Rose Lerner’s debut novel In for a Penny must not be judged by its dreary little cover. The novel tells a classic romance tale with grace and style. I was hooked immediately, read it straight through, and didn’t want the book to end. Penelope Brown is an heiress and ‘cit’ who marries a penniless aristocrat. The marriage of convenience turns into a bona fide love match. While the story is nothing new in terms of plot, Ms. Lerner’s voice is fresh and charming, she has clearly done her research and the novel is engrossing. I will definitely be reading her second novel A Lily Among Thorns when it comes out in September.
Meredith Duran has been on my reading wish list for a while. So many books! So little time! If you find yourself in the same shoes, I would say move A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal to the top of your list. The novel is a real page turner. But it is on the heavy side. This is not the book to read if you are in the mood for lighthearted fun. The descriptions of poverty and the desperate situation of the heroine, Nell, are grittier than is usually the case in the genre. The romantic conflict stems from Nell’s well-earned lack of faith in a happy ending and romantic love is nothing if not a leap of faith. But the book is a romance novel and in the end she does make the leap.
Lorraine Heath’s Waking Up With the Duke, the third book of her London’s Greatest Lovers series, delivers all the drama a girl could want on a hot summer day – a desperate bargain, a couple of love triangles, secrets and lies – drama, drama, drama! While reading the first third of the book I thought the drama was making up for the lack of romance, but Ms. Heath delivers on all counts – grand romantic gestures and heartwarming moments populate the latter part of the novel.
Lauren Willig’s The Mischief of the Mistletoe won the 2011 RITA for best Regency Historical Romance last week. As I have never read Ms. Willig’s books before and The Mischief of the Mistletoe is the sixth book in her Pink Carnation Series, I decided to read book one: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation this week. The novel is charming silly fun and I loved it. It is a spy novel, but not at all suspenseful and a romance without being a tearjerker. What it IS is an adorable comedy and I recommend this novel wholeheartedly.
Sherry Thomas’ His at Night was the 2011 RITA Winner for best Historical Romance, and if I had been on the voting committee this novel would have been my choice for sure! Ms. Thomas’ writing is beautiful and original. I opened the novel to page one and happily fell in to the world she created. The story is about two people who are both living behind carefully constructed masks – hers is for survival, his is for the sake of undercover investigation work – both recognize his/her own self in the other’s modus operandi and ultimately find happiness in each other’s arms.