“Mistress by Midnight” is the third book in the ‘The Scandalous Women of the Ton’ series by Nicola Cornick, and the best so far in my opinion. Althoug“Mistress by Midnight” is the third book in the ‘The Scandalous Women of the Ton’ series by Nicola Cornick, and the best so far in my opinion. Although the format is very much the same with each novel I really enjoy Cornick’s style of writing, it’s very easy to read and her stories seem to suck me in from the first chapter. She is fast becoming one of my favourite historical romance authors.
Our heroine is Merryn Fenner, a young woman in her early twenties who is quite different from the other ladies of the ton. Merryn isn’t much into fashion and grand balls and thinks being a debutante is a tedious business. She would rather curl up with a good book, go to the theatre or attend lectures to broaden her mind.
Merryn is an intellectual, educated woman and is working secretly for an inquiry agency as a working woman, which is not the done thing in high society. Her main aim is taking revenge on the Duke of Farne for the death of her brother and the pain he caused ten years before.
At five feet tall, she maybe small, but she’s feisty and smart. I loved the way that when she became angry, and this usually happened when around Garrick, she lifts her chin and marches off in the opposite direction to show her displeasure. She is just so cute. I can totally understand why Garrick would be utterly taken with her.
Garrick Northesk, the Duke of Farne is our hero and he’s one of my all time favourites. I just fell hook line and sinker for this particular gentleman. He's strong and gorgeous, but sweet and caring with a touch of vulnerability, a great combination. He has a dark past which is revealed slowly and the outcome surprises all, especially Merryn...
Both Merryn and Garrick are wonderful characters. I fell in love with both of them. They are so lonely and yet don’t want to admit it. They both have a past that continues to weave its way into their present and prevents them from giving in to their feelings. But this restraint is what gives their relationship so much fire and passion. Their dialogue is wonderful, at times very witty and at other times intense and tender. Their relationship takes time to grow, which made the happy ending so much more satisfying.
Another wonderful historical romance from Ms Cornick. If you haven’t read this author before then I recommend you do – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, especially if you love historical romance. “Mistress by Midnight” is a fabulous read and I would recommend it just for the jail scene alone *fans self*...more
I was a little dubious about reading "One Wicked Sin" after finding out the heroine was Lottie Cummings. She was in t7/10 on the blog Book Chick City.
I was a little dubious about reading "One Wicked Sin" after finding out the heroine was Lottie Cummings. She was in the previous book in the series as a secondary character and I didn't like her at all.
However, although I found it difficult at first to forget how awfully she had treated her best friend by sleeping with her husband, trying to seduce her new husband and betraying her in other ways, I did begin to like her more and more as I read each chapter. I began to understand why she was the woman she had become, but I still think it was daring of the author to think that all would be forgiven and forgotten.
We find Lottie in a poor state of affairs after her husband had divorced her due to her indescreet affairs. Without the support of her family and her only true friend out of the country, Lottie didn't have anyone to turn too. With no money and no place to live, the only option she could see was to turn to prostitution. She hates it with a passion and has lost all her confidence. She is now a broken woman and competely different from the one we met in 'Whisper of Scandal'.
One evening a gentleman offers to pay her to be his mistress, and upon reflection Lottie felt that this was the lesser of two evils, so she agrees. She did not expect to fall in love.
Ethan Ryder is a great hero - at first he uses her, but not in a rough way. He's gentle and caring, but he still sees her as something he has bought. But after only a few days he begins to have feelings for her that confuse him as he's never felt anything like it before. Ethan grows considerably throughout the book, as does Lottie and they find true love.
The one aspect that prevents "One Wicked Sin" from a higher rating is the balance of sex and plot. With 'Whiper of Scandal' Cornick gets the balance perfectly, but here there is too much talking and thinking about sex. If they're not thinking about it, they're talking about it and if they're not talking about it they're doing it. And although I realise that sex, lust etc is part of a romance novel, there is too much of it here for my taste and nothing much else happens for a good portion of the novel. However, the second half is much better balanced that the first.
Overall, "One Wicked Sin" is a fun, entertaining read and the characters growth is touching and heartwarming. Cornick gives us another romantic ending that makes the heart flutter....more
"Whisper of Scandal" is a meaty historical romance, with great plot and well defined characters. I liked the heroine straight away. Widowed Lady Joann"Whisper of Scandal" is a meaty historical romance, with great plot and well defined characters. I liked the heroine straight away. Widowed Lady Joanna Ware is a complex character, as is the hero, but she is immensely likeable, whereas Lord Alex Grant is not. It took me quite some time to warm to him due to his arrogent, presumptuous and incredibly shallow manner, where he dislikes Joanna without knowing her and only goes on one person's opinion.
