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Kane, Sinclair Jayne

Kane, Sinclair Jayne

Kane (American Extreme Bull Riders Tour Book 6) by [Jayne, Sinclair]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

There’s something about these western romance reads, I hate the idea of rodeos and bull riding, the stress on the animals and yet…they make for some great reads ūüėČ
I loved Sky, and understood exactly why she kept Montana a secret. Given her family history and Kane’s career and lack of commitment to her she did what she thought was right for her baby. I felt for Kane though, he feels he’s missed so much, and he too has a background that’s not the happy family unit everyone sees in public. Its easy to be wise with hindsight, to say he would have been happy, would have been involved but it could have been such a disaster, he could have ended up resenting Sky and Montana if his fledgling career crashed.

Now though he knows, and he’s like a bulldozer. I did want to say to Sky at times “stand up for yourself woman” especially when it was a d ick waving contest between him and Jonah. As an artist too I was a bit puzzled how easily her career seemed to go, casting in bronze and metal sculptures in general are very expensive procedures, not one the average single mum can afford easily.
I hadn’t read any of the earlier books, didn’t realise¬†there were any but I still followed the story easily. I think that if I had read them though it would have enhanced my reading, I’d have enjoyed updates on the earlier characters. It was a fun romance, loved the setting, the characters felt very real, and its a series that would be an enjoyable read. Its not one I’m likely to reread, but I’ll look for more from this author.

Stars: four, fun romance.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Catching a Witch: Heidi Eljarbo, Touch of Night, Carin Rafferty

 

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition, Heidi Eljarbo

Catching a Witch: A Novel of Loyalty, Deception, and Superstition by [Eljarbo, Heidi]

Genre: Historical

I take a dip into historical novels every now and then and this one, covering the period when Witch-hunters were very active caught my eye. I’m very intrigued by the way the mass hysteria took hold so easily. seems weird to us now but I guess superstition abounded then when people had so little control over their lives, when animals sickened and died, crops failed, people were dogged by what seems like bad luck – and of course they wanted someone to blame. It was a way too of seeking vengeance for imagines or petty insults. Throw in the misogynistic men and its a recipe for disaster.
Disaster is just what happens when a student of the famed Matther Hopkin arrives in the sleepy little village¬†where Clara lives. We see at first hand just how easy it is to whip up hatred, for innocent gestures to take on insidious meanings, for those who used herbs to heal others to be accuses of using witchcraft. Over it all is the witch-hunter and his self important acolytes in the village men. Not all of them, some stay fast but of course no-one dare speak out for fear of being the next accused. All except Clara, who does her best to stop the awful “trials” where in reality ladies stood no chance, once accused it was like a death sentence.
Its a scary thought but I could see people acting in a very similar way if this were to take place now. some people seem so full of bitterness, jealousy, a need to blame everyone but themselves and I’ve no doubt they would happily convince themsleves they were doing the right thing. we see so much hatred every day to anyone the slightest bit different from their peers and that would easily translate into a story like this today. ūüė¶
I felt the historical aspect of the novel was well done, it was very realistic and genuine. I did feel the pacing was very slow for me though. some books need that but with this one I found it dragged in parts. I expected Clara’s friend to be accused sooner, but its almost halfway through before that happens. I didn’t feel “in” the story much of the time, but an observer, and found myself losing interest in sections. Overall I enjoyed it but it’s not a story I’d re-read.
Stars: three and a half. I enjoyed parts of it a lot, but other sections seemed very slow paced.

Touch of Night, The Sanctuary Series Book 1, Carin Rafferty

Touch of Night (The Sanctuary Series Book 1) by [Rafferty, Carin]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

Well, the description sounded interesting, but sadly this wasn’t one for me.

Lucien isn’t anyone to aspire to IMO, he cares about the coven, even though he’s been cast out, but his attitudes to mortals…well, he’s pretty scathing and rude.
Ariel wants to find her twin, the police won’t help and Lucien at first won’t either. Then he will…and that sets the tone for the book.

Both characters constantly change their minds, decide one thing and do another, don’t talk, focus on irrelevant issues, and disrespect the other. The same things are explained over and over, in case the reader just can’t quite grasp it.

I think the biggest issue for me though was the sex.
No matter what the problem sex in some form was the answer, even though Ariel says she doesn’t like Lucien, doesn’t trust him, just wants to find her brother. Lucien would never take a mortal for a mate, doesn’t like her, doesn’t find her attractive yet wants/has to have sex with her all the while. Reading minds, yep he needs to read her mind but they have to connect with sex, connecting with Armand, more sex, finding out who the strange warlock is, yep sex again….you’ve got it, sex is the answer to everything.

