Oct 16 2014 2:00pm

Brain Candy: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for October 2014

Jazz Baby by Tea CooperTrick or treat, new historicals cannot be beat! In between watching the leaves turn, unpacking your warm winter clothes, sipping apple cider, and pilfering all the mini-Snickers bars from your kids’ Halloween candy haul, why not check out some of the new not-your-usual historicals that are hitting retailers this month? Remember, costume and dress come in all sorts of styles, not just empire waist.


Jazz Baby by Téa Cooper

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted – five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life.

But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Cooper writes for Escape Publishing, a digital imprint with Harlequin’s Australia. Known for her historicals set in Australia, she continues to diversify, having set stories in rural locales and this time out, the bustling city of Sydney.

An American Duchess by Sharon Page

At the height of the Roaring Twenties, New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father's will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian's austere older brother, is disgraced by the arrangement and looks down upon the raucous young American who has taken up residence at crumbling Brideswell Abbey. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he's fighting against. When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, she does so for love, he for honor. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, Zoe may be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams.

Page is perhaps best-known for her steamy historicals and erotic paranormals. An American Duchess is a departure for her and is being described as “romantic women’s fiction.”


Celine by Kathleen Bittner RothCeline by Kathleen Bittner Roth

He stepped off a jewel of a sternwheeler onto one of the most beautiful plantations in all of Louisiana. And into her life.

Celine's breath caught in her throat. Heat smoldered in her belly. What a sensual man. The scion of the Andrews family carried an aura of personal magnetism so powerful, a sensation close to fright swept through her. She stood still and aloof, masking her emotions. His intense gaze seemed almost a physical touch. She held her head at a proud, haughty angle, not flinching from his bold scrutiny.

In seconds, Trevor regained his cool, casual air. A lusty grin caught at the corners of his mouth, and fire danced in his eyes as he bent ever so slightly at the waist, tipped an imaginary hat, and strode casually into the house.

She would never be the same . . .

Get your wallets ready Old School fans, this first book in the When Hearts Dare series is described by RT Book Reviews as Gone With the Wind meets Rosemary Rogers meets Janelle Taylor.


Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt


Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .


London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.


Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

Hoyt continues her popular Maiden Lane series with this seventh title. The hero this time around is the brother of the heroine in Duke of Midnight.


A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda NovakA Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak

When Maximillian Wilder hides his noble identity and joins the notorious body snatchers known as the London Supply Company, the last thing on his mind is love. He’s worried about Madeline, his vanished half-sister, who was last seen in the company of Jack Hurtsill, the gang’s conscienceless leader. Raiding graveyards, stealing corpses, and selling them to medical colleges as dissection material is dirty work, but Max knows he must gain Jack’s trust. He’s determined to find out what happened to Madeline—and to bring Jack to justice if she was murdered for the coin her body could earn.

Beautiful, spirited Abigail Hale, daughter of the surgeon at Aldersgate School of Medicine, detests the challenging, hard-bargaining Max almost as much as Jack. But she must procure the necessary specimens if she is to save the college and her father’s career. She believes she is going to be successful—until Jack double-crosses her. Then she’s swept into a plot of danger and intrigue, one where Max must intervene to protect her, no matter the risk to his plan…or his heart.

Between her romantic suspense and small town contemporaries it’s easy to forget that Novak launched her publishing career with historicals. If obsessing over the TV show The Knick has taught me anything, it’s that innovations in medicine during the 19th century hinged on access to fresh cadavers.

The High Seas!

Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins

Noah Yates fully believes in the joys of a happy family and a good wife. But that's not the life for him. No, he would much rather sail the wild seas in search of adventure, not tied down. But then the unthinkable happens . . . he finds himself literally tied down. To a bed. By a woman.

And Pilar isn't just an ordinary woman. She's descended from pirates. And after giving him one of the worst nights of his life, she steals his ship! Now Noah is on the hunt, and he'll stop at nothing to find this extraordinary woman . . . and make her his.

Beverly Jenkins is a rock star and the joy I find in her books is typically directly linked to her heroines. Jenkins writes fantastic heroines with plenty of gumption and sass. This third book in her Destiny series features a heroine who ties the hero to her bed and then steals his ship. It doesn’t get much sassier than that.


Falling for Her Captor by Elisabeth HobbesFalling for Her Captor by Elisabeth Hobbes

“Set me free. Say I escaped, or that you never found me."

Kidnapped heiress Lady Aline of Leavingham has surrendered any hope of rescue when a mysterious figure casts her assailant aside. But it's soon clear Aline's savior has no intention of setting her free—he's sworn to deliver her to the Duke of Roxholm, her family's enemy!

Sir Hugh of Eardham has never seen anything quite like Aline's beauty and fighting spirit. There's no doubt he's tempted more to protect her than keep her bound. But could this loyal knight ever break his oath of allegiance for Aline's sake?

Hobbes took third place in last year’s So You Think You Can Write competition hosted by Harlequin. After nailing the requested revisions, she was offered a two-book contact with Harlequin Historical. Falling for Her Captor is her debut.

Time Travel!

