I enjoyed the motif of classic literature running through this cozy mystery, and any person who loves books as much as I do feels like a friend. ThisI enjoyed the motif of classic literature running through this cozy mystery, and any person who loves books as much as I do feels like a friend. This was a good book and a well-plotted mystery, other than a bit of a pacing issue. The villain is a real nasty one (considering). I'd definitely continue to read this series.
I have to be honest. I did not like the hero William, much at all. He was a selfish prick, in my opinion. He did come around slowly. He felt betrayedI have to be honest. I did not like the hero William, much at all. He was a selfish prick, in my opinion. He did come around slowly. He felt betrayed by his wife, but for good reason, but then he becomes a bad husband, visiting brothels and getting drunk, and when he decides to focus on his marriage, his wife has fallen into a depraved lifestyle. I know he was young, but he was old enough to know better. Then he goes into hiding in a small town, Loves Bridge. He sees his old flame, Belle, and decides he deserves to start hitting that again, and says something really mean to her when she says no, before they can do the dead. She had every right to stop things with a married man. Also, I didn't like that he was perfectly okay with cheating on his wife with prostitutes, but not with a respectable woman. I think prostitution is reprehensible. I don't think prostitutes deserve any less respect than any woman (even if they're paid sex workers), and I think less of a hero who believes that. While William does apologize for what he said to Belle, it left a bad taste in my mouth. As well as his double standards about his wife's behavior. She was acting out and he couldn't be a man and love her and commit to his marriage, even if she wasn't what he thought she was.
This novella pushed my buttons in the worst way about male and female relations and societal double standards that still exist today. The woman gets into trouble, and is forced to deal with it alone, and the man skips out blissful and free from responsibility. Young William didn't deserve Young Belle, and I'm not 100% sure that Old William does. She gave him her virginity and he goes off and forgets her, and leaves her to deal with a situation he definitely contributed to. Then when he sees her, he assumes she's going accommodate his horniness despite his wife back in town. Ugh. Belle definitely loved more than he did. I like that Belle is a normal woman with normal needs. I'm so glad that her conscience kicked in and she won't go through with sleeping with him, even if he's in a bad marriage. I think it would have been a dealbreaker if she did sleep with him while he was married. Women do have sex drives, and while she was celibate for many years, she still had those feelings. I hated that she was made to be the fallen woman by her awful father (a vicar of all things) while William goes off and sows plenty of wild oats, before and after his marriage (and going to prostitutes doesn't make it better than his wife's more public, less discrete behavior).
I'm really glad this was a free read. I would have been a lot madder if I hadn't read for free. I normally like this author a lot. I couldn't get past William's behavior and the blase' attitude about prostitution, which I know she's not alone about. It's treated as a casual thing but it's a social ill and it's a terrible life for those women (and often men and children). I would like to see more heroes who realize how wrong that it. Like another reader, the high point was the cat, Poppy, who becomes not just a matchmaker but a protector of the spinsters. I'm crazy in love with cats so that worked for me.
Having said that, if a reader wants to get a prequel for this series, it's free on Kindle. I have the Kindle, but I read this as a bonus novella with How to Manage a Marquess.
My sister and I listened to this on Playaway in the car. It was very enjoyable. The narrator was really good. She was able to endow her voice with difMy sister and I listened to this on Playaway in the car. It was very enjoyable. The narrator was really good. She was able to endow her voice with different personalities. The heroine is refreshingly quirky. She hears the voices of her puppets in her head. The fact that she's a puppeteer alone is a different touch. Add that onto a story that is rife with Gothic atmosphere and that her puppets are real personalities to her, and that makes this feel very unique.
I totally pictured Kirsten Wiig as Annie. She's Annie until proven otherwise.
Kristen fits Annie's personality from her some of her roles. She plays quirky and kind of normal, nerdy but very pretty.
Annie is down on her luck and ends up back on Peregrine Island, a place that has nothing but bad memories for her. To her surprise, she encounters Theo Harp, the first boy she loved, but one who did her irreparable harm. I was not surprised that she didn't trust Theo until very late in the book. He really did need to prove himself.
Theo was the perfect Gothic hero with an extremely dark past. I wanted to believe the best of him, although it was almost like SEP wanted us to hate Theo in some parts. Deep down, he was a sweet guy and a bit of a victim to some of the darkness in his family and with his deceased wife.
I liked that Theo really accepted Annie and was attracted to her the way she was. He admired her spunk and that she didn't take crap from him. Theo was pretty delicious. Definitely for those of us who like our heroes a bit dark, tortured and mysterious (Bryonic hero). I pictured Aiden Turner, who is one of my newest crushes.
