I read this book back in September for the November issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. See my review below.
When Tansy White is betrayed by her intended, she fears she is fated to be alone. Encouraged by her three aunts, she visits Rose Cottage, the home of her late mother. Tansy has dreamed of this cottage her whole life and wonders if it can provide the answers she seeks. But after getting caught in a storm and waking up in a strange house, she meets a man with secrets of his own. Marcus Taylor, the brother of a duke, also has troubling dreams. Working together, can they find out hidden secrets and piece together fragments of dreams?
This second book in the Enchanted Regency Romance series is such a delight. What a treat to read a Regency Romance with a bit of magical realism that is also a Sleeping Beauty retelling! With many nods to the timeless legend running through it, this is a fresh, original, and intriguing romance. Tansy’s ability to dream her future is just the right touch that adds an extra layer to this well-woven story. Readers will become enchanted themselves while piecing together a tapestry made out of dreams, secrets, magic, and lies. Fans of romance and magical realism will enjoy this book.
My rating is 4.6 stars, rounded up to 5 on sites with no partial star option.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via the Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anneka R. Walker is an award-winning author raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor’s degree in English and history. When she isn’t dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she is busy living her own with her husband and adorable children. Visit her website here.
*Click on the image to purchase this book on Amazon.
Below, in no particular order, are my top ten traditionally published books of 2022. I’ll do another post tomorrow with my Top Ten Indie Books of 2022. You can click on the cover to learn more about each book.
The Belle of Belgrave Square
Lessons in Chemistry
A Catalogue of Catastrophe
The Blackout Book Club
In The Middle of Hickory Lane
Long Way Home
The Murder of Mr. Wickham
The Pilot’s Girl
A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice
Comment below and let me know your favorite books of 2022.
Lucky in life but unlucky in love, Lucy Greenfield owns a successful carriage business along with her best friend Max, and they have never been busier since their shire horses gained fame from their roles in the hit movie A Little in Love.
Too busy for romance, Lucy is surprisingly swept off her feet when Spencer arrives seeking help with his horse, and something more from Lucy. As quickly as Lucy falls, she wonders if all is not as it seems. Max can prove it, but that means he will have to express his true feelings for Lucy.
Relationships are strained as secrets unravel, and Lucy needs to solve the riddle of words to best describe how she feels… For her best friend.
Together, they must overcome what’s keeping them apart before it’s too late, if they are going to realize that the word is love.
Florence Keeling was born in Coventry but now lives in Nuneaton. She married the love of her life over 20 years ago and they have two almost grown-up children. They share their lives with two mad dogs as well.
Writing is a great passion of hers, and one day she hopes to be able to turn it into a career. Until that day comes, she will continue working in accounts and payroll.
“With steaming rivalry, simmering passion and secrets set to bubble over, this festive cook off has all the ingredients a fab Christmas book needs.” Author, Jan Brigden.
It’s the festive showdown to end all festive showdowns …
“Queen of Chocolate” Beatrice Wodehouse, known for her decadent desserts, is ready to go head to head with her social media nemesis, clean lean baking machine Charlie Simmonds, in the Great Christmas Cook Off TV show.
Beatrice is fed up of Charlie’s sanctimonious attitude and is ready to show him that food is there to be enjoyed. Surely she’ll blow his keto, low sugar, low-carb mince pies out of the water with her chocolatey creations?
Except filming for the Cook-Off turns out to be anything but sugar, spice, and all things nice when the contestants realize there’s a festive saboteur in their midst – leading to melted ice cream, trifle mishaps, and private stories leaked to the press. As the countdown to the final commences, suspicions run high and sparks are bound to fly – and not just from the flaming Christmas puddings!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(In her own words) Ever since I was little I wanted to be a writer, to turn daydreams into books. I’m fascinated by fame, in love with Happy Ever Afters, and enthralled by slow-burn romances. I squeeze in time to write around looking after my two sons. Find out more about me on my website http://www.buckleybooks.org
This is another book I read in September for the November issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.
Edinburgh, 1826. Lady Samantha Penwith, who runs a school and orphanage, is determined to find out who assaulted and murdered her husband. While out investigating, she rescues the victim of another assault and then slips away. Braden Kendrick is the sensible member of Clan Kendrick, a noted doctor. But when an unknown rescuer saves his life, he is determined to find out their identity. As Christmas approaches, Samantha and Braden find themselves fighting to uncover the truth and endangering their lives in the process.