Mine Tomorrow by Jackie Braun

Devin Abernathy secretly dreams of escaping to a simpler time. It's why she owns a vintage clothing shop, fulfilling her lifelong fantasy of surrounding herself with period style. All she has to do is slip on a garment to be spirited away to a bygone era—in her imagination, anyway. But lately she's also dreamed at night of a passionate affair with a handsome World War II naval officer named Gregory Prescott, who seems oddly familiar.

Fantasy becomes reality when Devin dons a mysterious estate-sale coat and is suddenly whisked back in time—to New York City in 1945 on V-J Day, where she's welcoming Gregory home with open arms and ruby-red kisses…. All she wants is to stay in his powerful embrace, but to do so means choosing between his past and her future.

Jackie Braun has a long category romance backlist and I’m including this time travel novella because of its unique, and rare in secular romance, World War II setting. Originally released this summer as part of Harlequin E’s Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set Volume 2, this is the first time readers have been able to purchase this title as a stand-alone.


Glorious Montana Sky by Debra HollandGlorious Montana Sky by Debra Holland

After spending nine years as a missionary in Africa and losing his wife to illness, Joshua Norton is exhausted, emotionally and physically. He returns home to the frontier Montana town of Sweetwater Springs with his estranged nine-year-old son in tow, hoping to rebuild his relationship with the boy.

Meanwhile, New Orleans resident Delia Fortier plots to escape the terrible fate her mother has planned for her: becoming the mistress of a cruel, powerful politician. The mixed-race secret daughter of a wealthy Creole businessman, Delia boldly seeks help from her father’s family. Although the rest of the family spurns her, her father is delighted to learn of Delia’s existence and offers her an opportunity: travel west with him, pretending to be his legitimate daughter.
When Joshua and Delia meet, their intense attraction is undeniable. But will Delia’s secret stand in the way of their love? Or will prejudice destroy their future…and their lives?

The fourth book in her Montana Sky series, Holland won RWA’s Golden Heart (unpublished manuscript) for the first book in this series, Wild Montana Sky.

The Wrong Cowboy by Lauri Robinson

One mail-order bride in need of rescue!

All the rigorous training in the world could not have prepared nursemaid Marie Hall for trailing the wilds of Dakota with six orphans. Especially when her ingenious plan—to pose as the mail-order bride of the children's next of kin—leads Marie to the wrong cowboy!

Proud and stubborn, Stafford Burleson is everything Marie's been taught to avoid. But with her fate and that of the children in his capable hands, Marie soon feels there's something incredibly right about this rugged rancher and his brooding charm….

While this is the latest western from Robinson, she’s been keeping herself busy with numerous projects that have nothing to do with cowboys. Her editor just accepted a proposal for a story set during the Salem Witch Trials and she’s completed the writing on a series set during the 1920s.

A Place Called Harmoney by Jodi ThomasA Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

Thomas’s name is synonymous with historical westerns, although the last several years she’s been hard at work on her small town contemporary series set in Harmony, Texas. This is a prequel to that series, telling the story of the three couples who first settled the town.

The Present by Beth Williamson

Ethan Malloy has distanced himself from the world after his wife’s death. Two years have passed in self-imposed loneliness. During a fateful snowstorm, he finds a stranger in his house when he returns. Ethan’s life will never be the same.

Fiona Carmichael didn’t intend to get lost in a snowstorm or end up spending the night in a house with a man she barely knew. He made her yearn for what she’d never found—a home, a man to love and be loved by.

Circumstances threw them together, but will they take the life fate offers them?

This latest novella in Williamson’s long-running Malloy Family series features a favorite theme among western fans, the cabin romance!

What not-your-usual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

To learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

Jazz Baby by Tea Cooper  
An American Duchess by Sharon Page  
Celine by Kathleen Bittner Roth  
Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt  
A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak  
Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins  
Falling for Her Captor by Elisabeth Hobbes  
Mine Tomorrow by Jackie Braun  
Glorious Montana Sky by Debra Holland  
The Wrong Cowboy by Lauri Robinson  
A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas  
The Present by Beth Williamson  













Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.

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Wendy the Super Librarian
1. SuperWendy
It's next to impossible for me to keep up with the self-published titles, but this one was brought to my attention after I turned in this post - and it sounds great!

Scarred Hearts by Bonnie Dee
At the close of WWI, moonshine and bootlegging rule the night in the Kentucky hills, but two damaged souls manage to find light and love amidst the darkness.

Nearly destroyed by a grenade blast, Shadow Robeson returns home from war only to be trapped by family expectations he has no energy to fight—until a secret romance with a loving woman sets him on a new course.

Bound by poverty and a ruined reputation, Lettie Calloway seems destined to spend her days serving at the local tavern. It takes a kind and gentle man entering her life to expand her dreams to the horizon.

Shadow plans to escape the backwoods with Lettie for a new start, but his violent family threatens to destroy the fragile growth of new love. As the couple struggles toward freedom, will they escape this dangerous country before their lives explode?
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
@SuperWendy, Bonnie Dee (and Summer Devon, when they write together) do offer some great male/male historicals. I think they're set in regency-ish times, but the fact that they're male/male does make them stand out.
3. lauralee1912
Oh boy, Celine just got added to my Wish List! I have been looking forward to Destiny's Captive for some time.
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