Theo is described as devastatingly handsome and very hard to resist. That's Aidan to a tee.
I didn't really like the tone of their relationship (sex with no commitment), but it makes sense of Annie since she really doesn't trust Theo and wants to get him out of her system. I could tell that Theo was really deeply in love with her, but he was afraid to be with her because of tortured past.
The Gothic tone was interesting. You don't see that much in contemporary romances that aren't suspense. I think it got a little confusing with some of the things that happen. My sister speculated like nobody's business as some mean pranks are taking place against Annie, considering the past and what she suffered. We had some really interesting theories. We were both very surprised at who the culprit was. I think it spoiled the Gothic tone a lot. But oh well.
I feel like there was a huge aspect that wasn't handled well, in my opinion. That's why I didn't give this five stars. My sister agreed with me. But overall, this was such a fun read, and I loved the relationship between Annie and Theo, and the look at the island, and how claustrophobic it can be to live in a small town, especially one that's an island! Theo is definitely my favorite SEP hero and I liked Annie. She had a great heart and was really her own person, although she had some self-esteem issues. I love the career path she chooses eventually. It's a big sign of accepting who she is and not feeling like she has to fit some unrealistic standard. You could see she was way on the road to being self-actualized. I wanted them to be together big time.
If you can, definitely check out this on audiobook.
Oh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, leaOh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, lean panther who talks like a panther purrs. He screams "I'm Bad For You, but I'm So Good!" He was delicious. He definitely goes on my lickable hero shelf. I fell hard for him because he is so super-sexy, and because he gave Hattie steadfast love in a way she'd never had before. At one point, he withdraws from her, and Hattie can't deal with that. He does it because it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that she refused to be honest with him. Hattie doesn't know how to deal with him not being in her life the way he's been for over ten years, and that is the impetus for change. That was when he realized she didn't know how. She didn't know what unconditional love was and the concept of being accepted no matter what. She spends most of the book pushing him away emotionally, and being a bit of a brat, so that tiptoes on the edge of being a bit tedious. Crews managed to change the tone soon enough that I was just burned out on it. I think the reveal for why Hattie has behaved the way she has so long was a pit too rapid in its delivery (and it felt a bit lightweight to be honest), and I would have liked better pacing in that regard. I did love the surprise that Nicodemus gets. I was really surprised myself. I like a good twist in a story.
This book is pretty heavy on internal dialogue and that probably wouldn't work for some. But I felt it was well done, and I think the characters are wonderfully complex. I think this is a nice mix of modern cultural awareness but with the old school intensity dynamic that makes many of us Harlequin Presents readers such advocates of the vintage novels. The sensuality is intrinsic and hot and underlined by the fact that these two people really love each other and can't imagine a life without each other.
I'm hoping that I enjoy His for Revenge, about Hattie's brother, as much as I did this book.
This was a pretty good historical romance, a story of reunited lovers, with plenty of steamy romance. However, I never felt that zing, that sense of cThis was a pretty good historical romance, a story of reunited lovers, with plenty of steamy romance. However, I never felt that zing, that sense of connection with the characters and that compulsion to keep reading. I felt like it was fine to pick this book up when I had a free moment, and to put it down when I had more important things to do.
I'm not a big fan of lovers reunited stories, but I liked that Heath and Julia are older and wiser, and have lived their lives, and know very well that what they have together is very good and it's worth committing to this time around.
There were some fun moments, especially with the salacious sketch of Heath that falls into the wrong hands. I really liked when Heath realized that he wasn't going to let Julia get away from him this time, no matter what. I love a hero in pursuit! I wasn't that into the whole "Boscastle Antics" aspect of the story. It reminds me unfavorably of how there is a tendency to wink and nod at a family in a series, and to draw readership for the later stories by reminding the reader of how crazy the family is. Of course, I love series books. No question. I just think that the author's job is to make a storyline so compelling that we can't help but race for the next book. I'm not that intrigued with the other Boscastle rogues at this point. I'll keep reading because I like this author a lot. But it's not an urgency for me right now.
This is a solid B read for me. A nice past-time with plenty of sexual tension between Julia and Heath that I'm sure many readers will really enjoy.
Although Laurel seemed intolerant initially, I really liked this romance book. It's very meaningful, and Laurel and James truly love each other. I appAlthough Laurel seemed intolerant initially, I really liked this romance book. It's very meaningful, and Laurel and James truly love each other. I appreciated the vantage point of Laurel and James, during this period in history. This series reminds me of Jo Beverley's Company of Rogues in a good way.
