Jan 14 2015 5:00pm

Resolve to Read: Unusual Historical Romance Best Bets for January 2015

Freedom to Love by Susanna FraserDecember is always a slow month in publishing and that translated into slim pickings for unusual historicals. However, just as I had hoped, 2015 comes roaring in with a January blizzard of options. There are stand-alone novels, continuing series, and the launch titles of a few new series. There’s also a bonafide crop of non-titled characters living in the British Isles. Who says Dukes have all the fun?


Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser

Louisiana, 1815

Thérèse Bondurant trusted her parents to provide for her and her young half-sister, though they never wed due to laws against mixed-race marriage. But when both die of a fever, Thérèse learns her only inheritance is debt—and her father's promise that somewhere on his plantation lies a buried treasure. To save her own life—as well as that of her sister—she'll need to find it before her white cousins take possession of the land.

British officer Henry Farlow, dazed from a wound received in battle outside New Orleans, stumbles onto Thérèse's property out of necessity. But he stays because he's become captivated by her intelligence and beauty. It's thanks to Thérèse's tender care that he regains his strength just in time to fend off her cousin, inadvertently killing the would-be rapist in the process.

Though he risks being labeled a deserter, it's much more than a sense of duty that compels Henry to see the sisters to safety—far away from the scene of the crime. And Thérèse realizes she has come to rely on Henry for so much more than protection. On their journey to freedom in England, they must navigate a territory that's just as foreign to them both—love.

Set during the aftermath of the Battle of New Orleans, this is Fraser’s first full length novel since 2012’s An Infamous Marriage.

The British Isles, With a Twist! (Who Needs a Title, Anyway?)

What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams—but is she brave enough to open her heart…?

Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.

Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamored with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up...

Her third Victorian historical release for Kensington/Lyrical Press, the author states on her blog that this book was the one of the “quickest” to write, which she attributes to be inspired by Tom Hardy in the movie, Lawless. Oh honey, weren’t we all?

True Pretenses by Rose LernerTrue Pretenses by Rose Lerner

Never steal a heart unless you can afford to lose your own.

Through sheer force of will, Ash Cohen raised himself and his younger brother from the London slums to become the best of confidence men. He’s heartbroken to learn Rafe wants out of the life, but determined to grant his brother his wish.

It seems simple: find a lonely, wealthy woman. If he can get her to fall in love with Rafe, his brother will be set. There’s just one problem—Ash can’t take his eyes off her.

Heiress Lydia Reeve is immediately drawn to the kind, unassuming stranger who asks to tour her family’s portrait gallery. And if she married, she could use the money from her dowry for her philanthropic schemes. The attraction seems mutual and oh so serendipitous—until she realizes Ash is determined to matchmake for his younger brother.

When Lydia’s passionate kiss puts Rafe’s future at risk, Ash is forced to reveal a terrible family secret. Rafe disappears, and Lydia asks Ash to marry her instead. Leaving Ash to wonder—did he choose the perfect woman for his brother, or for himself?

Lerner has quickly developed a loyal fan following among historical readers, and this is the second book in her Lively St. Lemeston series for Samhain Publishing.

The Millionaire Rogue by Jessica Peterson

In an age of stately decorum, the Hope Diamond was a source of delicious intrigue—and a font of unimaginable adventure…

Though not of noble birth, Thomas Hope has a skill in banking that’s made him one of the richest, most trusted men in London. Still, he keeps his dubious past hidden. So when an old acquaintance calls on Hope to help acquire the infamous French Blue Diamond, he’s desperate to be discreet. He never expects that his biggest concern shouldn’t be losing his reputation, but his heart…

Sophia Blaise is determined to make a brilliant match with this season’s most eligible, most titled bachelor, but her true passion has been ignited by the incredible stories she hears while secretly transcribing the memoirs of a notorious Madam. After a night of clandestine writing ends with Sophia caught up in a scandalous adventure of her own—with an alluring banker—she begins to question whether she’s suited to the proper life she’s always known…

Caught up in a thrilling exploit and unexpected romance, Sophia must make a choice between what her head knows is safe and what her heart desperately desires, before both slip from her grasp forever…

Before there were billionaires, there were millionaires. This is the second book in Peterson’s Hope Diamond Affair trilogy.

