Genre: Historical

THE OTHER MRS. BRIDGERTON by Julia Quinn

THE OTHER MRS. BRIDGERTON by Julia QuinnThe Other Mrs. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #3
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Source: Publisher

 

She was in the wrong place...

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time...

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he's stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

Poppy Bridgerton is dragging her heels on the marriage mart.  She isn’t about to settle for just any man who asks her – only someone who can match her quick wit and will treat her as an equal could catch her interest and none of her suitors have even elicited the slightest glimmer of attraction from her.  Taking a break from London, she goes to Dorset to visit a friend.  While exploring the coast, Poppy discovers a smugglers cave…which would be delightful if there weren’t smugglers in it when she did!  Resourceful as she is, this is one mess Poppy isn’t able to escape and she soon finds herself kidnapped and taken aboard the Infinity, to be presented to its less-than-pleased captain.

 

Captain Andrew Rokesby loves excitement, but a captive miss in his bed is definitely not the kind of thrill he seeks.  Andrew would like nothing more than to set Poppy free, but his duty to the Crown and the time-sensitive nature of his mission means the lady is stuck accompanying him to Portugal.  A battle of wills and words is about to take place on the high seas…the kind of battle that could cost both sides their hearts.

 

Oh, what fun The Other Miss Bridgerton is!  Julia Quinn’s characters are always lively and loveable, but there seems to be a special sort of magic to her work when the Bridgerton family is involved.

 

Poppy is cousin to Edmund Bridgerton (father of the original eight Bridgertons) and she’s as smart, curious, and sprightly as you’d expect her to be.  I absolutely adored her from the very first and couldn’t wait to see her fall in love.  Andrew is her match in every way; he’s charming, competitive, and bright.  I loved the banter between the two of them and really enjoyed watching them peel back the layers of each other’s characters.  Though their story begins in what both would consider less than ideal circumstances, it’s easy to see these two were made for each other.  In fact, had they met at an ordinary family event (quite possible since Poppy’s cousin Billie is married to Andrew’s older brother), you just know they would have fallen in love anyway.  But close quarters lead to a slightly less conventional love story and I loved watching their slow-burn romance unfold.  Add in a dash of adventure and what’s not to love about this book?  It’s a sparkling romance with good humor, endearing characters you can root for, and it’s so light on its feet that the pages of the story seem to fly by.  I absolutely adored The Other Miss Bridgerton and cannot wait to read it again.

BORNE TO BE WILDE by Eloisa James

BORNE TO BE WILDE by Eloisa JamesBorne to be Wilde by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Source: Publisher

 

 

All of society knows that Lavinia Gray is bright, beautiful, and wealthy.  Only the last is a lie, as Lavinia herself recently found out.  Convention dictates Lavinia needs to marry a rich man as quickly as possible, which is why she lets her cousin talk her into proposing to Parth Sterling.  Not only is Parth one of the richest men in England, he’s a man who knows how to get things done.  The only problem is, the man she loved to tease in better times turned her down flat, which is devastating in more ways than one.

 

Parth Sterling has the perfect bride in mind, and it is definitely not the luscious Lavinia Gray.  He can’t help but feel for her, which is why he offers to find her a wealthy husband.  Except that the longer Parth spends around Lavinia, the less he can bear the thought of anyone but himself being her husband.  Parth doesn’t know it yet, but the woman who is the opposite of everything he thinks he should want may just turn out to be everything he needs.

 

Born to be Wilde snaps and sparkles all the way through.  I adore a good frenemies-to-lovers romance, and Eloisa James has delivered a truly delightful one in Parth and Lavinia’s story.

 

Lavinia has been brought up to be the wife of a wealthy man and not much more.  Despite this, she’s quite bright and incredibly charming.  She’s also in dire straits at the beginning of this story.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that Lavinia is hit with a lot of responsibility all at once and she doesn’t let it break her even though the life she has lived hasn’t prepared her to shoulder the burden she takes on.  What I loved best about Lavinia was her eye for fashion.  It’s so much more than the frivolous fancy people assume it is and what she does with her knowledge, skills, and talents had me cheering for her all the way through the book.  The one person who has the ability to knock Lavinia off her stride is Parth.  Parth is intelligent, clever, and handsome, but man does he get it wrong with Lavinia.  He’s attracted to her, but he sees her as shallow and he couldn’t be more wrong.  I loved watching them bicker and struggle against their mutual attraction even as they managed to peel back the layers of each other’s characters.  It’s a rocky road to happily ever after for these two, but they have such undeniable chemistry and their romance is so engaging that I was happy to go along for the ride.

 

Born to be Wilde is the third book in Ms. James’s Wildes of Lindow Castle series and though it can be read as a standalone, if you start here be prepared for major spoilers from Wilde in Love and Too Wilde to Wed.  The Wildes adopted Parth at five years old and they happily bring Lavinia into their fold, so it’s no surprise that most members of the Wilde family play supporting roles in this book.  The Wildes as a whole are warm, welcoming, funny, supportive, and endearing and they’ve made every book in the series shine.  I can’t count the number of times Born to be Wilde made me grin.  It’s a truly delightful story and I highly recommend it to any historical romance fan.

 

TOO WILDE TO WED by Eloisa James

TOO WILDE TO WED by Eloisa JamesToo Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #2
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Source: Publisher

 

 

It has been two years since Miss Diana Belgrave jilted Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde, and those two years have changed everything.  North went off to fight in the Colonies and has returned whole in body, though not in spirit.  And after being tossed out by her mother for breaking her engagement in favor of raising her orphaned nephew, Diana has taken a position as governess to North’s sister in the Wilde family household.  When North returns to England, the two come face-to-face and the sparks immediately begin to fly.  Even though she broke his heart and damaged his reputation, North still wants Diana.  And Diana is just realizing she never truly knew the man beneath the elegant mask North had put on to impress her during their engagement.  Is it possible for two outcasts who both want different things in life to find their way to a happily ever after together?

