ARC Reviews

Review | The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains Book 3) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainAndTheTheatrical #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt

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Hello my lovely friends! Have I got a wonderful book to share with you all today, or what? I am so excited to be sharing my review of The Captain and the Theatrical, which is the third book from the Captivating Captains series…..squeal!!! I think anyone who follows me, will know how much I love this series, be prepared for waffling…so grab a cuppa and maybe a packet of biscuits and enjoy.

FROM MULTI-PUBLISHED AUTHORS OF GAY ROMANCE, CATHERINE CURZON AND ELEANOR HARKSTEAD

Book three in the Captivating Captains series

When Captain Pendleton needs an emergency fiancée, who better to turn to than his male best friend? After all, for Amadeo Orsini, life’s one long, happy drag!

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton might have distinguished himself on the battlefield at Waterloo but since he’s come home to civvy street, he’s struggled to make his mark. Pen dreams of becoming a playwright but his ambitious father has other ideas, including a trophy wife and a new job in America. If he’s to stand a hope of staying in England and pursuing his dream, Pen needs to find a fiancée fast.

Amadeo Orsini never made it as a leading man, but as a leading lady he’s the toast of the continental stage. Now Cosima is about to face her most challenging role yet, that of Captain Pendleton’s secret amour. With the help of a talking theatrical parrot who never forgets his lines, Orsini throws on his best frock, slaps on the rouge and sets out to save Pen from the clutches of Miss Harriet Tarbottom and her scheming parents.

As friendship turns into love, will the captain be able to write a happy ending for himself and Orsini before the curtain falls?

Finally, its here!! *She says jiggling about like someone with ants in their pants* The long awaited next instalment of the gorgeous ‘Captivating Captains’ is here, am I excited about finally getting my hands on this or what? Patience is not my strongest quality, it feels like an eternity since I had my last Captain fix, honestly, poor Catherine and Eleanor, they must be pretty tired of hearing my constant whining of “I’m so excited’s” and “I cannot wait’s”….I have bored myself…Anyway, it’s here woo-hoo!

This time we are in the Regency era, Captain Ambrose Pendleton (Pen) having just returned from the battle of Waterloo he is shocked to find that his father has arranged a marriage for him, in fact not just a marriage but he has planned out Ambrose’s future, which consists of him leaving England and everything he knows to marry a stranger, move to America and turn his hand to industry. All poor Ambrose wants is to follow his heart and write, while perhaps floundering around in the sea with a certain Italian, not that I blame him at all, Orsini is wonderful and he has the best wardrobe any woman could ever want, I was cheering him on at every turn, follow your heart Ambrose! …anyhow, Ambrose is a dutiful man, as much as he doesn’t want to leave and me hitched with a spoiled little girl he wouldn’t dream of going against his father that is until his good friend Amadeo Orsini comes up with a brilliant plan to release him from the vicars mousetrap.

Ah, Orsini what a fabulous creature you are! Thespian Orsini has made a name for himself – or should that be herself – on the stage in the guise of exotic, vivacious and striking Cosima, she is loved by all where ever she may go she has become the most sought after actress to tread the boards. Orsini and Ambrose have been good friends since meeting while Ambrose was on his grand tour, he is not about to see his good friend be forced into something he doesn’t want and be sent far, far away. Oh no, the tempting Italian has other plans for his darling Ambrose, But how to extricate him from the clutches of the Tarbottom harridan? – or as Orsini says; ‘Tarrow-Bottom’ – why, with a performance that would earn him a Olivier off course.

And this is when the fun really starts! Imagine it; A Derbyshire house party, A set of vile American’s (no offense to my lovely American friends, I know you not all vile ;-)) a actor who just happens to explode on to the scene dressed as a woman announcing her undying love for the brooding Captain and who has very saucy thoughts regarding his gold military sash 😉 a cheeky parrot who sets his eyes on the lady of the house and amongst it all you have a theft….ouh la la! I don’t think I can take anymore excitement…wait, oh yes I can, especially when Ambrose and Orsini finally declare their feelings…honestly I thought they never would, but it was well worth the wait, because these two are just too adorable for words.

