Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Hilarious Regency.



Reviewed by Francine


Hilarity abounds in this sweet tale of love and romance, in which Charlotte and Elizabeth Richmond are elated by the good fortune of both having acquired a beau. Likewise Thomas and Robert, the best of friends, are utterly smitten by the young sisters, and all seems bright and beautiful and the path ahead strewn with love and romance. But a few sage, or could it be embittered words, from an aged aunt, and the girls are cast into uncertainty and fears of male infidelity. Equally, young Thomas and Richard receive sage, or could it be mischievous advice, thus all the young lovers are cast into a pickle reminiscent of French Farce, and despite the simplicity and predictability of this little tale, it’s a giggle read from start to finish! 

This isn’t a novella that strikes one as period specific, but that really doesn’t matter all that much because it is a parody of historical romance, and the “errors” aspect is classic farce. Besides, if one stops to think seriously about Jane Austen’s novels, what was Elizabeth Bennet but a caricature of fickle female? And Emma too, a blind romancing matchmaker who couldn’t see love staring her in the face!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Romantic Regency Murder Mystery



Reviewed by Francine. 


A murder, a mystery, and a dashing Bow Street Runner; a reunion between estranged once youthful lovers is inevitable. Thus a thrilling series of romantic ideals and bitter recriminations arise from the sudden and unexpected death of Lady Scarlett Sherwood’s husband. She naturally assumes her former female guile and the winning of Owen Steel’s heart cannot possibly have waned, and Owen Steel is equally determined he will not fall foul of Scarlett’s charms for a second time. Hence a war of conflict arises as dire events unfold and the plot thickens.

Well aware of his place in society, that hard lesson learned in prior mad pursuit of Scarlett, Owen now wields power of a kind that can and may cost her dear and result in her ladyship either hanging from a gibbet, or the indignity of transportation to a far distant colony. Indeed Owen as good as revels in the prospect of embittered revenge, and Scarlett, although in more peril than she seems cognisant to, the pair are consumed with thoughts revolving around hedonistic romance and breathless moments of a time past, whilst brief momentary encounters cause racing pulses and throbbing groins. Needless to say, detection of the murderous villain slips to the shadows amidst the carnage of broken hearts, the healing of friendships with other characters, and the re-blossoming of romance. With a Will They, Won’t They plot (?) we are giving an intriguing romantic thread throughout, and the twist in the tale adds for a shock finale! A good read!

Jillian rates this in terms of heat level: Sensuality - Warm/bordering on hot.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Welcome Back!


Welcome back to the old Review Blog, and we are GO!



Hi, I'm Francine, I did in the early days help this blog to get underway by offering one of the first books for review, but that was several years back when Suzy first established RRM. I also contributed as a guest book reviewer, then I became an in-house reviewer for a while, and stepped up as admin during a personal crisis moment for Suzy, I then stepped away again when Suzy returned.  Over the years, the blog has had several different admins in charge but this time the blog has been handed over lock-stock and barrel to my hands. It will either fly or perch on a virtual branch somewhere along the Super Highway and wile away time forever.  

So please support the blog as best you can by providing books for review and by offering to become a reviewer, or just join the blog and post reviews of fellow authors books! Each reviewer will have a direct link to their own blogs inserted in the side column! 

The Blog is now Associated with the 
Regency Authors and Readers FaceBook Group  and other historical groups.  


I will say this, hurtful and disparaging reviews will not be tolerated on this blog - if a book hasn't met with reader expectations it is best to say nowt, else it reflects badly on the reviewer. 

Of course there are always elements within books that can make some readers cringe, i.e. extreme violence, explicit sex etc., and when that happens a mild warning for others is sufficient, such as, "there are violent episodes" --- "There are explicit sex scenes" but that is all that need be said. And let's be honest caveat emptor applies here, because readers are responsible for selecting the books they choose to read, and categorisations such as Steamy, Erotic, Military, Murder Mystery are pretty much self-explanatory in terms of content, are they not?   

Some readers go ape-shit when they encounter typos or a few grammatical blips within a Indie novel, and thence review a mainstream conventionally published novel that is riddled with the aforementioned and not a word of complaint!  This is where double-standards and book snobbery enters play. 

The most important aspect about writing reviews is to remember it's just your opinion and a reflection of you as a person - true insight to your nature!  

Friday, 17 February 2017

A Re-telling of Beauty & The Beast.



Reviewed by Fran.