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen Ranney

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

After completing her Clan Sinclair series, Ranney got bit by the inspiration bug and decided to finally write a book surrounding the American Civil War like she has wanted to for years. This is the start of a new series, and while this story takes place in Scotland, future installments will travel to England and America.

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa RomainSecrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

One good proposition deserves another...

Heiress Augusta Meredith can't help herself-she stirs up gossip wherever she goes. A stranger to Bath society, she pretends to be a charming young widow, until sardonic, darkly handsome Joss Everett arrives from London and uncovers her charade.

Augusta persuades Joss to keep her secret in exchange for a secret of his own. Weaving their way through the treacherous pitfalls of a polite world only too eager to expose and condemn them, they begin to see that being true to themselves is not so long as they're true to each other...

H&H’s own Erin Moore states it best in her recent First Look: “Many things in Theresa Romain’s Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress differ from the traditional historical romance. Our setting is Bath, not the glittering ballrooms of the London ton. And the unlikely proposal made by our heroine, Augusta, is also non-traditional. But it is Josiah Everett, dark, mysterious, and not part of Society, who is a decidedly different hero.”


Breaking the Rake’s Rules by Bronwyn Scott

Being bad has never felt so good!

The first time Miss Bryn Rutherford meets Captain Kitt Sherard, he scales her balcony and kisses her breathless! And after years of trying to behave, she can't help but think Kitt's piratical wildness is just what she needs. So when she must venture across the Caribbean seas, only one man will do…

Daredevil Kitt agrees to help—as long as Bryn plays by his rules. And that means hands off! Except, trapped aboard, the chemistry between them hits fever pitch. Now it's only a question of who'll break the rules first!

The second book in her Rakes of the Caribbean series, Scott makes good use of her setting by also mixing in a little high seas adventure!


An Affair Downstaires by Sherri BrowningAn Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning

The attraction of the forbidden cannot be suppressed...

Lady Alice Emerson is entirely unsatisfied with the endless stream of boring suitors her family finds appropriate. She wants something more. Something daring. Something real. Each tiresome new suitor only serves to further inflame Lady Alice's combustible attraction to Thornbrook Park's rugged, manly estate manager, Logan Winthrop. Despite Logan's stubborn attempts to avoid her, Lady Alice is irresistible, and so is the forbidden desire exploding between them...

The second in the author’s Thornbrook Park series, Booklist awarded this a starred review and recommended it for readers of Mary Balogh and Jane Feather.

High Seas!

The Lost Gentleman by Margaret McPhee

Is she his downfall or redemption?

Kate Medhurst's days on the high seas are numbered with the fearsome Captain North on her tail. Once captured, pirate Kate knows she should fight him—should hate him—but she cannot.

Captain North is no gentleman—at least, not anymore. But his vow to regain his honor has given him a fresh start. Until he confronts Kate and everything changes. Because suddenly breaking his vow seems a small price to pay to save the woman he loves…

McPhee’s Gentlemen of Disrepute series spun out from an idea the author had for a heroine—a heroine who was not in the book she was supposed to be writing and one that she had no idea would launch a series now 7.5 books deep. Centered around a group of disreputable notorious bachelors, the author has spun the series out to include friends, villains and various relations in starring roles.


Taming His Viking Woman by Michelle StylesTaming His Viking Woman by Michelle Styles

The sea-king's warrior bride

Legendary shield maiden Sayrid Avildottar will marry no man unless he first defeats her in combat. And in powerful sea-king Hrolf Eymundsson she has finally met her match.

Hrolf may have won her lands—and her body—but can Sayrid welcome a stranger to her bed? The world of fighting is all she knows! With a husband intent on seducing his new bride, perhaps, just this once, Sayrid will discover that surrender can bring the greatest pleasure of all…

While their actual existence is debated among scholars, shield maidens (women warriors) feature prominently in Scandinavian folklore and are often mentioned in sagas. Whether these women existed or not in history, isn’t it just like a romance author to take the idea and run with it?


