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Through the Smoke

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,332 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
A shocking betrayal…

Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last confrontation en
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Montlake Romance
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Sep 17, 2013 Navessa rated it it was amazing

You know that phrase ‘It transcends the form’? That. Holy mother of God, how to do this justice?

This book was nothing like what I’ve come to expect from the genre. There were no flighty females, no intricate descriptions of gorgeous gowns or extravagant house parties, I wasn’t subjected to a lengthy list of the ton and the details of all their various exploits, and nor was I treated to the constant witty banter between the female lead and the hero. Novak managed to avoid every single overused tr
Khanh (the Grinch)
Actual rating: 4.5

Jericho fucking Barrons, man.

That was literally what popped into my mind within the first few chapters of this book. And thank god for Jericho fucking Barrons, (and this is the most reluctant admittance I will ever make) because thanks to him, I came to appreciate Truman a lot more than I otherwise would have, and I hung onto this book despite my initial reservations as to his character. (And Rachel's character, at that.)

This is Pride & Prejudice meets North & South, th
From the author's notes at the front, she planned this as a gothic-like tribute to Jane Eyre, although my reading experience didn't pick up on any gothic undertones - just a romance with flawed, not so perfect characters and a murder mystery. A mystery that was pretty easy to guess from the get-go.

So there's Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge, whose wife was murdered two years prior in a terrible fire. Truman was pulled out of the fire in the nick of time by his cousin, but remembers nothing of w
Robin (Bridge Four)
4.5 Fantastic Stars!!!

True confession time, my absolute guilty pleasures are books or movies from books by Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte. I’m a sucker for them and probably have seen most movie or made for T.V. adaptions multiple times. Through the Smoke has the feel of one of those novels if they included sex and possibly a murder. Bonus right!

I was hooked from the prologue, right away you learn that the wife of the Earl of Druridge has cheated and become pregnant, he would like to kill her,
Lady Vigilante (Feifei)
DNF. Too boring for me and though I love historical romance/fiction, this one missed the mark.


BR with Christine The Dark Romance Junkie!!!


Sharon L
Sep 23, 2013 Sharon L rated it it was amazing
Before I start this review I need you to understand something, while reading this book a few things happened to me:
I walked on the street with my nose stuck to my phone (where I read the book), I lost sleep, I got on the right bus but missed the right station to get down on and had to walk all the way back, I was late for class, I missed some classes and I hardly listened in the ones I was in.

In short, I was so immersed by the book I forgot about the people around me and the things I needed to
Christina ~ Brunette Reader

No rating, DNF at 25% or so

This was supposed to be a suspenseful read, a sort of old-fashioned Gothic romance, but after having struggled for almost 100 pages hoping to find a spark of interest and become engaged in the story, I decided to give up. I understand the careful building of the setting, I understand a certain vagueness both in delineating the characters and the plot in order to achieve a higher level of mysteriousness... but I also understand the difference between mysterious and "n
"Through the Smoke" is the very first book by Brenda Novak I've ever read and I am quite certain this will not be my last read from her. This wonderful story struck me well in so many ways for its dark tone, Gothic texture, romantic relationship between the two leads, and overarching mystery/suspenseful elements peppered through the narrative.

The story revolves around a bookseller named Rachel McTavish who is confronted by the local Earl of Druridge (Truman) over the events of a fire that kille
Trying to link this to Jane Eyre was very pretentious and made me dislike the book that much more.
Maybe I am hypercritical. I have to admit this is a really unusual historical romance. And some people might like it exactly because of its imperfect characters, the uncommon romance and the historically realistic description of the mining conditions during the industrial revolution era. It just wasn’t for me.

The premise of the supposed mystery:
Two years after his first wife, pregnant with the chi
England, 1838. A fire at Blackmoor Hall kills the pregnant wife of Lord Druridge, but he remembers nothing of the fiery night save his murderous rage at the knowledge that the baby is not his. Did he murder his wife? To avoid the hangman's noose, the Earl must provide proof of his innocence, and he believes that Rachel McTavish, the poor daughter of the local bookseller can help him discover the truth.

So the plot sounded interesting enough, and I was intrigued by reviews that claimed Through th
3.5 stars

Katherine,the beautiful and vicious wife of Truman (the Earl of Druridge) died in a fire. The Earl was rescued but he doesn't recall any of the events that lead to the fire.
It was well known that the child Katherine's was carrying wasn't his.
Who set that room on fire to kill her? All the servants were are church, only Truman was there. Was he capable of murder?

Here enter Rachel, the daughter of former worker on the Earl's coal mine that was accused of setting up the fire. But the Ea
Eva Rose

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Sometimes, I feel like I expect too much out of books. Like this one, it had everything I could have possibly liked but the execution of the story as a whole wasn't really to my liking. I was expecting a Gothic romantic storyline but somewhere along the way all I got was a whole lot of fretting and hand wringing from absolutely every character.

