Review for Catch A Falling Heiress (An American Heiress In London #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke

Catch A Falling Heiress by Laura Lee Guhrke

TITLE: Catch A Falling Heiress
SERIES: An American Heiress In London #3
AUTHOR: Laura Lee Guhrke
PUBLICATION DATE: January 27, 2015
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Linnet Holland’s life has finally worked out the way she wanted. The man she has always fancied has finally taken notice. He takes her to the gardens to propose and that magical moment is interrupted by Jack Featherstone. The infernal man not only ruins the proposal and strikes her beloved, but he then has the audacity to kiss her right in front of her mother and as well as the biggest gossip in town. Her reputation is thoroughly ruined but she refuses to marry this man. She cannot marry a fortune hunter, she won’t and nothing her family can say will change her mind. Jack knows he messed up by kissing her. He knows that it was the wrong move. He also knows that her Frederick Van Hausen, her “beloved” is not the man she believes him to be. He is the villain in all stories and he refuses to let another women fall victim to him. Now, he’s determined to make it right. He will change Linnet’s opinion of him and make her agree to the marriage if it is the last thing he does. Can Linnet let go of her first impressions enough to realize that Jack might just be the right person for her or is she doomed to suffer the effects of a ruined reputation?

I both loved and hated Linnet. I love her and her strength and determination, but how she adamantly refuses Jack when the audience knows that Jack is actually a good guy was infuriating. I like Jack and I want her to like him. Her reasons are solid and you cannot fault her logic. She wants to marry someone American. She doesn’t want a English fortune hunter who will look down on her for the rest of her life and she has finally escaped that future only to be dragged back at the last possible second. She’s angry and frustrated and I wanted to hug her and give her her heart’s desire. But, at the same time, what she wants isn’t what’s best for her. What she wants would be incredibly bad and would not turn out as she imagines. And Jack’s refusal to explain himself just makes everything worse. Even when she finds herself liking him against her will, she jumps back to the “he just wants me for my money” argument and all is lost once again.

Speaking of Jack, I just love him. I think I have a thing for historical romance heroes in general because they all make me feel rather swoon-worthy, but Jack was perfect. He’s in a tough situation, as all romance heroes are. He has a high sense of honor and integrity and he’s fiercely loyal. Then there is the whole his a handsome gentleman and behaves as such. I also think part of my love for him stems from his loyalty to his friends. He’s that guy that you’d run to at 3 AM with a dead body and he’d come no questions asked with a tarp and tons of colorox to clean the mess (or the Regency equivalent of that). Watching him try to win Linnet over despite her determination to hate him just and me falling for him more. Guhrke really knows how to write a swoon-worthy male. I seriously can’t think of a single novel she’s written where I didn’t love the hero.

Speaking of Guhrke’s writing, she has me spoiled. Between her and Julia Quinn, I’m pretty much ruined for all other historical romances. I’m so used to their level of awesome that I just can’t tolerate any less. In fact, I’ve gotten where they are the only ones I read from this genre! I think I’m scared that I’ll come across another bad one or be disappointed by an author that normally does a great job. Laura, though, is a master of her craft and I’m always anxious to grab her latest book. She manages to give you exactly what you want when you want it. Or better yet, exactly what you didn’t realize you wanted when you wanted it. The whole house-party set up in this novel is perfect. It’s riveting, how Jack is going to make his case and get Linnet to fall for him. There is no if. This is romance, after all, and we know it’s going to happen, we just don’t know how. That’s the beauty of romance. You are guaranteed a happily ever after, so you don’t have to stress over that, just over how the hell these two are going to work out their problems. And it’s a magical thing to watch. If only real life was that awesome. Le Sigh.

Anyway, what is there really to say here? Laura Lee Guhrke never fails to impress me. You’d think that after so many books, it would become more difficult to write an original feeling story, but she awesome has a tale that feels brand new. It’s always written with heart and charm and wit. It always leaves me smiling. This is no exception to that rule. It’s funny and sweet and heart-warming and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the next one!