I like sex in a story, but it needs to fit, the story and reasons need to be strong enough and for me this just didn’t feel right.
Even the end I still felt they didn’t like each other and suddenly – bam- everything is perfect.

I won’t be continuing with the series, but as ever this is just my opinion, you may feel very differently. Others have 5 star loved it, so you chose.

Stars: Two, a miss for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set- A Time Travel Romance Book Series,
Alyssa Richards

The Fine Art of Deception Series, Boxed Set: A Time Travel Romance Book Series by [Richards, Alyssa]

I loved this trilogy, have reviewed the three books individually, and now there’s the chance for readers to get all three at once. That’s always my preferred way of reading trilogies and series, where I can indulge in a reading fest, immerse myself in another world for ages, and really ‚Äúfeel‚ÄĚ the story, be there with the characters. Sometimes its a shame to come back to the real world!
I love romance that has something extra, and though the genre selection didn’t suggest anything other than straight romance, it’s far more IMO, a beautiful romance with elements of paranormal and suspense.

Adeline comes from a family with extra talents, her sister can mentally ‚Äúpush‚ÄĚ people to do what she wants, and Adeline has an ability to see the history from touching an object, and find out more about the people connected with it. Its not a gift that’s brought her family happiness though,family, friends and her job have all been affected and not in a good way.
She’s decided that she’s going to ignore her gift, and look for something normal, a straightforward job, and try to live as everyone else does.

I loved Addie, felt for her when the job she enjoys turns out to bring her into real danger. Then there‚Äôs Blake and what a guy he is. The connection between them sizzles, steams and feels intense, but of course Addie knows he‚Äôs hiding things, not least because she suspects he has abilities similar to her sister, and the things of his she touches are blank. That just doesn’t happen, has been done deliberately to hide things….so she tries to avoid him but he keeps on asking, and somehow she finds herself wrapped up in a relationship with him.

Though they’re the main two characters there are many others, each with their own important place in the story, and adding to the cohesivness and reality of the novels.

It’s a fabulous read, something so very different in the Fantasy/Paranormal genre¬†which is dominated by stories that are just a couple of hundred pages or less, too often¬†of a Vampire or Were hundreds of years old finding his Mate, in a simplistic, sickly¬†thin story * roll eyes * so¬†its a real treat to get a book I can really get stuck into, lost in the magic (!) of the story.

For the Winner, Emily Hauser

For the Winner, Emily Hauser

For the Winner by [Hauser, Emily]

 

Genre:  Historical Fiction

As a child I adored fairy-tales, but mum frowned on me reading them as I approached high school, telling me I should have outgrown them.
Then joy, high school and a library full of myths and legends from all over the world to replace my beloved fairies.
Those from Rome and Greece were my favourite and I noticed many parallels in the stories.

So when I saw this it took me mentally back those happy days getting lost in stories of times past, different cultures and the vagaries of the different Gods and Goddesses.
Then came children, a film addict husband and my stories took form once more with fabulous Classic films for the kids, and Jason and the Argonauts was one of their favourites.

This book doesn’t really dwell on the¬†Argonauts perilous¬†journey so much as Atalanta’s part in it. We do go with them for long stretches but its more the interaction of the characters than the perils of the journey.
Atalanta was abandoned as a baby even though she was the first born and a princess, and she’s brought up by loving foster parents.¬†When she hears the tale, when her parents feel she’s old enough for the¬†story of how she came to them, found in a torrential storm,¬†she sets off to find her family, and then finding out the truth she sets out to prove her worth to the king.
She’s a fearsome warrior, the equal and better of many men, and in disguise as a Lord she gets her place on the¬†Argonaut, intending to steal the fleece and prove herself to the king, and thwart Jason’s cruel plans for the places he wants to rule.

That’s the plan but of course its never that simple, and Atlanta has to constantly revise her plans according to circumstances.
Its not hard enough being a woman in a time when they were definitely subservient to men, being a princess in disguise, having to fight every step of her way against her peers, but the Gods and Goddesses have their own plans and are constantly interfering in mortal affairs.
Luckily there’s Iris, ostensibly a messenger for Hera, but in reality a Goddess in her own right, using¬†her messenger persona¬†as a way to keep things as she feels they should be.

