Portrait of a Scotsman (League of Extraordinary Women #3) by Evie Dunmore

Hattie Greenfield is a bluestocking, a woman who has thoughts about her independence and rights. She, along with her friends, belong to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. An organization that is hoping to overturn and reform women’s rights in their homes, as well as being given the right to vote. Hattie does have some form of independence as one in a class of female scholars at Oxford and her father gives her a little bit of freedom. However, when she ditches her guard to take a tour in the home of an unmarried gentleman, Lucian Blackstone, she starts the ball rolling in a direction she doesn’t intend. She finds Mr. Blackstone enigmatic and interesting and she is drawn to him, but when she “leans in” to him to give him a kiss they are discovered and her actions prove to much for her father to overlook. She ends up married to Lucian Blackstone.

Hattie is the daughter of a banker in a family full of business minds. Because of her dyslexia she finds herself shuffled into the “pretty” catagory by her family and her intelligence is discounted. Mind you, she’s smart enough to be taking classes at Oxford, but her inability to write things down without getting numbers and letters confused makes her father think she’s not bright. Hattie is also a victim of circumstance. Her father has built his wealth but they are not in the higher levels of society and her marriage to a lord is of the utmost importance to help elevate her family’s station. When she is seen giving Mr. Blackstone a peck on the lips, in front of a group of people no less, she is forced to accept his hand in marriage and despite her fascination with him she has a lot to learn about her husband and his intentions.

Lucian comes from a coal mining family background. Her mother after being knocked up by the lord of the manor (who probably raped her) comes back to live in the coal mining town she is from, which is where Lucian starts his life. When he’s a young teen he becomes homeless and lives on the streets of London and talks his way into a shop keeper’s job, and his upward trajectory is started. He never forgets where he came from and who the man was who took advantage of his mother. The rest of his life is built for him to make money so he has the chance to take him down. So you can see that Hattie has a lot to deal with when she becomes married to Mr. Blackstone.

I have been fascinated with this era and have found this series to be so interesting! I think Portrait of a Scotsman portrays that world in black and white, and what it means to be a woman in it regardless of how much money you have. Until Hattie’s world changed by marrying Lucian Blackstone she was just going through the motions of being in the Suffrage Movement. Her handoff from her father to a husband without being given a choice brought the truth home. She had zero control over her own life. So what is Hattie to do about it? You’ll just have to read this riveting novel yourself to find out.

Never fear, there is romance in Portrait of a Scotsman, although Hattie certainly makes Lucian work for it, but for me this story is more revelatory for our main character (and me!) than it is romantic. Yes, there is a lot of heat between Hattie and Lucian, but she is on a journey of self-discovery and just because she’s married doesn’t mean that’s going to be the end of her education. Truth be told her journey does not actually happen alone, her husband learns quite a few things himself, and after quite a bit of conflict they do achieve their happily ever after.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review and it was honest.

Click this link if you’d like to purchase this book!* Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- Sept’21

School is back in session and Fall is just around the corner. Boy, time flies when you’re reading book after book! It looks like September will be no different as there are a bunch of great releases coming out. Here are the books I am most anticipating!

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I liked the idea of the Caraval series more than I actually liked the actual stories, but I will admit to loving the lyrical language this author writes. It’s for this reason that I’m looking forward to reading a book about happy endings, or is it a book about tragedies. Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to see which direction this author takes our characters!

Synopsis:

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

Click this link to purchase!* Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart, 1)

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase any of the books on this post through an attached link I’ll receive a small stipend.

#4 BOOK RELEASE

Ah, second chance love romances. You either love them or you hate them! I’m pretty ambivalent but when you throw a witchy theme in the pot I’m pretty sure it’s the brew that rings true! 🙂 Seriously, this book does sound pretty cute. Is it a coincidence that two witch themed romances are coming out in the same month? I think not!

Synopsis:

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Ex Hex: A Novel

#3 BOOK RELEASE

I haven’t been reading quite as much YA as I have in the past but this synopsis made me curious. It was just vague enough to peak my interest. I did also really enjoy this author’s last novel More Than Maybe, which put her on my radar.

Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. So instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed – all while questioning the ideals she grew up with.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship with faith. The clock is ticking on his probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

Click this link to purchase!* Never Saw You Coming: A Novel

#2 BOOK RELEASE

I’ll admit, this wasn’t even on my radar until I was looking through the titles and the cover caught my eye. The synopsis is pretty adorable though so I need to give this book a look!