This is a murder mystery with a touch of action/thriller and romance. The cover and title do not closely match the story because this is a well-crafted mystery as opposed to a light holiday romance. It did not quite transport me to the Christmas season, but the characters are well-rounded and I easily connected with them. The whole Clan Kendrick is an interesting family that readers will enjoy knowing. Samantha is a strong woman, and the mystery is completely intriguing and compelling. The book is a bit of a slow burn in the first half, leading up to an exciting second half. Recommended to anyone who enjoys Regency-style murder mysteries with strong female characters.
I received a free copy of this book from Zebra books via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa Kelly is the award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of The Improper Princesses series, the Clan Kendrick, The Renegade Royals and The Stanton Family series, in addition to other historical romances. Named by Booklist as one of the “Stars of Historical Romance,” her books have been translated into nine languages and published internationally. In graduate school, Vanessa specialized in the study of eighteenth-century British fiction and is known for developing vibrant Regency settings, appealing characters, and witty storylines that captivate readers. She lives with her husband in Ottawa. Visit her at VanessaKellyAuthor.com or join the Clan Kendrick Facebook Group at Facebook.com/groups/ClanKendrick.
Iris Cooper has been singing ever since she can remember, hitting the high notes like no one else. When she is twelve, her father convinces the owner of a bar in Lake City, Texas, to let her perform, and she stuns the audience. In the ensuing years, never staying anywhere for long, father and daughter move from one dusty town to the next, her passion for music growing every time she takes the mike in another roadhouse.
But it is not an easy life for Iris with her father in charge and using her income to pay for gambling, women, and booze. When she starts to tour at age eighteen, she takes on a real manager. Yet he exploits her too, and the singers and musicians she tours with are really the only family she has. It is they who give Iris the courage to finally fly free, leave the tour, and follow her dreams.
After years of enduring the hardships of the road, exploitation, and abuse to do what she loves, Iris’s big chance comes as her talent soars. But at the top at last, Iris still has to fight every step of the way. In The High Notes, Danielle Steel delivers an inspiring story about finding the strength to stand up for yourself and your dreams, no matter what it takes.
Iris is a singing prodigy but unfortunately is raised by a selfish, alcoholic father who forces her to sing for both their suppers. When she finally breaks free of him, she still has to deal with dishonest and abusive managers as she tries to make her way in the music business. More than once, Iris has to walk away. What she eventually finds is a singing career and more.
I enjoyed Iris’s friendships, especially with Pattie and Boy, and her willingness to start a new life. There is an event that happens in the book that is similar to a music-related tragedy in real life, and I thought that was done very well. The fact that Steel’s heroine in this book is not rich and has to make her own way over many obstacles is a welcome departure from many of Steel’s other works. The romance is sweet and does not take over the novel. There is also a realistic look at family and how they can let you down. Family is often celebrated in books, and rightly so, but through Iris we see a realistic look at how the family you are born into doesn’t always have your back.
The first 15% of this book is hard to get into. Steel is known for breaking the rules, but the “telling instead of showing” doesn’t work as well for her in this book, and there are way too many run-on sentences. The book does get better, though, and I was able to eventually connect with it.
I received a free copy of this book from Delacorte Press via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
It should be a dream come true to serve the Queen of England…
When Violet Parker is told she will be Queen Victoria’s personal housemaid, she cannot believe her good fortune. She finally has the chance to escape her overbearing mother, a servant to the Duchess of Kent.
Violet hopes to explore who she is and what the world has to offer without her mother’s schemes overshadowing her every thought and action.
Then she meets James Greene, assistant to the queen’s chief political adviser, Lord Melbourne. From entirely different backgrounds and social class, Violet and James should have neither need nor desire to speak to one another, yet through their service, their paths cross and their lives merge—as do their feelings.
Only Victoria’s court is not always the place for romance, but rather secrets, scandals, and conspiracies…
This is really fascinating historical fiction set in Queen Victoria’s household. The premise is so unique and captivating. Violet is sent to work as Victoria’s personal housemaid, but there is an agenda at hand. Violet is being forced to participate in a scheme against Victoria by her overbearing mother. The setting in a Queen’s court is intriguing, and of course, schemes, lies, and politics abound. The romance between two people from opposite classes is sweetly done. I felt completely transported to this time and place and loved the look we got at royal life and customs in Victoria’s time. Violet’s own interactions with Victoria are absolutely captivating. There is an underlying theme of dealing with a controlling parent and learning to step out on your own. This is a compelling, intriguing, and sometimes joyful look at the world of a queen and those who served her.
I received a free copy of this book from Wild Rose Press via Rachel’s Random Resources Book Tours. My review is voluntary and the opinions are my own.
