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 Kathleen Trenear didn’t know the man she’d married. She thought she had because of their courtship, but her husband’s true likeness was revealed after the I Do’s. Still, despite that, she loves his younger sisters and wants to protect them from the likes of our unsavory hero, the new heir, a scoundrel more likely to toss them out then be familial.
Hero: Devon Ravenel did not, I repeat, did not want the earldom. So of course he plans to sell it once it’s revealed the estate is up for renewal of it’s entailment. This surprises his lawyers, but not the late earl’s (his despicable cousin) widow.
Review: Much of the romance was apparently fielded through acerbic and tongue-in-cheek letters, which the reader only gets a small glimpse of. There’s a lot of page time in place for the next book in the series delivering readers a proud cit and a “poor” gentry girl in what I am sure is to be a Beauty and the Beast spin. I wasn’t too thrilled about this because I felt that Kathleen and Devon needed more screen time to develop their bond, but by the end I was digging the other pair. I also like the brother and how he goes from an unsavory sort to a better man, changing his habits, appearance, and laziness.
Narrator: I enjoyed listening to Mary Jane Wells. She had a good range of voices. I liked how she was able to portray one character in two ways as he himself changed in character.
Buy: Cold-Hearted Rake
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)
Heroine: Lucy Merryweather is an American heiress. She’s also a spinster, a runaway, and a burgeoning adventuress intent on fulfilling most of her great aunt’s bucket list.
Hero: Cameron Effington, the youngest son of a duke, and a journalist with lofty intentions of writing a book, meets Lucy and his identity is mistaken for that of a bodyguard/private investigator. He continues the charade because Lucy is a great muse.
Review: I loved the exploits (listed below to reduce unintentional spoilerage). They were fun and cute and risque for the period (some of them anyway). Lucy is a wonderful heroine who combines sense with adventure. Does she trust the hero too quickly and without references, of course, but she does so to keep her own runaway adventures a secret from her folks for as long as possible. Cameron is a sweet and sexy protector. I enjoyed the pairing very much.
Narrator: Gemma Dawson is very good. I loved the voices she created for the story. Dawson exhibited nice pacing. I would listen to her again. She’s definitely a candidate for being one of my favorite readers.
Buy: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress
Exploits: painted nude, hot air balloon flight, ride an elephant, enter a gentlemen’s club, get a dog, make an unexpected friend, travel to England, dance with a prince
LADY SOPHIE’S SOCIETY SPLASH
The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…
When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.
ROYAL ROGUE’S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!
The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!
Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.
WAR? OR MORE?
He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…
Top Ten Hero Alert!! King is one of my favorite heroes. I LOVED HIM! He doesn’t want to be a good guy, he doesn’t want to help Sophie, and he wants to push her away. He sticks his foot in his mouth multiple times and then berates himself for being horrible. He’s dragged into his emotions one moment at a time.
Top Ten Heroine Alert !! I rarely say I love a heroine the way I love a hero. Sophie is witty, strong, and self-sufficient. I love how she can match the hero in wits.
One of my favorite moments in the book:
“You left my Hessian in a hedge.”
“You left me in a hedge.”
“I had no use for you.”
“Well, I had no use for your boot.”
Buy: The Rogue Not Taken: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book I