Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Mail Order Daddy by Cia Leah

Sweet western novelette. 

Kathleen Bowman needed a pa for Tyler. A pa to teach him things all little boys needed to know to grow up and become a fine man. Ever since Marshall Matt Cramer brought Tyler to her to raise when he found the baby on the trail with his ma dead, she did the best she could taking care of him. She loved him like her own and he thought of her as his ma. Unmarried and with no choices left to find a husband in town, she arranged for a mail order daddy for Tyler. She didn't think about love or anything else and picked Tanner Holt to become her husband in name only and a pa to Tyler. 

Tanner lost his wife and swore he would never marry for love again and when he saw the advertisement for a mail order daddy, he thought it the perfect solution to have the son he always wanted. Love wouldn't enter into the bargain, but when Kathleen was attacked by Jake Anders, he thought his heart would break when she lost her eyesight. 

Together they had to learn to trust and love, and that God had plans of his own to make them a family.

Published & Release Date: Self Published, October 15, 2014

Time and setting: Western, probably late 1800s

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sweet

Reviewer rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

Where do I start? I bought this book on the advice of a friend, and since I got it free decided to take a chance. I have always enjoyed mail order bride stories and this one piqued my curiosity, since it involves A Mail Order Daddy. This is a unique twist on this heavily used, but delightful troupe, one that I have enjoyed for years.

Kathleen Bowman takes in an orphaned baby when the local marshall dumps the child off on her. Three years later, she decides the little boy needs a father and advertises for a mail order daddy. Tanner Holt answers the ad and comes to Brook’s End (no idea where this is or what part of the country, since none is mentioned). He has recently lost his wife and while he wants a son, he does not want to risk his heart again by loving another woman and have her die as well. Immediately upon meeting they go to the church and get married without any chance to learn more about each other.

The couple settles into an easy camaraderie. A week goes by, and then Kathleen’s spurned suitor shows up and tries to make trouble. Tanner runs him off. Then a crew shows up with supplies to build a bathroom onto Kathleen’s house. Since she knows very little of Tanner, she wonders where all his money comes from. She dismisses her concerns and never bothers to ask.

The day before Thanksgiving, Tyler is burning up with fever and wheezing. Tanner sends one of his crew for the doctor. This is where the story turns south shall we say. One minute Tanner states it is too bad out to go to town, and then a couple of sentences later he sends Ed.

This is a cute story and it has great potential, but it is terribly under-developed. The entire book just hops from one scene to another without much continuity. It has a lot of action, which kept me engaged, but everything is so superficial. I want depth to my characters. I want to feel what they are experiencing, to laugh and cry with them, to become so wrapped up in the characters I become one with them. That did not happen with this book.

I know it is a short novelette, but the author would have been better served if she had written a longer story and fully fleshed out her characters and the plot. Her readers would have appreciated it if she had done this. Another issue is the lack of a true sense of the historical period, and place of the novel. When I went to write my review, I could find no time reference or any particular area of the country mentioned in the story. The book also needs some serious editing. There are tons of repeated words, and in one paragraph alone she started six sentences with she. Ms. Leah also jumps from one character’s point of view to another and then another in the matter of a few paragraphs.

Even with these issues, I enjoyed the story. Once Cia Leah works on some of the mechanics of writing and hires a good editor, her stories will come to life, for no doubt, she is a gifted storyteller. I have downloaded another one of her books, and I am curious to see if her writing has improved. Happy reading!  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Release day for this awesome book. Get your copy now. You will not want to miss out on this great story!

Rough Rider by Victoria Vane

Two wary hearts ...

Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.

Different Dreams...

Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts...but there's a certain cowgirl he can't forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he's determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?

