Review: Lady Vivian Defies a Duke (Beau Monde, Book 4) by Samantha Grace

lady vivian defies a dukeHeroine: Lady Vivian Worth refuses to be held to the standards of proper etiquette when nobody is around to witness her behavior. This lands her in hot water when a stranger finds her swimming in her chemise. Of course, it is not just any stranger but the right-hand man of her finance. She must now convince him she is a properly behaved bride-to-be and hope he will not tell the Duke of Foxhaven otherwise. Maybe if she can make him believe the stranger he met by the water wasn’t her! Yes, that sounds like a plan.

Hero: Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven, is not supposed to be visiting his bride-to-be, but his steward. However, an attack of conscious bid him to come and explain to his fiancée that he can’t marry her… in person. The woman he meets at the water ends up being the woman his late father betrothed him to and she is a hoyden! His plans for his life rapidly take a turn toward the marriage mart, but he tries to set her up with another man despite his growing he-man inclinations to claim Vivian for himself. Eventually, he can’t imagine her marriage with anyone but him…

Review: This book is funny and cute with lots of mix-ups and outlandish behavior abound! I love how Luke defends Vivian to her hometown at the picnic and partners with her even when he is inclined to break their engagement. He can’t picture her wedded to any gentlemen but himself, because all others would seek to crush her spirit, a spirit he greatly admires. He struggles with the love he’s rapidly falling into and while the waters are tricky, they are worth it. Vivian knows this is her last chance, because of the position she was caught in before with a stableman. She sees Luke’s request as a challenge to change his mind and the more she gets to know him the more she wants this betrothal to stick. A series of mishaps and the machinations of a few characters almost break apart the romance, but luckily both characters know what their love is worth! No long drawn out misunderstanding here!

Rating: ★★★★½

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Rakes: Wine, Women and Drugs – Or Did Their Wives Really Drive Them to It?

rake rogueGuest blog by Sandra Scholes

Which came first? The rakish behavior or the wife?

In modern day society if you marry, it’s usually for love and mutual interest. So a husband cheated on his wife, they are all sorts of names under the sun. If he had cold feet about the seriousness of a permanent commitment, then he could have called it off. However, in the Regency or Victorian eras, it was a different story. Back then the sons of rich families had to marry and have heirs who would carry on the family title whether it was Lord, Baron or Earl. They had no choice in the matter, because usually parents arranged the matches as soon as they were considered to be of age.

While there was some courting, he would never be allowed to date her as they do today. A man’s closest relationship with the opposite sex was probably his mistress. The rules for interaction were different between a man and a mistress then with a genteel lady. With a mistress the man could have love, emotional comfort, and most of all–regular sexual relations. Interactions with his lady wife would not be as open or passionate.

In many cases, wives wanted their husbands to see a mistress, to relieve them of marital duties they found unpleasant or disruptive to their day-to-day lives. (As long as he was discrete!) In that case, it could be said that the wife drove the husband into the life of being a rake. What do you think? Is it possible that the rake’s debauchery, constant thrill-seeking, and drug usage could be linked back to his wife? Or do you think rakish behavior started well before marriage?

Twins – Similar or Dissimilar?

by Amelia Grey, guest blogger and author of A Gentleman Never Tells

Good morning! Thank you for having me at the fabulous site of Love Passion Romance. I’m thrilled to be here and to talk a little about my new book A Gentleman Never Tells.

Several books ago, I decided I wanted to do heroes who were twins, but I had to wait for the right opportunity and it finally arrived. The set up for the twins came in my last book An Earl to Enchant. There are no twins in my family so I don’t have much to go on from personal experience as to  how twins interact, so I started asking around from people who had known twins and the information was widely varied as you can imagine.

Also, I recently read another blog where an author had done some historical research about twins in the early 1800s. She alluded to the fact there wasn’t much in the way of research to gather which is what I had concluded. So with that in mind, I quickly decided that I needed to tell the twins’ older brother’s story first. That would give me more time to know if I wanted my twins to have a lot in common, other than their looks, or be very different.   I knew as I wrote Lord Brentwood’s story, I could also get to know the twins a little better, too.

In A Gentleman Never Tells, Viscount Brent finds himself in a whole lot of trouble.  He’s minding his own business, walking his mother’s Pomeranian in Hyde Park early one morning when a lovely and alluring young lady, walks out of the mist and into his arms. Of course, this is all very much to his liking until they are caught, and he finds out that she is not only another man’s fiancé, she also happens to be the daughter of a powerful duke. And if that wasn’t enough trouble for the Viscount to be in the middle of, he’s lost his mother’s dog, too.

Lady Gabrielle is dependable, sensible, and obedient. That’s why she had accepted the practical, unemotional marriage her formidable father had arranged for her. That’s what those of her kind did—or so she had always believed until early one morning, when her defenses were down, she threw all of her upbringing away for the chance to spend a few passionate moments in the arms of a handsome stranger.

