May 25 2017 8:30am

5 Unusual Historical Best Bets for May 2017

What sort of “not-your-usual historical” are you looking for this month? 

May is the month when the flowers are in bloom, the bees are buzzing, the kids are counting down the days until school’s out for summer and we’re digging our cute strappy sandals out from the back of our closets.  It also means a blooming crop of not-your-usual historical romance!  This month features fan favorite authors in different settings, a heroine of dubious reputation, and two marriages of convenience.

1930s Hollywood!

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Quick’s latest is enjoying praise from numerous quarters.  Library Journal calls it “an adventurous romp,” Publisher’s Weekly says it “sparkles with wit and clever plotting,” and Booklist gave it a starred review. H&H’s own Cheryl Sneed was “engrossed with the setting” and “happily seduced.”

Shady Lady!

From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh

From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh

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Years ago, the Duke of Greyland gave his heart—and a princely sum of money—to a charming, destitute widow with unparalleled beauty. But after one passionate night, she slipped from his bed and vanished without a trace. And just when he’s given up hope of ever seeing her again, Greyland finds her managing a gaming hell. He’s desperate to have her… until he discovers everything about his long-lost lover was a lie.

In truth, Cassandra Blake grew up on the streets, picking pockets to survive. Greyland was a mark—to be fleeced and forgotten—but her feelings for the duke became all too real. Once he learns of her deception, however, the heat in his eyes turns to ice. When her business partner absconds with the gaming hell proceeds—leaving unsavory investors out for blood—Cassandra must beg the man she betrayed for help.

Greyland wants compensation, too, and he’ll assist her under one condition: she doesn’t leave his sight until her debts are paid. But it’s not long before the real Cassandra—the smart, streetwise criminal—is stealing his heart all over again. 

Leigh kicks off her new London Underground series with a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, who calls this first book “magnificent” and “a fast-paced and seductive treasure.”


The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

While you were sleeping...

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He's unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier's life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie...

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he's more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out three months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he'd always assumed he'd marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true...

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

This got a starred review from Booklist who said, “Quinn keeps things fresh by switching up her customary English setting with that of Revolutionary-era Manhattan while at the same time retaining the abundance of dry wit and swoonworthy romance for which she is best known and loved.” 


Rumors at Court by Blythe Gifford

Rumors at Court by Blythe Gifford

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Wed by royal command! 

Widow Valerie of Florham wants nothing more than to forget her abusive marriage and live peacefully at the mercy of no man. She'd never have dreamed of a liaison with handsome Sir Gil Wolford, but then comes a royal decree—they must wed! 

Gil craves military conquest in Castile, far from his haunted past. Marriage to Lady Valerie is the last thing he should want, yet both have truths to hide from the rumormongers at court. They have no choice…and, once wed, the marriage bed changes everything!

Gifford writes wonderfully textured medieval romances that never bog down in historical minutia.  This is the third book in her a Royal Wedding series for Harlequin Historical and All About Romance calls it “…tender, thoughtfully written and ultimately rewarding,” giving it a B grade.


The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday

The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend's world. He swore he'd never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he's never met-a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.

All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband-or any man-after the heartache she's endured. Yet when her troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride...and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs.

This second book in her Lone Star Ranch series has won Broday praise from Publisher’s Weekly, who gave it a starred review and said, “The exciting plot, rich setting, and superb writing will delight fans of historical romances.”


H&H Editor Picks:

Join the H&H E-Book of the Month Club!

Unusual Historical Best Bets for April 2017

9 Romances H&H Reviewers Loved in April 2017

May 2017 Romance New Releases







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
Some fun choices here! I'm looking forward to reading the new Julia Quinn book.
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