From the first chapter, when Lady Joanna and Lord Alex meet and Joanna kisses him in the hope to disuade her dead husband's cousin from his advances, I thought this was going to be a fairly light historical romance, but it wasn't.
Joanna's husband, an adventurer, dies while abroad and we are given glimpses into this horrid little man's life and his treatment of Joanna as we read further into the novel, which helped me understand her and how much she has been through. So when Lord Alex Grant is nasty to her, all I want to do is box his ears! But luckily, Joanna is an intelligent and articulate woman and gives as good as she gets. At times, Joanna puts Alex in his place so much so, I wanted to fist pump the air and cry "Yes! Take that, you cad!"
Although I didn't particularly like Alex for most of the book, he did begin to grow on me when he joined Joanna on a trip to the Arctic to bring home an orphaned child, and by the end of the novel, I loved him nearly as much as she did!
The secondary characters are also full of life, I specially liked Purchase, the captain of the boat Joanna charters for the long voyage. He's so protective and so in love with Joanna he will do anything to protect her.
The only secondary character I didn't like was Lottie Cummings - what a horrid woman. She proclaims to be Joanna's best friend and yet had an affair with her husband, she's incredibly grating and very shallow. She doesn't grow or change a bit throughout the entire novel and then she betrays Joanna again. Why Joanna continues to be friends with her I don't quite understand.
The dialogue between all the characters is well written and sharp, especially between Joanna and Alex. I really felt their dislike of each other, even though they simultaneously want to rip each other's clothes off. Venom drips from their words which are, at times, hurtful and spiteful, and it was immensely enjoyable to read. The only thing I will say is this did go on for a bit too long in my opinion and became a touch frustrating.
However, overall the pacing is very good and I believed Joanna and Alex's growing love. It isn't too abrupt, everything happens at the right time, and Alex soon comes to his senses. The sex scenes are sensual rather than explicit and the romance builds wonderfully.
The ending is just swoon-worthy, and so romantic - I won't give anything away, but let me just say, I now want to go on a long boat voyage to the Arctic and be swept off my feet by a Lord...
A lovely historical romance with all the right ingredients. If you enjoy the love/hate relationship - and I do, it's my favourite kind - then you will gobble this up. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series, 'One Wicked Sin'....more
I have a bit of a soft spot for historical romance since I began reading the genre last year, but I'd never read one of the most loved authors withinI have a bit of a soft spot for historical romance since I began reading the genre last year, but I'd never read one of the most loved authors within this genre. I have heard from many sources that Quinn is a wonderful writer and now having read a novel I couldn't agree more.
"Just Like Heaven" is brilliantly written and just so witty. It's sparkly, lively and funny. The writing is smooth and the dialogue realistic, so much so I didn't realise how many pages I had read before I realised I had nearly finished the book. I literally couldn't put it down.
The characters are endearing and lovable, with substance and heart. Honoria is a sweet character, she's caring and trusting. Marcus is a complete gentleman who pretends to be brooding when in fact he has a charming sense of humour and is totally adorable. In fact there isn't really one character in the entire novel who is disagreeable.
Honoria and Marcus have known each other since they were children, when Marcus became best friends with her brother Daniel. The prologue sets the scene of when they were children and then chapter one moves forward to the current day.
Daniel has fled the country due to a duel gone wrong, Honoria is searching for a husband and Marcus is now Lord Chatteris with a large estate and healthy bank balance.
Before Daniel leaves he makes Marcus promise to look after Honoria, which he does, by chasing away all potential suitors. On one particular occasion there is an accident (which I won't go into as it's hilarious and don't want to spoil it for you), and Marcus hurts his ankle. Of course things go from bad to worse when Honoria has to leave him to go and fetch help. It starts pouring with rain, Marcus's ankle swells to such an extent his boot has to be cut off, where upon his butler cuts his leg while doing so, and Marcus catches the flu.
While taking care of Marcus, Honoira realises she loves him and, when not in the throws of fever, Marcus realises he's in love with her, but neither let on to the other about their feelings.
The supporting cast of characters are just as well written and I loved each of them. The quartet consists of Iris, Daisy, Sarah and of course Honoria. They play as a quartet and are utterly dreadful and know this themselves, which is why they are dreading the traditional Musicale that they put on each year. I really enjoyed the light-hearted bickering between these characters and it was a great distraction from the romance. It balanced the book well.
