May 18 2016 11:00am

May Days: Not-Your-Usual Historical Best Bets for May 2016

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Spring is finally here and with it a new crop of not-your-usual historicals to entice romance readers.  This month’s offerings include new books by two bestselling romance superstars, a historical western fan favorite, and shiver me timbers, pirates!

Self-Made Hero!

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Winterborne

I pretty much spent the entire second half of Cold-Hearted Rake pining to get my grubby little hands on Marrying Winterborne.  A department store owning hero and a reserved heroine who likes to raise orchids.  Shut up and take my money.

Space Race!

Earth Bound by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner

Houston, Texas, 1961

The race to the moon is on, and engineer Eugene Parsons has two enemies: danger and distraction. Nothing is more distracting than his attraction to the brilliant, beautiful computer scientist on his team, but he’s determined to overcome it since he needs her to help America win.

Charlie Eason is used to men underestimating her. It comes with being a woman in engineering, but it’s worth it to join the space race—even if she can’t figure out what’s behind the intense looks one tightly wound engineer keeps sending her. But life isn’t as unemotional or predictable as code, and things soon boil over with the intriguingly demanding Parsons.

With every launch, their secret affair grows thornier. The lines between work and play tangle even as Parsons and Charlie try to keep them separate. But when a mission goes wrong, they’ll have to put aside their pride for the greater good—and discover that matters of the heart have a logic all their own.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 1961 isn’t present day—so yes, it’s “historical.”  This is the third book in the authors’ Fly Me to the Moon series set during the Space Race.  A heroine who is a computer scientist?  I couldn’t one-click this one fast enough!


The Devil You Know by Jo Goodman


After a horse drags him through the countryside, Israel McKenna awakes bruised and battered in a field in Pancake Valley, Colorado. He can recall where he came from and where he was going, but the memory of how he came to be on the Pancake homestead eludes him. He’s certain he did something wrong to deserve such a harsh punishment—and so is the beautiful woman who reluctantly comes to his aid.


Wilhelmina “Willa” Pancake must focus on running her family’s ranch. With Israel’s hazy memory, she is unsure if she can trust him, let alone handle the budding attraction between them. And as men fight to steal her land and the truth about Israel’s past rides toward them, love is a risk she cannot easily take.

One day you’re working yourself to distraction to keep your ranch running, the next you find an amnesiac man in one of your fields.  Isn’t that always the way?  This is Goodman’s follow-up to last year’s well-received This Gun for Hire.


Within a Captain’s Treasure by Lisa A. Olech

Within a Captain’s Treasure by Lisa A. Olech

This pirate’s latest prize may be love…

With a single pistol shot and the swing of a cutlass, Alice Tupper saves her mistress’s life. But no lady’s maid in polite society has ever killed a duke—at least, not on purpose. So Alice sets sail for America and her new destiny—only to find herself battling pirates on the high seas. Aboard her rescue ship, The Scarlet Night, she is hailed a hero and earns her place among the crew…as well as the ire of Captain Gavin Quinn.

Gavin chose this pirate’s life, but he knows it’s no place for a woman, especially one as exasperating—and beautiful—as Alice. Despite his desire for her, Gavin is determined to do the right thing and deliver her to the new world. But Alice’s deepest wish is a life by Gavin’s side. Will his heart overrule his sense, and will he risk everything to pursue his greatest treasure of all?

Olech is a born creative type, not only writing but also an artist who paints murals and works in stained glass.  This is the second book in her Captains of the Scarlet Night series for Kensington Lyrical, with the third book due out in October 2016.


The Jacobite’s Return by Jane Godman

Their love never died…but now they must fight to get it back.

The Georgian Rebel Series, Book 3

Before he rode off to the cataclysmic battle of Culloden, rebel Lord Jack Lindsey swore he would return to make Rosie Delacourt his bride. Instead, Rosie’s heart was broken by the news of his death on the field. Her burden of heartbreak only grew as she was blackmailed into marrying Sir Clive and mourned her father’s mysterious death.

By the time Jack emerges from a coma, retrieves his memory and returns home with a royal pardon in hand, it’s two years too late. Rosie belongs to his sworn enemy. Yet her cool, indifferent façade doesn’t fool him. This pale shadow of the woman he knew is suffering, arousing his chivalrous instincts.

When Sir Clive shows his true colors, danger throws Jack and Rosie together, reigniting the passion they once shared—and revealing the devastating secret she has tried so desperately to protect.

Godman is spending 2016 feverishly working at her keyboard.  She’s penned a three-book contract with Harlequin Romantic Suspense and has inked a deal with St. Martin’s SMP Swerve line for a six-book paranormal series due out in 2017.  For historical fans, this is the third book in her Georgian Rebel series.

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.


Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.


Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

Hoyt is back for this tenth adventure in the Maiden Lane series.  Val has been a bit of a bad boy in previous books in the series, so this entry is hotly anticipated by series fans.

SEE ALSO: First Look review of Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt


The Highland Laird’s Bride by Nicole Locke

The Highland Laird’s Bride by Nicole Locke

At the gates of a Scottish keep… 

Lioslath of Clan Fergusson has defended her clan and her orphaned siblings against countless enemies. So when Laird Colquhoun, the man responsible for the death of her father, arrives at the gates of her crumbling keep, she'll fight him all the way! 

It's soon clear Bram's famed tactics of seduction and negotiation won't work on this guarded, beautiful woman. But when the sparks between them turn to passion, and they're forced to wed, Bram must do whatever it takes to win over his new bride… 

A hero who wants to atone for his past and a heroine who wants him dead.  Just another day in Medieval Romance Land!  Her third release in a little over a year, this is also Locke’s third book in her Lovers and Legends series for Harlequin Historical.

The Ghost by Monica McCarty

Joan Comyn swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce the day she witnessed England’s barbarous king torturing her famous mother, Scot patriot Bella MacDuff. Now the mysterious beauty slips into men’s hearts like a specter and entices England’s most illustrious barons to unwittingly divulge their secrets, then shares them with her king. Known only as the Ghost even among her Highland Guard brethren, Joan has become the most wanted traitor in England.

The man determined to uncover her identity poses her biggest threat yet. Alex Seton once stood with Bruce but now fights for the enemy. Though Joan knows she must avoid the handsome warrior or risk discovery, his knightly chivalry touches a place in her long since buried. When his suspicions grow apparent, Joan realizes she must do everything in her power to stop Alex from revealing her mission and convince the powerful fighter to join forces with the Highland Guard once more. But as the ultimate battle in the great war approaches, will Alex choose love or honor?

Described as “Special Ops in kilts,” this is the 12th and final (!) book in McCarty’s bestselling Highland Guard series.  No word on what she’s working on next, but I bet it involves a celebratory cocktail of some sort!

What not-your-usual historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas  
Earth Bound by Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner  
The Devil You Know by Jo Goodman  
Within a Captain’s Treasure by Lisa A. Olech  
The Jacobite’s Return by Jane Godman  
Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt  
The Highland Laird’s Bride by Nicole Locke  
The Ghost by Monica McCarty  










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


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1 comment
1. Kareni
Thanks for a fun post! The first three titles you featured are all on my want to read list.
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