Nov 17 2014 3:15pm

Bountiful Harvest: Not-Your-Usual Historicals for November 2014

As winter not-so-slowly begins creeping up on many of us, this is typically the time of year that the publishing industry slows down a bit. Most, if not all, the holiday reads were dumped on the shelves in October and we’re all looking ahead to the New Year and the bounty that spring releases always promise. And yet here we are in November with a very intriguing, and diverse, crop of unusual historicals.

The Fire of Home by Alexis Harrington

A scandalous homecoming

When Amy Layton’s family learned she planned to steal her sister’s fiancé, Amy left home in disgrace. But in 1922, she returns to Powell Springs to escape the violent man she married. Despite the town’s gossip, Amy is determined to rebuild her shattered life with the boardinghouse she inherited…and little else.

A terrible secret

Deputy sheriff Baxter Duncan senses there’s more to Amy, his new landlady, than the rumors claim. Yet Bax respects her privacy. After all, a painful secret haunts him, too. And now that he’s found a future in Powell Springs, he refuses to let his dark and wretched past destroy everything he’s built.

A redemptive journey

As Amy struggles to make amends with her family, she finds a kindred spirit in Bax. But just as they begin to trust each other, a new visitor arrives in town—and this person knows enough to ruin them both. After so much pain, can Amy and Bax still fight for their dreams…and win?

A fan favorite among many Americana and western readers, Harrington had a bit of a publishing drought in the mid-2000s until Amazon Montlake had the good sense to snap her up with 2010’s Home By Morning. The Fire of Home is the third book in her Powell Springs series.

Her Wicked Captain by Sandra Jones

Possessing uncanny people-reading skills like her mama, Philadelphia “Dell” Samuels has spent thirteen years in her aunt’s rustic Ozarks home, telling fortunes over playing cards and trying to pass as white. But the treacherous Mississippi River childhood her mama dragged her away from finally catches up to her on a steamboat captained by her old friend Rory Campbell.

Known to his crew as the Devil’s Henchman, Rory is a gambler in need of a miracle. Following the cold trail of his boss’s wife and bastard daughter, Dell, Rory has only one goal in mind: saving his crew from the boss’s cruelty by ruining him. The only one who can defeat the Monster of the Mississippi is the man trained to take his place. Rory’s convinced he can lure his boss into a high-stakes game against a rival, and with Dell’s people-reading skills, the monster will lose everything.

Under Rory’s tutelage and protection, Dell agrees to the tortured captain’s plan. Passion and peril quickly bring them together as lovers. But when Rory’s plan goes awry, the lives of the innocent depend on Dell’s ability to read the situation correctly—and hopefully save them all.

Having two previously published novellas under her belt, Her Wicked Captain marks Sandra Jones’s full length debut and the first title in her River Rogues series.

Alanna by Kathleen Bittner RothAlanna by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Wolf caught the faint scent of cinnabar and roses.

The girl turned her head and stared boldly at him, her cool demeanor at odds with the fire in her look. And then her lips parted, as if she needed more air. A punch of lust hit Wolf's groin.

There was pure sin in his startling blue eyes.

The moment hung suspended between them, and then expanded as his feral gaze held hers. Stranger? Not to Alanna. He went by the name of Wolf, and he was a legend in these parts, known from San Francisco to Boston as a relentless tracker of lost persons. His quest to find his mother's killer would lead him to Alanna...and his destiny.

The second title in Roth’s Where Hearts Dare series, RT Book Reviews says of Alanna, “Bittner writes novels that pay homage to the 1980’s classics, but here she crafts a sexually charged tale that modern readers and longtime fans will enjoy.”

Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin

In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers—and killed China’s best chance of fighting back…

Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling kept her family from falling into poverty. But her meager savings are running out, leaving her with no choice but to sell the last of her father’s possessions—her last memento of him.

Only, while attempting to find a buyer, Soling is caught and brought before the Crown Prince. Unlike his father, the Emperor, the Prince knows that the only chance of expelling the English invaders is to once again unite China’s cleverest minds to create fantastic weapons. He also realizes that Soling is the one person who could convince her father’s former allies—many who have turned rebel—to once again work for the Empire. He promises to restore her family name if she’ll help him in his cause.

