Tue
Apr 28 2015 4:00pm

April Showers: Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Best Bets for April 2015

Starling by Virginia Taylor

April is a time for spring showers to bring us May flowers.  What else does April bring?  Apparently a bumper crop of not-your-usual historicals with bountiful options for different settings, non-titled characters and time periods that take us outside of the Regency era. 

Australia!
Starling by Virginia Taylor

 Let your heart soar…

An aspiring dressmaker, orphaned Starling Smith is accustomed to fighting for her own survival. But when she’s offered a year’s wages to temporarily pose as a wealthy man’s bride, she suspects ulterior motives. She can’t lose the chance to open her own shop, but she won’t be any man’s lover, not even handsome, infuriating Alisdair Seymour’s… 

To prevent his visiting sister from parading potential brides in front of him, Alisdair has decided to present a fake wife. He lost his heart once, and had it broken—he doesn’t intend to do it again. But stubborn, spirited Starling is more alluring than he bargained for, and Alisdair will risk everything he has to prove his love is true… 

Having published two romantic comedies with Random House Australia, Taylor makes her historical debut with Kensington’s Lyrical Press, the first book in a trilogy set in 19th century south Australia.

Ballooning!
When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr

He's racing to win back his reputation

Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.

She's curious about the science of love

Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She's only slightly dismayed-the rake seems to respect her work-but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.

What happens when they descend from the clouds?
As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling...

The first book nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award, Orr continues her Regency romp Rake’s Handbook series with this second title.

China!
A Dance with Danger by Jeannie Lin

A promise sworn on the edge of a sword 

After a failed assassination attempt on a corrupt general, Bao Yang is a wanted man. Taking refuge with an ally, Yang accidentally compromises the man's daughter when they're discovered alone. To save her honor, he must marry the beautiful Jin-mei immediately! 

In Yang's arms, Jin-mei feels alive for the first time. She's determined not to lose him, even if it means joining his perilous mission... But when she realizes just how destructive Yang's path could be, can she convince him that their life together could be so much sweeter than revenge?

A sequel to 2013’s, The Sword Dancer, Mala Bhattacharjee said in her recent First Look of the book: “This is one bit of fancy, and fearless, footwork that you won't want to miss.” 

Georgian!
Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James

As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil's bargain . . . he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose.

James returns to her Desperate Duchesses series with this new book receiving accolades from various corners of the romance reading world.  In her First Look, ScarlettLeigh said it “….is the perfect book to chase away the last lingering chills of winter.”

The Lady Meets Her Match by Gina Conkle

The Lady Meets Her Match by Gina Conkle

LOCATING HER IS ONLY HALF THE BATTLE
Cyrus Ryland didn't become England's wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight and she's nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all...

The second book in her Midnight Meetings series, Conkle poses the interesting question: “What if Cinderella doesn’t want her shoe back?”

Medieval!
His Captive Princess by Sandra Jones

Earned respect is sweet…but deserved revenge is sweeter.

Warren de Tracy was assured the Welsh village of Dinefwr would be an easy conquest, as would the widow of its fallen prince. Wedding her will appease the locals and win the respect of his liege, the usurper King Stephen.

Instead, Warren is ambushed, taken prisoner by a hooded Welshwoman with skin that glows like moonlight. If he must die at her hands, at least his honorable death will silence the whispers of disloyalty hanging over his name.

Princess Eleri has never seen a knight as stoic—and as eager to die—as Warren. She’d love to oblige the bastard, but something in his ocean-blue eyes stays her hand. Plus, suspicion nags at her, for the arrows that wounded him and killed his men are Norman, not Welsh.

A ghostly prophecy portends danger that thrusts the enemies closer together, where hate explodes into passion that won’t allow Eleri to surrender Warren to her vengeful clan. But returning him to his king breaks more than it mends…and for Warren, retaliation will be sweet, indeed.

Jones was first featured on an Unusual Historicals post back in November 2014 for her debut novel set on a Mississippi River steamboat, Her Wicked Captain.  Now here she is again, with her second historical, a complete left turn that takes readers to a medieval Welsh village.

Viking!
Enslaved by the Viking by Harper St. George

“From this day forward, you are mine.” 

The moment Merewyn sets eyes on the warrior standing atop a Viking raiding ship, something inside her stirs. By all rights, she should fear him, should run from him, yet she cannot help but be drawn to him. 

Eirik has never before taken a woman captive, yet Merewyn inspires a longing that calls to the darkness within him. He takes her back to his homeland as his slave, where they finally succumb to passion. And as the lines between captor and captive blur, Eirik realizes they have crossed into dangerous territory…

Having published two historical western novellas with Harlequin, St. George makes her full-length debut with Harlequin Historical with a….Viking story?  Sure, why not!

Western!
This Gun for Hire by Jo Goodman

He’s got a job to do…

Former army cavalryman Quill McKenna takes pride in protecting the most powerful man in Stonechurch, Colorado: Mr. Ramsey Stonechurch himself. But the mine owner has enemies, and after several threats on his life, mines, and family, Quill decides to hire someone to help guard the boss’s daughter. Only problem is the uncontrollable attraction he feels toward the fiery-haired woman who takes the job.

