Hero: Alexander Foakes, Earl of Sheffield, looks just like his twin, and like his twin, he’s a rakehell. His twin is just more charming. Alex meets a mysterious lady at a Cyprian’s ball, seduces her, takes her virginity (surprise!), and follows her too late to discover who she is… fast forward and now he’s a father and a widower, having married a woman who cheated on him repeatedly. He’s got ISSUES.
Heroine: Lady Charlotte Daicheston allows her friend to badger her into going to an ill-advised and unchaperoned party with a “parson” who gets the two women drunk and tries to make out with the friend. Charlotte spies a handsome stranger and
her passion the alcohol overrules her natural inhibitions. She finds out she likes sex, but a lady shouldn’t, and she berates herself for it. She’s got ISSUES.
Review: The cover! Oy! Terrible. The original in paperback isn’t much better (which I realized too late that I owned, although unread).
The heroine’s situation in how she met the hero should be a lesson for all. Please be aware if the person you are with has been incapacitated by alcohol. Don’t assume just because you do not know them that this is normal behavior, not even if you’re at a ball/party/bar. Ask permission. Pay attention.
Now when Alex and Charlotte are behaving like rational people the story is great. I love his persistent courting of her. I love how he tenderly cares for her before and after his proposal. I love when the twin comes back and the rumors start flying. BUT when they’re not behaving well, it’s all kind of wack-a-doodle… and it’s mostly Alex who is the dunderhead. I normally love angst, and big misunderstandings, but Alex crosses a line. For that, this romance shows it’s age.
Narrator: I listened to and rejected a lot of audio books because of Susan Duerden’s narration in the offered sample. Somehow I accidentally chose this book without realizing she also narrated it. I’m happy to say that her sample pieces aren’t the end-all be-all of her voice work and that she was better than my expectations.
Buy: Potent Pleasures (The Pleasures Trilogy)
Heroine: Lady Clara Fairfax receives too many proposals. (If only we all had this problem.) Men from the ton all seem to be proposing, but none of them interest her. She’s smart and she wants a man she can hold a true conversation with and discuss important matters.
Hero: Oliver Radford is a barrister that is too smart for his own good because he often sticks his foot in it. Although he normally doesn’t care, because he knows he’s right. He can’t afford to let Clara overrule his judgement, but he can’t seem to help it.
Review: I didn’t like this one very much at all. It was hard to like the hero. He’s too condescending, gives back-handed compliments, and renders apologies that are negated by the next words out of his mouth. I don’t think I would feel so antagonistic toward him if it wasn’t for the fact that it was an audio book. I don’t really fault the narrator, it’s just the difference between being able to skim read and having to listen to every word. At least the heroine repeatedly tosses his words back into his face. I did enjoy how he had to argue for her hand with her parents, that was fun.
Narrator: Kate Reading has some great lower London voices. I like her children voices quite a lot for the side characters like Squirrel.
Buy: Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers Series)
Summary: Heiress Millicent Shelby has crushed on Lord Marcus Clearbrook since she was a young girl. Knowing that their age differences could pose a problem, Milli devises a plan to win him. But life doesn’t always go according to plan.
Review: Because Milli comes across so young it’s hard to imagine that she’s ready for love and marriage. She is a tenderhearted girl who gets her feelings bruised by Marcus on more than one occasion. This romance took a long time to get off the ground for me because of the May/December aspect. I usually love it but there was a lot of “He’s thinks of me like a child” and “You’re not my papa!” when he would scold her recklessness. Overall I liked Marcus, had more trouble with Milli the ninny.
Quote: Lord Hughmont and Lord Knightengale kiss better than that!
Narrator: Pearl Hewitt created a very young Millie that was hard to listen to with it’s breathy airhead quality. I think I may have been able to like Milli more if she hadn’t been so flighty sounding.
Buy: The Mischievous Bride (The Clearbrooks Book 4)
Summary: Melina Parker has been dumped again for being the opposite of what a man desires in the bedroom. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing wrong. Enlisting the help of one of her close friends, a trusted playboy with a heart of gold, she plans to get practical hands-on experience to improve her future performances. Little does she know that Max Dalton plans to substitute his twin brother Rhys for the sexual teaching/awakening.
Review: Max got in the way of Melina and Rhys when they were in high school and has felt bad ever since. Rhys hasn’t ever really moved on, so when Max is propositioned by Melina to turn her into a sex diva he jumps on board in hopes of making amends. It’s little work to convince Melina to drop the spectacles and push his brother into the hotel room. Once the door is shut the rest is on them. This story starts off very sexy but derails a bit as the story progresses. I found future scenes between the two lacking that initial heat and passion. A lot of time is devoted to unraveling the threads of the past, getting over hurt feelings, and then figuring out if the relationship is worth it. (Max and Rhys are traveling magicians; Melina wants 2.5 kids and a white picket fence.)
Buy: Bedding The Wrong Brother (Bedding the Bachelors, Book 1)
Heroine: Lady Clarice Langham is in the unenviable position of watching the future Duke of Strathmore wed another woman. (She used to be engaged to the the man). Even being an heiress and a previous ton favorite doesn’t shelter her from vicious gossip and a waning society crown.
Hero: David Radley is the eldest son of the current Duke of Strathmore, but is alas illegitimate even if he is recognized by the duke. He’s loved Clarice for years and sees now as the perfect time to pledge his case.
Review: I think this book is better after having read the first in the series. Readers will have more background on Clarice and David. Clarice did not come across as a strong heroine, although I think she was meant to be because of her inner strength holding onto a secret. She felt drab and plain (she binds her body.) I could not connect with her. David was a good sort. He didn’t envy his younger brother the status of heir to the dukedom and he had a good relationship with his siblings.
Buy: An Unsuitable Match: Destiny Romance