I adore Ambrose, even though he has had flings in the past while in the army I think that his feeling’s for Orsini confuse him, he is a worrier, he is undeniably attracted to Orsini as both himself and as Cosima but he is afraid about what his friend would make of his attraction to him….Ambrose, you really don’t need to worry!

But alas as much as I adore both Ambrose and Orsini/Cosima the star of this has to be Pegolo, yup, the sarcastic, clever and brilliantly hilarious parrot has stolen the show and teamed up with the equally brilliant Mrs Pendleton, well we have a fabulous comedy duo….honestly where else would you see a married older lady walking about with a parrot propped on her shoulder?

This book holds some of the best character’s I have come ever across, not only in the shape of our two romantic leads – who in themselves are absolutely adorable – but the supporting cast are brilliant, from the very amusing Mrs Pendleton, who sees far more then she lets on, to the brilliantly funny Pegolo (this parrot needs a show of his own, he is fabulous) and the ever so slightly vile Tarbottom’s (I can never say that name with a straight face, I’m stifling a giggle now as I write, I can’t help it.) there was something about the Tarbottom’s that really made my skin crawl, and yet I couldn’t look away, which goes to show how much skill there is in this writing.

I love this, there isn’t anything I didn’t like, even though the start was a little slower then expected, with surprised me, but once the reason behind Ambrose’s slight melancholy is revealed all makes sense and I think the slower more thoughtful start is perfect for Ambrose and Orsini and their story. The chemistry and passion between our leads is wonderfully tantalizing and tender, those little glances they cast each other made my heart melt. I loved the little theft twist away from the romance, it builds up slowly and as you read you begin to wonder….hmmm, now is something going on here? I loved the investigation then ensures to find the culprit.

This really has everything I look for in a historical romance; beautifully portrayed lead character’s who you can get behind from the start, a wonderfully original love story with an unexpected sub plot. It has a real whimsical feel about it that made me think of fairy tales, and the humour, my goodness this is so much fun to read, there are some real laugh out loud moments…..Yes, I did a fair amount of giggling an sighing… I definitely think me and Orsino are two peas in a pod, especially whenever he thinks of a certain Captain in those fitted trousers and tall military boots…sigh!!

This is enchanting, it’s fun, romantic, original, the perfect escapism from the real world, I have said it before but I’m going to say it again…I love it!

This series just goes from strength to strength, each is as different from the next as you can get and with the constant love is love message tightly ingrained in each one there is nothing not to love about the Captains. Plus with another planned for later this year and fingers crossed more after…I’m not hinting, OK, I am, I need more Captains…. I am going to be in Captains heaven….or as excitable as a hyperactive spinning top, I may need sedating.

This was an Arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Catherine and Eleanor xx

The Captain and the Theatrical is to be released on 3rd September and can be pre-ordered now.

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#Review | Reclaimed By Her Rebel Knight by Jenni Fletcher #ReclaimedByHerRebelKnight #MedievelRomance @JenniAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my dear readers! Do I have an amazing book to share with you today, or what? I have the massive pleasure to tell you a little about the incredible; Reclaimed By her Rebel Knight by Jenni Fletcher. This book is simply stunning, I know that I may have over done the gushing on here, but it’s so amazing, so grab your cuppa take a seat and enjoy and apologies for the long review you will have to endure.

Married to a perfect stranger

Reunited with her warrior husband

When Constance inherited her father’s lands she had no choice but to marry cold-hearted Matthew Wintour. He left her for the battlefield without even a wedding night. Five years later Matthew has returned—a valiant knight! But Constance is no longer a frightened girl. And this time she must reach out to discover the honourable man behind the armour and what pleasures await them in the marriage bed…

My, oh, my!!! Jenni Fletcher you have out done yourself, this is how you write a Medieval love story; captivating, evocative, thrilling, enchanting, it’s a feast for the senses and has one of the best endings ever! Another shining gold star to be attached to Jenni Fletchers cap, this is sensational! By far one of the best Medieval romances I have read – and I have read a fair few – but this is as perfect as you can get in a Medieval romance;

When Constance is orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, if she was to keep her property and her fortune out of the King’s hands she must marry. She ends up married to Matthew, who just after their wedding leaves England for Normandy to do his duty and serves the King, or as my gran used to say; ‘he went off to find a war’ while Constance must leave her home; Lacelby and live with her uncle until her husbands return – whenever that maybe!

