Maya Rodale’s novel The Tattooed Duke is the third in her Writing Girl Series. Eliza Fielding’s job as a writing girl at The London Weekly is not secure – she hasn’t written anything worthy of publication in ages. So when the notorious Sebastian Digby, Duke of Wycliff returns to London she knows she must be the one to get the scoop. She acquires a job in his house as a maid and is soon writing the most popular column in town: The Tattooed Duke. The column is the bane of Sebastian’s existence – he needs funding for a dreamed-of expedition to Timbuktu and the salacious gossip about him is ruining his chances – why would anyone invest money in such a wild and seemingly unreliable man? Sparks fly between Eliza and Sebastian, but they obviously have quite a conflict – in addition to all the secrets and lies, Eliza’s professional ambitions run in diametric opposition to her feelings for Sebastian, while his need to explore is in opposition to settling down. Ms. Rodale’s novel is a lot of fun and I wouldn’t want to spoil it, so you’ll just have to get your hands on a copy to see how these two characters work it out. Happy reading, everyone!
Jude Deveraux’s novels filled my bookshelf when I was a teenager and one of my favorites was A Knight in Shining Armor. I reread it this week and can honestly say I loved it as much now as I did then. Dougless Montgomery is a kind and generous woman, but she doesn’t feel she stacks up next to her accomplished siblings. She does, however, have a very successful boyfriend and she somehow thinks marrying him will make up for what she lacks. He is an abusive ass but she doesn’t see it, or at least she doesn’t admit she sees it, even to herself. They go on vacation, have a fight, and he takes off in the rental car with all her belongings. She is alone, broke, and heartbroken in a foreign country and finds herself wishing for a knight in shining armor. The next thing she knows she has one – Nicholas Stafford has been summoned four hundred years into the future by her tears. The romance between Dougless and Nicholas is wonderfully romantic, but the story is about more than a time-travelling love affair. Dougless grows into a self-confident woman during her journey and while she may have a knight in shining armor, the story is really about how she rescues herself.
Tessa Dare’s novels are always a pleasure to read but I particularly enjoyed A Week to Be Wicked, the third book in her Spindle Cove Series. Minerva Highwood is a brainy bluestocking. Colin Sandhurst is a womanizing flibbertigibbet. They have always had an antagonistic relationship but one wild scheme and a week of travel later they find they cannot live without each other. I loved these characters – they are smart, funny, charming, and their differences are wonderfully complementary. Their story is delightful, emotional and romantic. This novel moves at a great pace, concludes in a deeply satisfying way, and should definitely be moved to the top of your to-be-read pile!
Edith Layton’s The Cad tells the tale of Bridget Cooke, a woman with very few options. Because she is an impoverished spinster with no prospects of her own, she lives at the mercy of distant relations. When Ewen, Viscount Sinclair, offers to make her his mistress she is deeply offended. When he later offers her marriage she is suspicious – why would such an eligible bachelor want to marry a woman with no beauty or fortune? The opportunity seems too good to be true and Bridget is aware that if it seems too good to be true it probably is. Yet she decides to take her chances and marries him. Her worries appear to be justified shortly after their wedding. Bridget’s situation struck me as realistically bleak for a woman in 19th century England – she is completely at the mercy of her circumstance and her world is structured in such a way that she can’t do much about it. So when she grabs the chance to improve her lot in life, despite a million red flags, one can hardly blame her. I can’t really say more without spoiling the book, so I’ll leave it at that. The Cad is a drama-filled page-turner and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I came across Sheri Cobb South’s The Weaver Takes a Wife in the list of Top 100 Romances by DearAuthor.com and I am so glad I did! Ethan Brundy, a very successful self-made businessman, falls in love with Lady Helen Radney at first sight. Helen thinks Ethan is beneath her notice – she is a member of the nobility and doesn’t mix with people in trade. The financial situation of her family is such, however, that she is persuaded to marry him though she explicitly informs him she is doing it for one reason only: his fortune. Ethan Brundy just may be my favorite romance novel hero of all time. He is wonderfully drawn and painfully dear. Ethan is confident, smart, kind, patient, full of integrity and exceptionally sweet. I felt a tug on my heartstrings while reading every single page of this novel – it is wonderfully romantic and an absolute must-read as far as I am concerned.