I was not a fan of Tate. He was arrogant and narcissistic and clueless about how much he hurt Malene. Pretty much my least favorite kind of man and heI was not a fan of Tate. He was arrogant and narcissistic and clueless about how much he hurt Malene. Pretty much my least favorite kind of man and hero. But I loved Malene, and the spy action and romance was well-done. Not my favorite in the series, but still pretty good.
Loving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I fLoving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I found thoroughly likable. Lighter historical romance, but the tone and the storyline are very engaging.
Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far asReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.
This is an intense book. Jessica had very good reason to resist Carlo the first time around. With the terrible examples at relationships that her pareThis is an intense book. Jessica had very good reason to resist Carlo the first time around. With the terrible examples at relationships that her parents set and her mother's promiscuous behavior, she was deathly afraid of the sexual attraction she felt for Carlo. Besides, she was engaged. Carlo was arrogant as only a young man could be. He thought that he could crook a finger at Jessica and she would drop everything to be with him. But I think that he wouldn't have respected her if she did. I liked that while Carlo does act like a jerk, he isn't a bad person. He acts out of hurt and determination, and the fact that he fell like a ton of bricks for Jessica and never got over her. It's clear that both Jessica and Carlo have damaged family relationships and that makes it hard to trust in future relationships. You can therefore sympathize with both of them.
I love jealous heroes, so I really liked how he was so jealous of her marriage to another man. He didn't even want to call her by her married name. I could tell it was because he had always loved Jessica, even if he didn't realize it.
I liked that although I had read this before, it felt like I was reading it again for the first time. All the emotions were fresh and intense. A nice one to read when you want an HP escape....more
Quite morose in tone, however I was drawn into this family drama of a novel that travels smoothly between the early 20th century and the last decade oQuite morose in tone, however I was drawn into this family drama of a novel that travels smoothly between the early 20th century and the last decade of that same century. Very emotionally involving, although certain characters were hard to feel sympathy for. Recommended to readers who are interested in the WW1 years and the 1920s.
This is my first contemporary read by Ms. Thomas, and I really enjoyed it. Feel good, small town contemporary romance populated with a host of interesThis is my first contemporary read by Ms. Thomas, and I really enjoyed it. Feel good, small town contemporary romance populated with a host of interesting characters. Works for me!
I gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously faI gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously fascinating. I think Milburne nailed Natalie. Natalie was a ball of rage, and with good reason. She is a realistic product of toxic parents who have forced an innocent child to shoulder blame for something that never should have been her responsibility. And as the author showed, this damage doesn't just disappear overnight. Instead, a hurt child like Natalie takes that into her adulthood and every relationship she has as a grown woman. I literally hurt for Natalie.
Some readers would be turned off by her comments to Angelo, which were often abusive. But to me, I could see them for what they were, a cry for help. Natalie felt trapped by her family obligations and how they had damaged and poisoned her life and her very self-esteem. She wanted to break free, but that wasn't as easy as it seemed. Honestly, I think she probably needs therapy, and I personally feel that an encounter with Jesus Christ would do a lot of good for her. He would take away those burdens and the anger and pain she carries. It hurt to see her truly hating life and having trouble even enjoying one day in her life. I was just glad she hadn't taken the suicidal route. I think she felt obligated to live because of what had happened to her when she was young. So in real life, I would have expected something more interventionist for Natalie than just a love connection with the hero. Most of the time, that isn't going to fix what is broken, although being loved unconditionally is an important ingredient. But in the context of this story, I liked how the author dealt with her issues. Angelo has truly impressed me. He make a few miss-steps along the way, but overall he showed tremendous patience, even though Natalie did things that were hurtful to him. I liked how he didn't give up on her, but kept showing her that she mattered to him and he wanted a life with her. Considering how hurt Natalie was and how damaged her family was, and his ignorance of that, I think Angelo did a great job of connecting to her. Other than one thing he does shortly after they get married, I found him to be a real hero. Just the man for this very wounded woman. Maybe not truly realistic, but still I felt the power of their connection and how it put Natalie on the track to healing.
Man, this book blew me away. I found it very enthralling and emotionally involvinhg. It also involved me intellectually as I assembled the puzzles of Natalie's tormented psyche and came up with a picture of a woman who had been wronged so utterly by her parents. They had failed her in huge ways, and that kind of damage just sets an adult up for a lot of dysfunctional relationships as they get older.
I don't normally read Harlequin Presents for a look at 'real life.' I'll be honest. But I love angst and passion and I love seeing hurting people find happiness, healing and love. And Ms. Milburne definitely delivers.
This book won't be for everyone. But I was very impressed. I just pimped it to my sister, who doesn't read a lot of Harlequin Presents. I can't wait to see what she thinks of it.