Tag Archive | Historical Romance

REVIEW: The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Secret of the India Orchid Book Cover The Secret of the India Orchid
Nancy Campbell Allen
Historical Romance
Shadow Mountain
August 1, 2017
E-ARC
320
NetGalley
August 28 - September 4, 2017

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

My Review

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had just read another historical novel before I started this one, so I wasn’t really in the mood for another historical romance. My NetGally backlog was glaring at me from my Kindle though, and I knew I did have to read this sooner rather than later. All that said, I did still enjoy this story.

The first chapter was a little boring for me, but completely necessary for the plot. I enjoyed the story quite a bit actually. I was expecting a little more James Bond or Jason Bourne with the spy stuff, but it was (thankfully) not like that at all.

Both the hero (Lord Anthony Wilshire) and heroine (Sophia) are well thought-out and interesting. I especially enjoyed how strong-willed Sophia was, especially in a time where women were expected to be the opposite. The chemistry between them was also quite fun, especially as he had to watch her be admired by other men, while secretly still in love with her.

What I loved most about this book, however, is that while it is most certainly a romance, I think it was more of a mystery. Both Anthony and Sophia are trying to solve the disappearance/possible murder of… well, they actually don’t know who at first! I always find it fun to try and guess whodunnit in mystery novels and this was no different. In this book there are a number of suspects and though I wasn’t ENTIRELY surprised by the answer, I also didn’t exactly see it coming, so that’s a good thing! Additionally there were a couple other subplots that tied in with the murder plot, adding more interest and intrigue.

Should you read it? Overall this was a solid historical mystery romance. I haven’t read a lot of historical romance to compare this to, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and think it’s worth taking a chance on.


QUOTES

 

Braxton’s very presence now in his home engendered emotions that had no place in his current life, a new life he’d planned to begin that very evening by announcing his intentions to court a beautiful woman who had become his dearest friend.

She narrowed her eyes, her nostrils flaring slightly, much preferring anger to heartache. Perhaps it was time to petition God again about striking him dead. That thought cheered her immeasurably, and she looked forward to the coastline with a smile.

The familiar sound of his voice had washed over her like warm rain, and it had taken true restraint to keep from launching herself at him.

“You frighten me, Rachael Scarsdale. What will you do? Make sure of medieval torture devices?”
“Oh, Sophia, what nonsense.” They reached the drawing room and Rachael smiled. “I don’t have access to any of those.”

“Oh, it is no impertinence on my part, I assure you! Lord Wilshire and I are the dearest of friends, you see. He is rather like my own brother. We are truly family.” Sophia thought she heard Anthony grinding his teeth, but she wasn’t certain.

Anthony’s eyes narrowed fractionally. She felt a thrill course through her limbs and caught her breath. He was irritated. Well, let him be. He made this friendship bed, and now he could lie down in it.

“You never even kissed me! I had no desire to be publicly ruined, but gentleman steal kisses from ladies frequently. I heard all sorts of gossip in the retiring rooms. Do you have any ida how long I was waiting for you to snatch a momenta t a party, perhaps two seconds in the shadows of the balcony—” He tilted her face up with both hands and cut off her sentence.

“Are you well?” he asked Sophia quietly.
She nodded, but swayed on her feet.
“Shall I carry you to your bedchamber?” His lips twitched, and she smiled.
“Yes, please, my lord. Perhaps if I should faint, you would be obliged.”
He leaned close to her ear, taking advantage of the distraction now spilling through the house. “And then I should be obliged to loosen your stays so you might regain your breath. Strictly for your well-being of course.”

And by all that was holy, if Braxton did not stop leering at Sophia, Anthony was prepared to put his fist in the man’s throat.

“My petticoat is exposed, but not my ankles. My modesty is preserved.”


