I’ve just finished It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long. What a sweet book!
Elise and Phillippe have each been forced to leave home but for very different reasons. Because of her change in “circumstances,” she has taken a tumble down the social ladder and must assume the position of housekeeper to a dislocated prince of the House of Bourbon.
The staff she inherits wouldn’t last an hour at Downton Abbey. But Elise has no alternative but to do whatever it takes to retain her position. Fortunately, the talents she honed teaching elementary school children work equally well on this crew.
Phillippe is every bit as challenging as his employees. He’s recuperating from severe injuries and prone to throwing breakables in frustration.
The repartee these two exchange is witty and charming. The romance unfolds as they recognize they are kindred spirits.
Elise is a wonderful heroine-warm and loving but no pushover. And Phillippe! Ooh, la, la. He’s French. Need I say more? Their HEA is immensely satisfying.
This is Book 10 of Long’s Pennyroyal Green Series and will be released March 31, 2015.
Julie Anne Long
Jayne Ann Krentz has a winning formula for her novels. Plucky but emotionally damaged woman meets uber successful but also emotionally damaged man. Her latest book Trust No One eliminates the paranormal aspect that she often employs but is otherwise pretty much business as usual.
That is not to say that it isn’t a well-written book with a plot that keeps you reading. Since the story revolved around a big time motivational speaker, it particularly grabbed my interest. I confess I am a how-to-succeed podcast junkie.
The heroine Grace is the brains behind the guru. It is she who has written all of the positive affirmations that keep the dough rolling in. Their use here as the mystery unfolds is ironic and quite funny.
The hero Julius is a billionaire ex-Marine who has grown bored with all that money, poor fella. Grace with her herbal tea and glass half full personality is the tonic he needs.
Who knew a blind date could turn out so well?
I really wish Julie Brannagh’s Holding Holly had been a full length novel instead of a novella. This story had so much potential that wasn’t fulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the characters. The hero is a gentle giant of a football player with old-fashioned manners ingrained by his Southern mama and grandma. The heroine is a hard-working nursing student who also happens to have a cute grandma.
The plot is G-rated, but that’s not a drawback as far as I’m concerned. This is set at Christmas, so the sweetness is appropriate.
But I do question how an interracial romance seems to raise no conflict whatsoever. I know we have come a long way in America, but I also know prejudice still exists on both sides of the color line. The only real conflict here is over revealing a secret concerning who is answering letters to Santa.
I’ve enjoyed Brannagh’s previous books. I wish she’d added more meat to the bones of this one.
Catch a Falling Heiress is the third in Laura Lee Guhrke’s An American Heiress in London series.
This book starts off a little slowly with a prologue re-introducing readers to the male characters from the previous two books. And those who haven’t read the second book may not fully comprehend why they are setting out to destroy a man.
It also seemed a little implausible to me that the heroine Linnet who moves in the same circles as the villain wouldn’t have known about the past scandal. She falls for his line of malarkey hook, line, and sinker.
Oh, and why name a stubborn, willful woman after a tiny bird anyway? But I digress.
Jack Featherstone, at least, is a hero worthy of that title. He saves her from her own bad judgment by offering himself up as a matrimonial sacrifice. She continues her run of bad judgment by refusing him.
Jack is not to be deterred; however, and manages to win her over with the aid of a crying baby, a matchmaker, and a blueberry muffin.
Laura Lee Guhrke