Lady August

A heroine who is content to be a governess – at least that’s what she tells herself. She’s far too independent, and, after all, she’s ruined and inured to the stigma of her illegitimacy and the complications it has caused in her life. Even though a family of her own would be wonderful, that means she would have to find a man she’s willing to take on.

In an uncanny twist of unexpected fortune, she is suddenly an heiress and the world is her oyster. It’s the last thing August expected. She’s now subjected to waltz lessons and interminably boring dinners. Her pragmatism is not appreciated and is viewed as an obstacle to be overcome rather than an asset to be cultivated. And then there’s her stoic solicitor….

Firstly, he’s a lot more appealing than the doddering old man she has met with in the past. Secondly, he has shoulders that take up the entire doorway. Thirdly, he has a mesmerizing blue gaze and a cleft chin she has an insatiable urge to press her thumb into. She is inexorably drawn to him. She much prefers his company to being thrown into the ton’s pool of ravenous sharks and reeled in like a fat worm on a hook.

And Brooks can’t stay away from this contradictory woman. She plagues him with her insouciance. She bedevils him with her laughter. She asks far too many questions and goads him to uncomfortable self-examination.

“He did not want her to look at him that way. Soon she would start asking all sorts of questions in an attempt to get to the core of him, to find out what made him “him”. He was unsure if he knew the answer himself, and he would rather August not get to it first.”

I loved this delightful, slow burn, clean regency romance. It features a hero with motion sickness and a penchant for whiskey and a heroine who has no qualms whatsoever about remaining true to herself. There is a vividly portrayed cast of side characters, sparkling dialogue, and a sufficiently abhorrent villain. Best of all, it is a luscious gem of a story about falling in love about falling in love because of, and despite, your best intentions.

4.5 Stars.

The Sweet Rowan

You’ll need something to hold onto….

Keira has done it again. This sweet, slow burn romance snagged me hook, line and sinker.

Penny is pretty certain that her purpose in life is to rekindle her magic. She thinks a sojourn in Scotland, masquerading as a governess under an assumed identity, is the answer.

But her charges prove to be a bit intractable, and are much harder to win over than their beguiling father. Malcolm of sly humor and mussed hair, of doting fatherhood and conscientious stewardship made me crave my own Scottish sojourn.

This gorgeous love story unfolds with a tender poignancy that nearly made an extended bout of sighing and pearl grasping a reality. (The sighing happened, but I didn’t have any pearls on hand🤣).

I absolutely adored the arch looks over the shoulder, the brushing of fingers against wool coats, and the teasing banter between the hero and heroine.

If you need a reminder of how hearts can be healed, what the power of true magic is, and how to find a place your heart calls home, then this is the book for you!

One Thing Leads to a Lover

A huge thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the fact that this book featured a mature hero and heroine. Amanda is a devoted mother who has lived a shrouded life since her husband’s death. But Amanda is sick and tired of shadows. She is sick and tired of decisions being made on her behalf about what she can wear, how she raises her children, even what she instructs her cook to prepare for dinner.

When she opens up the birthday present she purchased her son, she is confused to discover the bookshop wrapping concealed a cookbook written entirely in French. When a mysterious gentleman appears demanding an exchange happen, Amanda is intrigued. Finally, a bit of excitement has landed in her lap!

The only life Langley Stanhope knows is one of espionage and subterfuge. He is determined to retrieve the seemingly innocuous cookbook and redeem himself in the eyes of his comrades in arms. His retrieval is thwarted by a series of mishaps and contrivances, and he and Lady Amanda are thrown into situations of forced proximity and assumed identities.

The closer they become, the more he unravels. He cannot resist her caring, brave heart and she tumbles head over heels for his deceptively impenetrable mask.

The plot was deftly executed, the characters were fully developed and compelling, the love story unfolded with both steam and tenderness, and the dialogue was filled with lovely innuendo.

The Devil in Her Bed

Childhood friends find one another after years of loneliness and desperation.

She loved him from the first moment she saw him. A hungry, beautiful, broken boy. She nurtures her dreams and affection in secret as they grow because she is acutely aware the depth of her feelings is unreciprocated. He only has eyes for her best friend.

Unspeakable tragedy obliterates their home and their safety – and they are the only survivors. They make an anguished escape into the forest. But the villains who have stolen everything are determined to erase all evidence of crime. Their pursuit ends in separation.

When they meet two decades later, neither bears any resemblance to the child the other knew. Pippa has assumed an identity that has ensured her financial security and her survival. And the only person alive who can refute her identity and thwart her plans for revenge is the boy who left her sheltered beneath a tree in a long ago, far away wood. They share a cold-hearted desire to exact vengeance. They both want to expose the monsters that hide behind gilt masks of civility and propriety.

As they grow closer, their deceptions and their secrets build walls between them. Even as they fall inexorably, irrevocably into one another’s arms, they are aware that one word can destroy the fragile foundation between them. This is a gorgeous slow burn love story about learning to lean on someone else and trusting them to protect both your heart and your future.

There are many instances of Byrne’s lush, evocative writing. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Trust mirrors life, I’m coming to understand. Some get to build on pristine new ground, and others…have to sift through the ruins and the rubble.”

Experience the wonder and magic as Pippa and Declan sift through the shards together.

5 Stars