Synopsis:

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

Click this link to purchase!* The Love Hypothesis

MOST ANTICIPATED SEPT’22 BOOK RELEASE

I have not missed reading one of Evie Dunmore’s books in this series yet. Portrait of a Scotsman is the best one yet! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and I loved the whole evolution of their story. What makes this authors books unique is that not only does she write great characters but you also really get a lesson on what is happening with the different levels of society of this era. This is set during the English Suffrage Movement and is a fantastic read.

Synopsis:

Going toe-to-toe with a brooding Scotsman is rather bold for a respectable suffragist, but when he happens to be one’s unexpected husband, what else is an unwilling bride to do?

London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted just three things in life:

1. Acclaim as an artist.
2. A noble cause.
3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman.

Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain’s peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she’s stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions….

When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old desire for revenge, he has no room for his new wife’s apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her.

But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything–as long as she is prepared to lose her heart.

Click this link to purchase!* Portrait of a Scotsman (A League of Extraordinary Women)

These were my Top 5 and will by no means match your own. However, if you like the genre’s I read you may want to pick up one or two of these books. If I missed something that you want to shout to the world about, please say it in the comments below. I’d love to hear what books you can’t wait to read!

Deb

This Chick Read: Devil in Disguise (The Ravenals #7) by Lisa Kleypas

Lady Merritt Sterling, widower, is running her husband’s shipping business when she meets Keri MacRae, a Scottish whiskey distiller. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable but a lady must be careful not to tempt society’s voracious gossips. Despite that threat Merritt invites Keir to her home for dinner, but he is attacked and injured. When his life is again threatened the next day she realizes that someone is out to kill him and with the help of the Duke of Lancaster (Sebastian from the Wallflower series) they shuffle off to the safety of his estate on the coast while an investigation is underway. Devil in Disguise revealed a new favorite heroine and hero in what is one of my favorite historical romance series by this author.

Merritt is a woman who “manages” the people around her. Right from the beginning Keir see’s that managing and declares her a “wee bully” and he is charmed by her kind of toughness and is riveted by her passion. These two were engaging, fun, and very romantic falling instantly in serious like. The only hiccup being their different places in society and the fact that someone is trying to kill Keir.

As this is book #7 we do get to welcome a few of our favorite past characters into this story, which I always welcome. Funny enough, I started my love affair with Lisa Kleypas’ earlier Ravenal novels and have just gotten into the Wallflower series. Merritt’s mother is one of those previous wallflowers and it’s fun to see those characters in a different light. I had not yet read the Duke’s (and his Evie) novel but now can’t wait to dig in!

If you like historical romances you will really enjoy Lisa Kleypas and her novels and Devil in Disguise does not disappoint! This can be read as a stand alone, but I think you’ll be curious about some of these other characters and will seek them out just as I have. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Devil in Disguise (Ravenels Book 7)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

* Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan

Primrose is the youngest of four daughters. She has finally reached the age of sixteen, the age when she would have her “coming out”, she is told by her mother that it would be delayed until her older sister is betrothed. Her older sister is in her third season and doesn’t look motivated to find a match. Upset at this surprise announcement Prim decides to sneak out with her best friend to Vauxhall Gardens the veritable den of sin. When she gets separated from her friend a handsome young man comes to her rescue. As they search through the gardens looking for Olympia, they enjoy the sights and each other.

What a fun novel! It was a light, enjoyable story and Primrose with her sass and intelligence was an easy heroine to like. I can’t imagine being a young woman during this time in history. You have no rights, you are either at the will of your parents or of your husband. So this one night of rebellion might be all Primrose will have of freedom, unless she finds the right man who will be her partner in crime, which in this case she did. Primrose was the right combination of naiveté and intelligence and this illicit adventure rang true despite it being essentially a teen romance. This time it was a sixteen year old girl who snared the Duke. Not as awful as it sounds as he was only 19 himself.