The only aspect I didn't like as much as the rest of the book were the last couple of chapters. It was rather rushed. Honoria and Marcus have a sensual moment, Daniel returns from abroad, Daniel and Marcus fight, Marcus threatens to punch a man who's not been nice to Honoria, and then he pops the question! All in the span of a few pages - phew!
However, the true ending is sweet and satisfying and just what you would expect from an historical romance, so if you love HEA then you'll love this.
"Just Like Heaven" is a wonderfully light and witty historical romance full of delightful characters. A real treat....more
My Dangerous Duke is the second book in the 'Inferno Club' series by Gaelen Foley and although I did enjoy this instalment, I much preferred the firstMy Dangerous Duke is the second book in the 'Inferno Club' series by Gaelen Foley and although I did enjoy this instalment, I much preferred the first book, My Wicked Marquess.
Kate Madsen is kidnapped and held in a dungeon for five weeks. Her captors are the tenants of Rohan Kilburn, the Duke of Warrington, who is an assassin for a secret organisation called the Order, formed to protect our lands from the evil Prometheans. He arrives home to his castle to sort out issues with his staff only to be offered a present to appease him: Kate. Of course he accepts thinking she is a prostitute, but then over the course of the next few chapters realises she is not.
Unfortunately, I didn't connect with the characters in My Dangerous Duke and I feel that the story is a little unbalanced this time around. What I enjoyed most about My Wicked Marquess was the inclusion of great suspense and mystery combined with steamy romance, which was the same format for this book, but I feel My Dangerous Duke leaned a bit too much towards the plot of the Order, and not enough on the romance and my attention did wane a little.
The hero, Rohan Kilburn, is also not particularly my cup of tea, so sadly there was no swooning - and with a romance, I have to swoon, or at least drool a little! I did like Kate though, but only at the beginning of the book. She was shy but feisty and I liked that, but after she got together with Rohan in the carnal sense, Kate changed somewhat. She transformed from a young, shy girl still a virgin to a sultry, sexy woman with all the worldly knowledge of how to arouse a man with just one look, without an ounce of self-consciousness or naivety. It was a bit of a turn around. There are also certain passages that didn't quite sit well with me and occasionally alluded to sex without consent.
Kate is also quite happy to be Rohan's mistress and be paid for the privilege - her reason is she had no choice as there wouldn't be another man out there for her...Their relationship blossomed as I expected it to, but it didn't quite leave me sighing with contentment.
There are some great moments though and a few of the interactions between Kate and Rohan did have my skin tingling a little bit and kept me reading. The adventures Kate and Rohan went on with regards to a so called "curse" on the Kilburn men, was fun to read. The last section of the book was like an Indiana Jones movie!
My Dangerous Duke is a fairly fun read, and I would recommend but with some reservations. It is a good enough book to while away a few hours but I have read better. However, as I enjoyed the first book so much, I will be on the look out for the next book in this series. ...more
Confessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romanceConfessions of a Duchess is the first book in Nicola Cornick's 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy and it is quite different from other historical romance novels I have read. It's not particularly light reading as I felt there was a slight sombre tone to the book, however, there are a few fun elements and a certain amount of humour injected throughout.
Laura is a widow, a dowager Duchess, who has decided to live on her own with her young daughter in a small rundown cottage in the village of Fortune's Folly. Her husband didn't leave her much money so she is not a wealthy widow, but she's fairly happy and takes pleasure in watching her daughter grow.
Dexter works for the government as a spy and has been following and trying to capture Glory, a highwaywoman who is taking from the rich to give to the poor, Robin Hood style. The identity of the highway woman is revealed to him later in the book, and although it surprised him, I could see it coming a mile away. But the revelation was fun all the same and I really enjoyed this aspect to the novel. Dexter is also penniless and is burdened with providing for his family, so he sets off to Fortune's Folly to try his luck and land a wealthy wife.
There are a few little sub-plots that lighten the tone, such as the introduction of an ancient tax law ordering all unwed ladies to pass on half their fortunes to the owner of the village, which leads to some funny scenarios, but overall I felt as though both Laura and Dexter were full of melancholy. There is quite a lot of sexual tension between Laura and Dexter, having already been lovers years before, and I wanted them to be together, as I knew together they would be much happier.
Unfortunately, Laura has two, very big, life changing secrets that she can't reveal to anybody, especially Dexter and this is what is keeping them apart. Dexter can feel this obstacle between them, but, as a typical clueless male, decides it's because she's a heartless, cold woman, rather than just looking a little deeper. Of course, as the novel progresses these secrets are revealed...