I liked Rachel but she fretted a lot most of the time. Truman was okay but he failed to turn my oven on. I could just not conn
Sep 20, 2013 Mei rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, netgalley
A solid book!
The historical period is very interesting - the beginning of industrial capitalism, in this instance the Wlesh coal mining.
It was interesting to read about the appealing work conditions and more so when I read that women and children were emplyed too. Obviously, I knew it and I've study it, but to find it in a romance novel is very unusual for me!

The heroine, Rachel, has inherited a bookstory from her mother, while her father and brother were miners. One of her brothers died in a mi
Jane Stewart
This was no fun to read. A downer all the way. Bad luck. Stupid actions.

There is also a problem with the AUDIOBOOK. The narrator Justine Eyre did not use a microphone screen. You can hear her breaths.

No one is doing anything that gives me hope or anticipation. I wanted it to be over. The whole thing was a struggle to read and then you have a tiny bit of happiness at the end.

Rachel does not do interesting things or smart things. Several times she goes out alone at night and bad th
The set up
Truman Stanhope, the earl of Druridge, has lived under a cloud of suspicion for two years. His unfaithful wife, Katherine, died in a fire at their manor home and many believe at his hand. Truman has no memory of what happened, only that he was on his way to confront her after learning she was pregnant with someone else's child. He believes Rachel McTavish and her family know who set the fire and he'll use any means to force her cooperation.

The issues
Rachel's father recently died and h
I LOVED this one, provided by netgalley. Just like I did the other two historical romances by this author (Honor Bound and Of Noble Birth, there is a freshness that clearly comes from the contemporary/thriller romances that this author has written, which just bring the plot and the development come alive for me.

Add that to the wonderful, wonderful setting and the rich characters (not just the hero and heroine, but a whole ensemble cast with parts to play), and you get a really quite intense loo
Oct 08, 2013 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
I received an ARC of this book for an honest review. It was fast paced...kept me interested from the beginning all the way to the last page. It was fantastic. The Earl of Drurdige is furious after finding out Lady Katherine his wife has betrayed him and his pregnant with another man's child....He was saved by his cousin Wythe..there are accusations that he is so blame for the fire..He goes into town and speak with Rachel McTavish.....He asks her some questions maybe she knows something....she te ...more
Oct 27, 2013 Keertana rated it really liked it
Brenda Novak’s Through the Smoke is the first historical romance novel I’ve read in awhile now. After a string of misses, I have refused to touch this genre with a ten-foot long pole, but this book wormed its way onto my radar and stubbornly kept re-appearing. Eventually, I couldn’t resist. After all, with dozens of readers labeling this just as gothic as Jane Eyre and just as romantic as Pride & Prejudice, how could I resist?

Needless to say, Through the Smoke delivered – enormously so. For
What a refreshing Historical Romance, Through The Smoke was. I was expecting the same old characters and outlines but this was different in a good way.

The Characters:

Rachael is not your traditional minors daughter. Like her mother she's smart, beautiful and caring for others. She spends her time at the family bookstore and also helping others to read. Rachel's mother is sick and the Earl comes to town wanting to know if Rachel's father had anything to do with his wife's murder by fire. Truman is
Mindy (Naughty Book Snitch)
Ohhh... this is going to be good I can tell!

Oh my word! I don’t think I have enough words to say how much I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book was absolutely, positively ah-mazin! The heat level was low, but the story more than made up for it. This book is now number 1 in my top 5 historical romance favorites. There was never a dull moment in this book. I was hooked from the first page. This book is suspenseful and a little darker then other HR’s Ive read. By dark, I mean there is murder, betrayal, hate,
DNF at 23%

Okay... currently there's a vast number of things bad to one's health.
Drinking, smoking, too much sugar, too much fat... ridiculous plots and characters! o_O

In a time in which there are rumours of authors planning to sue reviewers for negative reviews (freedom of speech, anyone? And, can I just say mental institutions!), what about the readers/reviewers health? Oh, yes...

What is good for the goose is good for the gander...
Of course we would be entering the most silly dystopia ever cr
Dangerous Dotz
It pains me to place this in the DNF pile, but I'm a believer of life being too short to waste time reading a book you're not enjoying (unless it's required for school, of course). And rather than on my kindle, I kept finding myself surfing GR or playing with the new kitty over the past weekend.