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
“A grand cross-class romance, a twisty mystery, and emotional internal struggles combine to excellent effect…fans and new readers alike will root for this well-earned love story.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)
“If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed
“Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here
Instead of a super professional blogger review, this is going to be a review done by me as a fan: I loved it! I loved it! Is there a Mimi Matthews fan club? I want to join! It was such a great experience to follow Jasper and Julia through London society and beyond, and it was amazing to watch their relationship develop. I loved that neither one is perfect. They both have their flaws and reasons why society avoids them. I adored their romance and the way it started with horses and books. This novel is not just a romance. It’s very bookish too, and Julia’s love of books is just the start of it. Lovers of bookish novels will not be disappointed if they check this one out, because book-related surprises await!
Julia’s growth by the end of the novel had me cheering her on! I am not usually a huge fan of romance, but this Belles of London series has hooked me and I want to read more. Although this is Book Two in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. I would definitely recommend you read them both, and I look forward to more books in this series.
My rating is actually 5.5 stars because this book scored off the charts in the “how did it make me feel” category. Sadly I can only give it 5 stars on Amazon, etc.
I received a free copy of this book from Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.
Join Mimi at her Victorian Reading Room Facebook Group for exclusive access as she shares her love of writing, historical romance, Victorian fashion, brooding heroes, independent heroines, and of course, her beloved pets!
READ AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MIMI MATTHEWS
Discover intriguing insights into The Belle of Belgrave Square and Mimi’s writing life in this exclusive interview at austenprose.com.
Mimi has generously offered a fabulous giveaway through Rafflecopter.
Giveaway period: October 3 – October 30
Terms & Conditions:
Giveaway hosted by Mimi Matthews. No Purchase Necessary. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Open to US residents only. All information will remain confidential and will not be sold or otherwise used, except to notify the winner and to facilitate postage of the book to the winner. Void where prohibited.
1 winner (selected at random by Rafflecopter) receives a paperback copy of The Belle of Belgrave Square, signed and annotated by the author with personal comments, underlining of her favorite lines, and other highlights by Mimi Matthews.
The giveaway is open from 12:01 am Pacific time 10/03/22 until 11:59pm Pacific time on 10/30/22.
The winner will be announced on Mimi’s blog on 10/31/22.
She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…
Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.
Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.
Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.
The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.
What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…
A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi McFarlane, and Christina Lauren.
For ten years, Molly and Andrew have been sitting next to each other on flights home from Chicago to Ireland during the Christmas season. They have an enjoyable 7 hours of laughing, joking, and chatting about their lives as they head to their separate celebrations. It becomes a tradition of its own. However, this year the weather has caused almost all the flights to be canceled. But Andrew is a huge fan of Christmas, and Molly vows to get him home.
This is a fun, witty, and charming story of two friends who fall in love on a whacky adventure from airport to airport over ten years. The characters are engaging and the dialogue is clever. The story flashes back and forth from the present to each of their previous Christmas flights, and we watch their relationship develop. Does this transport me to the Christmas season? It does. From packed airports to Christmas sweaters to many Christmas-tinged side trips on the way to their destination, we follow the couple on a romantic holiday jaunt. This book also truly lives up to its genre of romantic comedy, and I chuckled my way through. The cast of characters is fun and varied, from family members to cabbies to airport employees and more. Holiday romance is a sweet, funny Christmas vacation that you will definitely want to take.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Walsh was born and raised in Ireland. She has a degree in Popular Literature and the only prize she ever won for writing was at the age of 14 in school (but she still cherishes it.)
She lived in London for a few years where she worked in Publishing and the non-profit sector before returning to Dublin where she now lives between the mountains and the sea. When not writing she is trying and failing to not kill her houseplants.
