Historical Love

All posts in the Historical Love category

Wilde Child by Eloisa James (Review Post)

Published March 31, 2021 by bookbesties

Eloisa James returns to the Wildes of Lindow Castle series with the next Wilde child who runs and joins a theatre troupe — and the duke who tries to save her reputation.


He wants a prim and proper duchess, not the Wildest of the Wildes!

Already notorious for the golden hair that proves her mother’s infidelity, Lady Joan can’t seem to avoid scandals, but her latest escapade may finally ruin her: she’s determined to perform the title role of a prince—in breeches, naturally.

She has the perfect model for an aristocratic male in mind: Thaddeus Erskine Shaw, Viscount Greywick, a man who scorned the very idea of marrying her.

Not that Joan would want such a dubious honor, of course.

For years, Thaddeus has avoided the one Wilde who shakes his composure, but he’s horrified when he grasps the danger Joan’s putting herself in. Staring into her defiant eyes, he makes the grim vow that he’ll keep her safe.

He strikes a bargain: after one performance, the lady must return to her father’s castle and marry one of three gentlemen whom he deems acceptable.

Not including him, of course.

Another member of one of our favorite families has found their perfect match!  And Eloisa James has written yet another wonderful book.   I loved this story just as much as the rest of the series, but Joan is by far my favorite of the Wilde women.  I saw a lot of myself in her and it gave me a deeper appreciation for her tenacity and her general “devil may care” attitude when it comes to what the world thinks of her.  The chemistry between Joan and Thaddeus is incredible.  They are truly a perfect match up.  He is rigid where she is wild, and she is open where he is closed off.   Seeing how their friendship turns to romance and, helps them become their best selves is magical. 

     Joan Wilde is technically not a Wilde at all, she is the product of her mother’s infidelity.  But don’t let her looks and lack of Wilde blood fool you.  In all the ways that matter to the Duke and the rest of her family she is as much one of them as they are.  However, society refuses to let her or any of their son’s forget that she is illegitimate.  Having lived her whole life in the shadow of her scandalous origins she has grown a thick skin and a wicked sense of humor, one that has her on the verge of being expelled from polite society.  Too bad she doesn’t care what ANY of them think, right?    What happens if she makes friends with the most uptight member of society?  Will she then care what they think, or will it be too late for it to make a difference?

     Thaddeus Erskine Shaw, Viscount Greywick, is a close friend of the Wilde family, in fact he courted two of the Duke’s daughters before they fell in love and married their husbands.  When he and his mother decided to travel to Lindow Castle for a visit with their friends the last thing he expected was to catch the one Wilde he isn’t friends with, in the process of trying to run a way and join a traveling theater troupe.  Bound by honor and a duty to his friendship with the family he vows to go with her and keep her safe but only for one show and only if she returns to the castle after the show and settles down and marries one of the me, he chooses for her.  Now saddled with helping her learn how to portray a man, including going out in public in breeches and fencing lessons, he has the opportunity to get to know her better and to understand why she constantly flirts with scandal and why her reputation doesn’t seem to matter to her.  With understanding come acceptance.  With acceptance comes letting down your carefully constructed guard and with that comes a friendship in a most unlikely place.  Will she shake up his world and give him the chance to be more than a future duke?  Will he be able to save her from her own self-destruction without risking his own?

      I loved this series and this family so much.   Even though it has been said this is the last of the series I really hope that is wrong and we get to see more from The Wildes of Lindow Castle.   

The Heiress Hunt by Joanna Shupe(Review Post)

Published March 28, 2021 by bookbesties

High society reprobate.
An unconventional heiress.
Childhood friends.

Is it too late…
Knickerbocker scoundrel Harrison Archer returns to New York to discover that his deceased father has bankrupted his estranged family. To save them from ruin, he’s forced to quickly find and marry an heiress. For a matchmaker, Harrison turns to the one woman he wishes he could marry: his childhood friend and true love, Maddie, who once broke his heart and is now engaged to a duke.

For true love? 
When her best friend Harrison left for Paris without a word, Maddie Webster took refuge in her infatuation with tennis. Now Harrison is back and needs her help in finding a bride. Begrudgingly, Maddie arranges a house party in Newport with a guest list of eligible heiresses. But watching Harrison flirt with potential brides is more than she can bear.

