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)
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
Summary: Marcus Bradley, the Marquis of Fleetwood, is angry to find out that his future bride has run off with another man. What’s more he knows the person who helped her elope, a Miss Danielle “Dannie” Strafford, owner of a bookshop called Gretna Green’s Books (which as you might guess helps couples elope to Gretna Green.) If Marcus doesn’t secure a suitably wealthy heiress soon his sister will be forced to wed a horrible man because he hasn’t the funds to break the arrangement. Marcus decides that since Dannie lost him a bride, she’s the perfect person to find him one next.
Review: This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. One of the best scenes is when Marcus forces Dannie to help him kidnap Ginny right out from under her family’s noses and then rush the ill-fated duo to Gretna Green. Dannie of course wishes to sabotage the whole thing and Ginny’s father, the admiral won’t be pleased none if it succeeds! But when Ginny gets kidnapped again, Marcus and Dannie must work together to rescue her. Marcus suffered severely at the hands of his father growing up and has several PTSD symptoms. When he suffers an attack he blacks out. Dannie herself is hiding a secret, she knows even as she falls for Marcus, she’s the heiress he desperately needs. Her dowry would be enough for him to save his sister. Overall, a fun series of madcap antics.
Buy: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After series)
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: Phoebe Marlow has a good head on her shoulders and sees the ton’s foibles for what they are. She’s also an aspiring writer who just finished penning a marvelous Gothic romance with cameos of different persons in the ton. She makes her bad guy the insufferable Duke of Salford and unwittingly creates his fictional character with a background very close to the real Sylvester. When Sylvester makes a good impression on her after the book is sent to the publishers, she’s desperate to change it but it’s too late!
Hero: Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, doesn’t remember meeting Phoebe the first time. He’s always prided himself on upholding the title with pride and dignity. To treat anyone ill is beneath him and his station. He decides the best way to get back at Phoebe for her slander is to marry the girl, but he goes about it all wrong and botches everything.
Review: In some respects you could say Sylvester is like Mr. Darcy, but they are not exact copies. Loved Sylvester’s nickname for Phoebe, “sparrow.” Super cute. I love a great nickname. I also liked the dynamics of the story. You have several side characters who add to the story’s tapestry and orchestrate all kinds of shenanigans from an ill-behaved nephew, a spoiled woman who wants the attention from being a pitiable mother without having to mother, a man as pompous as he is wealthy, and a platonic male friend who tries to do right but ends up making a mess of things because he lacks the savvy Sylvester was born with. Overall very enjoyable.
Narrator: Nicholas Rowe has a nice smooth voice. The recording is a little soft and I had to listen to it at higher volume than I normally would, but Rowe himself was great. He had a good cadence with the book and made Heyer’s novel entertaining and engaging.
Buy: Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle (audio book)