Tag: Regency

Book Review: Capturing the Earl, by A.S. Fenichel

Image belongs to Kensington Books.

Title:  Capturing the Earl
Author: A.S. Fenichel
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

 After the demise of her friend’s disastrous marriage, Mercedes Parsons isn’t about to let the widowed Wallflower of West Lane, Lady Aurora Radcliff, undertake another perilous trip to the altar. At least, not before the bridegroom-to-be is thoroughly investigated. If only Mercy could stop her uncharacteristic daydreaming about Wesley Renshaw’s charm, his intellect, his dashing good looks. After all, the earl has already set his sights on her best friend! She must keep her wits about her and avoid giving into temptation.

Wesley is both irritated and intrigued by the machinations of Mercy—He cannot let her cleverness and beauty distract him. He needs to marry her friend, Aurora, so he can reclaim his family’s ancestral home. A wrong he has hoped to right his entire life. Besides, who is penniless spinster Mercedes Parsons to decide whom he can and cannot marry? Yet while he admires her unwavering loyalty to her friends, he decides it’s high time the misguided woman had a dose of her own medicine. Two can play at this spying game. But they are both embarked on a dangerous charade. And it won’t be merely Mercy’s reputation at risk—or her heart on the line—as Wesley comes to the inescapable conclusion that he has found the right woman at exactly the wrong time.

I really enjoy The Wallflowers of West Lane series! Solid writing and vibrant characters who are always up for an adventure make these books fun to read. Mercy is probably my favorite one of the Wallflowers so far, and I loved how she went from being passive to standing up for herself in the course of this book. This is a fun read good for some laughs.

A.S. Fenichel lives in Missouri. Capturing the Earl is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, by Abigail Wilson

madquerade at middlecrest abbey
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey
AuthorAbigail Wilson
Genre:  Regency, mystery, romance
Rating:  5 out of 5

When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped by not only the duty to her country but her limited options, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her illegitimate son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. She is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Afraid of what Lord Torrington might do if he learns of her son’s true identity, Elizabeth must remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless mystery person bent on her new family’s ruin.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Sometimes, Regency novels are hard for me to read, with all the rules and constrictions that women were subjected to, but Elizabeth is independent-thinking enough to have a mind of her own and enough courage to make her own choices.

Adrian Torrington was also not your typical Regency hero. He’s a bit older with a past he’s not proud of and a determination to change things for the better. I like that he allows Elizabeth to be herself—without compromising either of their values. This is the first thing I’ve read by this author, but I will definitely be reading more!

Abigail Wilson lives in Texas. Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Mesmerized, by Candace Camp

Mesmerized_Mock-up dpi 72
Image belongs to harlequin/HQN.

Olivia Moreland, one of the “Mad Morelands”—what society names her eccentric, independent, and forward-thinking family—spends her days trying to expose mediums for the charlatans she believes them to be. She knows all their little tricks, from phosphorescent gloves to hidden music boxes playing the dearly departed’s favorite tune, and she thrives on shining a bright light on their shady practices. Until one night, Lord Stephen St. Leger accuses her of conspiring with a medium—and they both end up kicked out of the party.

Stephen’s apology means nothing to her, until, a few days later, he asks her to help him expose the medium preying on his own mother, and she finds herself in a house party at the St. Leger estate, Blackhope Hall.

Blackhope Hall has secrets dating back hundreds of years, and when Stephen and Olivia both start seeing visions from the past—visions where they are living the lives of a pair of star-crossed lovers—the skeptical pair start to question if the supernatural world really exists. Is the dark spirit that haunts the Moreland family responsible for the death of Stephen’s brother, or is the psychic who does his bidding to blame? Stephen and Olivia must work together if they are to stop their visions from the past of coming true again, and only love is strong enough to combat the darkness.

Mesmerized was a well-plotted read twining romance and paranormal together in a Regency setting. Olivia, at first too rebellious against the customs of society, learns that she can still be a smart, independent woman, even if she does her hair and wears feminine clothing. Stephen, determined to save his family from more hurt, is close-minded about anything that falls outside his realm of experience, but exposure to Olivia softens him up a bit. The secondary characters, especially the “Mad” Morelands, are vibrant and entertaining, adding depth to the story that I enjoyed.

Candance Camp lives in Austin, Texas and loves writing about the Regency era. Mesmerized is the first book in The Mad Morelands series, re-released on December 26th.

(Galley provided by Harlequin/HQN via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Murder, Magic, and What We Wore, by Kelly Jones

murder magic
Image belongs to Knopf.

Sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth just found out that her father is dead and all his money is missing. With the social season in London looming, Annis and her aunt are on the verge of the horror of all horrors:  having to find jobs. When Annis finds out her father was a spy, she decides to follow in his footsteps. But the spymasters are not so sure.

After learning she can sew glamours, magical disguises, Annis moves to a small town and starts her double life as Madame Martine, seamstress extraordinaire. She must succeed in her new role if she is ever to find out who killed her father—and earn aplace as a spy herself.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a fun Regency-era tale of a girl discovering who she truly is as she seeks her place in life. Annis finds out there is far more going on around her than she ever imagined, and she has talents she never suspected. This is a light, enjoyable read, with quirky characters and a fantastic setting.

Kelly Jones is the author of Murder, Magic, and What We Wore.

(Galley provided by Knopf via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane, by Andrea Penrose

murder on black swan lane
Image belongs to Kensington Books.

The Earl of Wrexford isn’t your average aristocrat:  for starters, he has a keen scientific mind and an interest in chemistry. Secondly, he has no time for fools and doesn’t care what the rest of society thinks of him. When Reverend Holworthy publicly condemns him for his wickedness, he retaliates, and the war of words escalates, and cartoonist A.J. Quill uses the feud as fodder, drawing even more attention. Then the reverend is found dead, with chemical burns, and Wrexford finds himself the primary suspect.

Charlotte Sloane is a talented artist, but knows the public would never follow a female cartoonist, so she uses her late husband’s pen name to put food on the table…at the expense of the rich and famous she scathingly depicts. When the Earl of Wrexford figures out her identity, she’s afraid he’ll expose her. Instead, he seeks her help in solving the mystery of the reverend’s death before he swings for the crime. But the crime has roots in dark secrets, and the perpetrator will stop at nothing to see that they fail, even adding more victims to the list.

Murder on Black Swan Lane is a richly-detailed story set in Regency England. Charlotte is an engaging character, full of curiosity and a secretive past, but determined to make her own way in the world. Wrexford is fascinating, with his dry sense of humor, brilliant mind, and disdain for traditions. Together, the two of them enter a dark and twisted world full of secrets that takes them places they’d never imagined.

Andrea Penrose is a romance author who writes under several pen names. Murder on Black Swan Lane is her newest book, the first book in the Wrexford & Sloane Regency series.

(Galley provided by Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.)