When Harrison and Maddie reunite, the passion between them ignites. But with their marriages to others looming, time is running out. Is their fate inescapable . . .or can love set them free?

 Yeay!!!!! A new series by Joanna Shupe, I’m so excited!!!!!  This is book one in The Fifth Avenue Rebels series and it’s a gorgeous way to start.  I mean it!  The characters, the setting, the romance… it really all is gorgeous. I love how even though I’m not a sports fan in any way other than tailgating and throwing sports themed parties this book made me want to go look up the history of women’s tennis when I finished reading it.  Although the book is set in 1895, heroine’s passion for tennis reminded me of my dad’s mom, who loved tennis and take me with her to watch and be the ball girl when she would go play with her friends. 

In fact I think one of the reasons I found this book so endearing is because I saw a lot of my grandmother in our leading lady.  Both would do anything to help a friend in need, were devastated if they thought they did anything to hurt the ones they love, and both knew exactly what they expected and what they were willing to tolerate from the men they chose to marry.  It was really nice reading this book and having my own personal sentimental connection to it. 

Aside from that aspect I felt like the book had the perfect blend of darkness, warmth, realism, playfulness, and just enough heart break at all the right moments to keep readers on the edge of their seat and cheering for the HEA we all hope will come.  I really enjoyed this book (for more than just my own sentimental value) and read it in one sitting.  I can’t wait for October and book two!!!! 

The Devil in Her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne(Review Post)

Published March 28, 2021 by bookbesties

The Devil in Her Bed is the final book in the stunning Devil You Know trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne!

He lives in secret service to the Crown—a man of duty, deception, and an undeniable attraction to a woman who threatens to tear his whole world apart.

They call him the Devil of Dorset. He stands alone, a man of undeniable power. Moving in and out of shadows, back alleys and ballrooms, he is unstoppable and one of the Crown’s most dangerous weapons. However, when he sets his sights on the undeniably beautiful Countess of Mont Claire, Francesca Cavendish, he doesn’t realize that he has met a match like no other.

TRUE LOVE WEARS NO DISGUISE

Francesca is a countess by day and stalks her prey—those responsible for the death of her family—by night. What she does not expect is to be thrown into the path of the devil himself, the Earl of Devlin. She has secrets of her own and he seems determined to lay them bare. Can her heart survive finding the love of her life and losing him when all is revealed?

SUCH A GOOD BOOK! 

Who doesn’t a love story of long lost childhood friends who are reunited after years apart? Throw in a few lies, some revenge, the murder of almost an entire family, and a sexy spy and you have a book I couldn’t put down.   Kerrigan Byrne has a knack for writing stories about long lost soul-mates who seem to come back from the dead just to get their HEA and no lie…..I am a big fan.  Like, these are the types of soul-deep connections and end all be all romances are what my wildest dreams are made of and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. 

       Francesca Cavendish, Countess of Monte Claire will stop at nothing to avenge the murders of those she loved the most as a child.  She has spent every day since she witnessed their deaths training and honing the skills she needs to insure her success and every night sacrificing her reputation to get the information that will finally lead her to whoever ordered the hit on her family.   What does her reputation matter when the only boy she ever loved is dead? Besides, she doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her anyways, she has the love of her fellow Red Rouges, and they know the truth, and that along with her revenge is all that matters, right?   Of course! Or so she thought… 

   Chandler, the Devil of Dorset, is one of the Crown’s most powerful spies.  He is very good at what he does.  So much so that people who have known him since he was a child don’t even recognize him when he dons one of his many disguises and assumes one of his various aliases. With no history, no close friends, and no family to trace he is untouchable. His weakness is he has no weakness. Or so he thought is until his latest mission brought him face to face with an obsession he just can’t shake.

     This book was dark, exciting, and sexy, and made me swoon.  I couldn’t put it down.  

A Lady’s Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London Book 1) by Elizabeth Everett REVIEW POST

Published March 17, 2021 by bookbesties

What is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry–it’s elemental.

Lady Violet is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

When a shadowy threat infiltrates Violet’s laboratories, endangering her life and her work, scientist and bodyguard will find all their theories put to the test–and learn that the most important discoveries are those of the heart.