So yes... at some point I stopped buying into the chemistry between Rachel and Truman. Well written/easy read, but I think their situation was too far out of my realm of understanding... too archaic for m
Danielle (Love at First Page)
Brenda Novak's Through the Smoke is a book I stayed up late into the night to finish. It adds so many elements together to create one truly gripping reading experience: a foreboding, eery atmosphere, a toe curling romance full of tension, heartache, and hard-won love, and a suspenseful plot that feels nothing short of a ticking time bomb. It is both a throwback to those Gothic classics such as North and South, Jane Eyre, and even Beauty and the Beast, but it is also a wonderful addition to today ...more
Jayme Bowman
Oct 10, 2013 Jayme Bowman rated it it was amazing
Set in Creswell, England in the 1840’s, this historical mystery/romance novel takes you into the lives of the rich Earl of Druridge, and a struggling-to-survive commoner, Rachel McTavish. Their lives are not meant to intercept each other given their social class, but they do when the Earl (Lord Truman Stanhope) tries to solve the mystery of his wife Katherine’s death. He believes that Rachel holds the key to the person that caused the fire that killed Katherine. Though Rachel claims to the Earl ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Aug 23, 2013 Jo (Mixed Book Bag) rated it really liked it
I have been reading and enjoying Brenda Novak’s Whiskey Creek Contemporary Romance series. Historical romances are not what she usually writes and I wanted to see if I liked Through the Smoke as much as I liked her other books.

She did take a slightly different slant for the romance. While the hero is a nobleman and an Earl the rest of the characters are not part of the nobility. Truman Stanhope, the Earl of Druridge, is a tortured character. He cannot remember what he did on the night his wife d
I read an advanced ebook copy from the author to read and review.

Rachel McTavish is the daughter of a coal miner who died from a lung disease caused by working in the coal mine owned by Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge. Her brother, Tommy, was killed in the mine during a cave in. Truman approached Rachel because he thinks that she has information about who started a fire in his home that killed his pregnant, unfaithful wife, Katherine. Rumor has it that Rachel's father started the fire. Katheri
Lisa (Fic Talk)


I cannot praise this book enough. I just can’t. From the very beginning as I read the author’s note and saw that she was a huge fan of Jane Eyre (major points) and that Historical Romances are her first love, and she was so glad that she got the opportunity to get back to it, I was sold.

“He’d kill her. Just as soon as he could get his hands around her delicate neck, he’s stop the black heart that beat beneath all that misleading beauty and put an end to his own misery.”

Full review can b
Sep 19, 2013 Gail rated it it was amazing
The author sent me an advanced reader's copy- uncorrected proof of the book to read for my honest review of the book. This book is different from the Whiskey Creek series which I love. This book is a historical romance. So far I am enjoying it.
I don't normally like historical romances I usually find them boring and hard to get thru. This book about Rachel and the Earl of Druridge is amazing. Never a dull moment. It keeps you guessing at what will happen next. I had a hard time putting it down be
Sandy Bartles
Oct 11, 2013 Sandy Bartles rated it it was amazing
This has to be one of Brenda Novak's best books! As I was reading the story I actually felt what the characters were feeling. They came alive to me. I was there with them every step of the way! Rachel and Truman are wonderful characters and I felt bereft when the story ended. I don't normally read historicals because I feel sad when the story ends and I realize in "my time" the characters in the story would have already passed away and I like to imagine their lives continuing forever. In this bo ...more
Doraine Fisher
Sep 21, 2013 Doraine Fisher rated it it was amazing
This was my first historical romance book, I have to be honest, I wasn't sure if I would like it. Everything from Brenda I read, I love. It's a Cinderella story, young commoner and a lord. Though it has romance, Brenda didn't leave out suspense . Great book!
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Aug 06, 2015 11:11AM  
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  • Black Widow Demon (Demon Outlaws, #2)
  • From This Moment On (Alaskan Nights # 2.5)
  • Once a SEAL (West Coast Navy SEALs, #2)
  • Return of the Bad Boy (Second Chance, #4)
  • My Love, My Enemy
  • The Secrets of Mia Danvers (Dangerous Liaisons, #1)
  • Can't Hold Back (Returning Home, #2)
  • Dark Surrender (Gothic Historical Romance, #1)
  • Surrender to Sultry (Sultry Springs, #3)
  • Fallen Angel
  • At Your Pleasure
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  • A Run for Love (Oklahoma Lovers #1)
  • Blamed (Blood Money #1)
  • Trouble Me (The Rosewood Trilogy, #3)
  • Tamed (Fit Trilogy #2)
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It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a
More about Brenda Novak...

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“...some small part of her had reacted to the passion inside him. Despite his role as a titled gentleman, there seemed to be a facet inside him that society could not tame, something stimulating yet dangerous, like standing at the edge of a cliff and feeling the mysterious, subtle pull to jump.” 4 likes
“That the child she bore him had lived only six months—and died under mysterious circumstances, circumstances that made him suspect she might have had something to do with it?” 0 likes
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