My pick this week is Sherry Thomas’ heartwarming novel, The Luckiest Lady in London. When Louisa Cantwell, a woman with plenty of smarts, but lacking in fortune, beauty and bosom, wins the hand of Felix Rivendale, the most sought-after bachelor in town, she is repeatedly told she is ‘the luckiest lady in London’. Louisa mostly agrees with that statement and is flummoxed by Felix’s interest, but she does recognize his motives are not what they seem. She does not realize her ability to see the real man lying beneath Felix’s carefully constructed façade of kindly gentlemanliness is what Felix adores about her. Louisa and Felix are drawn to each other physically and both are comfortable expressing that fact. However, they are also in love and neither has the courage to say so. Both Louisa and Felix will have to face their fears to find their happily-ever-after. Ms. Thomas writes smart, original, romance and I always read her new releases. I am looking forward to her next novel, My Beautiful Enemy, which will be available in August.
Midnight Scandals is an anthology featuring three novellas set in the same house but not the same time period. I have long been a fan of both Sherry Thomas and Courtney Milan but had never read anything by Carolyn Jewel before. I am now a fan of Ms. Jewel’s too – I really enjoyed her novella One Starlit Night which is the first story in the book. It takes place in 1813. Courtney Milan’s What Happened at Midnight is set in 1856 and Sherry Thomas’ A Dance in Moonlight is set in 1896. Most anthologies have a loose theme but no real sense of connectivity between the stories – a collection of unrelated holiday tales is a typical example. But Midnight Scandals has clearly been put together with a lot of thought and care. While the three stories are told in three very different voices, there are many elements that carry over from one tale to the next and streamline all three novellas into one coherent book. For example, a rowan tree is featured in each story – the protagonist of the first novella plants a sapling and wonders if one day her descendants will stand by the tree. In the final novella the rowan has grown to be unusually large and is heavy with berries. All three stories are emotional, nuanced and have plots that involve a second chance at love. And of course, we’re talking romance, so there’s plenty of midnight canoodling. This book’s a keeper for sure. Happy reading, everyone!
Sherry Thomas’ Beguiling the Beauty is simply wonderful and should be added to your to-be-read pile immediately! I am a huge fan of Ms. Thomas and it is always such a pleasure to read her work. Beguiling the Beauty tells the tale of Christian de Montfort and Venetia Easterbrook. Christian has been obsessively in love with Venetia since he first laid eyes on her and has never been able to free himself from her power over him. Even though they have never even met, he resents her for it and in an out-of-character moment he discusses her in public – depicting her as an evil, soulless beauty. As luck would have it, Venetia hears his description, is horribly hurt by it, and decides to get revenge – hating her for her beauty is just as ridiculous as loving her for it, and she means to prove the point. Venetia’s plans go awry when she falls in love with Christian while carrying out her scheme. Fans of Ms. Thomas will be thrilled to know she has two new books coming out soon: Ravishing the Heiress will be available July 3rd and Tempting the Bride will be available October 2nd.
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.