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4) by Julia Quinn

The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

TITLE: The Secrets Of Sir Richard Kenworthy
SERIES: Smythe-Smith Quartet #4
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn
PUBLICATION DATE: January 27, 2015
PAGES: 384 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Sir Richard Kenworthy must find a wife and he must do so quickly. This fact limits his options severely. Anyone who agrees to be wed within only a week or two of acquaintance is probably not going to be what he originally wanted in a wife, but there is nothing to be done about it. He needs a bride. Then he comes across Iris Smythe-Smith at her families musical and thinks maybe she’ll fit the bill rather nicely. She’s intelligent and values family and not difficult to look at or hold a conversation with. Iris has always been overlooked. Her pale coloring and quiet nature makes it easy to blend in with the background. What most people don’t realize is that behind that quiet facade lies a quick wit and more intellect than the average society male can imagine a female to have. So when Sir Richard Kenworthy starts flirting with her and acting as a man falling in love, she wonders how true it is. Then a compromising position forces her hand and she can’t help but wonder if he is hiding something. Is Sir Richard Kenworthy keeping secrets from his new bride or is Iris being paranoid? You’ll have to read to find out!

I must say that “overjoyed” does not even begin to describe my feelings for when I got approved for this. I think I went a bit happiness crazy.
Toothless excited gif
Julia Quinn is one of my all time favorite authors. I love all of her work. I think if you read my The Sum Of All Kisses review, you know that I more than a little fangirl-y over her work. Hell, my username on many a website is JuliaQuinnFan07! If I had to limit myself to only reading books by one author for the rest of my life, it would be her. That’s how much of a fangirl I am. Her work never disappoints me. So, as you can imagine, when I got approved for this, I went a little crazy. I was literally bouncing for joy because I knew it would be awesome….and I wasn’t wrong. Enough fangirling though, let’s get on with the review!

Iris was a character I immediately loved. She’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s perfectly sarcastic. Basically, she’s everything you could want in a historical romance heroine. She’s accepted her lot in life. She knows she’ll never be the belle of the ball, but she’s content with that. She actually likes being a wallflower because it gives her a chance to observe the people around her. This is one of her favorite past-times, just watching people. Seeing them interact with each other is utterly fascinating to her. Her quiet wit and biting sarcasm had me smirking the entire novel and is what really won Richard over.

Speaking of Richard, I liked him pretty quickly. He’s so entirely devoted to his family that it’s hard not to love him. He may go about solving it the wrong way, but he is determined to help his family, whether they want it or not. I can both understand him and hate him at the same time. By the time his secret was revealed, I knew what it was, but I didn’t catch on until just moments before. Up until that point, he was charming and sweet and it was difficult not to fall for him even though you knew he was hiding something big. After the doozy, it was still hard not to fall for him. You couldn’t argue with his logic. It made perfect sense and it was heart-breaking to watch. All he wants to do is help and to him, this crazy option, is the only option. He sees no other path. What he wants, what he expects Iris to do, is insane. And yet, he goes about it in such a way that you just want to hug him.

This story has quite a bit more mystery than I’m used to in historical romance. JQ keeps us on the end of our seats trying to figure out what Richard is hiding. We know that it’s bad because he is sure that Iris will never forgive him for it. I’ll admit that I had many theories floating around my head and the one that ended up being right was not the one I was expecting. But the closer you get to finding out, the more I didn’t want to know. I wanted Richard and Iris to live happily ever after. That needed to happen and I began to believe Richard’s side, that Iris would never forgive him. It was a heart-breaking ride, one that does end happily, for all those who will wonder. JQ wouldn’t do any less than a happily ever after.

This is exactly what I look for in a historical romance novel. Julia Quinn is the standard I hold all others in the genre up to and this novel is a prime example of why. She does it all flawlessly. She gives us the perfect story, the one that has just the right amount of conflict to keep it moving and still manages to pull together a believable happily ever after. We always get lovable characters and enough wit and repartee to keep up snorting with laughter (even while reading in public). You get it all and you don’t have to compromise on anything. This novel is perfection and any historical romance fan (or just romance fan in general) will love it as much as I did!