I have a fondness for historical romances and Sixteen Scandals fit the bill. What made this book different for me was that it was a YA historical romance, so it was rated PG-13 but also that the author provided diversity in its characters. Prim’s best friend Olympia had ‘light brown skin’ and beautiful dark, curly hair but she was also (slight spoiler) gay, as was one of Prim’s sisters. I liked this small difference from other historical novels and hope these changes continue in this genre. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Sixteen Scandals

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

In 2017 Aurelia Leclaire inherits an apartment in Paris from her recently deceased grandmother. Surprised that her grandmother ever lived in Paris, when Lia opens the door it’s as if she stepped into a time machine to 1943, the apartment was untouched, filled with artwork, beautiful cocktail dresses, and elegant antiques. When she finds Nazi paraphernalia she becomes worried that her grandmother may have been a sympathizer and that the artwork may have been stolen. In Paris 1942 Estelle Allard lives in her family’s luxurious apartment in the exclusive Sacré-Coeur neighborhood. Paris is occupied by Nazi’s and their military elite are inhabiting The Ritz. Estelle, a young, beautiful, socialite uses her looks and lifestyle to socialize with the Nazi’s, turning over everything she’s learned to their enemies.

The Paris Apartment is told from two perspectives both Lia’s and her grandmother Estelle. As we read about all of LIa’s fears we are living through Estelle’s worries during WWII. The story unfolds in a way that is emotional and riveting. We live through both women’s stories and we know the answers as to why Estelle’s apartment is found untouched, what the secret apartment was used for, and why she had Nazi paraphernalia where she lived. As Lia was worried, we would find out an answer in Estelle’s storyline. Kelly Bowen did a wonderful job describing life during WWII and all of the horrors that an occupied city faced, but all with a veneer of civility.

I think this is the first time where I’ve read a dual storyline novel where both of the plots were of equal interest to me. LIa had a mystery that she wanted to unravel and had the help of a handsome art restorer to help her do that. The budding love story wasn’t the main plot but it did provide her character with a bit of warmth that I think she might have lacked with out those feelings of attraction and love. As a juxtaposition, Estelle’s story was filled with emotional warmth and also darkness. Living during a time where people you knew were being killed, either in the war or in concentration camps her emotions were all hidden by this face she had to wear to both survive, and collect whatever information she could. The mystery that connected these to timelines was what moved both of their stories forward so effectively.

I was drawn into this novel right from the first page. It was so easy to read I found myself reading the book late into the evening, not wanting to break away from the story. If you like historical novels, I think you’ll enjoy the characters in this book. I’ve read a lot of WWII novels lately but haven’t read one set in Paris so I thought it was unique and the stylization of the time and the ease I had reading it really set it apart from the others. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* The Paris Apartment

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive credit for your purchase.

This Chick Read: To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #2) by Martha Waters

Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, the Marquess of Willingham have known each other forever. He’s a school friend of her brother’s and has been tormenting her for years. Their constant bickering hiding a mutual attraction that neither has acted on since Jeremy’s half-hearted proposal during her first season. Diana, turned him down and married not long after. Now that she is widowed his quick wit and biting sarcasm and directed her way again. One day Jeremy calls on her at an indecent hour and proposes a union of a different sort. He has recently ended a relationship with another lady who gave him bad reviews and he wants to ease his mind by having a brief affair with Diana during his two week house party, knowing she’ll tell him the truth. Having her own motives, Diana agree’s and finds that she might feel more than she bargained for.

I will admit that I wasn’t a big fan of this author’s first novel in this series, To Have and to Hoax. I am, however, thankful for having read it because her friends, including Violet the heroine from that novel, are again a big part of the plot in To Love and to Loathe. Unlike the fake illness Violet undertook to reel her husband back into their marriage, in this story Diana, is carrying on an affair while trying to win a bet by marrying him off before the year is done. You know how that’s going to turn out! I did really like the sense of humor written into these characters. They were a lot more fun to read about and I found myself a little bit more invested in the outcome. Of course, I wasn’t afraid the book would end without their falling in love, but the story was engaging and the antics of the house guests kept me turning the pages.

One of the more interesting side notes to this story were the societal mores that the ladies and gents of this time lived. Jeremy was known as a cad for all of his affairs. As a Marquess, and even in his younger days, the son of a Marquess, things came easily to him. Women threw themselves at him and when he was rated poorly by his previous lady love it was Diana who pointed out that women may have been faking it all along just because of who and what he was. An opinion that was eye opening and fun to read. Diana, as a widow could reveal to someone that she might be willing to have a liaison and in fact hoped that having one with Jeremy would go towards helping her gain more experience in that endeavor. However, if she became talked about then despite her being a “Lady” her reputation wouldn’t recover. It wasn’t a huge part of the story but a scene that stuck with me.

