Mon
May 18 2015 4:10pm

Love Is In the Air: Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Best Bets for May 2015

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Spring, when a not-so-young-anymore girl’s fancy turns to…..more historical romance! There’s a nice variety of historical romance this month to help you shake up any impending Regency ruts that may have befallen you, but never fear! There are still some English settings to make even the most hearty Anglophile content.

American-Set!

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Gist has been slowly moving away from the inspirational subgenre with her last couple of releases taking on a more secular Americana feel.  But fans shouldn’t fear that she’s gone full-blown Fifty Shades on us, she’s still writing some of the strongest sweet romances around.  I liked the Tiffany historical tidbits, and the fact that the characters behaved in an era appropriate manner.  However my favorite parts of this story centered around the boardinghouse that the heroine lives in. 

Fencing!
Rake Most Likely to Rebel by Bronwyn Scott

The art of fencing, like the art of love, requires three important skills: 

1. Anticipating your partner's every move, working them into the exact position you desire. 

2. Being completely attuned to each other's bodies. 

3. Absolute dedication, no matter how many hours are spent sweating it out. 

Viscount Amersham has come to Paris to prove his skill with the blade. But feisty Alyssandra Leodegrance is not the opponent he was expecting! As expert swordplay leads to sizzling sensuality, it's difficult to say who will win…and what they will claim as their prize! 

Scott has a way of infusing interesting, and unusual, touches in her Regency era romances, whether it is yacht sailing or billiards.  This latest not only features the sport of fencing, but it also takes place in Paris.

A Kiss for a Highlander by Jane Godman

Georgian!
A Kiss for a Highlander by Jane Godman

A passion that burns away centuries of hate…

The Georgian Rebel Series, Book 1

Stranded in the heart of England after Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hasty retreat, highlander Fraser Lachlan has sworn to stay by his injured friend’s side. But when a kindly English family takes Jack in to be cared for by the governess and healer at their Derbyshire estate, Fraser can only watch helplessly.

It’s just a matter of time before Jack is turned over to the Crown as a traitor, but Fraser’s attempt to rescue his friend is met with the blunt end of a candlestick.

Martha Wantage wears every reason she hates the Scots on her body—in the scars from a violent, fiery attack that killed her family. Now she has not only one unconscious Jacobite rebel at her mercy, but two. And she can’t resist cursing her enemy with the “kiss of hate”.

That kiss unleashes a storm of passion that rages quickly out of control. But with the legacy of Martha’s scars weighing heavy on her mind, and Fraser’s duty calling him to battle at Culloden, it may be too late to explore whether theirs is a desire born of hate…or love.

The first in a new historical series for Samhain, Godman is having a busy 2015.  The second book in this series will appear later this year and she’s also contracted for three books with Harlequin Nocturne.  This story divides it’s time between Scotland and Georgian England.

Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

HE CAN GUARD HER

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.

FROM EVERY DANGER

Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.

BUT PASSION ITSELF

Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior... and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

Hoyt is moving right along with her Maiden Lane series, with this eighth title in the series.  Good news for fans: you won’t have to wait long for book nine.  Sweetest Scoundrel is currently slated for November 2015.

The High Seas!
An Inconvenient Mistress by Caroline Kimberly

Jamaica, 1820

Isabelle North needs a hero, and if an arrogant mercenary is all she can find...he'll just have to do. She must get back to England before her past catches up with her, even if that means booking passage on a vessel captained by a man she cannot abide.

Phillip Ashford, notorious smuggler and captain of the privateer Intrepid, knows Miss North is trouble. She's stubborn, for starters, and it's painfully clear she's conning him—she looks more like a schoolmarm than the rich man's mistress she claims to be. But beneath her prim exterior is a sharp wit and courageous spirit that draws him in despite himself.

They both know they should keep their distance. But passion flares as they defend themselves on the high seas—until Phillip begins asking questions Isabelle would rather not answer. After all, how much can she really share with a man she'll never trust?

The third book in her Ashford Brothers series, Kimberly found herself facing a bit of a road block when developing Phillip into a full-fledged romantic hero.  Inspiration struck while sitting in a dark movie theater, and then it came to her: Phillip was a charming opportunist who’d always spin a situation to his advantage, while maintaining his own moral code.” Where do I sign up?

Whispers at Court by Blythe Gifford

Medieval!
Whispers at Court by Blythe Gifford

They make an unlikely alliance… 

Lady Cecily scorns the French hostages held at court. Treated as honored guests, the men play at love games and Cecily fears her mistress, the princess, could be disgraced. 

War-weary chevalier Marc de Marcel wants only to return home. Uncertain whether his ransom will ever be paid, he makes an unlikely alliance with enticing, fire-and-ice Cecily. He'll help her keep the princess safe from ruin if she'll help him escape. A pact which could lead them into a scandal all their own… 

This second book in the author’s Royal Weddings series, and like the first book, Secrets at Court, is set during Edward III’s 14th century reign.  The first book was one of my favorite reads of last year, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Bound to him against her will...

Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.

Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to admit it-frightens her more than a little.

Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives...

The first in the Lust in the Tudor Court series, readers shouldn’t be surprised to learn (especially with a series name like that!) this is a historical erotic romance.  In her recent First Look for H&H, Tiffany Tyer declared “Like historical romance of yesteryear, there are misunderstandings and miscommunications, but in the over-the-top Tudor court, it works. And as King Henry embarks on his third marriage with Jane Seymour, the future stories should be a stellar mix of historical fiction and hot original romance.”

Western!
Wed to the Montana Cowboy by Carol Arens

From city spinster…to cowboy's bride! 