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for The Sum Of All Kisses (Smythe-Smith Quartet #3) by Julia Quinn

The Sum Of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

TITLE: The Sum Of All Kisses
SERIES: Smythe-Smith Quartet #3
AUTHOR: Julia Quinn
PUBLICATION DATE: October 29, 2013
PAGES: 373 pages
SOURCE: Gift from my husband
RATING: 5 bows

Lady Sarah Pleinsworth will always hate Hugh Prentice. He has never done anything to her directly but his actions caused her beloved cousin Daniel to be exiled from England for several years. Now that Hugh has fixed that and Daniel is home at last, everyone wants to forgive and forget. Not Sarah, though. Sarah isn’t the forgive and forget type. Sarah is determined to hate him for all eternity. So when Honoria assigns Sarah to make Hugh feel welcome at the weddings, she’s beyond irritated. Doesn’t Honoria know she hates this man? Forced to make nice, she makes it known to Hugh that she doesn’t not enjoy this arrangement, but will suffer through it because Honoria asked it of her. The more time she spends with him, though, the more she realizes that maybe she doesn’t hate him after all. For his part, Hugh is just as irritated at Lady Sarah. She’s loud and dramatic and down right annoying. But the more time he spends in her company, the more he comes to appreciate her hidden wit and think that maybe she isn’t as bad as he originally thought. Are these two destined for all head over heels, or will they soon learn that all of their original impressions were spot-on?

Sarah is a character I could clearly understand Hugh’s irritation at. She is, in fact, very dramatic. It’s even more annoying because she doesn’t seem to realize that she’s dramatic. She’s also highly opinionated. I can relate to her more than I’d like because I’m also very opinionated. Hopefully I’m less dramatic because I tend to hate drama, but I’ll never see myself through someone else’s eyes, so I guess I’ll never know! But back to Sarah. I admire how loyal she is to her family. The Smythe-Smith brood is intimidatingly large, so it’s no wonder she always has someone hanging about. It must be nice to have such a close-knit family. I must admit that I love her sisters. All of them, but especially Harriet and Frances. They are so terribly darling that I cannot express my love completely. It was so very much fun to watch Sarah discover more about herself. The realization that she is indeed dramatic was a priceless moment.

Hugh was someone I loved immediately. I must confess that I swoon easily for the heroes of historical romances. They are always so dashing, with just the right amount of rakish-ness. Hugh is no exception to that, but he’s a bit different than your average HR male. He’s handsome and charming and witty, as you’d expect, but he’s also went threw a great deal with his leg and then with convincing his father to allow Daniel to live his life in England unscathed. The length he went to to assure that would happen is astounding. You want to both congratulate him on his genius and slap him for being an imbecile. His penchant for maths is astounding as well. I can’t do basic addition without a pencil and paper (or a calculator preferably), but this guy can do them in his head in a matter of seconds. He’s relationship with his father is heart-breaking. Parents are supposed to love you, period.

What can I really say about a JQ novel? She’s brilliant. My favorite thing about her collective works is the humor. She always incorporates wit and humor. Humor is very important to me. Reading is an escape that should make me happy and laughter is the best way to show that happiness. I fear she has spoiled me for all other historical romances. I go into them all expecting JQ levels of awesome and am usually disappointed. How to do you go back to loving mediocre once you’ve had perfection? Beyond my fanatic level of love for all things Julia Quinn, this is also one of my favorite types of stories. That whole I hate you, I like you, I love you dance is always entertaining to watch. It promises epic disputes, witty repartee, and the perfect sigh worthy moments.

Basically, what I’m saying is that this is a novel for everyone. As with most historical romances, even though this is the middle book of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. It might enhance the experience if you know some of the backstory, but it is by no means necessary. I think anyone who enjoys romance novels of any kind would love this. It’s everything you could want in a novel. 🙂

5 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for Only Enchanting (Survivor’s Club #4) by Mary Balogh

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

TITLE: Only Enchanting
SERIES: Survivor’s Club #4
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh
PUBLICATION DATE: October 28, 2014
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 2.5 bows

Summery from GoodReads: Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

I can’t even bring myself to come up with a decent summary for this. I just did the lazy thing and pulled the one from GoodReads, as you can see. I feel like this novel had too much going on for me to summarize it. I don’t even think the above summary is appropriate because that particular conflict doesn’t appear until very late in the novel. In fact, though-out the whole thing, I kept waiting for that particular conflict to occur and just kept waiting.
Harry Potter waiting gif

Onward to the characters! Agnes was someone I didn’t love instantly. This may be because she falls prey to instalove and that immediately made me roll my eyes at her. She seems like a smart, level-headed character and then she goes to a ball, shares 2 dances with a handsome gentleman, and dead sweet baby jesus, she’s in love.
Hocus Pocus eye roll gif
This is particularly annoying considering just before she falls so suddenly in love, she makes a mental speech about how she has no desire to do so. She finds love to be fickle and useless. I never seemed to let go of that annoyance. I never really liked her or related to her in a way that allowed me to connect with the story. She never does anything after that particularly bad, I just couldn’t forget the insta-love.