Stepping into the realm of fantasy fairy tales one never knows what is lying in wait, more especially when beloved fairy tales are re-vamped, literally with a vampire theme, or the fairy tale steps to the dark side of circumstance, disaster, and desire for something that eludes the dreamer: let alone the reality of isolation and loneliness of a reclusive lifestyle. The latter is where Rachel Demeter has picked up and run with the tale, Beauty & The Beast. Thus Prince Adam Delacroix, presents a more human side to his role as the beast, and one can almost hear the haunting threads of the theme song Phantom of the Opera echoing through the part ruined castle. Embittered, and no mirrors to reflect his appearance Delacroix exists in the dark shadows of his scarred memories and the world outside is a place where he will not tread, for to all intents and purposes he’s a dead man. Any visitors to the once palatial castle are afforded sharp shrift, nothing more, until one persistent visitor desperate and in need of shelter for herself and her father fuels Delacroix’s beastly side, which is his shield to protect him from his own and others’ emotions. Where the original tale portrayed the moral of kindness to others and brings with it warmth and understanding, this version edges much darker initially and I’ll say no more, else it will spoil the story.

Modern day readers will undoubtedly equate Delacroix’s problems in terms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and rightly so, but in the past historical wise and within the fantasy realm of his existence he is looked upon as a freak show and mad eccentric, even by his most trusted friend-cum-servant. And therein doth lay another element to this story, for even the most loyal of servants can be tempted to the dark side! This is a beautifully descriptive work in which the reader is drawn into Delacroix’s dark world, and despite his harsh side one cannot but sympathise with his inner despair. Isobel, likewise traumatised by events that have led her to seek sanctuary at Delacroix’s castle, is running from a fate she regards as worse than death. And beware, for there are explicit sexual encounters that may be distressing to people who are averse to notions of cruel intent, but the anti hero is a cruel sexual predator and he is the chilling aspect of this book prior to the dawn of romance, and one man’s longing for sense of normality. This is a heart-rending story that will leave a lasting impression upon its readers.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Sweet Regency,



Reviewed by Fran.


It’s 1818 post-Waterloo, and Ivonne Wimpleton is not in the least enamoured by a would-be suitor, thus the scene is set for conflict, and dreadful anguish for her part. Whilst living in fear of compromise against her will it seems inevitable, Ivonne despairs her fate, despairs the logic of her parents and others for inviting a specific dastardly fellow to social gatherings. Likewise others feel obliged to attend, and amidst their number is one such as she, who cannot bear his heart on his sleeve as he might have if circumstances were different. With the fates seemingly stacked against both, can one moment of honest confession aide each other in finding the happiness they wish could be theirs? And of course, the path to true love is often plagued with inner walls to scale and burning hoops to leap through, and no guarantee of success even when Lady Fate smiles and bestows the wherewithal to set things right for a loved one. This is a delightful sweet tale of romance in the face of all the odds of Sod’s Law stacked against a happy outcome.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

A Sweet Regency.




Reviewed by Charlotte



The book’s premise-

After a disappointing season in London, Sophie Davenport returns home without a marriage proposal. No sooner does she settle back into her country life than she learns her uncle has arranged for her to marry the local vicar’s son, a respectable and utterly forgettable man. He’s returning home immediately after the Christmas holiday and they will wed. She sets about making this last Christmas with just she and her mother memorable.

Jeremy Wyatt hatches a plan to help his friend Thomas and his love, Emma, escape to Gretna Green and marry before her father comes after them. What he’s really doing is avoiding heading to his parents’ home, where he is the son who is always making the wrong choices. But their carriage becomes hopelessly mired in the mud from the incessant rains so Jeremy sets off to find shelter for them at the first house he comes to.

Sophie welcomes the wet and weary travelers, and her mother agrees to house them temporarily until they can free the carriage. Sophie forms a bond not only with Emma, but with Jeremy. However despite the sparks they ignite in each other, they have to maintain their separate paths.

But love and mistletoe have a way of upsetting even the best-laid plans.

*****


My Review-

It was interesting to learn from Ms Lower’s profile at Amazon she has written a series of novels with American settings and themes, and how Regency Yuletide is her first English Regency romance. 

What I liked best about this sweet novella was the way the author threw London’s seasoned soirĂ©es out of the carriage window. Instead a bleak Cumbrian landscape is where the heroine’s story opens the door on her life. It was a nice change to meet a heroine who cringed in expectation of a forced second season of attendance at soirees in the City of London. And thank goodness Ms Lower avoided a popular and ludicrous plot of young suitors on wild chargers in Hyde Park in pursuit of rebellious heroines. Wise move Ms Lower to steer away from that old trope, and her version of an elopement plot has a refreshing twist to it as well. Poor Sophie is a country girl at heart, and destined as wife to the local vicar’s son. I say poor Sophie because I was rooting for excitement to explode into her life. And Sophie’s dismal prospects then turn for the better when a young man rocks up on her doorstep asking for help. Enter the hero Jeremy who has two companions stranded in a coach and its bogged down in mud and snow. Better still it’s Christmas and with a runaway couple heading for Gretna Green a cottage in the middle of nowhere is suddenly a godsend. And within a short while and seasonal charity Sophie’s little haven of tranquillity becomes a hotbed of lusty dreams, joyous cheer, and budding romance. Oh what a lovely time is had by all. But all good things must come to an end and it does. Poor Sophie is left pondering what if? And after a little heartache and soul searching that what if comes full circle and Sophie has her happy ending. I did like this story very much. It’s simple. It’s sweet. It’s a charming yuletide tale. Well done Ms Lower. Cumbria is a bleak place.






Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Georgian/Regency Romance




Reviewed by Francine:

This is a well-researched novel spanning the years 1803-1814-1815, thus it begins two years previous to the Battle of Trafalgar, and ending in the year the Napoleonic Wars finally draw to a close with the Battle of Waterloo.

Whilst this novel is a rather poignant tale of tragic loss, of hope, and that of a devastating truth, which in itself reveals the secret life of the heroine’s husband, there is more, so much more. For despite the heroine’s self-esteem is shattered in the face of shocking revelations, the courageous fortitude Olivia (heroine) portrays perfectly falls under the title The Murmur of Masks, as does a moment in time that awakens and arouses a sensual side Olivia has never known.

Whilst the novel remains true to the social mores and overt formal etiquette for widows during this period, Olivia nonetheless discovers essence of love, quite unexpectedly, and sadly cannot truly embrace it. Not only is there element of doubt it is true love, she has obligations besides that of herself to consider, thus one reckless indulgence, though memorable, remains but a treasured secret. The hero, likewise, has had to face disappointments along life’s path, until the day he is deemed fit enough to purchase a commission in the army, but Napoleon’s escape from Elba sets precedence for his putting a brave foot forward, commission or no commission. Here the more gritty elements of war surface, thus touching letters betwixt Olivia and Luke Fitzmaurice keep Olivia and the reader abreast of events as they unfold in the hours prior to the great battle. After the event the trauma of it all has taken its toll, and of course there is a Happy Ever After. 

Throughout this novel the author seamlessly weaves historical facts into the tapestry of Olivia and Luke’s individual stories, by using history as a natural backdrop to the lives of her characters instead of displaying personal research as narrative infill. A lovely, lovely story. 

Amazon

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Latest Regency Review





Reviewed by Nigella.

To Tempt a Viscount by Naomi Broom

The book blurb -

Lady Laura Rosing knows two things: first, she will marry for love, and second, she detests rakes. When she meets Lord Gavin Farris, she understands immediately that he fails both her criteria, and worse yet, he is an absolute cad who refuses to leave her be.

Lord Farris has always appreciated women and cannot understand why Lady Laura is so resistant to his charms. While pretty, she is not his usual type, but something about her intrigues him. Much to his chagrin, he finds himself desperately in love with her, but he may be too late. His adamant refusal to marry just might have planted her firmly in the arms of another.

###

Nigella’s Review –

When debut historical novels come my way I expect to encounter the occasional gaffe and allowances have to be made for new and aspiring authors of historical romances. It is a given periods of history require a tedious amount of research, and onus lies very much in the hands of the author to provide a time setting. Sadly nothing inside this book relates to the Regency era and what is more, a heroine of supposed good breeding daring to spout ‘bloody hell’ not once, but several times simply does the author no favours.

Quote: Just then the carriage hit a bump, and Laura could not help the words that issued forth. “Bloody hell.” Covering her mouth, she grimaced. She was not supposed to know such words, but she liked to read, and certain things were unavoidable in the good books.

Here is where the reader begins to ponder precisely in which era the heroine Laura, is cavorting. A good book [novel] for a young lady during the Regency era would be genteel prose, ie; Jane Austen and Ann Radcliffe were contemporary novelists of Laura’s time. In addition to the heroine’s young years, torches beneath the bed covers for reading crude books were not available in the Regency era. Laura would for a greater part of her reading time be in full view of other members of her family. It is also abundantly clear she has an aunt for a chaperone. Would that aunt condone the reading of unsuitable novels? Another thing that struck me as odd was the lack of richly embellished Regency settings. This novel has no time scale, nothing to reflect this particular period in history. 



Setting to one side qualms as stated above the story itself is a sweet romance, and to a great extent, a farcical comic romp. Conflict between the hero and heroine is the overriding theme from start to finish involving misunderstandings and peevishly annoying incidents. Laura is constantly at odds with Farris and Laura’s irrational behaviour and Farris’s dull-wittedness strays to realms of romantic insanity. However the fact they will fall in love is a certainty. There are touchingly romantic scenes in which Farris shines through as a hero should, and every single time Laura resorts to slightly ridiculous reasons to be rude and unladylike. Laura is plain rude and unlikeable at the start and while it is hoped she will moderate her rudeness, warming to Laura as a historical heroine is not easy. She fails utterly as the epitome of a lady of good birth, a young lady with an additional rebel persona who would endear a reader to her side. I really did not like Laura at all. There are a good many characters who hang out with Laura, Some are more interesting than others. Some I felt needed a little more fleshing. They lacked sparkle and personality, and whether the author intended for her heroine to appear as a modern miss lacking in affability and therefore appeal to a YA readership is impossible to tell. I think readers who prefer uncomplicated plots and extreme conflict will go a bundle on this novel.


Amazon