Abandoned as a young child, Rebecca Lane has always felt unlovable. Convinced she's too tall and strong-minded to find a husband, she heads West to start a new life on her grandfather's ranch. 

Lantree Walker is wary of his employer's beautiful granddaughter. But when Rebecca is threatened, the cowboy does the only thing that will keep her safe—he marries her! Lantree may have convinced his reluctant bride to take his name, but what will it take to get her into his bed? 

The heroine in Arens’ latest leaves behind Kansas City to travel west because the only man who wants her is the town butcher, and that’s because she’s hefty enough to haul around sides of beef!  RT Book Reviews says that the author “tackles the petite-and-perfect heroine stereotype with humor and sensitivity….”

Twice a Texas Bride by Linda Broday

Twice a Texas Bride by Linda Broday

Left with emotional scars from his time in an orphanage, Rand Sinclair has vowed never to marry. But when he discovers Callie Quinn and a small orphan boy hiding on his ranch, he can't help but open his home to the desperate runaways.

Callie has been betrayed by every man she's ever known. While she's grateful for Rand's incredible kindness, she knows it's only a matter of time before he shows his true colors. But she needs this safe haven-maybe the outlaw on her trail won't find them here. Yet as Rand slowly uncovers her secret fears, they each come to realize that the only way to keep her safe is for Rand to risk everything to offer her the protection of his name...and his heart.

This second book in the author’s Bachelors of Battle Creek series received a starred review from Booklist who declared, “Broday's novel tugs at readers' heartstrings while keeping them on the edge of their seats in suspense. Those who enjoy historical western romances by such authors as Kaki Warner and Maggie Osborne will also be captivated by this riveting tale of the Old West…”

The Reluctant Hero by Lorraine Heath

What She Needs . . .

Texas in the 1880s is a wild and lawless land, where a woman fending for herself is a rare breed. Andrea Jackson is just that. A woman who went against the grain by writing bestselling novels instead of marrying and staying at home. But with her muse, and her money dried up, she’s in desperate need of a hero. And Sheriff Matthew Knight has just the right material.

Only He Can Give . . .

Matthew doesn’t know what to make of the sassy, bright-eyed, temptress who insists on following him around. He’s nobody’s hero, and he doesn’t believe in fairy tales. What he is, is a man. With a man’s needs. And there’s something about the feisty, determined, vixen, he just can’t seem to shake...

This novella was originally published in 2006 as part of Kensington’s My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys anthology and is now available as a stand-alone digital release.  I normally concentrate on first-run titles for these posts, but this novella is too good to not highlight.  Heath explores our notion of heroes and the phenomenon of “hero-worship” so ably in this tale that it knocked the wind right out of me when I read it several years back.  I looked up my review from 2010 and the closing sentences say it all: “Someone asked me on Twitter the other day what makes a good short story? Yeah, this one. That's all you need to know.”

Who Needs A Title?
The Likelihood of Lucy by Jenny Holiday

She would never bow to any man… London, 1815

Trevor Bailey is on the cusp of opening the greatest hotel in London. His days as a gutter snipe are behind him, as he enjoys a life of wealth, society, and clandestine assignments as a spy in the service of the Crown. Until one tumultuous night churns up the past he’d long left behind…

Turned out by her employer for her radical beliefs, Lucy Greenleaf reaches out to the man who was once her most beloved friend. She never expected that the once-mischievous Trevor would be so handsome and gentleman-like and neither can deny the instant attraction.

But Lucy’s reformer ways pose a threat to the hotel’s future and his duties as a spy. Now Trevor must choose between his new life and the woman he’s always loved…

Also writing contemporary romances for Entangled Indulgence, this is the author’s second book in her historical Regency Reformers series.  Regency spies are a plentiful bunch, but a self-made hero and a bluestocking heroine?  That’s impossible for me to resist.

Angel of the Somme by Terri Meeker

World War I!
Angel of the Somme by Terri Meeker

There’s a fine line between courage and insanity…and he flings himself over it.

The Great War, Book 1

Captain Sam Dwight never thought his pre-war vow to “make a difference for good in the world” would come back to haunt him. After suffering a grievous head wound in battle, he awakens in a field hospital, barely able to utter a word.

How fast would his beautiful, determined nurse call for a straitjacket if she knew that every time a bright light flickers in his eyes, he is transported back to the trenches, reaching out to heal a wounded soldier in a flash of dazzling light?

Lily Curtis has seen many a soldier racked with guilt, but she’s never seen one will himself to induce life-threatening seizures. She fears that next time, her hands won’t be quick enough to save her handsome, apparently suicidal charge.

As rumors of an ethereal battlefield specter reach the ward, Sam becomes convinced that his front line mercy missions are real. But with each trip, he spins the roulette wheel with his own life while Lily’s love and the lives of those at the hospital hang in the balance.

I normally do not feature historicals with paranormal elements in these posts, but the World War I setting is too unique to not warrant a mention. H&H blogger Jane Kriel also featured this title in her March Paranormal Best Bets column saying, “Writing a richly textured historical novel is a challenge, but Meeker knows what she’s doing and this one instantly transports you to the European battlefields of World War I.”

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

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Learn more about the books mentioned: 

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist  
Rake Most Likely to Rebel by Bronwyn Scott  
A Kiss for a Highlander by Jane Godman  
Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt  
An Inconvenient Mistress by Caroline Kimberly  
Whispers at Court by Blythe Gifford  
Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss  
Wed to the Montana Cowboy by Carol Arens  
Twice a Texas Bride by Linda Broday  
The Reluctant Hero by Lorraine Heath  
The Likelihood of Lucy by Jenny Holiday  
Angel of the Somme by Terri Meeker  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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