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
Summary: Marcus Danvers, the Marquis of Wolverstone, is a great big rake. He has been since the love of his life ran off to marry an older titled man. Marcus knows without a doubt that the Contessa Sabine Orsini is trouble, but he can’t resist her when she waltzes back into his life demanding his help. He gives it in exchange for her presence in his bed. It’s a deal Sabine is more than willing to make in order to get her revenge on the man who ruined her parents and her only chance of happiness.
Review: I found it difficult to like either the hero or heroine. He was an entitled prig. She was a cold fish. Then, just when they started to get enjoyable, Sabine runs off to the villain in a classic TSTL move, which was painful to listen to so I sped that part up.
Narrator: The trilogy is narrated as a whole by Marian Hussey. I found her to be a pleasant narrator with good pacing. She can do a nice husky male voice which made the heroes all the more convincing.
Warning/Spoiler: Sabine was raped by the villain, her son is the result of this sad event.
Buy: To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone (Wicked Wagers)
Hero: Baron Sebastian Thorne is the subject of ton gossip ever since he was jilted at the altar. It doesn’t help that his sister was also jilted. The ton wonders if there’s something wrong with them — because their father was mad — and if madness runs in the family. Sebastian vows to restore the family’s good name and help his sister.
Heroine: For widowed Lady Helena Prestwick’s proper appearances are deceiving. She is a woman of many secrets. Sold by her father to pay his gambling debts, she live many unhappy years in Scotland. Now independent she’s searching for her other sisters, planning to rescue them all. The two are brought together when Helena (the White Angel) rescues Sebastian from thugs in White Chapel.
Review: The opening sequence when the main characters meet each other is probably my favorite part. I liked the intrigue surrounding the White Angel, who brought relief to the slums through charity. Her man servant is searching brothels for her sister and she’s supposed to stay nearby to help coax her sister out if found. Instead she has an opportunity to save someone and takes it. I love that she takes the role usually reserved for the hero. The pacing of the story is where the novel didn’t work for me. It seemed to plod a long time before it picked up the pace.
Buy: In Bed with a Rogue (Rival Rogues Book 2)
Hero: Patrick Ramsey, needs a woman. She must like children, be good with children, and able to teach children. And Viscount Drakely will get what he needs – a motherness – or a mother and a governess for his three girls (Celia, Helena and Kate), all rolled up into one female. He knows the perfect woman to fill the position – Juliet Hughes, because her family borrowed money to send her to school and to give her a London Season and are indebted to him.
Heroine: Miss Juliet Hughes, was educated at London’s finishing school for young ladies. She’s plain. She’s common. Not at all like her sister, Henrietta, who Patrick thinks is her and the one he wants. He doesn’t bargain for Juliet to be confident, determined, and strong-willed. She is his match and equal in every way and she won’t let him look down on her.
Review: If you like mistaken identities and big misunderstandings, you’ll love Her Secondhand Groom. Juliet tries to tell Patrick he’s wrong but he won’t listen now that he has a plan to put in motion. I liked Juliet’s nickname for Patrick – Lord Presumptuous. She’s a heroine who can call her hero out on his idiocy and pigheadedness. She does it so charmingly too. I liked her relationship with the girls and how they all interacted. About the only thing that doesn’t work is Patrick’s devotion to his dead wife who he later calls manipulative.
Narrator: Louisa Murray has a very nice voice and I enjoyed listening to her narrate the story. She was very lively in her recitations between Juliet and Patrick. I would listen to Louisa again.
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
Buy: Her Secondhand Groom (Groom Series Book 3), Her Secondhand Groom (Audio Book)