Oct 22 2015 4:00pm

Plenty of Treats, No Tricks: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for October 2015

Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner

Historical romance is a lot like trick or treating–you never know what you’re going to get.  You can lurch around one neighborhood in your homemade zombie costume and come up with nothing but mini-boxes of raisins (if Dickens had written “A Halloween Carol,” Scrooge would have given out raisins—yuck!).  However, when you venture two blocks over you discover a wonderland of full-size Snickers bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups.  This month’s offering of not-your-usual historicals is a lot like the latter—there’s a little bit of everything and it all looks tasty!


Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner

Houston, 1962
Anne-Marie Smith wanted normal: a loving husband, two beautiful kids, and a well-kept house. But when she catches her husband cheating, she decides that normal isn’t worth it. Now in a new city with a new job, she’s trying to find her new normal—but she knows it doesn’t include the sexy playboy astronaut next door.

Commander Kit Campbell has a taste for fast: fast cars, fast planes, and even faster women. But no ride he’s ever taken will be as fast as the one he’s taking into orbit. He’s willing to put up with the prying adoration of an entire country if it will get him into space.

But Anne-Marie and Kit’s inconvenient attraction threatens both normal and fast. As the space race heats up, his ambitions and their connection collide and combustion threatens their plans… and their hearts.

When was the last time you read a romance novel set during the Space Race?  Yeah, never.  Barry and Turner partnered up for this self-published endeavor, inspired by their mutual love of early space history. They thought, there’s been books, movies, even TV shows–so why not a romance novel? Why not indeed.


Ella by Virginia Taylor

Ella Beaufort knew better than to rely on a sexy stranger. But with two sisters to support on the modest earnings of the family sheep station, she accepts shearer Cal Lynton’s help—along with his intoxicating kiss. The most Ella can hope for is an affair. Something a woman in her situation wouldn’t dare—or would she?

Heir to his family fortune, Charlton Alfred Landon Lynton abandoned his privileged life to prove his independence. He doesn’t have time for a woman, but once he woos the lovely Ella into his bed, he is ready to make her his wife…until she shocks him with her refusal, claiming she can only marry a rich man! Angry and brokenhearted, the heir in disguise leaves the beautiful golddigger behind…

But amid the breathtaking landscape of South Australian, Ella and Cal are destined to meet again. Will their heated reunion lead to cruel confrontation—or the kind of passion that lasts a lifetime?

Set in 1860s South Australia, this is the second book in the author’s Southlander’s series.  Australian author Taylor also writes romantic comedies and romantic suspense.

Below Stairs!

His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

'Tis the season for mischief! 

Accidentally colliding with Tess Ellery on the icy streets of Ghent is definitely not how resolute bachelor Alexander Tempest, Viscount Weybourn, intended to start the festive period. He may have mistaken her for a nun, but there's nothing innocent about his reaction to Tess's delicious curves… 

When Tess is left stranded, Alex is honor-bound to take her home…as his housekeeper! And despite his long-held rule of spending Christmas alone, Tess's vivacity soon has this brooding lord determined to make all her Christmas wishes come true!

This is the first in a series from the prolific Allen about four friends who, in their youth, were known as “the Lords of Disgrace.”  Fans of holiday romances are in for an added bonus, as not only is this a holiday tale, but so is the second book, due out in November, His Christmas Countess.

The Demure Miss Manning by Amanda McCabe


The Demure Miss Manning by Amanda McCabe

Adventures of an English debutante 

The perfect diplomat's daughter, Mary Manning spent her young life following her father around the world, behaving in the most agreeable way. So stealing a kiss from military hero Sebastian Barrett was most out of character, and a mistake she'll never make again! 

A mission to Brazil seems the perfect way to escape his tempting emerald eyes. But when he, too, arrives upon the sultry sands of Rio, Mary realizes there's no running from the perfectly wicked way Sebastian makes her feel…

McCabe is no stranger to setting many of her historical romances in interesting locales and this time out she chooses beautiful, tropical Brazil.  She was inspired to write it during a long, cold, winter after learning more about when the Portuguese court, just days ahead of Napoleon’s army, fled to Brazil under the protection of the British Navy.


Duchess Decadence by Wendy LaCapra

Thea Worthington, Duchess of Wynchester divides her time between social engagements and playing her luck against fickle fortune. Yet every gamble is only a bluff-a means to hide from the pain deep within her, and the loss of a babe she never held in her arms. Now Thea’s luck is about to run out. Her estranged husband has returned and seeks a reunion…

Plagued with guilt over what happened to his wife three years ago, the Duke of Wynchester has kept his distance. The duke is resolved to piece his family back together, especially now that he’s discovered his beloved brother-long thought dead-still lives. But Thea’s lovely, porcelain facade is on the verge of cracking…spurred on by the duke’s brother’s secretive, malevolent animosity.