      Ok Besties, it is my pleasure to introduce you to break out author Elizabeth Everett. In this her first book we get to see her attention to detail in both building a multitude of characters but in the intricate ways they all interact with one another, and how each interaction is worked into the story line in ways that allow you grow to know the hero and heroine individually outside of their interactions.   It was a unique experience and I really enjoyed it.  I also was surprised that although this heroine is literally a damsel in distress, who our hero has been hired to safeguard, and not my typical cup of- sassy, independent, knows what she wants, bada$$ heroine- tea, I found myself championing her success and loving her all the same.  What she lacks in self-confidence, poise, and cunning she makes up for in determination, goodwill, and intelligence and seriously those things combined give her a different kind of strength.  A kind of quiet strength that I think the world needs to recognize more of, so bravo to this author for spotlighting it!  This isn’t your typical historical romance in that the setting is a secret society for lady scientists and really, that alone was half of the fun of the book, you never knew when something would randomly explode or crawl out from under the door. Of course the other half of the excitement that makes this book such an enjoyable read is the romance that we see bloom between our damsel and her guardian.  Watching as both characters discover their self-worth through their reflection in the other’s eyes and witnessing the amount of personal growth and discovery the connection between them allows warms my heart and brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.   Lady Violet Greycliff and Authur Kneland perfect for each other and I am glad they get their HEA.

     So with all that in mind I think it is safe to safe that I really liked this book, I am excited to see where this author’s career will take us, and I can’t wait to see what all of you think as well. 

The Rakehell of Roth by Amalie Howard

Published February 6, 2021 by bookbesties

As owner of the most scandalous club in London, the last thing the notorious Marquess of Roth wants is a wife. Keeping up his false reputation as a rake brings in the clients with the deepest pockets—money he needs to fund a noble cause. Even though everything inside tells him not to leave his beautiful, innocent wife behind at his country estate…he must.

But three years later, tired of her scoundrel of a husband headlining the gossip rags, Lady Isobel Vance decides enough is enough. She is no longer a fragile kitten, but as the anonymous author of a women’s sexual advice column, she’s now a roaring tigress…and she can use her claws.

Isobel decides to go to him in London, channeling her powers of seduction to make him beg to take her back. But she didn’t expect her marauding marquess to be equally hard to resist. Now the game is on to see who will give in to the other first, with both sides determined like hell to win.

Each book in the Regency Rogues series is STANDALONE:
* The Beast of Beswick
* The Rakehell of Roth

Out 02/9/21

All right, all right, all right!!! Before you start book number 2 of Amalie Howard’s, The Regency
Rogues series you’re going to need a gallon of water close by. This book is so steamy it should come
with a Surgeon General’s Warning for dehydration. For real y’all! You know I normally try not to dwell
on the physically intimate parts of the story when I review a book, but when those moments are THIS
DANG HOT, I would be doing both you and the author a grave in justice by leaving it out of this review.
In this regard, this heroine is my absolute hero!
As I am sure you can all guess by now, I am the (self-proclaimed) President of the Amalie
Howard, Bada$$ Heroines Fan Club (not that such a fan club is really a thing, but it totally should be and
I nominate myself as President ;D ), that means that not only am I super greedy to get my hands on her
books but that I also have super high expectations for her heroines. No meek, biddable, wallflowers
allowed! So going into this book I will admit, I was slightly worried about how I would feel toward this
leading lady after meeting her in The Beast of Beswick. I should have known better than to worry
though, because while she starts out as the quiet, complacent, biddable wife once she reached her limit
and made up her mind to fight for what she wants, in true Amalie Howard Bada$$ Heroine form she is a
force to be reckoned with.
Lady Isobel Vance couldn’t help but be smitten with her extremely handsome new husband,
especially since her marriage to him had saved her from claws of the disgusting and disgraceful Earl of
Beaumont. After their wedding, on their journey to his country home she couldn’t wait to take her
place by his side as the Marchioness of Roth. How was she to know that he would leave her there,
alone, in the country, for three years, while he ran around London causing all manner of scandals? Well,
this “country mouse” has had enough! Armed with the theoretical education she received from the
infamous Lady Darcy, a crazy plan, the support of her best friends and her Father In-Law she charms all
of London, determined to bring her rakehell husband to heel. Will she unleash the tigress within and
win his heart in spite of his determination to push her away or will she be forced to admit defeat and
return to her quiet country life?
Winter Vance, Marquess of Roth, does not want to be married, especially since that is exactly
what his father the Duke of Kendrick wants. Matter of fact, if it wasn’t for the codicil holding hostage of
the rest of his inheritance unless he gets married before he turns 21, he would never get married. He
refuses to succumb to love and the fate that befell his beloved mother and sister. So while he would
concede to the codicil he wouldn’t let a wife, no matter how attractive she was, get in the way of his
notorious life. Thinking he had settled the matter by agreeing to marry the “quiet” and “dutiful”
younger sister of the Duchess of Beswick and abandoning her at his father’s estate far from London, the
last thing he expected was for his “country mouse” wife to show up three years later and take the
London social season by storm. Will he be able to maintain the walls he has built around his heart or
will her newly sharpened claws tear them down and leave him begging for more?
Obviously I loved this book and hope you do too and although I understand why you may feel
the need, please do not call 9-1-1 when this book sets you on fire.