Its a fabulous read, transporting me back in time, waiting to see what would happen to Atalanta and her plans with each new chapter, inwardly ranting at the bigoted and short sighted men, railing at the Gods and Goddesses for their careless interference, their disregard for human life.
I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” and then “well, just til I see if/til I find out what…” until¬†I¬†was so tired i wasn’t appreciating the story as it deserves.

Its a fabulous read, feeling very real, letting me rail at the unfairness of how women were treated, and then thinking, how come we still don’t get equal treatment thousands of years later.
I loved the characters we met, loved the scenes of everyday life, loved seeing a different side to Jason than the usual one, and his cruelty was all too believable.
And the ending, just so right, took the story to the perfect finale.

Stars: A very worthy Five, a wonderful tale to escape from everyday life into another time and place.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Suddenly Engaged, A Lake Haven Novel Book 3, Julia London

Suddenly Engaged, A Lake Haven Novel Book 3, Julia London

Suddenly Engaged (A Lake Haven Novel Book 3) by [London, Julia]

Genre:  Romance, General Fiction (adult)

I really enjoyed the first two Lake Haven novels and was eager to read this one. Its another great read, full of emotion and drama but tempered with some fantastic humour from little Ruby.

Kyra, she’s lovely but its hard, there’s only her and Ruby, her dad lives far away and isn’t really close to her, mum died when she was a kid and she’s no other family. Still, she knuckles down and does the best she can for her and Ruby, works hard even if its is only breadline earnings.
Ruby is a wonderful character and gave the novel so much fun. I could picture her red head nodding enthusiastically, her mouth moving at a mile a minute. Who couldn’t love her? Some kids are like that – when mine were small I used to say all kids should come with volume controls. Wouldn’t that be great? Save on the eardrums when all three were arguing, trying to get their voice heard. There was only three years separating eldest and youngest so….

Then there’s Dax, the neighbour in the new house they’ve just moved to. Mr¬†Grumpy as Kyla refers to him.
Poor guy, he’s got a sad past, bad divorce, bad situation and I so felt for him. That must have been so tough emotionally. Ruby wears him down though, slowly bit by bit.
He calls her and Kyra the Coconuts, play on their surname which makes Ruby giggle. she’s such a sweet child, so full of fun, loves his dog Otto, knows no boundaries and has this innocent logic ” but I didn’t go¬†under¬†the fence today mummy, I went around it!” That kind of logic where she does just as she wants, seeming to feel she’s still within mum’s rules.
She was a really great part of the story, the way she slowly wormed herself into Dax’s heart.

It was great seeing Wallace again too, from the furniture shop.¬†He’s a real character, and I enjoyed the way he put the moves on Dax every time he came in to bring his latest works. Its all chat and fun, he has his partner but can’t resist embarrassing Dax.

Who else? Well there’s loads of characters, from Ruby’s father to Furniture shop employee Janice and her friend Heather, who she kept trying to set Dax up with. I felt a little sorry for Heather, Dax really hadn’t led her on, but she was hearing and feeling what she wanted to happen, and not what actually did happen or was said. Sad, but no ones fault. She was a little over enthusiastic, slightly pushy and I think most guys would feel a little taken aback by her attitude, even if they weren’t hoping to be more with someone else…There’s the diner staff, the others who live around the Lake, plus the summer visitors, and of course Ruby’s father and his wife…

When things take a turn for the worse with Ruby’s health I so felt for Kyra. I’m so glad we have the NHS in the UK, and we don’t need to find cash for surgery and doc visits, choose between expensive health plans or food and a roof.
I understood just how scared and desperate Kyra must have felt. I loved Dax for what he offered, but was so cross at him not acknowledging even to himself how he felt until it was almost too late. But it would have cut short the story if he had ūüėČ

The drama keeps on coming with Ruby’s health issues, the financial side, the romance between Dax and Kyra and the involvement finally of Josh – and I so did not like him! Jerk!

Its got the perfect ending, as with the whole story everything is perfectly paced, measured and we have to wait for the right moment, for the time when all falls into place. Its a great read, and one I’ll re-read.

Stars: five, a fabulous story, full of pathos and emotion, perfectly paced and with some terrific humour from Ruby lightening the story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell

 

 

Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by [Jewell, Lisa]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult) , Mystery & Thrillers

I love Lisa’s writing, have read a few of her novels now.
This is a typical LJ story, one that slowly unfolds with each reveal giving us more questions til really I had a few wild stabs about what happened but was way off course in the final denouement.

