Feb 20 2015 2:00pm

Box of Chocolates: Unusual Historical Best Bets February 2015

Home to Caroline by Adera OrfanelliFebruary may be the shortest month of the calendar, but it’s a wonderful one for a nice variety of not-your-usual historicals. Whether it’s the high seas, America’s wide-open spaces, or some twists on familiar English settings, there’s plenty of intriguing titles vying to be your Valentine.


Home to Caroline by Adera Orfanelli

War couldn’t keep them apart, but their secrets might.

When her husband returns from the Civil War, Caroline has to tell him the truth: their farm is failing and she may be unable to carry a child to term. While he was gone, she struggled to keep the farm going, lost her father and brother to the war and miscarried the child conceived while Travis was home on leave. He returned to the front before Caroline knew she was pregnant.

Travis has a secret of his own. He never learned to farm. She never knew because she had her father and brother to help, but now she has only him and he may not be the man she needs.

Neither is willing to ruin the joy of Travis’s homecoming with bad news, but the truth must come out eventually. Will Travis stay when he finds out Caroline’s shame, and will she want him to when she finds out his?

The author’s backlist consists of erotic scifi romance, and while she loves to read historicals, it took her a while to summon the courage to try her hand at writing one. Home to Caroline is her debut historical romance, as well as her debut with Samhain Publishing.


A Sinful Deception by Isabella Bradford

Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy leads a charmed existence. As the second son of the Duke of Breconridge, he has none of the responsibilities of his older brother and all of the advantages, leaving handsome Geoffrey free to enjoy his rakish pursuits. And pursue them he does, leaving hearts fluttering all over London. But one night, at a ball brimming with high society’s most sought-after beauties, only one truly intrigues him: the regal, aloof, and mysterious Miss Serena Carew.

Magnificently dressed and wearing jewels befitting a queen, the lady is considered the prize of the season: a noble-born heiress raised in India. But even as Geoffrey’s fascination grows, Serena deflects his curiosity—and with good reason. Serena’s exotic past contains a perilous secret that could destroy her. Yet her plan to live in safe solitude is thwarted by her hungry heart, and soon Geoffrey’s passionate seduction finds her blissfully bedded—and wed. Will her deception destroy her chance at happiness as Geoffrey’s wife? Or will the devotion of her new husband bring out the hidden truth of her undying love?

Bradford is the historical romance nom de plume for historical fiction writer, Susan Holloway Scott who is cofounder, along with Loretta Chase, of the wonderful Two Nerdy History Girls blog. A Sinful Deception is the second book in her Breconridge Brothers series.

Temptation Has Green Eyes by Lynne ConnollyTemptation Has Green Eyes by Lynne Connolly

She holds the key to more than a fortune…

There’s more to love than meets the eye…

The daughter of a wealthy merchant, Sophia Russell has no interest in marriage, especially after a recent humiliation—and especially not to Maximilian, Marquess of Devereaux. But it’s the only way to save herself from fortune hunters—and those who wish to seize a powerful connection she prefers to keep secret—even from her future husband…

Marrying Sophia is the only way Max can regain the wealth his father squandered on an extravagant country palace. And while Max and his bride are civil, theirs is clearly a marriage of convenience—until a family enemy takes a questionable interest in Sophia—one that may lead all the way to the throne. Forced to become allies in a battle they hadn’t foreseen, the newlyweds soon grow closer—and discover a love, and a passion, they never expected…

This second book in the author’s The Emperors of London series is about a powerful family that names their children after famous Emperors and Empresses in history. Why keep up with the Joneses when they saddle their offspring with mundane names like George and Charlotte? The author tosses a little mystery on the fire by wrapping the series conflict around the Jacobite risings.

High Seas!

Forgotten Fragrance by Tea Cooper

Only one woman can confirm his innocence, and release him from the torments of his past.

Determined to throw off the shackles of her convict past, Charlotte Oliver accepts her employer’s marriage proposal, even though she does not love him, and together they board a refitted whaling schooner bound for Sydney to begin their new life.

But life has a way of disrupting plans, and during the voyage the Zephyrus undergoes a mutiny. Captain Christian Charity loses his ship, but he also risks losing so much more.Charlotte has in her possession a tiny blue bottle and an Angel coin. On their own, they mean nothing more than a keepsake, but to Christian, they could mean everything – a past remade and a future with love.

In 2011, Cooper decided it was high time to kick procrastination to the curb and entered Harlequin Mills & Boon New Voices competition. She, sadly, went undiscovered, but the experience was just the motivation she needed. This, her latest historical romance with Harlequin Australia’s Escape Publishing is her eighth published book.

Highland Guard by Hanna HowellMedieval!

Highland Guard by Hannah Howell

Lady Annys MacQueen has no other choice. The deception that enabled her to keep her lands safe is on the verge of being revealed by a cruel kinsman. To shield her young son from the sword and her people from devastation, she must turn to the one man she could never forget...

He lives for duty and honor. So the only way Sir Harcourt Murray could repay the laird who saved his life was to agree to father a child with Sir MacQueen's wife...Lady Annys.

Now the passion he still feels for the lovely strong-willed widow is as all-consuming and perilous as securing her lands. But to convince her that his love is forever real means confronting her most wrenching fears—and putting everything they treasure most at stake...

Highland Guard is the latest in Howell’s Murrays family series, a now epic saga spanning 18 stories, 100 years and four generations.