Praise for Victoria Vane:

"Erotic and sexy...absolutely marvelous." -Library Journal, Top E-Book Romance of 2012
"The Mistress of Sensuality does it again!!" -
Swept Away By Romance Blog
"With Ms Vane's trademark prose and touches of humor-this is once again a brilliant story by a gifted writer." -
Romantic Historical Lovers Reviews

Publisher and Release Date: Source Books Casablanca, February 3, 2015

Time & Setting: Contemporary, Montana

Heat Level: 2

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

Wow! Did this one go in a different direction than I expected. Since I had met Dirk in Slow Hand, I expected this book to pick up where that one ended. That is not what happens at all. At first I was a bit taken aback with the start of the story, but it was interesting to get what happened from the beginning. Now I have probably confused you, but all will be revealed.

Janice Combes is a rough and tumble kind of girl. She has just become the new ‘chute boss’ for Combes Bucking Bulls at twenty-one. She has had a crush on Dirk Knowlton since high school, but knows nothing can ever come of it. After all, why would he be interested in her? A girl too tall with a mass of red hair and plenty of freckles, and she’d barely been kissed. Not when he has Rachel Carson handing on his sleeve.

During Dirk’s bull ride on Magnum Force, while he remains in the saddle for the eight seconds to qualify, when he dismounts, he takes a bad tumble, dislocating his shoulder and bruising a few ribs. After a fight with his girlfriend, he ends up at Janice’s trailer, since he got kicked out of the hotel because of his friend, Grady’s antics. Wet through and through from the downpour, he strips down to his boxers, and he finds Janice’s innocence beguiling. “Her unspoken invitation was the straw that broke the cowboy’s back.”

Giving into the passion rising between them, they come together like two combustible engines. Even though Dirk is Janice’s first, she takes to lovemaking with a bang. The next morning things are a bit awkward between them, before they have a chance to talk, Grady shows up. Dirk does not want him to know what had happened with Janice and pretends that he has just gotten to Janice’s trailer as well.
Dirk and Grady offer to help her on the circuit with her bulls. When Rachel shows up at the ‘Outlaw Saloon’ in Cheyenne, and makes her move on Dirk, Janice assumes he will get back with her. When she receives a call from her mother with bad news, Grady is there to comfort her. A misunderstanding between her and Dirk sends their lives down opposite paths, and Janice ends up married to Grady and Dirk joins the Marines.

Ten years later, Grady is dead, and Janice is raising her son, Cody on her own. She has come back to her home, and she meets Dirk again. He has become a broken man with plenty of scares on the outside and inside. While Janice has her own scares as well, hers do not show. Can this tortured couple find their way back to each other?

While I thoroughly enjoyed Rough Rider and fell in love with Dirk and Janice’s characters, I would have liked to see more of their relationship in the present.  Nonetheless, the book drew me in from the first page to the last. I have always loved Victoria Vane’s smooth writing style and witty dialogue, and she does not disappoint me in this book. I am amazed by the accuracy of detail and the amount of research she did to bring me into the world of bull-riding.

I received this book from Net-Galley, and I feel privileged and honored with the opportunity to read this great story in advance of publication. I found it highly entertaining to say the least and look forward to future books in the Hot Cowboy Nights series. Happy reading!  

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone.

Eagerly anticipated by her legions of fans, this sixth novel in Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander saga is a masterpiece of historical fiction from one of the most popular authors of our time.

Since the initial publication of Outlander fifteen years ago, Diana Gabaldon’s New York Times bestselling saga has won the hearts of readers the world over — and sold more than twelve million books. Now, A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.

Published & Release Date: Random House, September 27, 20005

Time and setting: 1773 - 1776 North Carolina/1980 Scotland

Genre: Historical Romance/Epic Adventure/Time-Travel

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

This is another great addition to the Outlander series. A word of warning, make sure you buy the audio by Davina Porter, unabridged. I accidentally ordered the abridged with a different narrator and was terribly disappointed. I had to constantly stop the audio and read without listening to a great many parts of the book. It did not include any of Lizzie’s sub-plot and much of Donner’s intrigues. That is why I have included the link to the correct audio book. Thank goodness for word search on my Kindle!

