Kathryn Albright’s Gloria’s Song was such a lovely book. Well-heeled Gloria has a dilemma. She is expected to wed a rich man who can give her anything in the world except the thing that means the most to her, music. As a musician myself, I could easily relate to how empty such a life without music would be for Gloria. I also could perfectly understand her powerful attraction to Colin, the hard-working young man from the wrong side of the tracks who is hired to tutor her for an audition that has the potential to make her dreams come true.
Albright humanized Gloria by showing her initial dismay when she realized that, despite her training, she had less innate musicality than did self-taught Colin. That observation is quite realistic. Some lucky souls are blessed in that way. That Gloria did not let jealousy consume her speaks to her character.
How difficult it must have been for young women in the time period in which this book is set to buck the conventions of their time. Following one’s passion’ however, is never out of date.
Lady Claire Is All That is the third book in Maya Rodale’s Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series. Both titles, while catchy, are rather modern for the time period in which they are set. Come to think of it, the heroines are also too modern for their own good, so I suppose the titles do fit.
This book belongs to eldest sister Claire who is going around the ton boring people to tears because she only wants to talk about mathematics. Lord Fox is as brawny as Claire is brainy. He’s just been jilted and enters into a bet that he can turn Claire into the belle of the season just to show he’s still got it. The more time he spends with her, of course, the more he discovers he likes her just fine as she is, equations and all.
I’m a sucker for heroines who are very smart and heroes who are smart enough to see the beauty beyond their spectacles. Rodale paints a recognizable portrait of a family too. The Cavendishes may squabble among themselves on occasion, but they always have each other’s backs.
Not deep, but lots of fun to read.
One for the Rogue is the third in Charis Michaels’ The Bachelor Lords of London series. In this one, Beau, the lord, is fighting the title for all he’s worth. As the younger son, he was never groomed to take on the role.. Then it turned out his elder brother is not the legitimate heir after all.
Half in jest, the elder brother asks Emmaline, Dowager Duchess of Ticking, to school the new viscount in the ways of nobility. She herself was schooled on nothing else until her parents married her off at age 19 to a duke some 40 years her senior. He died son after, and now poor Emma is at the mercy of his odious heir.
To complicate matters, Emma has lost both parents and is now caring for her brother who, though a man, has the mentality of a child. She plots an elaborate scheme to escape, but the current Duke throws up roadblocks that only a fellow noble can counter.
Several of the characters from the other two books play prominent roles in this one, particularly the indomitable Lady Frinfrock, a soul sister of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey if ever there was one.
While I love to read about this era, I am really glad I don’t have to live with the same constraints they had based on class and gender.
The last of the Hellions of Havisham is the hero of The Viscount and the Vixen by Lorraine Heath.
Actually, I wouldn’t exactly call Portia, the heroine, a vixen. When I think of that term, I think of an overly flirtatious young miss. Portia is way too knowledgeable and overtly provocative to qualify as merely a vixen.
She also is hiding a whopper of a secret. She arrives to marry Locke’s father, some decades her senior. Locke decides to protect his father and marries her himself. After all, he does need an heir, but he has no intention of loving anyone as much as his father loved his late mother. Her loss only led his father to madness. There’s no chance Locke will fall in love with this little gold digger.
But apparently dear old dad wasn’t so crazy after all. He engineered the whole thing, somehow knowing the two would be ideal for each other.
This book is rather racy for me, but the pair are hard-working, kind, and most importantly forgiving.
I confess I have never been a Debbie Macomber fan. Her books have struck me as more goody two shoes than I could bear. i always turned to the tales of dukes and earls for my leisure reading.
Now, however, I find myself writing stores that are similar to those Macomber has long been famous for. I am all about good people, happy ever after, and small town charm. I don’t presume to have her skill; I’m still very much a novice novelist. But in trying to approximate what she does, I have gained respect for her as an author.
Twelve Days of Christmas hits just the note we need for the season and for the climate of the country right now too. The heroine is impossibly cheery and sweet. The hero is a modern day Scrooge who falls victim to being “killed with kindness.”
As a blogger myself, I could also relate to the heroine’s struggle to gain readership.
If only real life could be as wholesome as the world Macomber creates, we’d all be a lot happier.
P.S. Southern Hospitality, the second book in my Calusa series will be out this week.
I had read and enjoyed the previous Heartbreaker Bay book by Jill Shalvis, so I was eager to read her novella One Snowy Night.
I’m working on book two of my own series and trying to read more books set in small towns. Even though the Heartbreaker Bay series is set in San Francisco, its close-knit cast of characters make it function like a little town. They all know each other’s secrets and have each other’s backs.
The couple in this one went to high school together, but their paths hadn’t crossed again until Rory came to work for a dog groomer near Max’s office. He’s heading home to Tahoe and. at her boss’ behest, insists she ride with him rather than take multiple buses and trains on Christmas Eve. She’s desperate to keep her promise to go home for the first time in years, but the weather isn’t cooperating.
Like the first book, this one includes a big, lovable dog, breezy writing, and good-at-heart people.
A nice Christmas present.
In order to buy in to Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason, you have to suspend disbelief a little more than is usually required of the reader of a romantic novel.
First of all, Sophie, the heroine, doesn’t know who the real father of her child is. Huh?
The spirit of the great grandmother of Liam, the hero, is roaming around the premises and can be seen only by the cute daughter of the protagonists and the cat.
It may sound like I didn’t enjoy this book, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I like the way Mason writes, and after all, this is set at Christmas time when miracles are supposed to happen, right?
I found the supporting cast of characters more interesting than the leads. Most of the characters involved in the book are keeping secrets that I assume will be dealt with in future Harmony Harbor books. I particularly liked the heroine’s very Italian grandmother who is a hoot and the stern butler with a soft heart. The bridezilla was fun too.
This is one of those books that make you say, “Awww” when it’s over.