I wouldn’t call this novel a historical romance rom-com but it was more spirited than I expected and I did laugh a couple of times. If you are looking for a historical romance with a small twist give this one a try. I think you can read it without reading the previous novel so never fear! Purchase away! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I receive a copy of this novel through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* To Love and to Loathe: A Novel (2) (The Regency Vows)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Daring and the Duke (The Bareknuckled Bastards #3) by Sarah MacLean

Grace Condry, along with her adopted brothers, lived on London’s streets as children after running away from their abusive father. They toughed it out, fighting for money and eventually becoming powerful on their own and as adults fight for a different cause. The betterment of their neighborhood. When Ewan, the Duke of Marwick terrorizes their home, the brothers band together to protect Grace, his one time love. They’ve never forgiven Ewan for his betrayal, but Grace never forgot their long ago love. Can she forgive Ewan for her broken heart?

I’ve really enjoyed this series about these bastard children of a Duke and the hardships they’ve overcome to build a life in one of the deadlier neighborhoods in London. The first two novels told the story of the brothers, and Grace only had a small part in those so I never felt I really got to know her. In Daring and the Duke we finally see the culmination of this hatred between the three brothers who were ripped apart while fighting for a Dukedom. They’ve hated Ewan pretty viciously so I didn’t really know what to think about this love interest for Grace and was really only mildly curious. I was intrigued with how Sarah MacLean would tell their story and make me care for a heroine who had always lived in the darkness.

Grace was not your typical regency heroine. She is a madame of a brothel where the roles are flipped. This is a place where gentile women can go to live out their fantasies choosing from a bevy of men. Kind of an interesting job for a heroine of a novel, right? The author did a good job of portraying her role in a female empowerment kind of way so that it felt different but not disreputable. Well, maybe only slightly. Who was this woman who wore pants, managed a brothel, and held a sword as well as a man? It turns out, she was a pretty interesting one! My question was, what would this Duke be like and how would he hold her interest?

Secrets were finally revealed about the truth behind Ewan’s role in their betrayal and it turns out he had a very good reason for his behavior when they were children. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the plot, but needless to say when Grace hear’s it she doesn’t find it difficult to forgive Ewan. How though, does a brothel owner and a Duke maintain a relationship? For me, that was the real conflict in this novel and one I would think would be a doozy! The author creates a very interesting and surprising resolution! Is it realistic? Nope! But, this is a historical romance so realism kind of gets thrown out the window.

I had never read a Sarah Maclean novel prior to reading this series and I have to say I was impressed. The characters are very non traditional and feel real because they weren’t a complete fantasy. Their situations didn’t feel as real, but like I said above you kind of have to let reality slide when you choose to read a historical romance. She created a great fantasy world and is an author I’d turn to when wanting to escape my own bit of reality.

Click this link to purchase!* Daring and the Duke: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book III

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore

Lady Lucy, a young woman with a high social background, has been living on her own since her father kicked her out of the house when she was 17. Thankfully one of her aunt’s left her some money which allows her to live comfortably, if not frugally. Lucy uses her independence to continue to fight for women’s rights. When her consortium finally gathers enough money to purchase a publishing house that prints a set of women’s periodicals their plans to use them for the Suffrage movement are foiled when the other half is sold to her nemesis, Tristan, Lord Ballantine. He has always gotten under Lucy’s skin, and now he is in her way! Their sizzling chemistry distracts her from her purpose, but as she gets to know him she is surprised at his hidden depths.

I didn’t think it was possible to like a book better than the first. I loved Bringing Down the Duke, but A Rogue of One’s Own? Even better! This series is set during the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England at the turn of the 19th century. Men held all of the rights over woman, considering them purchased when married. Lucy is determined to never get married but she needs society and their wealth and privilege to continue her fight. She has always considered Tristan to be a rake, believing all of the stories about his conquests. He certainly plays the part but as he discovers more about her world and how women are not ok with their treatment he is enraged on their behalf. This paragraph below, I hope doesn’t give anything away but explains why I liked this story so much.

“Until now, she had not been sure how her lover would respond to realities most people refused to see. Until now, she had not been entirely certain whether he would fall victim to the peculiar, selective blindness which afflicted so many otherwise perfectly sensible people when confronted with something ugly; whether he would claw for explanations, no matter how ludicrous, or would try to belittle away what unnerved him rather than face inconvenient truths.”

