Mar 26 2015 8:30am

Love Is In the Air: Not-Your-Usual-Historicals Best Bets for March 2015

March is that time of year when we’re all desperate for daffodils and Easter candy, but would happily settle for someone to dig us out of the snow bank where we’ve been imprisoned for months on end.  After the longest, coldest winter that never seems to want to end, what better way to get ready for spring than with a new crop of unusual historicals!  And this spring really has sprung with some Regency era romances featuring twists, a gritty Victorian that set my heart racing, and a plethora of titles launching brand new series.


His Wicked Reputation by Madeline Hunter

Gareth Fitzallen is celebrated for four things: his handsome face, his notable charm, his aristocratic connections, and an ability to give the kind of pleasure that has women begging for more. Normally he bestows his talents on experienced, worldly women. But when he heads to Langdon’s End to restore a property he inherited—and to investigate a massive art theft—he lays plans to seduce a most unlikely lady.

Eva Russell lives a spinster’s life of precarious finances and limited dreams while clinging to her family’s old gentry status. She supports herself by copying paintings while she plots to marry her lovely sister to a well-established man. Everyone warns her of Gareth’s reputation, and advises her to lock her sister away. Only it is not her sister Gareth desires. One look, and she knows he is trouble. One kiss, however, proves she is no match for this master of seduction.

A Regency-era romance with a twist, Booklist says, “Hunter’s PhD in art history stands her in good stead in this fascinating, danger-tinged novel, the first in a new trilogy.”


The Bedding Proposal by Tracy Anne Warren

Lord Leo Byron is bored with the aristocratic company he keeps; he needs a distraction, preferably in the form of a beautiful new female companion. So when he sets eyes on fascinating and scandalous divorcée Lady Thalia Lennox, he’s determined to make her intimate acquaintance. But the spirited woman seems to have no intention of accepting his advances no matter how much he chases—or how hard he falls....

Once a darling of Society, Thalia Lennox now lives on its fringes. The cruel lies that gave her a notoriously wild reputation have also left her with a broken heart and led to a solemn vow to swear off men. Still, Leo Byron’s bold overtures are deliciously tempting, and, for the first time, she finds herself wondering whether it just might be worth the risk to let the attractive rake into her life—and her bed....

The first in a new trilogy, this received a B rating from Smexy Books, who declared “Fans of Tessa Dare and Julia Quinn are sure to enjoy this lively adventure that brings two intelligent and witty protagonists together for a deliciously swoon worthy romance.”

English Civil War!

By the Sword by Alison Stuart

England 1650.In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King's cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?

Winning an Eppie Award in 2008 for best historical romance, this new edition from Harlequin Australia’s Escape Publishing has been revised, reedited and is the first in the Guardian of the Crown series.


Lady Vice by Wendy LaCapra

Not every lady plays by the rules…

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man—one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…

A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society—along with his ambitions—in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.

In a recent H&H First Look, TanyaLK said, “For those historical romance lovers looking to indulge in a more serious drama replete with second chances, some minor suspense, and plenty of desire, this is the book for you.”


Pleasured by Candace Camp

Damon, the earl of Mardoun, is smitten the moment he meets Meg, the village healer—but she rejects every advance from the earl, and will have none of him, even if he is the most handsome man she’s ever laid eyes on. But when unforeseen circumstances bring them together, her conviction begins to fade…

Damon’s daughter falls gravely ill, and distraught, he turns to Meg for help. During the course of nursing his beloved daughter back to health, Meg and Damon fall madly in love, but they both know an earl must wed a noble bride. And Meg will be no man’s mistress.

Will the two lovers overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds and be together at last? Find out in this sweeping, romantic novel in which love is the greatest treasure of all.

The second installment in the Secrets of the Loch trilogy, Camp’s latest earned a Top Pick! from RT Book Reviews who called it “…a powerful, heated love story that walks the line between a lust-driven romance and a story of true love.”


Stolen by the Highlanderby Terri Brisbin

Kidnap in the Highlands! 

The morn of her wedding, Arabella Cameron is filled with dread. But if marrying a man she doesn't love will end the feud between the Cameron and Mackintosh clans, she will do her duty. That is until outlaw Brodie Mackintosh arrives in her bedchamber and steals her away to the mountains! 

Brodie knows Arabella has every reason to hate him, but a forbidden kiss soon makes these sworn enemies question everything. And when Arabella's intended reclaims her, Brodie must fight with all his strength to make her his once more! 

It has been a year since Brisbin’s last release and she breaks the drought by launching not one, but two new series in the same month!  This is the first book in her new A Highland Feuding series for Harlequin Historical. Also out this month is the first book in her new paranormal/fantasy series for Signet, Rising Fire.

Lord Gawain’s Forbidden Mistress by Carol Townend

Forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest…

Elise keeps her cards close to her chest. Few people know that she's also Blanchefleur le Fay, the celebrated singer. But she has an even greater secret… Her baby daughter is the result of a brief but intense affair with Gawain, Count of Meaux.