Flavian was no different. Though insta-love wasn’t an issue, I just didn’t connect with his character. He…I…
Breakfast Club shrug gif
I was indifferent to him. He didn’t inspire major swoons, but nor did he inspire major annoyance. He was just there, fulfilling his part of the story. He should get the sympathy vote because the poor man has been through a lot, but he doesn’t even get that.

I think my issue with this was the first half was incredibly slow and choppy. When my review copy of this arrived in the mail, I was very excited. I have heart great things about Mary Balogh and she is a celebrated historical romance author. The premise of the novel didn’t sound wholly original, but we all know originality isn’t what we read romance for, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then I started it and was instantly bored. I read a lot before bedtime and it’s never a good sign when a book makes me sleepy before my normal lights out period. For the first half, I struggled through. The whole thing was so abrupt. She sees him and is instantly in love. They keep meeting randomly to make out but have no real conversation and he literally marries her more or less just to be able to bed her. He admits that outright.

Then, once they are finally married, we get no smut. There is no wedding night scene, or any real smut later. This is a romance novel, smut is part of the appeal. It wasn’t even so much that it was smut-free (because I didn’t have a problem with The Baron Next Door being smut-free), it’s the moment she chooses to skip ahead. They are going at it and things are getting steamy and then….they have apparently gotten it on and finished and we get none of the glory.

After that, the plot issues originally broached in the synopsis finally arrives. Our Agnes learns that part of the reason Flavian married her was to thwart an attempt from his family to set him back up with his previous fiance. She flips shit and he grovels and fixes it. There is obviously more to it than that, but that’s the gist. Then there was his whole memory issue and the actual ex-fiance herself and I just felt a bit overwhelmed. I think that was another problem, it felt like she was trying to put 2 different stories together here, but didn’t give either of them enough room. If this book had started on page 150 or even 200, and skipped the beginning, I’d have probably loved it, but that was not to be.

So, what you need to know is that I found this disappointing. I won’t say bad because I’m sure my bias on insta-love ruined part of it for me, but it wasn’t great by a long shot. As excited as I was to finally get my hands on a Balogh novel, I can’t say I’ll go out of my way to do so again in the future. If this is what all the fuss is about, then I must say, I’m unimpressed!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

2 bowshalf a bow
Tabitha's signature

Review for Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

TITLE: Darling Beast
SERIES: Maiden Lane #7
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Hoyt
PUBLICATION DATE: October 14, 2014
PAGES: 400 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

Lily Stump is London’s best actress, or her alter-ego, Robin Goodfellow, is. However, she recently signed a contract with a new theater causing her to be blacklisted for everyone else. Then said theater burns down and she is out of work and so broke that she has no other choice than to live in the ruins of the burned theater while it’s being renovated. When her son stumbles upon a beast of a man working in the gardens, she is scared at first. After all, the man is huge and could easily harm her and her family. But there is obviously more than meets the eye and she finds herself fascinated with him. She’s right on that account. Apollo’s life is beyond complicated. In fact, he is currently hiding in this garden and working as a simpleton because he is on the run from the law. He escaped Bedlam several months ago, after being sentenced for murders he did not commit. He knows he needs to stay far away from Lily, despite how alluring she is, because fraternizing with her can only lead to trouble. Can the two fight their desires or will they find a way to make it work?

Lily is a bit of an oddity for a historical romance novel heroine. Normally, we get the innocent debutante or spinster. Sometimes we even get the widower whose husband was a dismal lover that never managed to please her. Lily is none of those things. Lily is an actress. For those of you who read historical romances, you know that actresses exist outside of normal society limits and are much more promiscuous. Lily is not the shy virgin. Lily does not lack the knowledge a maiden would. That was very refreshing. From the moment she lays eyes on Appollo, she knows exactly what it is she is feeling and what it means she wants. Not fumbling or explanation necessary. I really enjoyed her character. I liked how down to Earth she seemed and her constant worry over Indio, her son. She’s strong and smart, with enough witty banter to write plays of her own (under an assumed name, naturally). She’s quite the perfect heroine for this tale.