…but she’s a piece of work.

Calico Nash has more knowledge of scouting and shooting than cross-stitching, but she agrees to pose as Ann’s private tutor while protecting her. But between her growing attraction to Quill and the escalating threats against the Stonechurches, Calico will soon have a choice to make—hang on to her hard-won independence or put her faith in Quill to create the kind of happy ending she never imagined…

Goodman continues her quality work in historical westerns with this stand-alone that received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, along with raves from The Book Pushers, Smexy Books, and All About Romance.

A Fortune for the Outlaw’s Daughter by Lauri Robinson

More precious than gold…

Cole “Lucky” DuMont is off to forge his future in the Alaskan hills. Standing in his way? A dark-haired beauty in need of rescue.

Maddie Stockwell's life has always been ruled by men. And now, to ensure her freedom, she strikes a deal with her gorgeous savior: she'll help Lucky in his quest, and find her own fortune along the way! Except when Maddie has to pose as Lucky's wife, she feels a thrill she could never have anticipated. And suddenly there's something even more tempting than gold on her mind…

Set during the Alaskan Gold Rush, western fans will want to pick this one up as it will be Robinson’s last western for a while.  She’ll be busy this summer and fall with her new series for Harlequin Historical, Daughters of the Roaring Twenties.

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander

Who Needs a Title?
The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander

Lucy Merryweather has inherited a fortune—and her great-aunt's list of unfulfilled wishes. What better way to honor her memory than by accomplishing as many of them as possible? And with Lucy's family an ocean away in New York, nothing stands in her way—if one ignores the private investigator hired to spy on her.

Yet Cameron Effington is infuriatingly difficult to ignore. . .

As a reporter, Cameron is always looking for a good story. An American heiress running rampant between Millworth Manor and Mayfair is the perfect subject. Not to mention captivating. And extremely kissable. And if Lucy believes he's a detective? Well, the truth should never get in the way of a good story—or hinder delicious, impetuous passion. . .

The younger son of a lord making his way in the world as a writer and an American heiress up to shenanigans.  Sounds like trademark, mad-cap Alexander in this fifth book in the Millworth Manor series.

The Mistake by Lily Maxton

Childhood love never disappears…
Infamous courtesan Julia Forsythe is the former mistress of a ruthless marquess. She’s also expecting his child. But while she longs to flee from his cold clutches, the welfare of her unborn babe prevents it. Now she must find a way to remain a “mistress” in name, if not in deed. And her plans are only complicated by a growing affection for the estate’s head gardener…

Fifteen years ago, Adam Radcliff once shared a close friendship with Julia. Now they stand worlds apart in both lives and statuses, sharing only the memory of that old friendship. But even as Julia slips out of the marquess’s lascivious clutches, she finds herself seeking the pleasure of Adam’s company. Now Adam is falling more deeply for Julia, even knowing that wanting another man’s mistress will only bring ruin upon them both…

The fifth book in the author’s Sisters of Scandal Regency era series gives readers a pregnant courtesan falling for a gardener.  I’m pretty sure I’ve been waiting for this romance my whole life.

World War II
Poppy’s War by Lily Baxter

In 1939, thirteen-year-old Poppy is forced to evacuate her London home and flee to a grand country house on the coast of England. Alone and frightened, she arrives with only a set of clothes, a gas mask, and memories of the family she left behind, whom she may never see again. But the cruel inhabitants of the house make life a misery for her, and she longs for the love she once took for granted.

The years pass, the endless war rages on, and Poppy grows into a lovely young woman determined to do her part. Training as a nurse, she meets a dashing pilot who captures her heart and, for the first time in years, reminds her of life before the war.

While England battles over land, sea, and sky, Poppy must fight every day to gain the family she's always wanted, to find the love she's been missing, and to discover who she truly is.

The nom de plume of British author, Dilly Court, Poppy’s War was first published by Random House UK in 2010 and is now seeing the light of day on American soil thanks to Harpercollins Avon Impulse.  This has all the earmarks of a rip-roaring saga, the kind of story not easily found in today’s genre.

What unusual historicals will be on your shopping list this month?

***

To find out more about each book mentioned:

Starling by Virginia Taylor  
When a Rake Falls by Sally Orr  
A Dance with Danger by Jeannie Lin  
Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James  
The Lady Meets Her Match by Gina Conkle  
His Captive Princess by Sandra Jones  
Enslaved by the Viking by Harper St. George  
This Gun for Hire by Jo Goodman  
A Fortune for the Outlaw’s Daughter by Lauri Robinson  
The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander  
The Mistake by Lily Maxton  
Poppy’s War by Lily Baxter  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

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2 comments
Wendy the Super Librarian
2. SuperWendy
So many books this month! I've got the Jeannie Lin, Harper St. George and Lily Baxter on my Kindle - and I need to pick up the Jo Goodman.
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