Ashley March’s Romancing the Countess is fabulous. I was hooked immediately and read it straight through. Sebastian Madinger and Leah George’s spouses were engaged in a love affair and died in a carriage accident when running away together. Sebastian and Leah are both devastated but have different ways of dealing with their grief. Disagreement over their individual coping methods results in the main conflict of the novel. The situation is complicated - Sebastian and Leah are both united and at odds because of their problems and the way a romance between them develops is wonderful. Romancing the Countess is emotional - I repeatedly found it very touching - Ms. March has created charmingly flawed and loveable characters. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading more of this author’s work. As soon as I finished the book I added Ms. March’s backlist (Seducing the Duchess and Romancing Lady Cecily) to my to-be-read pile.
Victoria Alexander’s His Mistress by Christmas is a warm holiday romance. Veronica Smithson is a wealthy widow, values her independence and sees no benefit in marriage, but she would like to become Sebastian Hadley-Attwater’s mistress. Sebastian, on the other hand, wants to marry Veronica and is not at all pleased with the idea. He decides, however, to do things her way while he attempts to change her mind, and invites her to spend a quiet Christmas with him in the country. Things go awry when their families unexpectedly show up to celebrate the holiday. I am a longtime fan of Ms. Alexander and this book did not disappoint. The characters are lovable and fun, the book moves at a snappy clip, and I just love a holiday romance in which Christmas plays a big part of the story and holiday cheer flavors the whole atmosphere of this novel. And with that, I end this post wishing you a wonderful holiday filled with love and bookshelves filled with romance!
Jeannie Lin’s The Dragon and the Pearl tells the tale of Ling Suyin, a famous former courtesan of the Emperor, and Li Tao, a ruthless military governor in Tang Dynasty China. They both need to navigate a murky, dangerous political situation and neither knows who s/he can trust. The story is wonderfully written, a real page turner, and I loved the characters – Li Tao is a seemingly hard-hearted, mysterious man and Suyin is a strong, savvy woman. I really enjoyed this novel for all those reasons, but one of the main things I loved was the setting. This is the first historical romance novel I have ever read that takes place in China with Chinese characters – British and sometimes American characters are the norm in historical romance, regardless of the place where the novel is set – and the Chinese characters were an amazingly refreshing change of pace for me. I clearly need to branch out more often! I can’t recommend this book more – I am so happy I read Rose Lerner’s November 9th ‘Hook-a-Book’ post on bookworm2bookworm’s Blog – which is what turned me on to Jeannie Lin’s book.
Janet Mullany has a deliciously sly, witty, charming voice, making A Most Lamentable Comedy a delightful read. I love bad-girl protagonists, and Lady Caroline Elmhurst certainly qualifies. When she meets Mr. Nicholas Congrevance she doesn’t realize she has met her match – they are both gold diggers in dire financial straits, both assume the other has money, and are both hiding disreputable pasts. Falling in love is not part of either one’s plan. I loved this novel from start to finish. It is extremely funny – I laughed out loud again and again while reading. I have added Ms. Mullany’s Mr. Bishop and the Actress to my to-be-read pile and really look forward to reading more of this author’s work.