Laurel, mum, wife and like many of us, nothing more than¬†typical family petty issues mar everyday relations, ¬†life is good – til it isn’t.
Ellie, her youngest child, beautiful, golden Ellie disappears. The family are distraught, Lauren retreats, leaving her two older children and her husband to cope alone.
Its a huge problem, who knows how we’d deal. For the Mack family it means life fractures, Laurel and Paul separate, the kids grow apart from their mum, and the impact stays with all of them for many years.

The story is told partly from Laurel’s POV, partly from Ellie with a few other voices thrown in.
I like that format, it lets me see what people are thinking, what their motives are and a story is often very different according to who is telling it.

Its heartbreaking, I so felt for all of them, poor Ellie, the slightly spoiled teen, to have that happen, so tragic.
The family, on course for normal average family where kids grow up, parenst become grandparents and life is full of happy family occasions – then all that is lost.
Like ripples in a pond the repercussions spread outwards.

Then there’s Floyd, we know he has a bigger part than he’s telling but how and why? And Poppy, 9 going on 49, a precocious child, so grown up in many ways but the child she should be is there deeply hidden. Why does she look so much like Ellie, how did she come into Laurel’s life, how do the puzzle pieces fit together?

Some secrets get revealed along the way but the finale brings out parts I’d never imagined and made me so so sad for all of them and what they’d been through.
A real tear jerker emotional read, and a story that could so easily be real.
When¬†I¬†was a teen one of my dad’s workmate’s daughter disappeared. She was my age, 12-13 maybe back in early 70’s, taking a short 1/2 mile bike ride to another family member in the middle of ¬†a summers day. Her loss never left her family, tore through them, had such a massive impact on what was a standard family with standard expectations. She never was found, and the mystery has always stayed with me.
As a parent I think I grew to understand even more about the impact her loss had on them, and while reading this novel I recalled so much of the shock and horror of April’s disappearance.

Stars: Five, a gripping read, emotionally gutting at times, ripping through me as secrets upon secrets came out. Sadly very realistic, which makes for a terrific read of course.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh, Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh

Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

I really really wanted to love this book, I adore books set back in time that involve characters from other countries, other cultures. I like to feel I’m there with them, sharing their experiences and to begin I thought this book would do it.

Sadly,¬†though it started well I just don’t really like any of the characters, and the story is so slow moving it almost comes to a stop. I wasn’t expecting breakneck speed, the beauty of books like this for me is in the gentle pace that allows me to see and feel all the day to day minutiae, but even for me this was just too meandering.
As the story moved on it got more graphic, more murders, abuse, tortures of humans and animals. I just don’t want to read that, I know it happens, that its an important part of the story but I don’t want the gritty, horrific details.

Rachel – I felt sorry for her at first, she had an idyllic upbringing til her mum died and she was shipped off to England to grandparents who didn’t really want her, even though she was away at boarding school most of the time.
When she returns to Kenya, against her fathers wishes, she finds he’s a very different man, and is living with a lady, Sara, who is the antithesis of her beloved mother.
Her father comes over as spineless to me, maybe he’s just given up? I don’t know but the man we met when Rachel was a child was so different to who he is now.
Then there’s Sara, who is very clear – whites and natives¬†do not mix, there is no place for being friendly with them, and any hint of them wanting to better themselves needs stamping down on, hard. She genuinely believes they are an inferior race, and need keeping in their place.
She clearly thinks Rachel lacks discipline and is not happy at the way she has freedom of the farm, freedom to talk to and help the native people. Gah, that makes me so angry, but there were, and still are, so many like Sara, who believe a white skin makes one superior. I’ll stop my rant there ūüėČ
It does make for an interesting read, I do like characters I can dislike but once more the story was just so slow moving. Sara would complain to Rachel’s father, he in turn would gently suggest Rachel modify her behaviour, then Sara wouldn’t feel he’d done enough, would get impatient with him, and would take steps to get what she wanted to happen. Complaining all the time if you want something done, do it yourself.

I didn’t like the ending, felt very hurried and ambiguous and that’s not how I like books to finish. Between that, the characters I didn’t really feel for, the slow pace and the graphic cruelty I just couldn’t get to like this story.
I can see others loved it though so you choose, you may have a stronger stomach and more patience when reading than me…It¬†is very beautifully written, and there were scenic parts I loved, but overall it was one I was glad to put behind me.