The Princess and the Rogue: A Bow Street Bachelors Novel(Review Post)

Published December 29, 2020 by bookbesties

Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn’t believe in love—until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.

Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain ‘Anna Brown’. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff’s offer of protection—and accommodation—at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya’s true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?

This is the first book by this author that I have had the pleasure to read and review for all of you.  I must tell you how delighted I am that even though this book is part of a series it 100% reads like a stand-alone.  So much so that I didn’t realize it was part of a series until I looked at the cover page to make sure I spelled the author’s name correctly while writing this review.  That being said I am really hopeful that we will get to share more of not only this series but this author with each other.  Because this is one of those books where you fall in love with the heroine’s tenacity and will to survive on the first page, then find yourself sucking in your breath in anticipation of the perils she faces, knowing full well she is amazing and will doubtlessly pull through unscathed.  This book has it all: a notorious and handsome rogue, a brothel, faithful friends, a terrible villain, suspense, and above all things true love that conquers even the most cynical of hearts.  With that being said; I adored these characters, loved the way the author wrote their story, and from start to finish enjoyed this book immensely. 

After the death of her brother, Russian, Princess Anastasia “Anya” Denisova found herself stranded in Paris and resorting to desperate measures to keep from being forced into a marriage with the abusive traitor, Count Vasili Petrov.  After faking her own suicide and fleeing to England we find Anya living in Covent Garden, next to Mrs. Haye’s brothel and working as a part time companion to the Dowager Duchess of Winwick.   Doing her best to maintain her new identity becomes impossible when Count Petrov not only comes to London circulating a story that he is looking for his lost fiancé but is spotted leaving Mrs. Haye’s.  With help of her employer, who has become a dear friend and only one of two people in her new life who knows her true identity, she must go into hiding.  It is decided, after a failed kidnapping attempt was made on her, that the safest place for her to lay low until Petrov returns to Russia is in the private residence rooms of Tricorn Club, under the protection of the Duchess’ nephew.  Should she trust him with her true identity?  Will he be able to keep her safe? 

Sebastian Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, notorious rogue by night, partial Tricorn Club owner and Bow Street investigator by day, has been given an assignment; to investigate the possibility of a Russian spy who was giving information to Napoleon.  Dedicated to his pursuit of the truth and his bachelor life he has no time for or belief in the idea of love, that is until a onetime meeting with a mysterious woman in a brothel who plagues his thoughts and dreams.  Never thinking he would cross paths with her again she was the last person he expected to see when he set out to protect his great aunt while she traveled to their country home.  After rescuing her from an attempting kidnapping and at his great aunts most ardent request, he takes on the task of protecting and hiding her from those who wish her ill.  He knows she is hiding something from him and possibly his great aunt and while she is living under his roof he is determined to find out what it is.  Conveniently, as he works to uncover her secrets he finds that not only is she beautiful, well mannered, and enchanting, but that she may just be his best lead in the investigation of the Russian spy.  Will he uncover her secrets and what will he do with them if he does?  

I really enjoyed this book and am excited to read more from this author and this series.  Let me know what you think.