The saga continues in A Breath of Snow and Ashes. The eve of discontent marches forward, bringing to life what led up to the American Revolution. Up to this point, Jamie has walked a fine line between support of the king, or declaring his allegiance to the freedom fighters. The governor of North Carolina appoints him a colonel to lead the militia against the uprising. Since Jamie knows what will happen in a few years, his heart is not in it. As time marches on, he becomes embroiled in the delegation for freedom and affixes his signature on a document that declares him a traitor to England.  
There so many facets to this book that at times it boggles the mind trying to keep it all straight. I am so glad I decided to go back to the beginning and read these remarkable books again. A Breath of Snow and Ashes gives me a multi cast of characters. Many I have grown to love, others not so much. While I love Roger’s character with his faithfulness and honor, I struggle with Bree’s character. I did love the feistiness and courage she shows when she is kidnapped and ends up in the hands of Stephen Bonnet. Most women would give up, but Bree never does.

My heart ached for what Claire had to endure in this episode of the saga. Ms. Gabaldon handles the rape scene with compassion. Claire being Claire, she did not let this pull her down. Just like the ‘Energizer Bunny’ she keeps on ticking.  I think Jamie handles the situation extremely well as usual. For a couple in their fifties, they are astonishingly agile and very vigorous in their lovemaking. Having gone through that age myself, I found that believable if a bit rare. The thread that runs true this this amazing tale is the power of the love Jamie and Claire feel for each other.

The audio book I listened to, leaves so much out that to me keeps the story together, like the meeting with Lord John and William when Brianna realizes this young man can be none other than her brother. In the audio, she meets him on the quay and Lord John is not even there! Even though I have finished listening to the audio book, I am still reading the last part of the book. I hope no one else makes the mistake I made.

When I read An Echo in the Bone, I struggled with so much of it. And wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall by the time it ended. I believe I will feel quite differently this time around. I can’t wait to get started on this one, and I made sure I downloaded the correct audio this time. Happy reading!     

Friday, December 26, 2014

Deputy's Bride by Anita Philmar

Published & Release Date: Self-Published, October 31, 2014

Time and setting: Texas, time unknown, possibly late 1800s

Genre: Historical/Erotica/Romance

Heat Level: 4

Reviewer rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

I have provided a link to my review on Goodreads since this book is for adults only.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

To all my friends and family, I wish each and everyone one of 

you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'm amazed 

that 2014 is drawing to a close. This year has gone by so fast! 

I have always heard that the older you get the faster time 

goes by. You would think it would be the reverse as we slow 

down when we get older. Enjoy your day and I pray that you 

have your families around you on this special day.

Never fear, I will post a review tomorrow. I just finished A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon and I have started Rough Rider by Victoria Vane, which is coming out in February.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A look back on 2014. 
Here are my three picks of this past year.
All three books earned 5 Gold Crowns!

This may very well be the best book I read 2014. What an amazing book. There is tons of history interwoven through the story in a masterful way. Marie is an incredible character rising above tremendous hardships most women could not endure. I was so glad when she got her HEA! I can't wait to read the next book in this series. I can understand why this book sold over two millions copies in Germany. I am so glad it is available in English. This novel is available through the Kindle Unlimited program.

What an amazing and unique story. It kept me glued to my seat from the first page to the last. I just love Brenda Novak's writing style. It's so smooth and flowing. I immediately fell in love with Abigail, an easy character to love. She's feisty and determined, yet innocent of the dangers of the world. This is a story of overcoming adversity and danger, filled with deep emotion and passion. Well deserving of 5 Gold Crowns! 

This is one of the best books I have read in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed Forever, Sarah. This book covers a period of history that has always fascinated me, since it is set during England's Civil War with Cromwell as leader of England. Mr. Morton depicts this period with clarity and deep knowledge of the historical era. While this wonderful novel is steeped in history, it is also a passionate love story. This is a book that you will not want to miss. Evidently this book is no longer available in E-book.