But after the betrayal of her family all those years ago, Soling is unsure if she can trust anyone in the Forbidden City—even if her heart is longing to believe in the engineer with a hidden past who was once meant to be her husband…

This is actually steampunk and normally I try to keep these lists paranormal-and-fantasy-free, but c’mon—we’re talking China during the Opium Wars. How could I not put this on a not-your-usual historicals list?

The High Seas!
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd by Paula Quinn


As the sheltered niece of a Highland chief, Caitrina Grant longs for adventure beyond the lush hills of Scotland. So when a pirate ship glides into the loch, tempting her with promises of exotic lands and hidden treasures, Trina sneaks aboard. But she is unprepared for the consequences-and the seductive captain who demands the ultimate price for her deception . . .


For Alexander Kidd, the sea is no place for a lady. Pursued by deadly enemies from every direction, Alex won't rest until he claims the bounty of riches left to him by his father, the notorious Captain Kidd. A stowaway will not be tolerated-no matter how beautiful. But soon fighting his desire for Trina becomes his toughest battle yet, and he will have to make an agonizing choice: sacrifice his quest-or lose the woman who has stolen his heart.

Quinn has been steadily publishing since the mid-2000s and slowly been mining her created family tree of hunky Scottish heroes to populate future books. This second book in her Highland Heirs series features descendants of her previous Children of the Mist series, which was spawned by her MacGregor series. Whew!

Innocent’s Champion by Meriel Fuller

To win a knight's protection

When Gilan, Comte de Cormeilles, dodges an arrow aimed straight for his head, the last person he expects to be holding the bow is a beautiful, courageous woman… Despite her innocence, Matilda of Lilleshall is no simpering maiden. She'll stop at nothing to protect her land.

Believing he'd never again feel anything but guilt after his brother's death, Gilan must now confront the undeniable desire Matilda incites. Can he throw off his past and fight to become the champion she needs?

Of this latest release, RT Book Reviews states: “Vibrant descriptions of action and the historical era are Fuller’s hallmarks – and she doesn’t skimp on either.”

The Warrior’s Winter Bride by Denise Lynn

A marriage built on vengeance and desire!

Isabella of Warehaven is the key to revenge that Richard of Dunstan craves. And now that he has her securely in his arms, he won't let her go. With Isabella as bait, he'll lure her betrothed—the murderous Glenforde—back to the scene of his crime and deliver justice.

When the harsh winter traps Isabella on Richard's island fortress, she has no choice but to become his bride. Unable to deny the stirrings of a dangerously seductive attraction, can Isabella ease this fierce warrior's torment and wipe the darkness from his soul before spring and rescue arrive?

The second full-length book in her Warehaven Family series, the author goes for the ultimate challenge by not only writing a revenge plot, but throwing in a captive romance on top of that. No doubt about it, I’m going to have to read this just to see if she pulls it off.

My Lady Innocent by Annie Burrows

Innocent bride or treacherous temptress?

As the nobility jostles for the new King's favour, Maddy is all alone. Landless and friendless, she is now beginning to suspect that someone wants her dead… So she accepts a bridegroom she has never met, intending to find peace at home.
But peace is in short supply when Maddy marries Sir Geraint, a powerful protector and a passionate man. Fiercely loyal to the King, Geraint cannot trust his Yorkist bride… but neither can he resist her innocent temptation!

This is set in the early Tudor period (Henry VII), a slight departure for Burrows who is best known for her Regency-set historicals. What I’ve always appreciated about her Regencies is that she delivers good atmosphere, interesting characters and a writing style that has the ability to suck me in. I’m hardly a fan of the Big Misunderstanding and yet there was that time I stayed up until 1:30AM reading The Earl’s Untouched Bride.

West Indies!
Love’s Legacy by Joan Avery

Grenada, British West Indies, 1875

English plantation owner Geoffrey Worth has misgivings about hiring an American widow as a governess. But while Geoffrey longs to forget the past—and the daughter who reminds him of it daily—there is still duty to consider. And Bellefleur, his plantation. This is his life now. Warmth, family, love; these things only bring pain. And scars he'll carry forever...

