worth living away from the sea–Dominic accepts a promotion to become HMS Deborah’s newest lieutenant. Under the guarded eye of Captain Woodall, Dominic begins to prove his knowledge and skill. Yet it is the role of friend that quickly becomes the most challenging; George Taylor, Captain Woodall’s skittish young cabin boy, is greatly in need of a confidante…and pugilistic mentor. Continue reading “Georgana’s Secret: (Proper Romance Regency), by Arlem Hawks – A Review”