What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to this month?
February 14th may be for lovers but I think the best day of the month is February 15th—when all the Valentine’s Day chocolate goes on sale for half price. I also love February because while the weather outside is frightful, we have a new crop of unusual historical romances to keep us inside, where it’s toasty and warm, reading. All while eating our half-price chocolate, of course!
Passion Favors the Bold by Theresa Romain
Georgette Frost’s time is almost up. On her twenty-first birthday, the protections outlined in her late parents’ will are set to expire. With prospects for employment or marriage unfavorable at best, she decides to leave London and join her brother, Benedict, on a treasure hunt for gold sovereigns stolen from the Royal Mint.
Lord Hugo Starling has always felt protective of his friend Benedict’s sister, Georgette. So when he discovers her dressed in ragged boy’s clothes, about to board a coach for parts unknown, he feels duty bound to join her search. But mystery piles upon mystery as they cross England together, not least of which is the confounded attraction between them. As Georgette leads him to a reward he never expected, Hugo realizes he’s embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…
The first book, Fortune Favors the Wicked, earned a starred review from Booklist and Desert Island Keeper status from All About Romance. This second book has earned Top Pick! status from RT Book Reviews, who declared “Rapier-sharp wit, dynamic characters, humor and action combine masterfully in this second Royal Rewards installment.”
Mail Order Bride!
His Mail-Order Bride by Tatiana March
A Wild West wedding!
Thomas Greenwood expected his mail-order bride to be plain and pregnant—not a willow-slim beauty! She's clearly no practical farmer's wife, but she's his chance finally to have a loving family…
Runaway heiress Charlotte Fairfax fled the possibility of a forced marriage, yet now, assuming a stolen identity, she's wed to a stranger the moment she steps off the train! She plans to stay only until it's safe to leave. Except marriage to kindhearted Thomas is far more complicated—and pleasurable—than she ever imagined!
March’s first full-length historical for Harlequin marks the start of a trilogy and features some intriguing history and world-building. Set in late 19th century Arizona, a heroine on the run assumes another identity only to find herself in a dying mine town (population 8) and married to a farmer who was expecting an already pregnant mail order bride.
An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles
Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship. . . .
Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding . . . it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.
Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.
One of my favorite books of 2015 was Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist, where a decent chunk of the romance unfolded in a boardinghouse. I’ve been desperate for more boardinghouse romances ever since, and Charles’ first book in her new Sins of the Cities trilogy promises that and much more. How much more? Well she describes the trilogy as “…total Victorian sensation fiction, channeling my love for Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Dickens in his wilder moods, and the other glorious writers of complicated plots with scandals, secrets and shenanigans up the wazoo.” Shut up and take my money.
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...
To escape her loathsome uncle, who is using her inheritance to fund his political career, the heroine takes drastic steps by pretending to be the wife of the gravely injured hero – who does not have the good sense to die, thereby trapping the heroine in her lie. Duran’s latest has gotten starred reviews from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, along with Desert Island Keeper status from All About Romance.
Convenient Proposal to the Lady by Julia Justiss
“Duty can also be pleasure, Lady Alyssa…”
When politician Benedict Tawny set out to save Lady Alyssa from a nefarious plot, he never expected to find himself trapped in a compromising situation with the alluring lady! Now duty demands he propose…and claim her as his bride!
Tainted by his illegitimacy, Ben knows he can't give Alyssa the life of luxury she deserves. But if he can convince her to succumb to the undeniable heat between them, their convenient marriage might just lead to the love of a lifetime!
Justiss’s Hadley’s Hellions series has been connected by politics and cross-class romances, and this third book promises to continue with those themes. Bullied at Oxford over his illegitimate birth, the hero vows to protect the heroine, a sister of one his bullies, when he learns she’s the subject of an odious wager. However, he instead finds himself caught in a compromising situation with the lady, and that’s when things get interesting.
H&H Editor Picks:
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.