I hope you will consider these books. You will enjoy all three. 

Happy reading!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Fiery Cross (Outlander Book 5) by Diana Gabaldon

New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon mesmerized readers with her award-winning Outlander novels, four dazzling tales featuring eighteenth-century Scotsman James Fraser and his twentieth-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall. Now, in this eagerly awaited fifth volume, Diana Gabaldon continues their extraordinary saga, a masterpiece of pure storytelling that is her most astonishing Outlander novel yet....

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’ s certain knowledge. Claire’s unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes.

Published & Release Date: Random House, October 26, 2004

Time and setting: 1771 North Carolina

Genre: Historical Romance/Epic Adventure/Time-Travel

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

I am thoroughly enjoying this series again. This is the first time I have read The Fiery Cross. I attempted it when it came out, but read about 100 pages, then set it aside. This time I listened to the audio book as I read which helped tremendously. Davina Porter brings the characters to life, even when some of the pacing in this book is tedious. I now understand why I put this one down, which is extremely unusual for me. I rarely stop reading, even if I do not like the book. I keep expecting it to better. This one certainly does, and is well worth the time to read.

I think the reason I stopped reading The Fiery Cross the first time is because it is such a long book. Plus it had been several years since I had read the first four books in the series and had lost touch with Jamie and Claire. Since I am reading this series again consecutively, I have the story fresh in my mind. This book has critical information needed to understand the next books in the series, especially Roger’s sub-plot.

Brianna and Roger’s story line plays a big part in this book. What happens to Roger is beyond what I could have imagined. How he endured it and still remained whole is astounding. The loss he suffers is something that would devastate me. Ms. Gabaldon has put him through the wringer to say the least. I do not want to give away any information that could lessen your reading experience so I will give you no details. I will just say that The Fiery Cross is mandatory reading to fully understand the rest of the series, even if it does have some scenes in it that do not move the story along.

Now for why I am giving this one 4 stars, I think I missed finding out what was happening to Ian. As I mentioned in my review of Drums of Autumn, I really fell in love with his character. His character is so vibrant. Also, there is a lot of tedious information about the myriad of medical procedures Claire performs. Ms. Gabaldon is a bit too technical, or should a say clinical in her descriptions.

Even with these issues, I enjoyed this book, and I am glad I gave it another chance. Jamie and Claire’s tenderness and caring of each other rings loud and clear, and I am sure it will for you as well. Happy reading!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Release day for Shana Galen's first book in her new Covent Garden Cubs series. Get your copy today!

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals...
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London's Seven Dials. It's a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she's alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

Published & Release Date: Source Books, February 3, 2015

Time and setting: Regency period, London, England

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Reviewer rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

What a fantastic start for Shana Galen’s new Covent Garden Cubs series. Earls Just Want to Have Fun is as dynamic and brilliant as her other stories have been. Ms. Galen is one my favorite authors and I don’t even have to read the blurb before I download her books. I am fortunate enough to have the honor of reading this book in advance of publication through Net Galley.

I adored the start of this book. It grabbed me and had me hooked from the first page. Anything with children always catches my attention. It starts out with Marlowe as a young five year old child playing in a park only to be nabbed by a rogue from Seven Dials, looking for a new cub for his gang of pickpockets. When Marlowe again appears after a scene break in the book, she is grown and has only vague memories of being Elizabeth, which she dismisses as fantasy and wishful thinking. Being a part of Satin’s gang is now all she knows and a fine pickpocket she has become.

While moving in on a target, all does not go as planned. When she runs into the mark, she slips her nimble fingers into his jacket and takes his blunt. The man does not react as she expects him to when he catches her. He smiles and says, “Good day, Elizabeth. I’ve been waiting for you.” Instead of trying to convince her to come with him—after telling her he has been hired by her parents to find her—he tells her where to find him and walks away.

