Apr 26 2014 9:00am

Great Kate: Kate Rothwell’s Historical Romances

Somebody Wonderful by Kate RothwellWhat do a Victorian peer with a passion for journalism, a madman locked in a tower, an Irish cop in gaslight era New York and a not-entirely-reformed adventuress have in common? They all live in Kate Rothwell novels. Readers longing for smart, adventurous historical romance that doesn’t pull any punches with the realities of life in the nineteenth century need look no further than Kate Rothwell. Prolific, unusual and with a keen eye for historical detail, this is one and one half of an author to watch. But more on that half later.

Let’s start with prolific. With eight Rothwell titles to date, in addition to the plethora of titles in various genres under her other name, Summer Devon, both on her own and in collaboration with Bonnie Dee (there’s the half) new Rothwell readers are in no danger of running out of something to read. Though in her Summer Devon guise, Rothwell has tackled such diverse genres as contemporary and paranormal romance, including her male/male romances with Bonnie Dee, readers hungry for Victorian romance with a difference can focus on the Rothwell books.

Somebody Wonderful, Rothwell’s debut historical, first published in 2004, takes readers to late Victorian era New York, a setting where Rothwell creates a fully realized historical world. Gruff Irish police officer, Michael McCann, a.k.a Mick, takes the vow to protect and serve to a whole other level, especially when he encounters Timona Calverson, an heiress he first takes for a runaway from a house of ill repute. Mick’s sense of honor as well as his street smarts makes him a hero who truly earns this book’s title. Rothwell’s deft hand with language will leave the lilt of Mick’s melodious brogue ringing in readers’ ears long after the last page is turned, and not a speck of dialect to be found.

Her Mad Baron by Kate RothwellReaders unafraid of going to the darker side of love won’t want to miss Her Mad Baron, originally published under Rothwell’s Summer Devon pseudonym. Florrie Cadero wants to be good, she really does, and leave her thieving ways behind, but there she is, breaking into a nobleman’s mansion to retrieve her father’s stolen sword. This should have been an easy job, but she didn’t count on discovering Nathaniel, the newly minted Baron Felston, imprisoned by opiates and a cunning villain. She didn’t count on falling in love with the supposed madman (or finding sweet passion in his arms) either, and that’s where things only get started. Florrie breaks Nathaniel out of his physical prison, and stands by him as they fight his addiction and the villain who could jeapordize their future together.

Love Between the Lines by Kate RothwellDedicated journalist Lizzy Drury always gets her man, and her story, no matter the cost in Love Between the Lines. Under her Trudy Tildon pseudonym, Lizzy will do whatever it takes to insinuate herself in the trickiest situations to find out the truth, ferret out secrets and bring them to public notice. With a flair for the theatrical, Lizzy knows how to get into places she shouldn’t be, and get people to say what they’d rather keep quiet. When Sir Gideon Langham, Baronet, who is both a British peer and a self made man, gets a firsthand look at Lizzy’s work, complete with disguises and fisticuffs, he entices her to come write for his newspaper in London, and that’s when things begin to get complicated. Gideon is engaged to the oh-so-suitable Lady Edith, who has ideas of her own regarding Gideon’s future, none of which include the outspoken Lizzy…or the newspaper that is Gideon’s great passion.

The couples in Rothwell novels, usually standalones, don’t face insignificant obstacles, and every choice has a consequence and a cost. The Victorian world Rothwell creates stays true to the mindset of the times, but don’t assume this means prissy or prudish. Love scenes hit all the right emotional notes, and impact the course of the characters’ lives. Whether it’s the gray area of romance blooming between employer and employee or the pull of heart versus head, Kate Rothwell infuses her novels with a hefty dose of emotional suspense. Those moments of delicious despair, when it looks for all the world like there is no way hero and heroine can reach a happy ending, often for historically plausible reasons, cut straight to the bone, but Rothwell always balances them with an HEA perfectly tailored to the couple in question.


Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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