The Romance Reviews is running a Summer Party all month with lots of giveaways each day, and an ongoing contest where you can rack up points each day for a bigger prize. I’ve got a copy of Nice Tie up for grabs in today’s giveaway – scroll down to question 13. Yes, it’s a multiple-choice question, but since the answer’s in the blurb for the book, it’s not exactly difficult. :-)
Courtney Milan has “The Duchess War” on offer as a freebie – this is the first novel in a series of Victorian romances. *Feminist* Victorian romances that are alphole-free zones, and have scientists, engineers and sundry other geeks as heroines and heroes. (One of them is dedicated to Rosalind Franklin. This has a direct connection to the theme of the book.) I think they are awesome, even if I have failed to review them properly yet. I think a lot of you would also find them awesome.
It’s Victorian London, and wealthy young gentleman Giles Fullerton is still grieving a year after the death of the man he loved, his grief made worse by the need to conceal it. He deals with the emotional pain by walking the streets through the night, until he can face sleep. Young lamplighter John Banks knows a thing or two about grief himself. He loved his wife dearly, even though he’s gay, and has missed her each day since her death. The young gentleman who wanders his route on so many nights may have attracted his attention with his good looks, but John can see that something drives him into the night. Enough so that at last John speaks to him, concerned for his safety. Curiosity about John’s job of lighting and dousing the streetlamps provides something for Giles to focus on outside his grief.
There’s companionship of a sort in a stranger to speak to, and gradually the two young widowers reveal more about themselves to each other in their conversation each night; first in coded and deniable references to their grief, and then more openly. Enough so that they finally act on their attraction. But this is Victorian London, and a relationship is barred by more than their being both men; the social gulf between them would be every bit as shocking to society, and moreover puts them at far greater risk of exposure than if they could meet as equals. Will they both have the courage to find a way through to a chance at happiness?
This is a gentle, slow romance, and all the better for it. It’s a lovely short novella with a pair of well drawn, appealing main characters and some good secondary characters, and a sex scene that adds to the emotional development rather than being there to make up the word count. One for my re-read list.
Available free to members of the Heroes and Heartbreakers website, or you can pay a modest sum to get a nicely formatted ebook with a gorgous cover.
Regency romance anthology with linked novelettes by four authors, set in a small village one Christmas. The Duke’s Arms of the title is the village pub, but there is a real duke as well, plus an earl or two. I’ve left it too late to write a proper review of this one, alas, but Azteclady’s written a good review. I don’t agree with her ratings on each story, but that’s a reflection of the variety in the stories – if you like historical romances, there’s a good chance at least one of these novelettes will work for you.
Chicklit mystery set in Los Angeles. Maddie Springer is a young fashion designer who tries to track down her lawyer boyfriend when he goes missing, and finds herself in the middle of embezzlement and murder. I nearly stopped reading on the first page, wherein Maddie describes her behaviour on the freeway when she’s late for a meeting with her boyfriend. Almost causing an accident by cutting into lanes and doing her make-up in the mirror at high speed was presumably supposed to make her look adorably ditzy, but I simply found it loathsome. I did keep reading, but it coloured my view of the character for the rest of the book.
It’s an odd one for me. The mystery plot was enjoyable if predictable, and there were things I liked a lot, with some good supporting characters; but it was hard work getting to the end and if it had been a paper edition I would have probably been high-speed skim-reading. No more than a two star for me and I’m not inclined to try anything else by this author, even if I can see why other people were bowled over by it.
Why yes, I *am* going through my email backlog… Here is a message from our sponsors about a one day sale. It covers Loose Id’s entire catalogue, and you may find a selection of my delightful romances at my Loose Id author page.
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Gacked from BookBub: Carolyn Jewel’s historical m/f romance Scandal is free until Jan 1. I read this during my binge on Regency romance earlier this year, and enjoyed it — it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, but I think worth grabbing as a freebie to see if you like Jewel’s writing style.