What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month?
For historical romance fans March is a veritable meadow filled with four-leaf clovers. Not exactly thick on the ground for the past several years, this month brings not one, but two romances set during the American Civil War. There’s also a western endorsed by a beloved author, a Viking adventure and two long-running series take their final bow. Let’s dive on in, shall we?
The Civil War!
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .
In an inspiring First Look, CeresTheories writes “Elle and Malcolm face larger obstacles than most couples, and it’s their incredible strength of will and love of country and each other that pulls them through. It’s a rare book that can make you believe in love and the United States at the same time.” USA! USA! USA!
Honor Before Heart by Heather McCorkle
When Corporal Sean MacBranian awakens after being injured in battle, he is sure the luck o’ the Irish has run out on him. Or that he’s died and gone to Heaven. There can be no other explanation for the blond-haired, blue-eyed angel standing before him. But his “angel” is a truehearted lass named Ashlinn, and she wears a nurse’s uniform. Her tender ministrations have brought him back from the brink of death—and have given him a new reason for living.
Ashlinn knows their parting is inevitable; her handsome hero must return to the 69th infantry of the Union army, and there are no guarantees of his safe return. With most of her family already destroyed by the war ravaging America, she is sure she cannot survive another loss. Yet she feels powerless against the draw of Sean’s strong and steady heart. Neither time nor distance nor the danger of battle seems to lessen their bond. But when their secret letters are intercepted, the devoted nurse’s love will face the ultimate test . . .
The first in a series about Irish soldiers fighting in the same infantry unit, McCorkle has a busy spring ahead of her. Not only is Kensington launching her Emerald Belles historical series, Entangled will be publishing Once Bitten, the first book in her Wolves of Hemlock Hollow paranormal series in late April.
Hot Desert Nights!
Claiming His Desert Princess by Marguerite Kaye
Stolen nights with the secret princess…
Bound to marry for duty, Princess Tahira finds her only freedom in forbidden escapes to the desert. Then one night she encounters a stranger under the stars—adventurer Christopher Fordyce. He's wildly attractive and thrillingly dangerous…an illicit fantasy she can't resist!
Even unaware of Tahira's royal blood, Christopher knows his shameful past makes any future with her impossible. But in the sultry desert heat, desires are uncovered and secrets unveiled, and soon Christopher will risk everything to claim his desert princess!
Kaye wraps up her series with this final book featuring an Arabian princess and an English adventurer. The author is currently hard at work on her next series for Harlequin, teasing readers that the first book in the quartet will take place in St. Petersburg, with at least one scene taking place in the decadent Winter Palace.
Wild Lavender by Lynne Connolly
Ravishingly beautiful and accomplished, Helena has her pick of suitable bachelors—and because she is the only daughter of a powerful duke, her mother is determined she makes a good marriage. But Helena won't marry any of them, because she is in love with the son of her family’s most dangerous enemy. Though she has now been rebuffed by her beloved, she is resolved to win him back—no matter the cost.
Tom’s forbidden love for Helena has only intensified over the years of their separation. But the discovery of his true roots has changed everything. His secret spells danger for his family and everyone he loves. Devoted to Helena, he will sacrifice anything—even his one great love—to keep her safe. And soon, caught between warring factions and hounded by a deadly assassin, the couple will be swept back together in a fight for their lives, and their destiny…
Connolly closes out her rollicking Emperors of London series with this seventh and final book. However, fear not fans! The author has plans to spin off the series with The Shaw family, who are a part of the same universe.
(Editor's Note: Lynne Connolly is also a blogger at H&H, if her name seems familiar!)
His Rip-Roarin’ Bride by Martha Hix
Packing a six-shooter, Lisa-Ann Wilkins roars into Lubbock, Texas, determined to take out the man who killed her best friend. But a shoot-out at the local saloon only lands the bold beauty in the custody of Sheriff Wes Alington—and the real trouble begins. When the handsome lawman gives her the choice to keep his house until she settles the debts her havoc caused, it’s an offer she can’t refuse, despite the simmering attraction between them...
Wes knows keeping Lisa-Ann close is only going to lead to a pack of problems. For how can he preserve her honor when all he wants to do is take her to his bed? Then there’s the little matter of her plan to murder a local man. But once Wes sees Lisa’s vulnerable side, he knows the feisty lawbreaker is fast on her way to stealing his heart...
A sheriff looking for a genteel bride meets his match in a down-on-her-luck heroine done wrong by a villain who stole her money and killed her dog (can’t say I blame her for shooing up the local saloon!). A master of Americana historical romance, Pamela Morsi gave Hix’s latest her stamp of approval in a GoodReads review saying, “Delightfully believable characters. I think my readers will really enjoy this.”
Lord of the Mountains by Sabrina Jarema
It was said that the man who could look into Silvi Ivarsdottir’s eyes would be meant for her. Powerful jarl Magnus Sigrundson knows he is that man, and that Silvi’s dowry can give him the ships, swords, and silver he needs for his trading empire. Yet beautiful Silvi’s dream is not to be a wife, but a Priestess of the gods for the great temple at Uppsala. Who dares interfere with such passion? The answer lies in Silvi herself, in the way her body awakens to Magnus’ touch, in the way she inspires a reverence he didn’t know he possessed—and in the battles she takes on when she journeys to his mountain home of Thorsfjell.
But soon a dangerous, deceitful enemy threatens to shatter their new life together. Now they face another quest: can they find each other again—and dare live and love in each other’s worlds?
RT Book Reviews notes that while this is the second book in the author’s Viking Lords series, it works well as a stand-alone read and the author’s “in-depth knowledge of Norwegian customs makes the story believable.”
What historicals did you read this month that fit the “unusual” bill?
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.