The story and their marriage really start five years later, in 1214, Matthew returns Constance can’t say she is happy or sad about that as she doesn’t know the man that she is to spend the rest of her life with, neither got to know each other in those few moments together, they were just children, she can’t even remember what he looks like. Neither of them wanted this marriage, but it was a necessity to save her from the ruthlessness of the King. Even though she doesn’t know the man she must share a bed with, she is determined that she will try and be a good wife and make this unwanted marriage work for them both.

I instantly felt a connection with Constance, she is a wonderful character, she is a strong and resilient young woman, who takes everything in her stride, never one to complain and she has a quietly soothing side to her that can ease the brooding of beasts, she is always rational but as you will soon see she possess a lioness heart of courage when the time comes. She was forced to leave the only home she has ever known, become married to a man she doesn’t know and then left again before the wedding night. Any other woman would become a wailing shrew, but not our Constance. She is uncertain of how to act around Matthew, she is worried about their marriage, yes she is more then equipped to run a household, but she knows nothing about men, especially not one as large, brooding and distant as her husband.

Matthew, oh Matthew!! Be still my overly beating heart, honestly I need sedating, he is just….#DoubleSigh!! I don’t have the words for just how amazing this man is, I need my swooning gif…..

Anyway, he may be the finest, most loyal and trust worthy hero I have come across in a long time. For once we have a hero that isn’t complex, his emotions and his responsibilities are in utter turmoil, but he knows what he wants, he wants the best for everyone and he strives to bring peace and clarity. Is there anything more heroic then that? He is genuinely a good man, who has an awful lot weighing on his ridiculously broad shoulders, not only having to deal with the political mess, having to protect those he cares about from any repercussions from what is about to happen and most importantly he wants to make amends and do what is right by Constance…phew, I’m tired just thinking about it all. Do you see how vague, I’m being? Very good reason there is a major plot entwined within this glorious love story, one that I refuse to give away.

What I love about Constance and Matthew more then anything is that they are very relatable and very realistic couple, they are flawed especially after they were pushed together in a marriage of convenience, yet they work, they face a turbulent journey to their HEA but they work through their issues, they do what so few couple is romances do, and they actually talk. Yes there is a spark when they meet, they are both drawn the other because they have both changed so much, they were just kids when they married and now they are in their prime – or how Matthews says to Constance when he first see’s her “You’ve…grown” he says while looking at her bosom. I love that, it’s awkward and funny.

But don’t just think that this is run of the mills love story, oh no! There is a serious and deadly sub plot that will have you perched at the edge of your seat, going “Oooh, eek, wow!” if your a nail biter, you may not have any nails left by the last page.

This book is a testament to just how bloody amazing Jenni Fletcher’s writing is, she has a gift for storytelling, she flawlessly entwines a beautiful and enchanting love story with passionate historic detail, you become immersed in their world. Her passion for era come through her writing with such clarity, you are transported to the Medieval era through the strong and accurate details, and you fall in love with her beautiful and realistic dialogue, this is stunningly perfect!

Oh, and before I forget, do read the historical notes at the front and the back, they are so enlightening.

This was a Arc from the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Jenni. x

This glorious book is out today, and can be purchased from Amazon and I cannot recommend it enough, so grab a copy while you can.

#Review | A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval #AParisFairyTale #Romance @MarieLaval1 @ChocLituk

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Hello my lovely readers! Today I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval, this book is just as enchanting as the title and the cover suggest, and I can’t wait for you all to fall in love with it as much as I have, so grab a cuppa, sit back and let me transport you to beautiful France.

A wonderful new book from the author of the best selling novel, Little Pink Taxi

Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine. 

As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other. 