Elizabeth Malfonte is certainly not the aged widow he had anticipated. She's young and beautiful, with a determination that wakes something deep within Geoffrey. Yet Elizabeth hides her own secret?the babe within her womb. And despite Geoffrey's handsome?yet scarred face?her new employer has a cold and unforgiving nature that unsettles her, even as Elizabeth's wariness slowly heats to desire.

But the bright beauty of this land is no match for the dark, ominous clouds of the past...

The third and final book in the author’s Worth Brothers trilogy, Avery has framed the series with heroes haunted by an abusive father and flung them to various far reaches of the globe. She’s taken readers to England, the American West and now the West Indies.

Outlaw Hunter by Carol Arens

An outlaw's wife…

With her home burned down, her outlaw husband believed dead and five children entrusted to her care, Melody Dawson must leave the ashes of her past behind to start afresh…

And an outlaw hunter…

Atoning for a youthful mistake, US marshal Reeve Prentis has made tracking down criminals his life's work. His dangerous job has always demanded a solitary existence, yet escorting Melody across the Wild West has Reeve longing for change, and a family of his own!

Appearing on the scene in 2012 as part of Harlequin Historical’s Cahill Cowboys continuity series, Outlaw Hunter is already Aren’s sixth full-length release.

CacTo Love and To Cherish by Leigh Greenwood

Torn Between a Desire to be Free...

When Laurie Spencer said “I do”, she never realized she'd be trading one pair of shackles for another-until her husband's unexpected death leaves her with an opportunity to escape her controlling family for good. Determined to be independent, Laurie approaches sexy rancher Jared Smith with an offer she hopes he can't refuse...

And a Longing to be His...

Jared's determined to make it in Texas, but with the local banker turned against him, it looks like his dream may be slipping through his fingers. When unconsciously sensual Laurie offers a partnership, his luck may be changing...but when she throws herself in as part of the deal, Jared's not sure he'll be able to respect the terms of their agreement and keep his eyes-and his hands-to himself.

There's something about Laurie that awakens every protective instinct Jared has...and when all hell breaks loose, there's nothing and no one who'll be able to keep this cowboy from her side.

The second installment in the author’s Cactus Creek series, H&H’s Rebekah Weatherspoon had this to say about To Love and To Cherish in her recent First Look: “To Love and To Cherish is the type of Western romance I love; a smart heroine and a kind hero find love in a small town filled with lovable side characters and plausible villains.”

Everything from Tudor England to the West Indies! What unusual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

To learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

The Fire of Home by Alexis Harrington  
Her Wicked Captain by Sandra Jones  
Alanna by Kathleen Bittner Roth  
Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin  
The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd by Paula Quinn  
Innocent’s Champion by Meriel Fuller  
The Warrior’s Winter Bride by Denise Lynn  
My Lady Innocent by Annie Burrows  
Love’s Legacy by Joan Avery  
Outlaw Hunter by Carol Arens  
To Love and To Cherish by Leigh Greenwood  












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

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. lauralee1912
I bought Her Wicked Captain by Sandra Jones right after it was released and hope to read the book soon.

The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd just got added to my wish list.
2. willaful
Erin Satie's upcoming book, The Lover's Knot, sound interesting. From her blog:
"The heroine, Sophie, is stubborn. She runs her own business. She's a skilled forger who writes letters to herself in her dead parents' handwriting when she's stressed. She's an odd duck. The hero is a duke, which hits a romance sweet spot, but some readers call him intense and others imbalanced. They're both tremendously repressed."

Can't wait!
Wendy the Super Librarian
3. SuperWendy
So the only book I have in my immediate TBR right now is the Jeannie Lin - although I'm so very, very tempted by the Denise Lynn medieval.

Laura: I am so intrigued by the sound of Her Wicked Captain! I love westerns, but I would love to see more American-set historicals in general that don't rely on "the old west."

Willaful: Ooooh, that does sound good! Have you read her previous release? I've never read Satie before....
4. willaful
I haven't read anything by her yet, though Mean Fat Old Bat just did an interesting review of her first book, IIRC.
Darlene Marshall
5. DarleneMarshall
I loved Gunpowder Alchemy and I'm looking forward to more in this series. It's refreshing to read non-Western steampunk done so very well. Great characters and setting!
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