The one major criticism I have with this book is the constant expression of lust. I get that this book is a romance but it is in the thoughts of Dexter incessantly. Every time he saw Laura his thoughts revealed how much he wanted to ravish her and how much he needed her. I get it, Dexter is in lust/love with Laura, I don't need it rammed down my throat, it became tiresome and unfortunately spoilt, what is essentially a very good read, just a little bit.
Overall I enjoyed Confessions of a Duchess. The characters are vivid and, for the most part, believable, the descriptions of the village and lifestyle is described well and I liked the plot and other storylines that ran alongside it. I will certainly be reading the next instalment in 'The Brides of Fortune' trilogy, Scandals of an Innocent, I just hope the hero's thoughts are not constantly in the gutter! I would recommend this book to other historical romance readers. ...more
The Wicked Marquess is the first book in The Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. I haven't read anything by this author before, and have only read aThe Wicked Marquess is the first book in The Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. I haven't read anything by this author before, and have only read a handful of historical romances, so didn't know what do expect. What I got was a delicious, passionate romance combined with intrigue and suspense.
The Inferno Club on the outside is a scandalous club where rich men of society go, and ladies of society do not as it's full of wantonness and depravity. But this is only a disguise of course, for what really lies within is a secret society of warriors who protect the land, and one of these warriors is Max, the Marquess of Rotherstone.
Max is a spy for the secret society behind The Inferno Club and is completely gorgeous. He's protective and dominant on the surface but underneath he's sensitive and caring. He is also in need of a wife to restore his family's name and to do this he needs a virtuous woman.
Max sets his sights on Daphne, who isn't exactly virtuous having declined three proposals, and in polite society this is a big no-no. Max, however, is a bit full of himself at times, and thinks that Daphne will just fall into his arms. Unfortunately for Max, Daphne is afraid to marry, afraid to trust anyone, so when Max sets his sights on marrying her, she just wants to run!
When Max finally does show Daphne a ring, Daphne feels so out of control and trapped she declines his proposal, which obviously comes as a complete shock to Max and his ego!
Since Daphne's mother's death she has been very independent and doesn't get on well with her father's second wife, who wants her wed and out of the house. She fills her time with helping orphans. I did like Daphne, but her hesitancy with regards to Max, which I could completely understand, just went on a tad too long for me and I was almost screaming at her to just marry the man!! ;)
The dialogue between Max and Daphne is witty and smart and I just loved their banter. The descriptive detail about the time period and surroundings was just lovely and added to the entire feel of the novel. I had a clear vision of every scene because of the authors great writing style. The passionate scenes were written very well, and I didn't cringe with embarrassment once *is proud*
I really enjoyed the several sub-plots running alongside the romance between Max and Daphne, which had more to do with the secret society and spies. The one that comes to mind which I especially enjoyed was with Drake, another member of the 'secret society', who was presumed dead, but is actually being held captive. Drake is being tortured for information by another organisation, which he will not give up but sadly at the price of his sanity *poor Drake*. I thought all additional plots gave the book depth and set us up for future books in the series.
Although the next instalment is the story of Rohan, The Duke of Warrington, and a lady named Kate, which I am very much looking forward to, I do hope one of the books in the series will be about Drake and the woman who brings him out of his broken and confused mind... *sigh*
This book is pure escapism and is full of everything you would want from a romance and more - a real keeper in my opinion. Bring on The Dangerous Duke! ...more
Secrets of a Summer Night is the first book in 'the Wallflowers' series, and being a newbie to the genre, the first book I've read by Lisa Kleypas. ISecrets of a Summer Night is the first book in 'the Wallflowers' series, and being a newbie to the genre, the first book I've read by Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoyed the story and Kleypas's writing style. The characters are realistic, the writing lovely and the story had my full attention until the very end, where I sighed in contentment.
This is an historical romance and is written in vivid detail. I was immersed in the time period of the 1840's and London society. The time period shows women in a very different light than today's woman. Women then always had to be chaperoned when in the company of a man, otherwise it was seen as scandalous and the gentleman had to propose to put things right. And women had to find a suitable husband before they hit twenty-five, otherwise they were seen as spinsters, passed their 'sell by date' so to speak. Sometimes I found society's dictations hard to swallow as a twenty-first century chick, but it just made the story more compelling.
Annabel is the heroine in this instalment of 'the Wallflower's' and needs a husband quick as her family's wealth is diminishing. She's also in her early twenties and will soon be seen as an old dried up maid if she doesn't wed soon. But Annabel and her three friends, Lillian, Daisy and Evie, have a plan! Unfortunately, things don't really go to plan when the utterly delicious, Simon Hunt, keeps coming onto the scene!
