Kev Merripen has only loved one person his whole life: Win Hathaway. As a boy, when his gypsy tribe left him for dead, Mr. Hathaway took him into his...moreKev Merripen has only loved one person his whole life: Win Hathaway. As a boy, when his gypsy tribe left him for dead, Mr. Hathaway took him into his house and he grew up next to the Hathaway siblings Leo, Amelia, Win, Poppy and Beatrix. He's fond of all of them, but is Win he loves; beautiful, blond and frail Win - and his affections aren't one sided.
After being sick with scarlet fever years before Win was left with weak lungs and is prone to fainting spells, but the weakness of her body has done nothing to diminish her love for Kev; when the book starts she's about to embark on a journey to France to reach a promising new treatment for people such as herself, her goal is to get better so she can finally be with Kev in the way she has always dreamed of.
Two years later, when Win returns from France, both Win and Kev have changed, they are still in love but Kev has hardened and he still can't bring himself to act on his feelings, no matter how strong they are, since he doesn't think he's worthy of her; and Win has decided she's not going to wait, she loves Kev, but she also wants a family and a normal life, and if Kev is not willing to give that to her she'll find it elsewhere.
Kev and Win first appear in Mine Till Midnight, where they almost stole the show with the longing and impossibility of their love, and I wanted to read more about them, and their story does not disappoint. Kev is a wonderful brooding hero, he even has a darkish past (it's more tragic and sad than evil); and Win is an smart, endearing heroine.
We also get to see more of the Hathaways - including Cam and Amelia, who are now married and happy; their chemistry is better in this book, btw - who are as eccentric as ever. Leo is coming to terms with what he has and what he has lost, Poppy is a bit dissappointed with London's Society (heads up, I hear her story comes next!), Beatrix is still the happy girl she has always been and has a sneaky ferret for a pet. A ferret who likes to steal Miss Marks, Beatrix and Poppy's governess, gathers; Miss Marks, too is a nice addition to the cast of characters.
And we find out what relationship there is between Cam and Kev (something that was hinted at in Mine Till Midnight) and I was quite happy with that too. And, finally, a couple from the original Wallflower book shows up and they are not Westcliff and Lillian (which made me very happy, since they hadn't been talked about in a while).(less)
The Deal: Realizing that the little money her husband left is no longer enough to support herself and her mother in law, widow Anna Wren decides it's...more The Deal: Realizing that the little money her husband left is no longer enough to support herself and her mother in law, widow Anna Wren decides it's time she finds a job. Luckily for her, she happens to learn that the Earl of Swartingham is in need of a secretary.
Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham has decided to return to his ancestral home - which he left after a small-pox epidemic whipped out his entire family- with the intention of settling down, getting married and having a few kids.
Having been widowed for several years, Edward wants his future marriage to be a success. Too bad that he keeps getting distracted by his new secretary, the one person in his life who isn't afraid of his temper, and who doesn't mind his scars.
My Thoughts: The Raven Prince is one of my favorite books ever, it took me forever to read it because I just wasn't ready to buy into the buzz of it - and it was a very buzzed-about book about five or six years ago - but I loved it.
It has all the things I love about a good Boss/Secretary story but in an historical setting and it works! Edward and Anne have their issues and life hasn't always been kind to them, but they aren't depressing characters to read about. And the love scenes are pretty darn hot.
Also, it does a good job of introducing the next to heroes of the series - Simon and Harry- without them stealing too much of the attention. Oh, and there is a secondary love story that's very, very sweet. (less)
The Deal: Harry Pye has never had any problem working as a land steward for Lady Georgina Matiland, even though she's a rather unconventional lady and...moreThe Deal: Harry Pye has never had any problem working as a land steward for Lady Georgina Matiland, even though she's a rather unconventional lady and landowner, until he finds himself escorting her back toward her estate in Yorkshire, and they are forced to spend more time together than usual.
Lady George doesn't fit the mold of a society miss, she's wealthy in her own right, too tall and not classically beautiful but, as the sister of an earl, she's accepted in society even if she's not particularly popular. She had never taken notice of Harry, as he tends to blend into the background (by choice) with this brown clothes and brown hair. But his wicked green eyes and dry humor draws her in, bit by bit.
