Review: Stokehurst series by Lisa Kleypas

In my quest to read as many historical romances as I can, I stumbled upon these two books this week. I’ve never heard of them before so I was excited to have zero preconceived ideas about them. I like finding hidden gems such as these.

The first book, Midnight Angel was interesting. I’m not a fan of huge age gap romances, even though they happen a lot in historicals, so that took a bit to work through, but the heroine was quite old in spirit. Her past definitely aged her, so she wasn’t the typical young person that’s a bit flighty and immature. After faking her death she escapes to England under the cover of a governess to a child not much younger than she is. And you can guess what happens next. The father ends up falling for her despite not wanting to grow close to another woman after his wife died.

If you can get past the age thing, which I obviously did, this was a very intriguing story. There’s a bit of magic swirling around, which again, intriguing. I enjoyed watching this timid, yet fierce woman take charge of her life and find her own happy ending.

And that brings us to the next book, Prince of Dreams, which takes place 7 years later. This one is about the daughter and I think this one was my favorite of the two. You kinda knew who it was going to be about at the end of the previous book, so part of me hoped that it would be done in a matter that wouldn’t be too gross. Age gap is one thing, but under age is another. Thankfully it wasn’t like that.

This book had a definite magical feel to it. In fact, dreams were often a glimpse into the past and I was riveted. I couldn’t read fast enough. And by the time I was done, tears was streaming down my face. I can’t explain without spoiling, but this reaction is how I felt when I read books based on real people. Knowing they were real people, had real losses just gets me. This was how Nikolas’ dreams were.

Now about Nikolas. He was definitely NOT perfect. He made horrible choices that I probably wouldn’t forgive, but after those dreams, I can see why he acted the way he did. It’s fiction, so I must move on from it.

This story had a few twists that made it all the more enjoyable and magical. In fact, they were so unexpected I think that’s why I cried a lot. Angst to the max!!

If you’re looking for something different in your historical romances, then I highly recommend you grab these two books. Oldies but goodies.

~Melpomene

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Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

This was my first TBR star book of the year! I am so happy with choosing this one. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now. They’ve been sitting on my shelf for way too long.

When you look at the cover of this book you think pirates, right? Since I don’t read descriptions, I assumed pirates. Well, that’s not exactly what this was about…and yet it was.

Blackhearts is about a boy and a girl. It’s about a boy longing to be free of the land around him and live on the sea. It’s about an orphan girl who’s biding her time till she is able to leave and find her mother’s family.

This is definitely more romance than anything. Edward “Teach” Drummond spent the last year living on the sea and returns home a changed man. He’s being forced into a marriage not of his choosing with a girl who is utterly ridiculous in all ways. He tries to make his father listen to him but to avail.

Anne Barrett has been living a half life. She was born for better things but without the funds to make that happen she is stuck as a maid in the Drummond house.

Slowly Anne and Teach are drawn to each other even knowing the cards are stacked against them. But it was sweet watching them try. So many times I thought the worst was going to happen but it didn’t. Everything seemed to be falling into place for them…until the rug was swept out from underneath them.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me. Another book to add to my teen rec list. It was a sweet romance tucked underneath intrigue and excitement. The conclusion had me face palming in a “Now I get it,” type or reaction. I really should read the synopsis sometimes. 🙂

~Melomene

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Review: The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

As a headmistress of an all girls school, Elizabeth Black wrote in her spare time. She’s know for her “silver fork” novels. And being a woman, this was acceptable. But what they didn’t know was that she also wrote “penny dreadfuls” under the name of Mr. King. If people knew she wrote those, her school would be ruined and so would she. So she kept it secret and used all the funds to help out her school.

Now the men who normally write those were part of a secret society who used their wages to help those in need. So when Mr. King starts to worm his way into their earnings, they take it upon themselves to discover who it is. They can’t risk not having the funds when they need to plan rescues and such. So their leader, Fletcher Walker asks Elizabeth for help. As a fellow author he hopes that she’ll know things he doesn’t.

I enjoyed watching these two. They both were doing things for the right reasons, but neither one could let their secrets be known. And while working together they grew closer. Amid all the mysteries and suspense, romance was blooming. And it was sweet.

This is another Proper Romance that I adore. I can’t get enough of these. They’re a nice breath of fresh air in the midst of the stress of life.

~Melpomene

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Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

It’s a new series by Kerrigan Byrne!!! And what a beginning this was. When I first found out she was writing a new series I was thrilled. I love her Victorian Rebels series, so I was dying to dive into this new one.

This author is another auto buy for me, and one that I don’t read the blurbs beforehand. I like to go in blind. So when I read the inscription, I wondered if this book was going to give me all the feels. And the I read the prologue. Not for the faint of heart. Gripping and heart racing beginning.

Alexandra Lane has held onto this secret for 10 years. Guilt, shame and fear have been her constant companions. My heart broke for her. Having to live like that, I wanted to reach in the pages and give her a hug. She was so strong but yet she needed someone stronger to set her free.

I adored Piers. SO MUCH. He needs to find a bride, and have an heir, in order seek revenge on his cousin. When he agrees to marry Alexandra, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Secrets threaten to keep them from his ultimate goal but he’s determined to win her and succeed.

The chemistry was sizzling between these two. I was loving their interactions. She’s used to being surrounded by men so she has a strong wit that keeps him engaged. Their passion was off the charts. Piers was made for her. He was strong and determined to help discover her secrets and help her move past them.

The side characters are a riot! I am so looking forward to their stories. The friendship bond these girls have is strong and I know they will be there for each other till their dying breaths.

I need the next book!!

~Melpomene

Grab book one in this series here: https://amzn.to/2F49d5I

Review: All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

So much love for this one. It has everything I enjoy in a historical tale…World War II era, secrets, romance, danger, and a meshing of old and new.

It starts with Caroline waking up in the hospital. She has no memory of her past life, so she’s left to piece together what she can. What she discovers is, she wasn’t a very happy person. Along the way, she begins to uncover the story of another.

Celine is a young window in Nazi occupied Germany. Her only concern is keeping her father and young daughter safe. The letters she leaves behind tell her sad story.

This is an outstanding addition to the genre of historical fiction. Five stars for me!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: All the Flowers in Paris

Review: The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

I had a friend recently mention that she was a bit burned out on books with wife/husband/daughter/etc. in the title. Believe me, I understand the overload and fatigue from so much of the same. But trust me, you’ll want to give this one a chance if you’re a fan of WWII era stories.

This one’s a tale of a love triangle. Well actually, a quadrangle. When Inès met and married Michel, she had visions of happily ever after dancing around in her head. But living and working in a winery is not as glamorous as she’d expected. It’s even more difficult when someone else is vying for your husband’s affection.

And then there’s the war. As France is pulled deeper and deeper into German occupation, everyone involved has something to lose. And everyone has secrets. Some are working for the Resistance, and some are aligning themselves with the enemy.

This is one of those stories that alternates between past and present. And really, that’s the best way to tell a tale such as this. An outstanding addition to the genre.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Winemaker’s Wife