But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

OMG! This book, I am absolute love with it! There are not enough words to really do justice to how wonderful this book is. With a will they won’t they romance, mystery, adventure, twists and turns, plus add in some beautiful French scenery and you have a perfect story. This is proper fairy tale, but with a stonking great twist. with a young woman with self confidence issues wanting to believe that there are prince charming’s in the world, yet she is a realist and is far to old to believe in white knights on trusty steeds. But what about rough around the edges, leather clad Frenchmen, who come rolling in on a motorbike? 😉

Aurora Black (Is that the most gorgeous name, or what?) is a workaholic art historian/palaeographer, she has worked hard to get to the position she is in but she strives to step out of the shadow of the shining light of her illustrious grandfather and be recognised as being good at her job in her right, not just because she is related to the great Palaeographer; Augustus Black , always putting her career first before anything else, especially love. She has gained a nickname of ‘Black Ice’ for her frosty and no-nonsense persona, and because she won’t let anyone close enough to melt the ice that surrounds her heart, she thinks that because she believes she isn’t very pretty (Come on what woman doesn’t think the same?) and her limp, what man would be interested in her? – Oh, Aurora how wrong you are!

When she is offered the job to authenticate one of the rarest medieval documents around, Aurora jumps at the chance to show that she can do the job. She definitely has not gone to France to have a sordid affair with a handsome Frenchman, no matter what her grandmothers nurse says. She is there in a professional capacity only, she is far too bust with her work. No matter that Paris is the city of love and romance, she has lost all self confidence in not just herself but in her image too, my heart break for her at times, she genuinely does think that she is grotesque just because of the scars she carries from a car accident. She has sunk into the deep dark shell and hides who true beauty from the world behind her glacial façade, but she doesn’t expect one man to see past that, a prince charming perhaps?

I think every woman will see themselves in Aurora, she is one of those characters that so many people can relate to in some way, I know I do, there are so many little things about her, that just got me think; OMG, that is so me!! I love how she is in her thirties instead of being a young whipper-snapper, its so refreshing to finally have a heroine who isn’t perfect, who has her own flaws who has her own body hang ups that she so desperately wats to hide, she is the real woman’s heroine. Thank you Maire for bringing such a wonderful lady to the world!

Adventurer and journalist; Cedric Castel – Oh goodness me, do I love this guy or what? He is in Paris to finally uncover and catch the people behind a huge story he has been working on, I won’t give too much away is a huge part of the plot and I am not going to spoil the beautiful story for you all, but I will say that it involves a nasty as hell Russian art collector and the project Aurora has been asked to work on, plus a few other aspects that are all connected – but that’s it my lips are sealed!!

I love that Cedric – even though he has his own issues, he has darkness surrounding him too, he instantly sees Aurora, he may not instantly like her as he is suspicious of her involvement in the story he is covering but his is fascinated by her. As well as being ridiculously handsome, I mean swoon-worthy gorgeous; those amber eyes can make any woman with breathe in her body to melt like ice cream on a hot day, but I loved his real cheeky, lovable rogue persona, he is fun, enigmatic and brooding as well as serious and there is a real romantics soul hidden away. I just adore this man, I need this leather clad, biker in my life – sigh!

Cedric who believes Aurora is in on the nasty scheme begins to shadow her, which doesn’t go well with her as they didn’t exactly meet on the best terms, he can’t read her and judge her character like he can others as she is so closed off and she finds his far too irritating, yet neither of them can deny that there is an attraction there, there is buzz between them. So between them as well as the mystery that they are both embroiled in they both must learnt o over come each of their own personal issues that run deep, that keeps them both from moving forward and to learn to trust and love.

It’s no secret, that I am a huge fan of Marie Laval’s work, she has a unique and magical writing voice, that is definitely one of a kind as there are very few authors that can match her flawless writing. This is a fast paced, engaging and mesmerising story with a delightful romance, the characters are beautifully developed and are completely relatable, they have a lovely chemistry, you can feel their attraction each other sizzle of the page. The plot is highly original, suspenseful, the settings and scenery is just stunning and its all wrapped up with a charming fairy tale-esque bow, I love it!