But kissing the stranger didn’t free Lady Gabrielle. She only thwarted the shackles of one arranged betrothal to immediately find herself stuck in yet another forced engagement.  The strong-willed lady isn’t going to give up her freedom so easily. She has plans that her father and Lord Brentwood don’t know about and scandal and mishaps becomes the order of the day while Gabrielle and Brent scour London to find a notorious dog thief.

So do you think the Brentwood twins should be mirror images of each other in personalities as well as looks or completely different? Let me know for a chance to win one of two copies of A Gentleman Never Tells.  Good luck!

Please visit my website at ameliagrey.com or email me at ameliagrey@comcast.net for more information about me and my books.

A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS BY AMELIA GREY—IN STORES JULY 2011

A stolen kiss from a stranger…

As if from a dream, Lady Gabrielle walked from the mist and into Viscount Brentwood’s arms. Within moments, he’s embroiled in more scandal than he ever thought possible…

Can sink even a perfect gentleman…

Beautiful, clever, and courageous, Lady Gabrielle needs Brent’s help to get out of a seriously bad situation. But the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels about ruining his life…

Enter the unforgettable world of Amelia Grey’s sparkling Regency London, where a single encounter may have devastating consequences for a gentleman and a lady…

Buy: A Gentleman Never Tells, A Gentleman Never Tells (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Winner of the Booksellers Best Award and the Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, Amelia Grey’s books have sold in Europe, Russia and China.  Married for twenty-five years to her high school sweetheart, she has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and now calls Panama City Beach, Florida, home. For more information, please visit www.ameliagrey.com.

GIVEAWAY! I have 2 copies of A Gentleman Never Tells for giveaway. That means 2 winners. Hurray! This giveaway is open for US and Canadian readers/addresses only. To enter answer Amelia’s question about the Brentwood twins. Last day to enter: July 15, 2011.

Review: The Silver Squire by Marry Brendan

Marry a horrible abusive philandering man or risk absolute ruin by running away? Tough choice… not! Spinster Emma Worthington has waited this long for romance and there’s no way her family’s dire straights will force her into an unwanted marriage to a creep. She packs her bag and races to an old suitor in hopes he’ll renew his proposal. It might not be what she had hoped for out of her life, but it was far better than the alternative.

But meeting the man that became of the old suitor was supremely disappointing. He was obviously a drunkard like her father, drowning the memories of his late wife. His children were not the nice polite kids they were before. And she’s fairly certain the housekeeper is on too friendly of terms with the master of the house. So she dithers on his second proposal and seeks employment as a companion only to find out she sought a position with the mistress of her best friend’s husband’s best friend. Utterly humiliating!

Baron Richard Du Quesne thought he recognized the woman at the mail coach stop but now that he knows Emma is on the lam, he’s determined to save her from herself. His moniker around town is the Silver Squire because he owns most of the city and has enough silver lining his pockets to fund a small country for years. Is it any wonder she can’t hide from him? He’s reputation as a rake ruined his suit and his character in her eyes years ago—something he’ll changed this time around come hell or high water.

I can’t think of the words to describe the writing style of this story, but I’m leaning towards epic and classic with lots of drama and comedy. Emma and Richard bicker a lot, she does silly things to get away from him, thinking he’s as bad as the man her parents want her to marry, and does an extremely TSTL move at the end, but he saves her and so do his friends which is really sweet.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Silver Squire

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Review: The Bartered Virgin by Chevon Gael

The Story: New York City heiress, Winnifred Percy, has been very good about slipping through fortune hunter and marriage seeking fingers. A lie here or there and soon her suitors would disappear. This is exactly was Winn wants because in a few short years she’ll gain full control over the fortune left to her by an ex-prostitute. She longs to see the world and means to explore it with the funds as soon as she can.

That dream is snatched away when one day her father announces her engagement to the Earl of Wolshingham, David Knightbridge. This alliance was created in hopes that David’s peerage connections would do business with the father while at the same time providing David with the means to refurbish his moldering estate back in Great Britain. Like Winn, David is also angry, he was hoping for a loan, not a bride!

But when Winnifred tries to throw him off, David won’t budge. She can curse, smoke, and read all the naughty French diaries she wants, but she will become his bride, unless scandal marks them first.

Review: The premise of the story is cute, and I always like arranged marriages that force the hero and heroine together to work things out, but I found the execution lacking. I had a hard time reconciling both the hero and the heroine to their actions. David in particular at the beginning came across as a bullying beta male trying to be alpha. He gropes the heroine in the first meeting and forces on her a kiss. It wasn’t passionate as much as it was him trying to exert his authority over her, who he thought originally a well-loved tart, and the situation in general. It was a knee-to-groin worthy moment. He changes for the better eventually, but as a hero his first actions colored my view of him for the worse.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Buy: The Bartered Virgin

Review: Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath

Looking for an irresistible historical romance with an unusual twist? You should try Passions of a Wicked Earl. It features an arranged marriage, unrequited turned requited love, enemies to lovers, seduction of a rakehell, and an evil other woman.