Stars:¬†Three, a wondefully¬†descriptive novel in parts, but the story and the cruelty in it just weren’t for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Summer's Lease: Escape to paradise with this swoony summer romance: (Shakespeare Sisters) by [Elks, Carrie]

Genre: Romance.

I love Carrie Elk’s novels, found the first one ages back in the kindle free books list and was hooked.
I’ve found lots of authors that way – authors if you ever wonder if its worth it, well, as a reader I can say its a great way to find out if I enjoy an author’s¬†style of¬†writing.¬†I’ve had many free books then gone on to buy¬†lots¬†more from those I do.

So, back to this book.
Well its a light, fun read, a perfect summer escape, with some wonderful characters. Its mostly Cesca and Sam, with others dipping in at intervals.
I loved the way Cesca reached the bottom. I know, cruel…but it meant I so felt for her, so wanted things to go right. She had tried, worked so hard and yet somehow nothing seemed to fall in place.
Then her godfather arranges the caretakers job at the Villa in Italy, which means she’ll have time to focus on writing again, and maybe find that core inside that’s escaped her since the disaster of her first play. Poised for sucess at just 18 it all collapsed with a bang when the leading man pulled out at the last minute. She’s spent the last six years just marking time, going through life and hiding how she really feels from her family.
So there she is at the villa when who comes to stay unexpectedly but her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
His parents¬†own the villa, and he’s escaping from some bad press, things that as usual the media fixate on, that portray him in a bad light but which aren’t true. Gah – I hate the press and TV etc when they do that but it seems there’s no stopping them from peddling constant lies and speculation ūüė¶

I love the way authors bring together characters like Cesca and Sam, who start off hating each other and then things change til…and all’s going well, until its not!
Poor Cesca, let down once more. Can Sam redeem himself this time, can he win the girl or are they fated to be apart. Well, its a romance read so you know they will end up together, but its the how, and the emotions that get shredded along the way that makes it such a beautiful read.

Its a story I loved, will join my keepers file for rereading – I’ve just been doing that with a couple of the early books, and it makes a perfect summer escape.

Stars: Five, a beautiful story, perfect for rereading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks, Natasha Pulley

The Bedlam Stacks by [Pulley, Natasha]

Genre:  General fiction (adult)

I’m finding this a really hard book to review. Its so very different, very slow paced, very packed with detail, right down to minutiae of some things and yet bigger ones just glossed over. Parts I felt just kept the slow pacing and irritated me, and then I’d read something and want to know more.

I loved the historical feel, felt very real. I was There with Merrick and Co, back in the 1800’s, deep in the magical forests, filled with pollen lamps powered by clocks, pollen forests, whitewood that exploded, was light, filled with honeycomb holes and yet strong enough for the amazing homes they constructed, stories high. And of course later in the novel the fabulous place where the monks live which used so much of it. That was perfect.
There’s the phoenix ducks, the glass formed from ancient eruptions on the mountain, and they way it created a kind of huge greenhouse. Oh there was so much almost whimsical magic here, not spells and sorcery but magic of a different kind.
Then of course the big ones, the Markayuq….such incredible, unusual, fantastical ideas everywhere in this book, which gave it a kind of steampunk whimsy married with very real time in UK/South American history.

I liked Merrick, hated his awful brother, felt so sad that Merrick’s future was dire when he worked so hard, and¬†becameinjured in the course of his work.
I didn’t like Clem, just found him arrogant posing as a friend to use Merrick. I didn’t really know Minna, but she seemed a pleasant lady, and then there’s Raphael….
I kind of wanted there to be more between him and Merrick, could feel something but it was vague and tenuous, slippery as silk, and nothing except a few minute strands at a possible connection slid through the story.
I guess its the romance lover in me, I do so love to find that in a story and missed it.

I enjoyed meeting and knowing the other characters in the village, liked the accepting way they took in Merrick, their confidence in Raphael, their respect for the Markayuqs, the way some recalled his father and grandfather from so long before.

I put it aside a few times, found it too intense one moment and then too slow to continue the next. I know, I know, that’s a real oxymoron, but its how I felt, and how I feel now looking back. I loved it – and then again I didn’t. I felt vaguely unsatisfied at the ending, though it does bring things into a kind of closure I just kept wondering “what happens now?”¬†¬†I can’t see how it could have ended any other way though that would have made me happy.

Its one of those stories I’m glad I read, where parts will stay with me for ages, engraved into my memory and yet I know its not a story I’d reread.