Apollo was also a bit different. For starters, he’s mute for a good bit of the novel. Trauma in Bedlam cause him to lose his voice and it was interesting how much conversation you can get through with just facial expressions. Beyond his inability to speak, it was great watching an aristocrat who thoroughly enjoys manual labor. He works so hard on this garden and even though he’s on the run, he still manages to find a job that he loves. I’m fascinated by that. I can’t do plants. I have had a singular plant in my life and it died rather quickly. I over water or under water or don’t give it enough sun or too much sun or SOMETHING. I just don’t understand them. Beyond that, it’s just obvious that he is intelligent and innocent and I just wanted to see him get justice and his name cleared. I’m not usually a sucker for the strong silent type, I tend to lean towards the slim chatty boy next door, but somehow Apollo still stole my heart.

Plotwise is where I had my issue. It was very entertaining and well thought out and explained, but the tale end of it just felt a bit rushed. You find out all the twists and then the novel is over. You don’t get a grace period to really absorb the ending, it’s just done. Hope you enjoyed it! The thing is, I did enjoy it, and that means I want more. It means I want a bit more falling action. It means I want to see my character enjoy their happy ending just a bit before the curtains close.

What I loved about it was….well, everything else. I loved the characters and how down-to-earth they were. Even though Apollo is an aristocrat by birth, circumstances have taken the snooty attitude out of the equation. If you didn’t know better, you’d never assume he was more than a skilled gardener. I loved that Lily wasn’t just boxed into a standard HR heroine role. Hoyt gives us something a little more out there and a little more controversial than just that. And then there is Indio, who should come off as an annoying kid, but is totally endearing. That little boy stole my heart before Apollo even had the chance.

Beyond the little blip, though, this was pretty great. I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Hoyt before, but I’m definitely planning on reading more by her in the future. Her writing is witty, the banter is hilarious, and she gives you just enough drama to keep you guessing. In a romance, it’s given that the main duo are going to end up together, but it’s nice to get a bit of that will-they-or-won’t-they thing going. It makes it even harder to put down….even when it’s really late at night and you’re eyes are literally falling down between paragraphs because you’re so tired. That’s what you get here, a compelling read that keeps you desperate for just one more chapter!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a physical copy in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for The Baron Next Door (Prelude To A Kiss #1) by Erin Knightley

The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley

TITLE: The Baron Next Door
SERIES: Prelude To A Kiss #1
AUTHOR: Erin Knightley
PUBLICATION DATE: September 30, 2014
PAGES: 337 pages
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

Charity Effington wants nothing more than to hide in Bath and play her music for a few months. After breaking off her betrothal with a man she didn’t love, the ton hasn’t let her alone. Now that the season is over, she is hoping to avoid them all. Hugh Danby, Lord Cadgwith, is hoping some time taking the waters in at Bath will help ease his pain and rid him of his debilitating headaches. It might even work…. if that infernal woman next door would cease and desist with that racket she calls music. The two are bound to run into each other at ever corner. The only question is, can they overcome the bad start to become friends… and maybe even more?

Charity is that musically gifted girl that we all envy. She is so moved by her music that she gets lost in the sound. She composes music that is gorgeous and haunting and upbeat. Most people would kill for her abilities and she doesn’t take them for granted. Her passion is so intense that I can understand why she can concentrate on nothing else most of the time. She’s the quite type who normally has no problem accommodating other people’s wishes, but something about Hugh makes her contrary. She wants nothing more than to defy his wishes. He tells her to quiet down, she plays louder. He tells her to leave him be and she pesters him to death. It’s the best type of story, where they start out hating each other and that hate slowly turns to attraction and love.

Hugh just wants some peace and quiet. His attacks make it impossible for him to do anything except curl into a ball and hid in his room. The slightest bit of light or noise makes it exponentially worse and then his neighbor has to be a damn musical protégé. Since strangling the woman is out of the question, he demands she stop playing. But the blasted woman just plays louder and with more fervor. Does she not understand that she is torturing him? I felt so bad for him. He has so much on his plate, so many things to live up to, and he doesn’t really know what he is doing. The new title and the loss of his brother and trying to pull himself out of the dark hole he has buried himself in after the war and his injury.