With everything riding on her future, Thea plays a daring game of chance for love and her marriage…and this time, the dice are most certainly rigged.

This is the third and final book in The Furies series and looks to wrap up the overarching mystery about the identity of the mysterious Kasai.  After reading H&H blogger TanyaLK's First Look for the second book, Lady Scandal, you can rest assured that she is one of many readers anxiously awaiting this conclusion.

Law & Order!

Tall, Dark & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

Most women will give him anything he wants. She is not most women… 

As a well-known barrister and the son of a duke, Ives confines his passionate impulses to discreet affairs with worldly mistresses. A twist of fate, however, has him looking for a new lover right when a fascinating woman shows up in his chambers, asking him to help save her father from the gallows. Unfortunately, he has already been asked to serve as the prosecutor in the case, but that only ensures close encounters with the rarity named Padua Belvoir. And every encounter increases his desire to tutor her in pleasure’s wicked ways...

Having always been too tall, too willful, and too smart to appeal to men, Padua Belvoir is shocked when Ives shows interest in her. Knowing his penchant for helping the wrongly accused, she had initially thought he might be her father’s best hope for salvation. Instead, he is her worst adversary—not least because every time he looks at her, she is tempted to give him anything he wants…

This second book in the author’s Wicked trilogy received an RT Book Reviews Top Pick! and a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly – the latter stating that, “Padua’s mathematical logic meshes with Ives’s legal smarts; their mutual passion has as much to do with brains as body. Refreshingly, the lovers banter without barbs.”

Rural Americana!

Spirit of the Valley by Jane Shoup

In Virginia, 1883, some things you can run from. . . some you have to fight.

Pauline Ray is on the run, and she won't get far. With thirty-four dollars, two small children to feed, the cold coming in fast, she has no idea how she'll hide her tracks from her monster of a husband, let alone support her family. But Pauline is done with convention, and with nothing from her old life worth preserving, not even her name, she's free to become a whole new person.

All she has to do is singlehandedly turn a run-down homestead into the haven she and her children need, in a town full of wagging tongues and watchful eyes. But one man is watching her with more than judgment. Pauline would never have considered his scandalous proposal in her days as an obedient, suffering wife and daughter. But “Lizzie” might dare to accept him—his love, his work, and his secrets—and wrest her story toward a happily ever after all her own. . .

Publisher’s Weekly states that the author’s second Green Valley story “addresses domestic violence with care and sensitivity” and that “…the real draw is timid Pauline’s complete metamorphosis into Lizzie, who is strong, courageous, and in love for the first time.” 

One Forbidden Knight by Nicola Davidson


One Forbidden Knight by Nicola Davidson

An unexpected seduction…

Catherine Linwood is amongst the favored of Tudor Queen Mary-until her physician father dies mysteriously. She’s distraught, shunned and desperate for answers. Catherine’s only ally is Sir Brandon FitzAlan… who is willing to risk his life to protect hers. While the handsome stranger’s courage and wit soon capture her heart, his true allegiance and purpose is uncertain.

Brand is well used to the lies and shadows of court. Yet nothing prepares him for his sizzling attraction to innocent Catherine, or the deadly plot she is tangled in, for her father took a secret to his grave that could tear Catholic England apart. With one chance at salvation, Brand and Catherine begin a cross-country journey that reveals the shocking truth… and a burning passion that could save or destroy them both.

Davidson is a New Zealand writer who writes sexy historicals set during the Tudor and Regency periods.  This novella is her second Tudor tale for Entangled Scandalous.


Smoke River Family by Lynna Banning

A baby to bring them together… 

When Dr. Zane Dougherty swept Winifred Von Dannen's sister off to Smoke River, Winifred was resentful, but now she wants to be part of her late sister's baby's life. That means dealing with Zane and the shadows of loneliness—and incredible hunger—she sees in his eyes. 

Zane knows he and his infant daughter are truly blessed. But he wants more. He wants Winifred! Is there a way he can mend this broken family and care for them forever?

Banning also writes medievals, but is likely best known for her westerns from Harlequin Historical.  Here she returns to Smoke River, first seen in 2013’s, Smoke River Bride.


Learn more about the books mentioned in this post: 

Star Dust by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner  
Ella by Virginia Taylor  
His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish by Louise Allen  
The Demure Miss Manning by Amanda McCabe  
Duchess Decadence by Wendy LaCapra  
Tall, Dark & Wicked by Madeline Hunter  
Spirit of the Valley by Jane Shoup  
One Forbidden Knight by Nicola Davidson  
Smoke River Family by Lynna Banning  












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Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
Lots of enticing choices! Star Dust sounds particularly intriguing.
2. lauralee1912
Tall Dark and Wicked is another good one by Madeline Hunter! And I've been waiting for the Duchess Decadence and hope to read it this weekend.
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