This was an Arc via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Liz. x

You can grab a copy of A Paris Fairy Tale now at Amazon, and do go and get yours now!

#Review | No Stone Unturned (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries #1) by Pam Lecky #NoStoneUnturned #TheLucyLawrenceMysteries #HistoricalFiction #VictorianMystery @pamlecky

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Hello my lovely friends! Today I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the amazing book with you all, I can tell you now that everyone is going to be talking about The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries….if you love the likes of Sherlock Holmes or Ripper Street, with a brilliant leading lady, then this is the book you need to read. So grab yourself a cuppa and let me introduce you to Lucy Lawrence.

A suspicious death, stolen gems and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?

London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.

When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?

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Before I share my review, check out the Trailer for No Stone Unturned, I love it!

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My, oh my!! What a fantastic book, my goodness I absolutely loved it!! I couldn’t put it down, I was turning the pages at lightning speed, I was completely gripped by the drama that was unfolding before my eyes. Honestly I don’t think I have the adequate words to fully describe just how blooding brilliant this book is, I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this book and here it is and it is amazing!

So this is the first of this whole new series; The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries – I think the series title itself, gives it away why I love this book so much – I am hoping that this will be a long running series, as I can see many adventures a head of Lucy and off course Phin… I can’t wait for more, I am not the most patient of people so waiting for the second instalment is going to be pure agony, I will just have to re-read this one.

London 1886, Lucy Lawrence is not quite happily married, she has a adventuresome and wild soul and doesn’t do well with sitting at home knitting, but seeing as they are practically broke and because of her marriage her family have cut her off she is a bit stuck. Then she gets the worst news that any woman could get, her husband Charlie has been found dead in what is said to be a tragic accident; he apparently fell under the wheels of a coach. But the more trouble part of this is he was supposed to be in Scotland, so why was he in London? Which is when she meets charming and intriguing Mr Phineas Stone, who is far more then he appears. Phin is brilliant, he is a perfect mysterious hero; dashing, intriguing, intelligent, he is more then just the handsome investigator, but where does this charmer come in? Secrets and lies start spilling, one thing leads to another and Lucy is stuck in the midst of a theft investigation and ends up with one of the most ruthless London gangsters after her. But why is this Mr Marsh after her? What has her late husband got to do with it all and more importantly who does she trust?

I instantly liked Lucy, she is a one of those characters that you can’t help but like, she has been through the mill our Lucy, but she has such a strength of character, she has a adventurers heart and a whip smart mind that you can see turning and she shines when the investigation really gets going. I love the hint of a romance, and the ending does intrigue make you wonder about what will happen in the future between them.

The tension in every scene ripples, you feel everything it is a like a mist swirling around, your not sure what is going on, like Lucy you are only seeing snippets through the fog which builds up as the story goes along, and then boom, like a steam train the intrigue and the mysteries start unravelling and your like; “Woah, is this really happening? Where did that come from?”

This is a stunning book, the story is a edge of your seat game of cat and mouse, it has everything you would ever want from a historical; fantastic characters, thrilling heart stopping chases, excitement, a dash of a romance, intrigue and its deeply atmospheric. Each scene is so perfectly detailed the reader literally falls into the book, it’s like your standing in the Victorian era with Lucy. As the story is written in Lucy’s point of view, the reader goes on the same journey of discovery as her, it really is brilliantly engaging.

Honestly, I cannot say enough great things about this, It is definitely one of the best books of the year with out a doubt!

I don’t usually give my reviews rating’s, I prefer my review to speak for it’s self and to show what I thought of a book, but this is the rare exception, this is far more then a mere 5 star book this is a whopping 10 star….can you have 10 stars? Well I am giving this a 10 star rating!

If you love your historical, if you love a good old fashioned mystery, with a brilliant heroine then this is the book you need to read, I am telling you now this will end up being a classic.

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much Pam. X

You can grab a copy of No Stone Untuned now from Amazon, and I highly recommend that you do!