The Duke Effect (Rogue Files)(Review Post)

Published November 13, 2020 by bookbesties

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan continues her bestselling Rogue Files series with this captivating romance that will thrill her many fans.

She doesn’t care about love…

Despite being surrounded by her happily wed sisters, Nora Langley prefers botany to ballrooms and would rather spend a lifetime in her laboratory than consider affairs of the heart. An expert herbalist, Nora has been masquerading as her late physician father for years, dispensing invaluable medical advice. She corresponds with people all over the world, including an old army colonel. But when the man shows up on her doorstep, he is nothing like she expected—he is a young, handsome heir to a dukedom who suddenly threatens everything she holds dear.

He only cares about duty…

Constantine Sinclair arrives on the Langley doorstep in a desperate bid to save the woman who raised him, the Duchess of Birchwood … only to discover that the venerable doctor he expected is a bold and lovely charlatan. Furious at the deception, he vows to reveal her secrets. Determined to prove her skills, Nora promises to save the duchess in exchange for Con keeping her secret. Con reluctantly agrees… and soon Nora’s brilliant, headstrong ways are throwing his carefully controlled life into chaos. What happens when the rigid soldier begins to lose his grip on his heart?

Book number 3 of Sophie Jordan’s Rogue Files series is wonderful! While it may be part of a series it absolutely can hold its own as a standalone. This series really shows how creative this author is because all three leading ladies are entirely different yet none of their individual characters is lacking. Each sister is unique and has been given a story that fits them perfectly in a way that shows how much love the author put
into each character.

This is a quality that has me jumping at the chance to read and share with all of you any book by Sophie Jordan that comes my way. I can only hope that we get one more book from this series where we get to meet the fourth Langley sibling, the girls’ younger brother who has been away at school throughout the entire series and whom we really know very little about. I would love to see how much each of his sisters’ unique traits have rubbed off on him as he grew into a man. This is Nora’s book and it is everything we hoped it would be! It had me gasping in indignation and holding my breath in anticipation on her behalf more than once. Naturally such a confident, self-assured, scientific-minded woman would need an equally strong and disciplined counterpart as well as a mystery illness and stacked odds to open her heart and mind to the ideas of love and romance as more than physiological topics to be studied.

Fortunately, that is exactly what we get with Con and this book. We get to see Nora blossom from self-isolating bluestocking to equality warrior to impassioned lover and it is a truly memorable journey all the way. Nora Langley is a practiced healer who would love nothing more than to go to medical school and become a doctor, unfortunately that’s not an option for women in England. But she isn’t going to let that stop her from her life’s work of helping and healing people. In fact, after her years of practicing and studying under her father, it is this drive to use her knowledge and skills to help people that has her maintain her father’s medical correspondences in his place after he passes.

Little did she think she would ever come face to face with one of those correspondences while living on her Brother In-law’s country estate, much less that he would threaten to expose her deception, no matter how many people she had helped. There is only one thing to do. Follow him, save the Duchess thus proving her skill, and convincing him not to ruin her reputation. Can she do it or will her ego have gotten her into a situation her cures can not fix? Constantine Sinclair is now the heir to the Duke of Birchwood. He owes everything to the Duke and Duchess and that is why he has ridden hard directly from London to find the doctor he has been
corresponding with or the last several years, a doctor who specializes in pain management and who he hopes will be able to figure out what is wrong with the Duchess and save her.

A doctor who he throughout the years he thought was his friend and whom he has shared personal things with. A doctor who he quickly discovers isn’t actually a doctor or even a man! Outraged he knows he must do what is right and return to London immediately, and expose the imposter for who she is to everyone he referred to her. He never expected her to follow him, or for her to scam her way into his house and dedicate herself to helping the Duchess, all just to prove that she is who she says she is. Can this charlatan be as good as she claims? Can he ever forgiver her deception and see her as the friend he thought he had? I loved this book and series and I really hope this wasn’t the final book so we get to meet the Langley
brother.

Love Is a Rogue: Wallflowers vs. Rogues(Review Post)

Published November 13, 2020 by bookbesties

Once upon a time in Mayfair a group of wallflowers formed a secret society with goals that had absolutely nothing to do with matrimony. Their most troublesome obstacle? Rogues! 

They call her Beastly Beatrice.