Later that evening, while moving in on a house the gang plans to rob, someone grabs her and throws her into a waiting carriage. She soon discovers it is Sir Brook, the mark from earlier in the day, and his brother, the Earl of Dane. They take her to Dane’s townhouse in Mayfair. Sir Brook leaves her with Dane when he is called off on some urgent business. The attraction between Marlowe and the earl is instantaneous and combustible. Can this unlikely pair find a way to bridge the gap between their social stations, or will Dane let her go rather than shake up his life?

I am extremely impressed with the way Ms. Galen developed Dane’s character. She takes him from a sanctimonious, boring prig, who talks of the weather and politics, to a caring and generous individual. Dane is not a rake, which I find refreshing, and he is a beta male, not an alpha as so many heroes are in many romance novels. She has me rooting for the couple’s “Happily Ever After”, even though there are so many cards stacked against them. When they finally make love, it is one of the most tender love scenes I have ever read.

Marlowe is a straight forward female, definitely a spunky kid character arch with a bit of the waif thrown in. She has to be to have survived growing up among criminals. She hides behind her sarcastic wit to cover up her insecurities. I fell in love with her from the first page, so even when she comes across with a snarky attitude later in the story, I am able to overlook that.

There are several humorous scenes in this story, which lightens the darker moments, and there are several of those. This is a fast-paced book, and I found it difficult to put down. In fact, I read late into the night, trying to finish it. If you have never read any of Shana Galen’s books, then this would be an excellent one to start with. You will not be disappointed. Happy reading!   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lord of Fire Wytchfae 5 by Flossie Benton Rogers

When The Hawk meets his Wytchfae, the result is spontaneous combustion. 

Garnet McAnna chases the demon responsible for attacking and enslaving innocent fae familiars. She never expected to run headlong into a mesmerizing stranger known as The Hawk. Nor did she anticipate the way his masculine power kindles a womanly flame within her. 

Exiled from an elite warrior's brigade, Lord of Fire Gabriel Hawk guards his heart and his solitude. He wants nothing to do with the world of men or the realm of fae. Then a beautiful Wytchfae bursts into his life, stirring desire and sparking need. Garnet is on a dangerous mission, and he can't let her face the evil alone. What else can he do but fight beside her? When she disappears, he raises hell to find her. Will he be too late? Will darkness conquer this couple or will love burn their souls into one?

Published & Release Date: Secret Cravings Publishing, October 27, 2014

Time and setting: Present Day 

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

When I was approached by the author asking me to review her book, I was not sure, but decided to take a chance. I do not read very many paranormal romances as a general rule, and rarely books about Fae people. I must say I am pleasantly surprised. Ms. Rogers writes a fascinating tale filled with plenty of action and adventure. The beginning of the story dropped me right into the middle of a fight with a demon and kept me entertained until the end.

Garnet McAnna is a wytchfae, and she is in pursuit of the demon, Borros, who is capturing familars to sell on the black market, when she comes across Gabriel Hawk, a Lord of Fire. The Hawk agrees to help her stop the demon. Borros shows up, carrying an unconscious woman over his shoulder and his cohort is leading two other people, a girl and a male familiar. Gabriel Hawk jumps in front of Borros taking the stance of a warrior. He demands Borros hand over his captives. The demon laughs and tells Hawk that he is no longer a warrior of Helios. The Hawk tells Borros that he can still toss a fireball and send him to hell. A fight ensues. While The Hawk is able to rescue the captives, Borros escapes.

Gabriel and Garnet form an alliance to follow the demon through the portal. Before they can do this, Garnet must take the familars to her friend. While separated, Borros captures Garnet. Will Hawk be able to save her from the demon’s evil clutches, or will Borros win?

Flossie Benton Rogers does an outstanding job with world building. I could picture in my mind what the other dimension looked like from her vivid description. She writes exciting action scenes with enough detail to please this reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the travel back in time to medieval times, which is definitely an unexpected direction to the story.