#Review | Desires Of Lady Elise; A Regency Novella by Rachel Ann Smith #DesiresOfLadyElise@rachelannsmit11

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Hello everyone, I have the pleasure to be sharing my review of Desires of Lady Elise, which is a lovely debut from Rachel Ann Smith, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Lady Elise knows all too well the risks of falling in love. Her heart was broken by a rake. Instead of hunting for a husband, she helps other ladies escape the nefarious plans of unscrupulous gentlemen.

After a scandal costs Lord Thornston Elise’s hand and heart, he has lived on the fringes of the beau monde. But when his best friend, the Duke of Fairmont, requests his assistance, Thornston is torn. Helping Fairmont means facing the woman who holds his heart and soul.

Succumbing to temptation, Thornston re-enters Society to find Elise still unwed. But as he seeks to reignite her desire for him and earn back her trust, he becomes entwined in one of her investigations. But when events take a dangerous turn, he might lose the woman he loves before he can win her back

This is a lovely quick read, at only 98 pages you can literally read this in one Desires of lady Elise the debut Rachel Ann and from this I can really see a promising future within the historical romance genre and I am sure we are going to be hearing about her for many years to come.

After having her heart broken by a scoundrel years before, she is determined no to suffer again, but instead of going out husband hunting as is what society claim she should be doing, she instead goes out of her way to help ladies escape the clutches of notorious rakehells. But as she helps and rescues other ladies she is still bruised from her own encounter and worst still she still loves the scoundrel who ran off on her all those years ago.

Harold left years before amid scandal, he knows he broke Elise’s heart but he had no choice but to leave, since then he has always been on the outside of the ton looking it. It is only because Elise’s brother has asked Harold for assistance in a certain investigation of his own that makes Harold return to society, only to come face to face with the woman who has been on his mind all these years.

Its not the most taxing story to read, it has a sweetness to it that I found endearing, but there is a bit of intrigue that surrounds Harold and why he left.

My only reservations with this is that there is a lot packed into such a short story, which is what a lot of authors tend to do with novella’s, my personal view is that this would have been better made into a full sized novel, that way the author could have really gone to town and really invested into each characters back story, for example with Harold, I would have loved to know far more about him and his work with the home office and more about his past that led him to b the man that he has become and why he has the reputation that he has. There is nothing better then really delving into the mind of the characters that you are following.

Apart from that and the constant use or ‘my lord/my lady’ which did get a little tiring, this is an impressive debut, it is fast paced, fun and engaging novella. I look forward to seeing what comes next from Rachel Ann, the writing is strong and fluid, there is a real fun feel to it that keeps you reading. Judging by this I have no doubt that she is an author to watch out for in the future, and maybe the next book will be a full length novel which will show her splendid writing off.

This was an Arc from the author in exchange for a honest review, thank you Rachel.

Desires of Lady Elise can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review | The Work Of Art; A Regency Romance by @MimiMatthewsEsq #TheWorkOfArt #ARegencyRomance

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Hello my lovelies, I am so, so excited to be sharing my review of this beautiful book with you all, I am a absolute huge fan of Mimi Matthews, but this is something very special indeed, so grab a cuppa take a seat, try and ignore my babbling and enjoy.

Matthews is a bright, shining star in historical romance…” -Austenprose

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

Well, I am lost for words (I’m sure some will think that a blessing) but really, I am struggling to express just how magical this book is. Everyone knows how much I adore Mimi Matthews work, I have so much respect for her as a writer and I always get a thrill whenever I open another of her books. Each time I read one of her stories I am always blown away, I read her work and as I do, I keep thinking; how can she possibly top what is the peak of perfection and then what happens? Boom; I am once again blown away by her words, if there was ever a title that was perfect for a book, because this is a work of art in its own right. I honestly think that this is the very best I have read by Ms Matthews – which feels a but traitorous towards her other work.

After the death of her grandfather, Phyllida (Philly) must leave her home to live with family which are practical strangers to her, her only companions are her own pack of dogs, which she refuses to leave behind. Unfortunately, she soon realises that now her life isn’t her own she is lonely and unhappy, she thinks that her uncle Edgar has took her to London to find a suitable match. How wrong she is! Because of her uniqueness her uncle has one man in mind for her; the mysterious and notorious, Duke of Moreland, a man who collects all rare and unique things whether that be art work, dogs or people. Her uncle is a despicable human being, he thinks it’s OK to ‘sell’ Philly to the Duke, even though she has been sheltered, she has always done as she is told, she has always been obliging to others; you could say that she is a little naïve to the world, even she knows that marrying the Duke is the very last thing that she should do.