Wallflower Lady Beatrice Bentley longs to remain in the wilds of Cornwall to complete her etymological dictionary. Too bad her brother’s Gothic mansion is under renovation. How can she work with an annoyingly arrogant and too-handsome rogue swinging a hammer nearby?

Rogue. Scoundrel. Call him anything you like as long as you pay him.

Navy man Stamford Wright is leaving England soon and renovating Thornhill House is just a job. It’s not about the duke’s bookish sister or her fiery copper hair. Or the etymology lessons the prim-yet-alluring lady insists on giving him. Or the forbidden things he’d love to teach her.

They say never mix business with pleasure. But when Beatrice and Ford aren’t arguing, they’re kissing. 

Sometimes temptation proves too strong to resist…even if the cost is a heart.

In this book the wallflowers win and being a bluestocking can endear you to the heart of even the most handsome rogue. I am a sucker for underdog stories and this one fits the bill. Between the bluestocking, wallflower, self-isolating, dictionary author heroine and the devilishly handsome, born on the wrong side of the cloth, sea faring, Naval carpenter hero this
story is full of underdogs determined not to let the world get in the way of their plans for the future. I adore how wonderfully smart AND witty this leading lady is.

And I may or may not have been inclined to add a few words from Beatrice’s dictionary to my vocabulary as they are too fun to pass up. I found this story empowering and I am excited to read the rest of this
series to see where it takes us. Lady Beatrice Bentley also known as Beastly Beatrice is ready to retire to life as a spinster so she can finally immerse herself in her own pursuit of happiness, she just needs to get through this last season and her mother’s determination to see her married at all costs. In an attempt to get work done on her life’s work, her etymological dictionary she went looking for solace in the library of her brother’s Cornwall estate. Little did she know that her brother had hired a handsome rogue of a carpenter to do renovations and thusly disrupt her peace
while she was there. Armed with a long list of that entirely too loud, to attractive, to distracting, carpenter’s transgressions to give to her brother, she returns to London to be subjected to her mother’s scheming and ministrations to find her a husband.

While there she
discovers that she has not only a long-lost aunt who shares her same passion for books but that she inherited a book shop that specializes in rare and antique books. Determined to keep the bookshop and the priceless books from being sold out from under her she is forced to hire none
other than that same roguish carpenter from Cornwall to make the repairs and help her save her legacy. Will she find a friendship where she least expects, or will she lose it all for trusting a
rogue? Stamford “Ford” Wright comes from a long line of carpenters, only he follows a different path by becoming a ship’s carpenter for the Navy. He is happy with his life at sea and has only come ashore while waiting for his next ship to help his injured father finish a renovation on Thornhill House. He is there to work, not to flirt with the vibrant redheaded, bookish, sister of the Duke.

But she is always staring at him and he finds himself constantly looking for her too. Good thing the job is finished, and he is heading to London to meet his next ship. He just needs to meet with the Duke to let him know of some suspicious accounting activity he noticed before heading back to sea. He does not need to get involved with helping that same redheaded
bluestocking renovate a bookstore or to fall in love with her.

This book was so much fun to read. I can’t wait to see how all of you like it.

A Duchess a Day: A Novel (Review Post)

Published November 13, 2020 by bookbesties

USA Today bestselling author Charis Michaels enchants with her Awakened by a Kiss series, taking our favorite fairy tales’ forgotten characters and making them the hero of their own story.

An heiress with a plan…

Lady Helena Lark has spent years trying to escape her wedding to the vain and boring Duke of Lusk. She’s evaded, refused, even run away. When her family’s patience runs out, they pack her off to London to walk down the aisle. But Helena has another idea: find a more suitable bride to take her place, even if she must look for a replacement duchess every day.

A bodyguard with a job to do…

Declan Shaw, better known as “The Huntsman,” is a mercenary who can pick and choose his clientele. After his last job, escorting a young noblewoman to France, landed him in jail under false accusations, he wants nothing to do with aristocrats or women. But the law isn’t done with him, and if he agrees to babysit a duke’s errant fiancé, the payout could make his legal troubles go away.

A most unexpected alliance…

When their worlds collide, Declan realizes that containing his new client is only slightly harder than keeping his hands off her. Helena senses an ally in her handsome new bodyguard and solicits his help. Together they must escape the forces that oppose them and fight for the fairy-tale love they desire.