An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in the Timeless Victorian Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal if one kiss will change the lives of the three heroines. “The Plucky Miss Ruth,” by Laura Rollins
Miss Ruth Hughes is certain she’s caught in a time loop—every day she wakes to find it exactly as the one before. A thrilling prospect to be sure. If the many books she reads on time travel has taught her anything, it is that to break free she must complete an all-important task. For Ruth the task is straightforward: reunite a couple, once desperately in love but forced apart by society. Unfortunately, things are not always as easy as they first appear. Struggling, Ruth opens up to the handsome Lord Lambert and he readily agrees to help. With autumn on the brink of turning into winter, time is running out for Ruth to help the ones who need her most. And, with a bit of luck, perhaps she can even find a little time for her own happily ever after. “Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” by Annette Lyon
Crandall Dowling’s aspirations of becoming a physician collapse when he develops symptoms that land him in an asylum. He’s been at Sherville Retreat long enough for autumn leaves to appear when Beverly Stanton arrives. She’s held under the dubious diagnosis of “hysteria” but seems perfectly sane, unlike Crandall, though his verbal and physical tics don’t seem to scare or even bother her. Beverly and Crandall develop a friendship fueled by an undeniable attraction that under other circumstances could become more. But in an asylum, one cannot plan a future, let alone one of love or marriage. Then tragedy strikes, testing staff and patients beyond anyone’s training. When the dust settles, Beverly’s diagnosis may be reversed, but if she leaves, what will become of her? What of Crandall? And what of their autumn-born love? “A Railway Through the Roses,” by Lisa H. Catmull
Mr. Adrian Everard has tried everything to keep his father’s factory open, but a single solution remains. Marry an heiress before Christmas to fund the desperately needed railway. The local landowner, Lady Anne Baxter, will not agree to sell her garden—or her heart. Indeed, his childhood friend is determined to sabotage all his efforts to find a wife. As the deadline for Adrian to choose a bride draws close, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Saving the factory will mean losing the woman he loves forever.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.
5 STARS – “…a fun collection and each of them have something unique from most of the romances I’ve read. Very enjoyable reading.”— Maria Thomas, Goodreads
“This anthology is truly wonderful. Each story is very distinct from the others, and each is also very compelling. It will keep you reading and wanting more with each page and chapter.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads
5 STARS “absolutely adored this collection of short stories! I would recommend this collection to anyone who needs an escape for a couple of hours.”— Jzcotter03, Goodreads
This entertaining audiobook shares three Victorian novellas, all with the theme of “an autumn kiss.” Despite a shared theme, they are all very different and entertaining in their own way.
The Plucky Miss Ruth is a light romance with a twist–Ruth is caught in a time loop. Every day is the same, and she must find a way to break the pattern. This romance does not have a lot of twists and turns, but sometimes that is not needed, as the characters are engaging and the romance is sweet. This is great for a light autumn read.
Mr. Dowling’s Remedy by Annette Lyon has an intriguing plot. Beverly Stanton has been committed to an asylum by her stepfather, who had her diagnosed with “hysteria” to get her out of the way. Crandall Dowling has been at Sterling for six months, since he began to exhibit symptoms of what we now know as Tourette’s Syndrome. They strike up a friendship, which they are immediately told is forbidden, for the doctors feel that Crandall is possessed. This was my favorite of the collection, as it examines the inhumane treatment and abuse that patients received at asylums in that era, and the way the “hysteria” diagnosis was used to manipulate women and take their property. It is also the story I would choose to be expanded into a full book.
In A Railway to the Roses by Lisa Catmull, Adrian Everhard needs to fund a railway to keep his father’s factory open, but marriage to a wealthy woman seems to be the only way. His father arranges a house party for Adrian to meet eligible women. Lady Anne Baxter is Adrian’s childhood friend. She is outraged that a railway has been proposed which will run right through her beloved garden, and she refuses to marry any “fortune hunters.” At the same time, she is determined to undermine Adrian’s attempts to marry for money. This is a sweet “friends to romance” story. The characters are engaging and well-written, and I enjoyed the romance and history entwined in the story.
The narration by Kim Bretton is very well done. She takes on three different stories and a plethora of characters and situations with ease.
The cover is absolutely beautiful, and the fall color in the dress is stunning.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publishers via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Laura Rollins has always loved a heart-melting happily ever after. It didn’t matter if the story took place in Regency England, or in a cobbler’s shop, if there was a sweet romance, she would read it.
Life has given her many of her own adventures. Currently she lives in the Rocky Mountains with her best friend, who is also her husband, and their four beautiful children. She still loves to read books and more books; her favorite types of music are classical, Broadway, and country; she loves hiking in the mountains near her home; and she’s been known to debate with her oldest son about whether Infinity is better categorized as a number or an idea.
Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 9-time recipient of Utah’s Best in State medal for fiction (three times for novel-length works and five times for short fiction), and a Whitney Award winner for BAND OF SISTERS. She’s the author of over a dozen novels, at least that many novellas, a cookbook, a popular grammar guide, and over a hundred magazine articles.
She’s a founder and regular contributor of the Timeless Romance Anthologies line of sweet romance stories, which she served as editor for its first three years. She’s also one of the four co-authors of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. She graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.
I write clean and wholesome romances in the Victorian era and sweet contemporary romances. My books have been nominated for Swoony, RONE, and Whitney awards.
I taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. I currently live between a canyon and a lake in Utah with my husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.