 

Too Wilde to Wed is such a fun book!  It’s fun, sensual, and in the Wilde family Eloisa James has created a host of bright, endearing characters who grab your heart and don’t let go.

 

Unlike most of the young women she knows, Diana has never wanted to be raised to the ranks of the upper aristocracy.  In fact, she positively panics at the thought.  I liked that Diana was unconventional, that she didn’t quite fit into the mold her mother tried to forcibly stuff her in.  After falling from society’s good graces, she finally finds her true self.  It’s a self that North has never seen.  He fell for her when he first heard her laugh (cue me melting when reading this), but he proposed to an elegant creation he only later realizes was not the true Diana.  My heart broke for North in the first Wildes of Lindow Castle book, Wilde in Love, as he tried to turn himself into a veritable peacock to attract Diana’s notice.  The North in Too Wilde to Wed is a hardened warrior with no patience for fripperies.  This North, the real North, is the man who ultimately captures Diana’s heart and one of my favorite things about this story was watching them talk openly and truly learn, one another.  Diana and North are clearly made for one another, but it isn’t easy for North to win over Diana.   But being in Lindow Castle, away from society’s judgmental eyes, frees them to be honest.  The resulting romance is by turns sweet and sexy and I was rooting for these two to find a way to get that perfectly happily ever after.

 

Too Wilde to Wed is the second book in Ms. James’s Wildes of Lindow Castle series and if you don’t mind some spoilers from the first book it can be read on its own.  My favorite thing about this series is the Wilde family as a unit.  They’re welcoming, loving, and incredibly funny.  I’m so glad North has a bunch of siblings because I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading about their wild (pun intended) antics.  I finished Too Wilde to Wed a well-satisfied reader and I cannot wait to see what adventures Ms. James has in store for the Wilde family next!

FALLING FOR THE HIGHLANDER by Lynsay Sands

FALLING FOR THE HIGHLANDER by Lynsay SandsFalling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands
Series: Highlander #4
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Source: Publisher

 

Lady Murine Carmichael seems to attract bad luck, and she is tired of letting others control her fate.  Discovering that a family member seeks to sell her in exchange for horses, Lady Murine Carmichael determines to venture out alone in the harsh country for sanctuary with a dear friend.  Not worried about what or whom she may come across Murine feels that the outside world cannot be any worse than what she has endured at home.

Dougall Buchanan comes across a comely lass in need of escort in the wilds of the countryside and, being the gentleman that he is, he steps up to provide for her, since Dougall has just dealt with the treacherous individual who was willing to sell her for some prime horses!  During their journey, Dougall discovers more than he thought he would, and now he finds that he can’t part with Lady Murine Carmichael.  However, someone is willing to see that young lass depart more than just the company of the Highlander.

Falling for the Highlander is a sweet, charming tale.  However, I felt that Murine wasn’t as smart as everyone in Falling for the Highlander seemed to believe.  She seemed rather naïve and couldn’t seem to think beyond what is clearly evident to all others in Falling for the Highlander.  I found her weakness rather annoying, and I wondered why all the characters claimed she was so brilliant when some of the things she came up with seemed like common sense.  I did enjoy the chemistry between Dougall and Murine in Falling for the Highlander, but I don’t think I’ll reread this story.

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia Quinn

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND by Julia QuinnThe Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesby #2
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
Source: Publisher

When she receives word that her brother has been injured on the battlefield in the Colonies, newly orphaned Cecilia Harcourt does the only thing she can do: pack her bags, flee her oily cousin trying to coerce her into marriage, and spend her savings coming to America to take care of her brother.  But when she arrives in New York, it’s not her brother she finds in the hospital, but his best friend, Edward Rokesby.  Edward is injured and unconscious and Cecilia is determined to help him.  To do so, she has to tell one little lie: that she’s his wife.  She doesn’t expect Edward to awaken with no knowledge of the last three months of his life.  He knows who she is and believes it when he’s told they’re married.  With no leads on her brother and an injured, kind man who needs her, Cecilia decides to temporarily carry on her charade.  But the longer she’s around Edward, the harder it is not to slip into the fantasy that she’s his wife.  She knows she can’t lie to him forever, but what will happen when the truth comes out?

 

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bit of a difficult book for me to review.  Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors and though this is a solidly-written book, it lacks Ms. Quinn’s signature vibrancy.  Part of this is due to the setting – Revolutionary War America, even away from the battlefront, doesn’t lend itself to witty banter or cheerful antics – but part of the problem is that nothing much happens in this story.  It’s the story of a good woman in a hard situation who is forced to lie, and the good man who is tricked as a result.

 

I won’t say The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is a bad book, for it isn’t.  Cecilia and Edward are caring, likeable people who clearly make a good match.  But the most engaging part of their romance comes from the excerpts of letters they started to exchange through Cecilia’s brother months before our hero and heroine ever met.  Those tiny bits at the beginning of each chapter were, for me, the liveliest bits of the book.  The rest of the story was fairly slow and uneventful and this is the first time ever that I had no problem putting a book of Ms. Quinn’s down.  As I said before, it’s not a bad book; it’s a sweet, if slightly muted romance, and perhaps it would have worked better for me in a novella format.  Even though The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband wasn’t my particular cup of tea, the ending left me satisfied with Edward and Cecilia’s happily ever after and I’m incredibly anxious to read Andrew Rokesby’s book.

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