In Yorkshire, however, there are lots of trouble. As Lady George's estate is next door to the Granville estate, and Harry has a long, complicated relationship with them, sheep keeps on getting poisoned and Harry is being pointed as a possible culprit.
And the endless Yorkshire rain doesn't help.
My Thoughts: I love Harry Pye as a leading man. He isn't as mysterious, flamboyant and dramatic as Simon (from Serpent Prince) and he doesn't have the temper of Edward de Raaf (from the Raven Prince), he's a much more understated sort of hero, but quite alpha in his own quiet way.
He doesn't throw tantrums or makes wild declarations, but he is very much in charge of himself and his emotions (except where George is concerned) and he doesn't see it like a threat to his masculinity to be working for a female. He likes his job, and is also a very kind man.
Lady George was harder for me to like at times, but she has a good heart and she always means to do well, even if she sometimes gets blinded by her station in life.
Plus, I really liked the secondary characters and the small cameo appearances by Simon and Edward - I love that this series is connected by the men's friendship.
All in all, the Leopard Prince is definitely on my Top Three of favorite Hoyt books.(less)
The Deal: Product of an affair between an earl and a lady's maid, Sophie Beckett was content enough living in her father's estate as his ward - as he...moreThe Deal: Product of an affair between an earl and a lady's maid, Sophie Beckett was content enough living in her father's estate as his ward - as he could never acknowledged her openly as his daughter nor did he ever seem to want to - until her father decided to marry and bring home his new wife, who quickly realized Sophie's real identity. From then on her life became a little more difficult, until the Earl died suddenly, leaving Sophie at the mercy of his wife.
Having spent the last few years as a servant in what used to be her home, one night Sophie has enough and in a single act of rebellion - with the help of the other servants in the house - Sophie decides she's going to go to a society ball.
Benedict Bridgerton was attending his mother's masquerade ball as the dutiful son that he was when his life changed. As quick as lighting, he noticed a blond woman dressed in an old-fashioned silver dress, and he fell in love at first sight. Sophie knew she shouldn't be flirting with Benedict, and she told herself all she wanted to do was look around and enjoy herself, but she felt the same pull as Benedict and couldn't walk away... until the clock struck 12 and it was time for her to go home...
My Thoughts: An Offer from a Gentleman was the first Julia Quinn book I ever read and it remains one of my favorite. It's very much a Cinderella story, but one very well done. Both Sophie and Benedict are very distinct characters. Sophie is nice and fun, she has a good relationship with one of the earl's stepdaughters, and even though she knows her life could have been very different, she's not overly bitter about it.
Benedict is part of a large and loving family, and he loves them all to death, but he also feels a little lost among their massive numbers. He's the second son - and some people actually do call him Number Two to differentiate him of his other siblings, and he's tired of being only number 2 or the Tall one, as his older brother Anthony is The Viscount, and his younger brother Colin is the Charming one.
Sophie is the first person to see beyond that, and he feels such a connection to her and they really fall in love at first sight. But in romance novels nothing is ever easy, is it?
Many years since the first time I read An Offer From a Gentleman, it remains one of my favorite books. It's a lovely story to get lost in for a few hours. (less)
The Deal: Victoria Lyndon met Robert Kemble, Lord Macclesfield when she was just 17 years old and he 24, and they fell madly in love with each other.T...moreThe Deal: Victoria Lyndon met Robert Kemble, Lord Macclesfield when she was just 17 years old and he 24, and they fell madly in love with each other.The only problem was that she was a vicar's daughter and he a young earl, and that both their fathers disapproved of the match.
Eventually, Robert and Victoria planned on running away together, but a few twists of fate - and their parents' interference- tore them apart, and each of them left believing the other had betrayed them.
Seven years later, they run into each other once more, and both of them are more than a little bitter about what they think was the other's deception. But when the truth comes out, Robert will do everything in his power to set things to rights and be with the only woman he has ever loved.
My Thoughts: Everything and the Moon is probably one of my favorite books by Julia Quinn. I love both Robert and Victoria and their story. They are both very likable characters and I like the way they deal with the stuff that happens to them.
Plus, this is one of the few stories I've read where the Big Misunderstanding plot-device actually works. And then they both have to work to put things back to rights - Robert goes to great lengths in order to prove to her that really did love her, and loves her still, and Victoria needs to learn to trust again.
Any way, this is one of those books that gives me warm fuzzies every time I read it.(less)