Stars:¬†Five, a story I’m glad I read, full of fantastical themes but one which I won’t re-read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Dream Snatcher, Clara Coulson

Dream Snatcher, Clara Coulson

Dream Snatcher (Tales from the City of Crows Book 1) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy

City of Crows is an amazing series, one for readers who want more than most of the paranormal offerings around, don’t want¬†the thin story wrapped around a¬†“he-of-some-type meets she-of-some-type” plot.
I’ve loved the books out so far, and I love when authors do this, give us a novel centred around one ( or two in this case!) characters, so we see their¬†backstory and understand them better.

Ella in the series is dedicated, clever, talented and its clear she’s been with the team a long time. Just how young she was when she joined we can now find out.
Its was great seeing teen Ella, seeing her on the track of a dangerous man, and especially as its set back in time and kept to the low tech, no mobiles, and fledgling DSI, when they’re first set up. Well, they exist when Ella gets caught up, but they are clearly new-ish, and the bottom end of financial priorities.

Ella is an ordinary kid, albeit one devoted to her music, when tragedy strikes, rips her mum away and sets her on a very different course.
I loved the way the story played out, the way it felt so real, especially as I look back to my teens, no mobiles, tech stuff etc and she does things the way I would back then. disposable camera and 24 hr photo shops, no mobiles and digital pics back then, and its trains and buses for transport, with the odd taxi.
Its not just Young Ella but a real story too, a typical exciting, well planned suspense, and I enjoyed it very much.

The other person we meet at a younger age is terrific too and it spread a new light on what I’d read. I really hope Clara writes more of these how-they-joined-DSI stories.

Stars:¬†Five, terrific read whether you’re new to city of Crows, or like me already a fan.¬†A great¬†intro to a new world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

A Most Unlikely Duke,  (Diamonds in the Rough 1), Sophie Barnes 

A Most Unlikely Duke,  (Diamonds in the Rough 1), Sophie Barnes 

A Most Unlikely Duke: Diamonds in the Rough by [Barnes, Sophie]

Genre: Historical  romance,

I don‚Äôt read much historical romance, but every now and then I have a hankering for that strange past world where lineage rules, and there‚Äôs a very defined line for who is acceptable and who isn‚Äôt…

It’s a kind of mentally relaxing read, when what hat to wear is a subject for serious decision, a sort of letting go of real issues and delving into a world where for many its a life filled with frivolities.
Of course I‚Äôd want to be born on the frivolous side, not the scullery maid getting up at 5am to light fires etc, though that probably would more likely be me ūüėČ

So we meet Raphe and his sisters, abandoned by their parents after debtors prison loomed, and he’s looked after them since. He was only 12 so its been hard, and he’s done some tough things.
The last few years he‚Äôs made a name from bare knuckle fighting, certainly not a gentleman‚Äôs sport….
Then suddenly in a swift change of fortune he‚Äôs the Duke of Huntley, and his sisters are Ladies….

So that was fun, seeing how they could assimilate into Society. They did have that childhood history which helped with the credulity. Rather than the Pygmalion aspect of completely learning from scratch it was more a reminding of what they had learned years ago.
They need to keep the last few years secret though, with a society that is horrified by any taint of scandal. throw in the Lady next door, about to become engaged to another but who Raphe becomes seriously attracted to, and we can see disaster looking.

I really liked Raphe and his sisters, and of course girl next door Gabriella.
She‚Äôs a real sweetheart, always been left to herself and her amusements ( insect collecting¬†‚Äď though she seems to keep them alive rather than pin them to a board as was more usual back then).
With her sister‚Äôs scandalous breaking of her engagement and marrying another Gabriella has to step up, make a good marriage and push the scandal of her sisters behaviour firmly in the past. There’s no room for her to be with the potentialy scandalous person next door…

There were some fun moments here, some great characters, including Raphe’s staff who were such a help to him.
In reality some of the staff in these houses were the worst of snobs, but he’s hit lucky and they take him under their wing!
I wasn‚Äôt totally convinced of Gabriella’s parents reactions towards the end given how they started but its reasonable.

Its a sweet story, very light and fluffy, nothing to get too mentally taxed by and sometimes that‚Äôs just what I’m looking for. After a few deep, dark reads, some fantasy dramas and murders I just want a pleasant easy read in a bygone world.
This book did all that. Its not one I’d reread, not would this genre be my mainstay by for a one off gentle escape from other books, into a gentile world its perfect.

Stars: 4. a fun, gentle escape into a bygone era.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Author and Publishers

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