Now what did not work for me. I would have liked a bit more was more romance between the hero and the heroine. The story moves along at a lightning pace, so there is not much time for Garnet and Hawk to fall in love. I do understand that it is a short novella, but I feel that the author could have devoted a little more time to build the romance. There is decent chemistry between the pair, just not enough interaction, since Garnet keeps getting captured.   

Nonetheless, the book is well-written with great pacing. It is an easy read, and I was able to finish it in a couple of hours. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a story with a lot of action and danger. There are other books in this series, so I do think I will check them out. Happy reading!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Secrets of a Heart by Samantha Garman

A Romantic Era Adventure Romance 

London, 1815. At the age of nineteen, Blaine Whitmore loses everything dear to him in a brutal assault on his family line. Left with nothing, he finds himself aboard a merchant ship sailing far from home. Years pass as a boy becomes a man, and yet no amount of time or distance will help Blaine forget all that he has lost. After ten years sailing the high seas, he is finally ready to restore the Whitmore name. 

Felicity Canton is as lovely as she is penniless, and has been left to care for her three sisters while attempting to maintain a crumbling estate. With no hope for escape from her predicament, she is resigned to a peasant’s fate. She never anticipates attracting the attention of her wealthy and mysterious new neighbor, nor does she expect him to be her savior. 

As Blaine searches for truth and doles out vengeance, he becomes increasingly captivated and distracted by Felicity’s beauty and inner strength. Does he dare confide in her the secrets of his heart? Will his future be as bleak as his past, or will he finally have a chance at happiness? 

Published & Release Date: Self-published September 26, 2013

Time and setting: 19th century Regency England 

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 3

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

This book pulls at the heart strings from the first page. I was immediately engaged by the poignant hanging of a presumed traitor, the Earl of Grisham, while his nineteen year-old son, Blaine Whitmore witness’s the gruesome scene. The writing is descriptive and the pain the young man feels is palpable.

Blaine finds his way to a seedy tavern, hoping to drown his sorrows and remove the gruesome image of his father death. He’s attacked by two men who were paid to see to his demise. Fortunately for Blaine, Captain Griff Hawthorne rescues him just as one of the villains brings the knife up cut his throat. Thus begins Blaine’s life as a pirate, using the name Sebastian Grayson.

After amassing a huge fortune, Gray returns to England ten years later to avenge his father’s death by proving he was not a traitor. He purchases an estate in Somerset and establishes himself as a prosperous merchant. He meets the destitute Felicity Canton and her three young sisters. The sisters are on the verge of losing everything because their father has died, leaving huge gambling debts. At an engagement party of a neighbor, where Gray and Felicity meet, they are immediately drawn to each other.

Things get much worse when Felicity finds out the extent of her late father’s debt and is faced with the daunting task of liquidating their assets, including selling their home. Felicity goes to Gray and offers to become his housekeeper. When he finds out the true nature of Felicity’s finances, he offers marriage instead. With no other options open to her, Felicity accepts when he offers to set up trusts for her sisters. But will the dark secrets of Gray’s past tear them apart, or will love conquer all?

This story took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in the beginning. The author has a smooth writing style, which keeps the pacing quick and the reader engaged in the first part of the book. However, the book has a bit of a sagging middle and I found myself struggling to get past it and on to what I believed would be a rewarding ending. I was right, and it picks up in the last third of the story and ends up with a very satisfying ‘Happily Ever After’. This book is well worth reading for the beginning and the end.

I particularly enjoyed Felicity’s relationship with her three sisters and the dialogue between the sisters is witty and vastly entertaining. I also liked the growing relationship between Gray and his new friends. The intricate relationship between Gray and Felicity is compelling as well.
Overall, an enjoyable read and I will consider reading future books by this author. If you enjoy a story that gives you a lovely look at the regency period with just enough history to titillate your senses, then this is a book you will not want to miss. Happy reading!