Enter her hero, in not so shining armour, who comes limping in to rescue her; Captain Arthur Heywood, has recently returned wounded from the war, up until now he has always stayed away from society, away from the scathing remarks and backstabbing ton, but Arthur has business in town, with her uncle that he cannot escape from, which is wen he meets the shy, and monopolized; Philly. He is instantly taken with her, as a friend she was kind to him when others treated him like a leper, in her innocent and very subtle way she showed him that there is goodness in this life and not just the darkness that engulfs him at times. On hearing that his little friend is to be more or less forced into marrying the Duke, a man Arthur has heard some terrible things about, he doesn’t the gentlemanly thing and offers marriage.

Alas, their nasty marriage and fleeing London to his estate, doesn’t go down well with others and as you can expect they soon they find that they have danger hanging over their heads, Arthur is determined to protect his new wife at whatever the cost.

I loved Philly and Arthur the moment we meet them, she is a quiet, caring and loyal young woman who just wants to be able to live happily with her dogs, she isn’t made for the ton she is far more at home in the country being able to run free, I can so relate to Philly she has a gentle soul, but I sensed that she had a strength hidden away and that really shines through in those moments when she is quietly encouraging Arthur, when subtly helps him and the way she stand firm beside him.

What struck me most about Philly and Arthur’s romance was that even though their was ‘marriage of convenience’ they started out as genuine friends, they saw something of themselves into the other and that drew them together, it’s a relationship that isn’t all heart-pounding lust, their blossoming romance is formed on a mutual friendship, they learn about each other and as they start to delve into their own feelings and how their marriage could be, so do we readers, we all go on this journey together and I think that is so skilfully and beautifully done, it really brings the reader into the story and into the character’s lives, I really love how this is written.

Honestly thought this book is amazing; what appears to be a very simplistic regency romance about a young woman who needs rescuing and the wounded war hero appears offering the protection of his name; turns out to be far more then the stereotypical marriage of convenience. With a brilliantly vile baddie, manipulative family, tortured war nightmares and an unexpected twist that makes you go; “What? I didn’t see that coming”, The Work of Art is a marvel of regency romance writing.

I have to say that this is a masterpiece of character writing, each one are brilliantly created, whether that be the sweet and loving Philly and Arthur, the arrogantly horrible; Moreland and Edgar and the cackling banshees that are Elizabeth and Lady Elliott – who really can give the evil Duke a run for his money at being a sadist. But really it is the connection and blossoming romance between Arthur and Philly that keep you hooked and turning the pages, they are an adorable, shy, realistic couple.

Overall a charming, beautifully written, character driven romance, with a dash of intrigue, I cannot recommend this more, it is utterly perfect. I love it, absolutely utterly love it!

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Mimi and apologies the late review. x

The Work of Art is to be released on 23 July and can be pre-ordered at Amazon and I do say go and order it.

#Review | Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance (The Sommersby’s Brides #4) by Laurie Benson #MrsommersbysSecondChance #TheSommersbyBrides @LaurieBwrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the incredible; Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson. To say I have been excited about this book is an understatement and I am so pleased to say that this is a stunner…I may waffle on a wee bit, which I apologise for, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs Clara Sommersby thinks handsome self-made businessman Mr William Lane is just the man for her neighbour’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if somewhat emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this dashing younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

Well, what to say about this, other than; My goodness, I love it, its absolute perfection!!! This ladies and – I think there maybe some – gents, is how you write a Regency romance. Laurie Benson, I bow down to you!!