A Rogue of one’s own by Evie Dunmore

Maybe it’s the time I’m living in right now, with what is going on in the US, but this quote struck me to the heart. Lucy fell in love because Tristan opened his eyes and could see her struggle and he was not going to stand by without supporting her. Oh, this was a powerful moment in the book for me, as it was probably meant to be.

I’m a particular fan of historical fiction and I’ll admit, I love a good romance. What makes this series different is the place in time, the depth the author goes to make the reader feel like this world is real, and some of the accurate historical notes she adds to the tale. A League of Extraordinary Women is in a league of its own; entertaining, educational, heartbreaking, and sizzling with heat. I recommend this series, and this novel whole-heartedly. It’s on my best list for the year so far. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway #4) by Jennifer Ashley

Head cook, Kat Holloway, can’t resist helping those in need and when she finds out some children have gone missing from London’s Foundling Hospital she decides to investigate. As a single mother whose daughter is growing up with another family, Kat is aware of how quickly her daughters circumstances could change. Helped by her friends she quickly delves into the mystery and despairs over finding the children unharmed.

This series takes us downstairs from the society folk Kat serves and gives us a behind the scenes look at what the lower levels of society in Victorian London may face. Each novel in the series ensnares the reader in the mystery while captivating our minds and hearts with the strength of Kat’s character as well as those of the staff and friends around her. What could be a simple tale ends up having many layers and gives depth to these simple people who are just trying to work to survive a harsh landscape. Kat Holloway navigates these various levels of society never forgetting her circumstances and how a wrong word can affect she and her daughters survival. Murder in the East End laid bare the fine line she walks as well as the emotional balance she strikes between her friendship and love, no matter the level of society those people reside in.

What did I think of Murder in the East End? I enjoyed not only the resolution to the mystery but also how Kat’s relationship with Daniel moved to the next step emotionally. After being betrayed by her husband Kat is very careful with her feelings but Murder in the East End revealed secrets that allowed Kat to give Daniel her trust, and hopefully her heart will follow. I’ll admit to being fascinated with the Victorian era as well. Society is filled with rules and yet below stairs their lives are much more base. The contrast between the two makes the division between classes even more apparent which makes novels riveting reading. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Murder in the East End (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby (Rogues and Remarkable Women #1) by Vanessa Riley

I was intrigued by the synopsis of the description of a West Indian heiress as a heroine in a regency romance. Patience Jordan is of mixed blood, as is her son, and despite her light skin, that difference has made living in England difficult. Her husband had kept her in the country, trying to protect her from the unkindness she’d receive in “society”, which actually put her and their son in harms way when he died. Left in the hands of his disreputable uncle, Patience was sent away to Bedlam so he could retain control of her son’s fortune. When this story starts with Repington now in charge at her former home, it allows Patience to disguise herself and infiltrate her old household in order to care for her son.

Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington was a strategist in the war and knows that there’s more to Patience’s story and bides his time in figuring her out. They engage in their own skirmishes and of course, find themselves attracted to each other. However, this isn’t a bodice ripper of a romance. The Duke, the Lady, and the Baby is written in a rather old fashioned style which was kind of refreshing, but also felt a little stodgy. I love slow burn romances where the characters get to know each other, but the old fashioned dialog made these characters feel stilted rather than warm.

I had really high hopes for this novel and the future of this series. There is a league of women who help other women in bad circumstances and future novels will surely tell those stories, but I wanted this novel to deal more with the difficulties of being of mixed blood during this time in history and felt like other than a few comments about her accent and being secreted in the country, it was glossed over. Repington didn’t seem too concerned with his future Duchess’s acceptance into society, but as an analytical man who just wanted to get back to war, I guess there were bigger issues on his mind.

The other thing that was a little out of whack for me was that Repington was portrayed as a “Rake”. Meaning, he’s had no issues with the lady’s in the past, and he certainly seems to think he’s pretty charming despite his injuries that have incapacitated him. That devil may care charm played false to me and I had trouble buying him as a cad, at least at that time in his life. I think if he had been a bit more self deprecating? It just felt kind of sad I guess, and not true to the character.

So, you can see my difficulties with this one. I didn’t hate the story. I don’t read too many romances that involve babies, so the motherly aspect was new and interesting to me. I liked Patience a lot, actually. She was smart, dedicated, sassy, and interesting. So, I guess my problem was with the hero, although I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t like them together. I did finish the novel despite my misgivings, so I’m giving this one a 3.0 rating for a solid good, but not great. ❤️❤️❤️

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley for an honest review and it was honest!

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