Exiled to the country less than twenty-four hours after marrying her husband, Claire Westcliffe knew she deserved it. It didn’t matter that she was unaware of exactly what Westcliffe’s brother and her best friend, Stephen meant to do when he said he’d save her from her wedding night, because she wanted the reprieve. That all changes when her sister comes to her and begs to be given a season in order to avoid marrying the man their father picked for her. For her sister, Claire will brave her husband—his wrath and his bed—because somebody deserved romance.

After the disastrous wedding night, Westcliffe took himself off to London where he cut a swathe through the women (never a married woman or an innocent). It was his way of showing he didn’t care and a way to reaffirm his manliness which was striped away so completely upon the sight of his brother in his wife’s bed. It’s been years and he doesn’t believe there will ever be a reconciliation between them and he’s not sure he even wants one. If he divorces her and marries his current mistress, he knows what he’s getting into – a loveless marriage based on lust.

What he doesn’t count on is Claire. The more she learns about her husband’s true nature, the more she likes him and the more she wants to keep him. His actions were in reaction her own and while those actions were equally wrong, she knew they both had things to be sorry for, and that they could start fresh. But with Westcliffe avoiding her at every turn how was she to get her rakehell of a husband into bed? By seducing him of course!

Spoilers: Now I know what you’re thinking. Claire getting into bed with Stephen is completely inexcusable. How does the reader/hero get past something as morally challenging as that? Would you be able to get past your spouse cheating on you with a sibling? Probably not, but appearances can be deceiving as Westcliffe will find out when he finally consummates his marriage to Claire.

Westcliffe’s confirmed adultery is another morally challenging bit. Can a man like that be sympathetic? Of course he can when Lorraine Heath writes him. Westcliffe hid a broken heart in a string of very public affairs. Claire’s deception was the straw that broke this camel’s back. Westcliffe has always felt unloved. His mother obviously loved his younger brothers, and Stephen was notably the preferred child, but she never warmed up to Westcliffe because of who his father was.

Personally, I liked both the hero and heroine. Their flaws, backgrounds (morally challenging bits and all), and personalities just worked for me and I really enjoyed their romance. It was sexy, passionate, and sweet.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Passions of a Wicked Earl

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Review: Bride in a Gilded Cage by Abby Green

When Rafael Romero was 18 he found himself engaged to an 8 year old. The idea of being trapped in an arranged marriage suffocated him and in rebellion he cut through the ladies always having one on his arm and in his bed. Once he even got engaged on his own terms only to have it end badly. Then on the night of his future bride’s eighteenth birthday he met her for the first time. A kiss forever changed him…

And her as well… but Isobel Miller wasn’t about to admit it. Rafael represents everything she hates about the Buenos Aires aristocracy. He’s a cutthroat tycoon and an amoral creep who suddenly decides he wants this arranged marriage to happen because he sees the merits of a trophy wife. So she runs to Paris and hides out there hoping to be forgotten by the time she turns twenty-one.

I thought it was pretty good. I had some trouble with Isobel’s inner monologue because she was building herself into a tizzy, concentrating on all the negative aspects to the point of making herself nauseous, and feeling sorry for herself. I did like her firebrand behavior though and while it didn’t balance out the inner monologue it made her more palatable.

I liked Rafael. He’s a pretty typical Harlequin billionaire with his playboy past and controlling ways. He’s also considerate and willing to make apologies that cost him nothing and also when they cost something too. As the reader you can easily see where he starts to fall in love with the heroine… if only she had our point of view!

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Bride in a Gilded Cage (Harlequin Presents)

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Review: Never a Bride by Amelia Grey

Lady Mirabella Whittingham has given up on her long lost fiancé. It’s been six years since they got engaged and he ran off to the Americas. It’s no longer important to Mirabella to keep herself perfectly chaste for him, especially when not being so helped her investigate her friend’s death.

Her clues were infinitesimal. All she had to go on was that Sarah danced with him last Season, that he was of average height and looks, and that he had a raised scar on his neck. Kissing her subjects gave her opportunity and access to their necks and practice makes perfect for slipping ones fingers under cravats.

To her utter misfortune her betrothed returns to Britain just after she began her search. Worse yet, Camden Brackley, Viscount Stonehurst, is the only man who inspires anything in her. He’s the one she longs to kiss, the one she wants to marry, but her indiscretions catch up to her immediately and he wants nothing to do with her. (He’s been burned before by another fiancé.)

A betrothal of convenience is agreed upon which will be terminated at the end of the Season, giving Camden time to pull together his finances to save his family and Mirabella a more secure reputation. What Camden doesn’t expect is that he will fall in love with his betrothed. Her infidelity should have repulsed him, but her explanation of her actions (not the truth) humbled him.  But he knows despite his feelings he could never accept her… he wants a faithful fiancé/wife… and nothing less would do… or would it?

Rating: 3

Buy: Never a Bride

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