Salvation in the Sheriff’s Kiss by Kelly Boyce

The man she could never forget

Back in Salvation Falls after seven years in Boston, Meredith Connolly has transformed into a sophisticated businesswoman with two goals in mind:

1. Prove her father, who died in jail, was innocent and unmask the real culprits.

2. Avoid Hunter Donovan, who broke her heart and ran her out of town.

But to achieve her first objective, Meredith will have to sacrifice her second. Because Hunter is the town's sheriff, and that means there's no escaping him—or the way he makes her feel!

A follow-up to her first novel with them, Salvation in the Rancher’s Arms, this is the author’s second release for Harlequin Historical.

Texas Mail Order Bride by Linda BrodayTexas Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday

Rancher Cooper Thorne thinks his life is finally on an even keel-until Delta Dandridge steps off the stagecoach and claims she's his mail order bride. Brash and quick-witted, the meddling Southern Belle is everything Cooper thought he never wanted...and everything his heart is telling him he needs.

But Cooper swore long ago that he'd never marry, and he aims to keep his word, especially now that the demons from his past have returned to threaten everything-and everyone-he holds dear...

This is the kick-off to the author’s new Bachelors of Battle Creek series which features three men who became “blood brothers” when they met as lost, lonely boys in an orphanage.

Ace’s Wild by Sarah McCarty

When you gamble with desire, be prepared to risk everything…

Unlike the rest of the Hell's Eight brotherhood, Ace Parker's home isn't on the range. This restless cowboy craves the hustle of Simple, Texas, a lawless town where he can sate his darker appetites without guilt. At least he could, until Petunia Wayfield arrived. The prickly new teacher is insisting that Ace help her rid the town of drunkenness and card playing. For that kind of miracle, Ace demands a reward the spinster schoolmarm will surely never give.

But Petunia isn't backing down. Not when the intense passion Ace offers shatters her to the core. As soon as she can afford a ticket to California, she'll leave Simple behind for good. Until then, she'll match his sensual challenge with her own, daring him to give up his fiercely guarded self-control. And then real danger claims Petunia, forcing Ace to reveal the man he really is—even if it drives her away forever….

With this the seventh book, the author’s Hell’s Eight series is nearing the finish line. This arrival should also be a welcome sight for fans, as the last book in this series bowed in late 2012.

What books are landing in your shopping cart this month?


Learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

Freedom to Love by Susanna Fraser  
What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble  
True Pretenses by Rose Lerner  
The Millionaire Rogue by Jessica Peterson  
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen Ranney  
Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain  
Breaking the Rake’s Rules by Bronwyn Scott  
An Affair Downstairs by Sherri Browning  
The Lost Gentleman by Margaret McPhee  
Taming His Viking Woman by Michelle Styles  
Salvation in the Sheriff’s Kiss by Kelly Boyce  
The Texas Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday  
Ace’s Wild by Sarah McCarty  













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):
your mother
2. your mother
How do you have time to read all these books!?!?!?
Wendy the Super Librarian
3. SuperWendy
Kareni: I know, right?

Mom!!!! You're EMBARRASSING me!!!!!

I'll let you in on a secret, I don't actually read all of these books. I'm mostly just culling over web sites and catalogs looking for the books that "fit." But no mistaking, I always end up reading some of them. Of this list? I've got the Susanna Fraser and Sherri Browning in the immediate TBR and I imagine I'll end up buying a few more of these.
4. wsl0612
Shield Maidens did so exist, I watch Vikings on the History Channel and Lagertha is totally real! I would follow her to the ends of the earth, she's my idol :-)
Darlene Marshall
5. DarleneMarshall
So many books! So little ti--oooh, look! Kittehs on the interwebz...

I need to stay offline and read more. Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll move some of these from TBR to Reading Now!
6. Cate.Hogan
Thank you for this fantastic review! "True Pretenses" is a definite favourite of mine. Here is my list of top 15 historical romance novels of all time: historical-romance-novels/ Some classic and more current titles. I'd love your feedback!
Post a comment