The Knight’s Broken Promise by Nicole Locke

Black Robert. The most feared of all King Edward's men…

When an English knight approaches the charred ruins of her sister's Scottish village, Gaira of Clan Colquhoun knows better than to trust this fierce-looking man. Yet, struggling to set her war-shaken world to rights, she has little choice.
Robert of Dent will see her to safety. He can promise nothing more. Never again will he make a vow like the one he broke years ago, even though Gaira's fierce resilience makes him long to protect her.

But what will happen when Gaira discovers exactly who Robert is?

Locke discovered romance through the piles of books her grandmother kept in her closet and took to, literally, sitting and reading them in the closet. When she was found out her grandmother told her that she was welcome to read and enjoy, but out in the light of the living room please. The Knight’s Broken Promise is her debut book, and surely her grandmother would be proud.

Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley KennedyWesterns!

Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy

Love can lead you out of the wilderness…

1851, Overland Trail to California. As a baby, Callie was left on the doorstep of an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee. The Whitaker family took her in, but have always considered her more a servant than a daughter. Scorned by her two stepsisters, Callie is forced to work long hours and denied an education. But a new world opens to her when the Whitakers join a wagon train to California—guided by rugged Luke McGraw…

A loner, haunted by a painful past, Luke plans to return to the wilderness once his work is done. But he can’t help noticing how poorly Callie is treated—or how unaware she is of her beauty and intelligence. As the two become closer over the long trek west, Callie’s confidence grows. And when disaster strikes, Callie emerges as the strong one—and the woman Luke may find the courage to love at last…

Kennedy is a name that Traditional Regency fans will recognize, having published seven books with Signet from 1997 through 2003. She has since gone on to branch out, including a self-published paranormal title, and this western, her first with Kensington/Lyrical.

Morrow Creek Runaway by Lisa Plumley

When the past comes to call

A year ago, Rosamond Dancy never dreamed she'd find herself in Morrow Creek. After being removed from her job as a Boston housemaid, sold into marriage and widowed in quick succession, she's now determined to take back the reins of her life.

But then the past she's determined to forget shows up on her doorstep in the form of Miles Callaway—and everything changes in an instant. Could Miles be the one to convince this runaway to hang up her shoes and stay by his side…forever?

The Matchmaker made its debut in 2003, which means Plumley’s Morrow Creek western series for Harlequin has now passed the decade mark. Counting short stories, Morrow Creek Runaway is the 11th entry in the series.

I Loved a Rogue by Katharine AsheTitles Are So Overrated!

I Loved a Rogue by Katharine Ashe

She can pour tea, manage a household, and sew a modest gown. In short, Eleanor Caulfield is the perfect vicar's daughter. Yet there was a time when she'd risked everything for a black-eyed gypsy who left her brokenhearted. Now he stands before her—dark, virile, and ready to escort her on a journey to find the truth about her heritage.

Leaving eleven years ago should have given Taliesin freedom. Instead he's returned to Eleanor, determined to have her all to himself, tempting her with kisses and promising her a passion she's so long denied herself. But if he was infatuated before, he's utterly unprepared for what will happen when Eleanor decides to abandon convention—and truly live . . .

This is the conclusion to the author’s popular Prince Catchers series about three orphaned sisters who were told by a soothsayer that one of them would marry a prince! Instead it looks like our last heroine is going to fall back under the spell of the gypsy who broke her heart.

The Soldier’s Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye

The truth behind the hero

Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within… Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves?

Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack's help to solve! With Celeste's every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

I really enjoy Kaye’s work and appreciate how she incorporates non-titled, not-gently-born characters into settings familiar to seasoned romance readers. This is the first book in her Comrades in Arms series featuring three soldiers who fought together in the Peninsular Wars and at the Battle of Waterloo.

A Debt Paid in Marriage by Georgie Lee

“What am I to him? A contract? A convenient solution?”

Laura Townsend's plan to reclaim her family's merchandise backfires when she creeps into moneylender Philip Rathbone's house and threatens him with a pistol, only to find him reclining naked in his bath!

The last thing she expects is to see this guarded widower on her doorstep a couple of days later armed with a very surprising proposal. A marriage of convenience may be Laura's chance to reclaim her future, but she won't settle for anything less than true passion. Can she hope to find it in Philip's arms?

Our moneylender hero was a secondary character in the author’s previous book, Rescued from Ruin.

What unusual historicals will you be picking up this month?


To find out more about each book mentioned:

Home to Caroline by Adera Orfanelli


A Sinful Deception by Isabella Bradford


Temptation Has Green Eyes by Lynne Connolly


Forgotten Fragrance by Tea Cooper


Highland Guard by Hannah Howell


The Knight’s Broken Promise by Nicole Locke


Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy


Morrow Creek Runaway by Lisa Plumley


I Loved a Rogue by Katharine Ashe


The Soldier’s Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye






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):
Sandra Riddle
2. texasriddler
Am I crazy or does that look like Richard Armitage on the cover of the top book?
Nikki H
3. Nikki H
Great reviews, Wendy. Several of these sound right up my alley.
Wendy the Super Librarian
4. SuperWendy
@texasriddler - And I was thinking the heroine sorta looks like Carrie Underwood's sister from another mister.....
Nikki H
5. Cheryl St.John
Of course if you've recommended them, I can trust I will love them. You are very bad for my Kindle backlog, darling, but I love you and your recommendations. xoxo
Wendy the Super Librarian
7. SuperWendy
Not personal recommendations - since I rarely have read everything on these monthly round-ups. They're more an exercise of me pouring over the "traditionally published" historical offerings every month and pulling out the ones that have "not usual" elements to them. But I do try to dig up a little extra information on them to help readers decide if they want to take the plunge and try reading something a little different :)
Post a comment