Simon Hunt is completely gorgeous and just enough of a rogue to make your toes curl - in a good way. He's charming, good-looking, rich... what's not to love? Well, he wants Annabel, but not as a wife but rather as his mistress. Of course, his feelings do change as the story progresses.
Annabel is a great character who's bright and generally sweet in nature. Completely loyal to her family and finds it difficult to see her mother being used by a wealthy aristocrat just to keep them above the bread line. However, sometimes I found her to be quite frustrating with regards to her attitude towards Mr Simon Hunt. Simon wasn't born into a titled family and made his fortune by other means. Society looks down on this kind of entrepreneurial way of living, and so Annabel treats him with disdain. This isn't really the fault of Annabel, just societies restrictions. It takes her a while, but eventually she is drawn to his charms.
The love scenes are passionate but tame with regards to detail. The only scene I found myself cringing slightly was one where Annabel and Simon were in a passionate embrace and Simon's thoughts were continuously emphasising how naive and inexperienced Annabel was, which I thought detracted from the passion and I also felt slightly embarrassed for Annabel.
All the characters are so well rounded and I loved the dialogue between them. I really enjoyed the witty, restrained, banter between Annabel and Simon, and the secret plotting of the self-proclaimed 'wallflowers' to catch a husband.
Secrets of a Summer Night is a wonderful book. I loved the characters, the romance and the detail given to the time period. And because of this book I have now bought several titles by Kleypas, which I can't wait to read!! I am also really looking forward to the next book in 'the Wallflowers' series, It Happened One Autumn, the story of Lillian. ...more
This is the first historical romance I've read, and probably one of only five romances I've read in total. I have always kept away from the Romance geThis is the first historical romance I've read, and probably one of only five romances I've read in total. I have always kept away from the Romance genre because I believed the heroines were feeble and rather pathetic and could only exist in life if they had a man, hence my affection for the kiss-arse chicks you find so readily in urban fantasy, but I have always enjoyed romance movies and I am very much a romantic at heart, so it was time to put aside my misconceptions and explore.
After making the decision to shake up my reading a little, I had no clue where to start, so I sent out a twitter request for some great romance authors and got some great recommendations. It was a kindly book smuggler (thanks Ana) who steered me in the right direction with the recommendation of Lord of Scoundrels. And I'm so glad she did...
Lord of Scoundrels is such a wonderful love story between Jessica Trent and Sebastian Ballister. It opens with a prologue of Ballister's early childhood and teenage years, and reveals how life was difficult for him. It sets the scene nicely and is much needed as a reference as I doubt I would have been as sympathetic towards Sebastian without it.
Sebastian Ballister is conceited, arrogant and unpleasant, and doesn't often have anything very nice to say, but he's a great 'love to hate' character. After a while though, he starts to pull at your heart strings as you hear his tortured thoughts and confusion at the emotions he's feeling. Because of this he is rather horrid to Jessica, but luckily she is bright and quick-witted and gives as good as she gets. She is certainly no shrinking violet.
It's obvious that Jessica comes from a line of forward thinking, bold women as she seeks guidance from her grandmother regarding the rather wicked Mr Ballister who is never shocked at hearing about Jessica's feelings of lust. A time when women were seen as nothing more than cleaning and breeding machines, I loved that Jessica was definitely her own woman and gave as good as she got from Sebastian.
I really enjoyed Jessica and Sebastian's relationship. It is the kind I enjoy the most when it comes to romance - the love/hate relationship. There is a lot of intelligently written dialogue and witty banter between the two, increasing the sexual tension between them even further. What I also liked about this book is that the author managed to write sensual scenes without being crude and I really appreciated that. I'm not much for lots of explicit words used for sex scenes as I just find myself cringing and getting all embarrassed... yes, even when reading on my own! *blush*
When Sebastian meets Jessica it is lust and love at first sight, although he doesn't quite understand his feelings or even recognise half of them. He's an immature man who has been so aloof that he hasn't got a clue about women. He's happy to pay for sex but when it comes to actually interacting with a 'Lady' he has no idea what he's doing. However, we see Sebastian grow with each chapter and although I didn't fall in love with him, I did like him more and more. For some reason Sebastian reminded me of Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and what he could have learnt about himself if only he had a Jessica instead of a rather selfish, self-absorbed Catherine.
This was an experiment of sorts, dipping my toes into uncharted genres, just to shake up my reading habits and I'm so glad I did - I couldn't put this book down! I enjoyed Lord of Scoundrels from beginning to end and will definitely be looking at Chases back list. If you're like me, and are a romance virgin, then I whole heartedly recommend this book as a great starting point!...more