This romance has all the elements for a great story. I love the hate first then love storylines because they are always filled with snicker-worthy encounters between the couple. I love the snark and the barely veiled hatred and ire. I love the whole set up. And these two were no exception, going out of there way to irritate each other and then slowly growing into fondness and love. ::sighs:: It is the first historical romance I’ve read that does not contain a sex scene. There are a few steamy kisses, but that’s as far as we see. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I definitely don’t miss the horrible euphemisms, but smut is always expected in romance. This breaks the mold. For those who avoid them specifically because of the smut, this would be a great starter novel for you because you don’t get one!

My only issue with this was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it ends well, almost perfectly, but I just felt it was a bit rushed. I would have been much happier if it had been a handful of pages longer to give me more time to absorb the last few events. Too many important things take place in the last 50 pages to let them all really sink in and then it’s over.

In the end, this was a pretty great historical romance. You get almost everything you look for in a love story and it’s told in a manner that keeps you laughing at their antics and makes your heart ache for Hugh’s pain. Sure, the story is a bit predictable, but in romance, that never really bothers me. I’m not reading to be astounding by a twist-filled plot. I’m reading to watch two people fall in love in a believable but magical manner. On that front, this novel delivers in full. Hugh and Charity’s love is magical but realistic enough that I could believe it. It’s a great HR and I look forward to reading more of Knightley’s work in the future!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
Tabitha's signature

Review for When The Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When The Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffires

TITLE: When The Rogue Returns
SERIES: The Duke’s Men #1
AUTHOR: Sabrina Jeffries
PUBLICATION DATE: January 28, 2014
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
PAGES: 416 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 bows

Isabella Cale has set up a nice life for herself in Scotland, with an imitation jewelry making business creating a profit and a daughter whom she adores. Everything is going rather smoothly until her husband shows back up. Ten years after he abandoned her, she wants nothing to do with him. After all, he helped her family steal royal jewels and then vanished with his share of the spoils. But when she sets eyes on him, he seems furious with her for setting him up and deserting him, which she most certainly did not do. Is there more to this story than the main two are aware of? Can they find their way back to each other?

Isa is the hardworking type of heroine that we don’t see overly much in historical romances. Working women were shunned in that time period, so it’s completely understandable that they were dependent on their husbands or fathers or various other relatives for their livelihood. After she was abandoned by her husband, she refused to continue living with her controlling sister and brother-in-law, not with the happiness of her future child hanging in the balance and she convinces a fellow imitation jewelry maker to become her partner in the business he was moving to Scotland. She has worked and toiled to build their business and is now considered a respectable woman. She has even caught the eye of a Baron, though she knows nothing but friendship will even come from it. She was strong and determined to protect her child, regardless of any consequences.

Victor, her husband, is the upstanding citizen that was left holding the bag after Isa’s sister and brother-in-law made off with the jewels. Since there was never any concrete proof, he could not be hanged for the crime, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t interrogate and torture the poor fellow. He harbors such bitter rage over the theft and Isa’s abandonment that it never even occurs to him that maybe she was just as much of a pawn as he was. He’s not the most swoon-worthy HR hero I’ve read, but I definitely could sympathize with his situation.

This is my very favorite type of historical romance novel. Lies and misunderstandings separating our beloved couple and then smackdown confrontation and love when the two figure out they were mislead or duped. I love the dancing around each other trying not to reveal too much of their current situation while fighting the ever-present desire for each other. I love (love love) reading the confrontation where both parties learn of the deception and go all lovey-dovey because they realize they both are still in love. I love that whole bit.

Sabrina Jeffries has never been my favorite writer of this genre, but she is quickly gaining my respect. This novel in particular was intriguing and addictive, even if the love scenes were a bit mediocre. I found it impossible to put this book down, anxious to find out if Isa’s sister (and brother-in-law) were going to find her and what would happen when they did. Also how Victor would take the news that he had a child he was unaware of. Sooo much drama, but the best kind of drama. The kind that keeps you coming back for more instead of rolling your eyes in exasperation.

I know I keep saying this, but I really must make reading these more of a priority. I know I love YA (and NA), but there is just something more magical about this particular genre. I don’t know if it’s the writer’s talent or the setting or just the storyline itself, but reading these are my biggest comfort read. It’s like slipping into an old pair of jeans that magically still fit perfectly even though you are not the same as you were when you were them in the past. You can find everything you’ll ever need in a historical romance here and I highly recommend it to all my historical romance readers!

****Thank you to Pocket Books for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Tabitha's signature