This book had me hooked from the first sentence!! I love how it starts with us meeting our hero even though the main character is our heroine. Getting to know Declan first and getting to see just what Helena was up against before we ever meet her made me want to champion her even more than I
would have had we met her and her side of the situation first. This author has done a great job pair these two characters and writing a story where they both get to showcase their strengths and weaknesses and how they complement each other.

I really like how even though Declan is a mercenary by trade he hasn’t been made to be overly dark and brooding. This made it easy to fall in love with him just as easily as it was to fall in love with Helena. I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and I see so much potential for this to be the start of an incredible series. I only hope I am right and we get to see more from the characters in this world. Lady Helena Lark is in London staying with her family at the home of; Bradley Girdleston, Duke of Lusk, the man her parents have arranged for her to marry in spite of her best efforts to dissuade them of the match. Determined not to be forced in to marriage with a man who she cannot abide she comes up with a plan to find someone else to catch the Duke’s eye in the hopes that he will overturn the betrothal and set her free. To achieve her plan she makes an alliance with a groom whom she is certain is a spy for the Duke’s Uncle. Will their plan to find her replacement work or will they have to resort to desperate measures to finally gain her freedom and save her livelihood?

Declan Shaw started the day in a dungeon cell in Newgate Prison. In a matter of hours not only would be released from prison but he would be offered a job that will give him enough money to take care of his father and sisters for the rest of their lives. The only catch is this job won’t be easy. In fact it is the kind of job he swore he wouldn’t take again….. working with a headstrong woman. Unable to refuse the offer of the money or his freedom he reluctantly takes the job. Never did he expect the woman he is now responsible for to be the most beautiful, stubborn, and enchanting woman he ever laid eyes on. Will he be able to keep his head and see to his duties or will he become her accomplice in the plot to end her betrothal?

I had so much fun being immersed in this story and going on this adventure. I can’t wait to see how you all like it and to see if it is the great start to a series like I hope it is.

My Last Duchess by Eloisa James(Review Post)

Published October 27, 2020 by bookbesties

Every Duke needs a Duchess…

Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband.

Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage.

Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one.

Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven.

When duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?

FINALLY!!!!!

Finally, we get to learn about how the extraordinary Wilde Family came to
be. We also get to see how love truly can not only happen at first sight but, that it can also happen twice in a lifetime. This is a book not only about love but about hope and incredibly the hope comes from the hero of this story rather than the heroine. This book has the hero of my
dreams. Hugo is a dedicated husband (even when his wife is not), a devoted and loving father, and a hopeless romantic. What more could you ask for? How for lightening to strike twice in his life and for him to fall head over heels in love at first sight for a second time. This story is so
sweet and warm, and it just felt good reading it. I am so glad this was Hugo and Ophelia’s story it fits them so perfectly.


Hugo Wilde, Duke of Lindow is the newly divorced father of 8 children in desperate need of a mother. With a set of rules from his sister to help him find his next wife he heads to London with half a heart and low expectations for success. After his first marriage was a based
on flirtatious love at first sight, and his second marriage ended miserably, love wasn’t a priority for this next one. All he needed was a strong society lady who could help him successfully present his daughter’s to society and who had no interest in the marital bed. Well, he thought that was all he needed until at the very first appearance at the very first ball when he laid eyes on Lady Astley and fell instantly in love. Can he convince her he isn’t crazy? Will she want to take on such a large family? Can she love him and his children as much as he does? Ophelia, Lady Astley is happy in her life as a young widow and mother.

She had a content marriage that left her with the freedom to live in luxury and raise her daughter as she chooses. Her whole world revolves around her little girl and she cannot imagine her life any other way. Never would she let a handsome Duke desperate to find a wife to mother his spirited children into her heart or her life to change her little family. Especially not when said Duke accosts her in her own carriage so he can propose marriage to her after barely meeting one time.

The nerve of that man moving on to another woman days after she turned down his harebrained proposal. So much for his claims of love. So why can’t she get him or his children out of her head? Why does she think the only woman who can love any of them the way they need and deserve is her? This book was so sweet and it just makes my heart happy thinking about it. I hope you
enjoy.