I will attempt to put my scattered thoughts in order and write a proper review without too mush gushing, long sighing pauses and over the top waffling, but really with this beauty I make no promises that I won’t just talk for an hour about how gorgeous Lane is and how brilliant Humphrey is when trying to hump a plant pot…you have to read it, but I think all us dog owners have been in Clara’s shoes a time or two. 😉

So, this is the final book **Sobs and sniffles** in what has been a wonderful series, I will admit that personally the previous book was a little hit and miss for me and I did feel bad about writing a not as glowing review, but i have vowed to be honest but apart from that i have absolutely adore this series. It has been such a joy to get to know the Sommersby ladies over the course of the four books, they have become a little like family now I have spent so much time with them and I am very say sad to let them go….I just don’t want to, surely there is more Sommersby’s out there somewhere?. Long lost cousins four times removed or something….hint, hint 😉

Anyhow, so this is book four and as i always say, you can very easily read this as a stand-a-lone as well as part of the series, but i do say start from the start and get to know all the characters. For me it has been Clara who has been the star of each one, there was always something about older woman that just caught my attention, she is brilliantly funny, independent and insightful. I was very happy when i heard that she was going to get a story of her own. It has been a wait, for someone who doesn’t even like to wait in queue in a shop then wait for Clara’s story was agony, but worth it, because this is a doozy!

Set in the beautiful city of Bath, self made man; William Lane is there doing research for his newest business idea, he is set to propose to his business partner a certain man called Hart, I’m sure others will recognise that gent. While there he is very reluctant to try out the famous healing waters, when he catches the twinkling eye of Mrs Clara Sommersby. He is instantly enthralled by the enigmatic woman – and let me just say that his thoughts aren’t exactly angelic, they do concern hot baths and glistening bare skin 😉 Clara takes a instant shine to the younger man, but obviously she doesn’t think of him in that way, she is far too ‘old’, for a start she has other things to occupy her mind, a bit of matchmaking. Her and good friend the Dowager Duchess of Lyonsdale start to match make Clara’s neighbours daughter; Harriett. Clara has an idea that a certain Mr Lane would be perfect for the younger, shy woman. The problem with that, is William Lane has his beady eye set on someone else completely; why would he want a shy little cub when he can have the lioness instead? I love how there is an instant attraction between Clara and Lane, their blossoming romance builds up in such a beautiful natural way, they are such an adorable couple who you just know are made for one and other.

William Lane, oh, William!! Could there be a more perfect (for me) hero? I don’t think it is a surprise that I find the self made, hard working man alluring. He didn’t have the best of starts in life, being raise in a Foundling Hospital, which by all accounts were just awful, some were no better then the workhouse. But, with true grit and determination to make something of himself, he pulled himself out of the gutter and now he is a business man in his own right, he has got the most brilliant mind, he see’s things in ways which others are just blind to. But there is a vulnerable part of him, the part that still sees the world from the Foundling Hospital, the part that stills believes he isn’t good enough. He is so self assured, so independent; so when he does need help from others -aristocrats especially – it does irk him. I can really relate to this man, everything about his character speaks to me, he is just a wonderful, honourable, loyal and gentle man. Who needs a title when you have a brain?

This book is such a joy to read, I love that our leading couple are older then your average Mills and Boon/Harlequin couple, as Lane is 37 and Clara 45, I found that to be such a refreshing change. Its about time and I do hope that this will the start of more stories with older leads, instead of all the young whipper-snappers – Hmmm, I sounded like my Gran there! Another aspect of this book that I love, is that it shows that having children are not crucial to have a happily ever after, that if anything in the book spoke volumes to me.

As ever the thing that I really picked up from this, as do from any of Ms Benson’s books; is her passion for the Regency era, you get a real sense that she genuinely adores this period of history, she pours her heart into creating a realistic, charming and expressive world for us all to fall into. Another thing that did catch my attention with this, is her subtle ways of incorporating all the senses, it really brings the story and the characters alive, you visualise everything in your mind as though you were sitting in Clara’s hotel garden with them smelling the roses. I love it!

Over all this is an enchanting, mesmerising and captivating love story that meticulously weaves solid historical details with a charming second chance romance. I honestly cannot recommend this more, there isn’t a single thing that I dont like about this.

Perfect!

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Laurie. x

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance is to be released on the 25th July and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.