Duty-bound to marry, Gawain is back in Troyes to meet his bride. So why can't he stop thinking about the sweet silver-voiced girl he met the last time he was there? And when he finds his mistress again Gawain must choose between duty…and forbidden desire.

This is the third book in the author’s Knights of Champagne series. Inspired by Arthurian myths and legends, the series takes place in France.

No Title? No Problem!

The Fighter and the Fallen Woman by Pamela Cayne

London, 1883

“People like us don't get happy endings.”

In twelve years as a bangtail, Lady has never feared a man's kiss. Owned by the ruthless Hannibal Adams, the “Earl of the East End,” she's draped in jewels and dead inside. Lady learns fear, however, when she kisses Mr. Adams's best fighter for luck—for King sees the real woman locked away behind finery and falsity.

King's life is made of fists and scars, the only things that have ever felt real to him. Even his name came from the man who owns him—the man who turned him into a champion. From the moment Lady's kiss sends him reeling, King resists wanting what he can't have. Mr. Adams never gives up what he owns.

When Lady is sent to nurse King through the tournament, she finds a new strength through the one man who's never treated her like a whore. King discovers that the woman who shares his dark world might also be the one to lead him out. And as the tournament comes to a violent finale, Lady and King must decide—stay spoiled and shackled, or break free and risk what happens when fear and dreams collide.

I have been waiting my whole historical romance reading life for this story. It’s a dark, gritty read with nary a title to be found. The hero may make his living with his fists, but he’s pure marshmallow center when it comes to the heroine and I loved the fact that neither hero nor heroine judged each other. If you’re looking for different, it doesn’t get much different than this.

Political Rabble-Rousing!

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London's leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor's edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .

However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia's secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl's young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . . and trust that love will conquer all.

Yet another first book launching a brand-new series, Elliott’s The Hellions of High Street features three unconventional sisters. Grand Central is giving this trilogy a big push, releasing all three books on a three month schedule. The perfect opportunity to binge read!


Promised By Post by Katy Madison


Anna O'Malley is desperate to put her impoverished past behind her. Posing as a respectable lady, she becomes a mail-order bride, hoping to find security by marrying a wealthy ranch owner. 

When her stagecoach is held up, Anna shoots one of the bandits. But the man she wounds is none other than her fiancé! His brother—sinfully attractive Daniel Werner—must conceal that fact by any means necessary, but how long can Daniel keep up the facade when he craves Anna for himself? 

There’s something so role-reversal satisfying in seeing an author who started her career writing Regency romance to then turn around and start working in the American West. So often it’s the other way around. Having previously published with Kensington and Avon, this is the second book in Madison’s Wild West Weddings series for Harlequin Historical.

World War II!

The Shopkeeper’s Daughter by Lily Baxter

In World War II–torn England, a young woman must fight to keep her family together, whatever the cost.

Ginnie Travis has been working in her father's shop for the past five years, trying to keep it afloat. When scandal rocks her family just as relentless Nazi raids threaten their very lives, Ginnie and her sister are forced to flee and stay with their aunt in the North of England. The last thing she expects to find in the quiet countryside is love, especially with an American soldier. A soldier who has secrets of his own.

Tragedy strikes, the horror of war rages on, and Ginnie will do whatever she must to protect everything she holds dear.

Look a unicorn! A World War II romance! Lily Baxter is the nom de plume for UK author Dilly Court. This book was previously published in the U.K. and is making its U.S. debut thanks to the fine folks at Avon Impulse.

What unusual historicals are you looking forward to?


To find out more about each book mentioned:

His Wicked Reputation by Madeline Hunter


The Bedding Proposal by Tracy Anne Warren


By the Sword by Alison Stuart


Lady Vice by Wendy LaCapra


Pleasured by Candace Camp


Stolen by the Highlander by Terri Brisbin


Lord Gawain’s Forbidden Mistress by Carol Townend


The Fighter and the Fallen Woman by Pamela Cayne


Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott


Promised By Post by Katy Madison


The Shopkeeper’s Daughter by Lily Baxter





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
My plan is to read Lady Vice over the weekend. After reading this post, my Amazon Wish List just grew. Thanks for putting The Fighter and the Fallen Woman on my radar.
Cheryl St.John
2. Cheryl St.John
Your recommendations have never let me down. I just bought The Fighter and The Fallen Woman, so I hope I get my own pages written this week. <3
Wendy the Super Librarian
3. SuperWendy
I'm looking forward to the Lily Baxter, and I really need to get plugged into that Katy Madison western series.

I really enjoyed The Fighter and the Fallen Woman. It's certainly outside the norm and is quite dark and gritty. Lots of double-talk and double-dealing and characters trying to stay one step ahead.
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