My (Writing) Life

Ahhh……

It’s been a long weekend. After a busy Friday evening at the hotel, I spent all of Saturday doing party prep. Cleaning, assisting with removing branches from trees (this is normal party prep, right???), and baking. Plus birthday dinner at Culvers. Today, on my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had family over to celebrate. It went off without a hitch. And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’ve come out of hosting a party not utterly exhausted. It does feel nice to just relax though after all that!

This week is an exciting one. I’m off work (at the hotel) until Thursday evening, which means I’ll be dedicating a lot of time to working and setting myself a schedule for my days offincluding a house cleaning schedule. I’m also going to make sure I get at least a couple hundred words written each day.

And speaking of writing, I received the first round of edits on Peace in Flames back on Friday. I skimmed through the edits/comments from my phone and there isn’t a whole lot to address aside from accepting some punctuation changes. Yay! I do need to add a bit more with my villain but she already warned me about that.

So, yeah. That’s what’s up.

 

Did you have a busy weekend? Or were you able to just relax?

REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Series: Fairytale Retellings #1

Read: February 6 – April 10, 2017

Format: ARC eBook

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: March 15, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 342

Reading Challenge(s): Fairy Tale Retellings

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

* * *

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Beauty of the Beast is a slow-burn romance that features a descriptive, richly detailed, and atmospheric writing style.


REVIEW

Beauty of the Beast is a realistic historical fairy tale retelling. I’ll let you figure out which fairy tale. 😉

From the start I was lost in this epic tale. The setting (though over described for this particular readers tastes) was epic and beautiful. The heroine kind and caring. The hero, beyond damaged. And the villain? Just when you loathe him beyond imagination, the author gives you a taste of his backstory and you almost don’t hate him as much. Almost.

It was fun to read this book and compare events and scenes to the Disney version, at times they were nearly identical, but at other times they were brand new. I much preferred the brand new, because it was something… new!

I loved the backstory of Prince Adam, how he was forced to watch his family murdered, how he was burned and badly disfigured. It was at times TOO well described. Leaving me feeling a little sick. (I mean that in the best way.)

I honestly didn’t care as much for Isabelle, I’m not sure if it was her use of Mon Dieu all the time or what. But something about her kept me from fully connecting. She was well developed, so I think its just me. Isabelle and I probably just wouldn’t be good friends if she was a real person.

Raphael, the villain, is a selfish, arrogant, drunken jackass. I was absolutely repulsed by him. I couldn’t believe Isabelle would ever have agreed to marry him, no matter how dire her situation. In other words, he was a great villain.

I liked that Demeter also added in a couple of “wicked step-sisters” for Isabelle. It was a nice touch, one of those changes from the Disney version that I appreciated.

The love story built slowly. So slowly that I can’t really pinpoint the moment their relationship turned into “something more”.

I would recommend this for fans of sweeping epic historical romances. Those looking for the magic and wonder typically found in a fairy tale will be disappointed that there are no evil witches and curses. A word of warning though, this book gets very dark in a few places.

 

An ARC of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Get the Book here:

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QUOTES

 

“Why are you trying to prove?” she managed to choke out. Her voice sounded faint and weary; she didn’t recognize it as her own.

“That you are mine. And you belong to me.”

 

Adam was a flesh-and-blood enigma, a beautiful mystery that she ached to unravel.

 

Adam’s eyes flashed open and captured her own. In a rush of movement, he closed the space between them and seized her mouth in a blistering kiss. It burned. Claimed her soul. Whispered a thousand unspoken secrets.

 

A chill seeped into her bones—one that had nothing to do with the rain and everything to do with her blossoming feelings.

 

Rivulets of water dripped from the dark strands of his hair and tracked down his cheeks; they resembled the tears he refused to shed.

“You, Isabelle, have reminded me that goodness and beauty still exist in the world.”

 

Deliberately. Softly. She poured all her longing, all her loneliness, into the intimate movement. The kiss began as a featherlight caress, a whisper of a butterfly’s wing, that left her throbbing for more.

 

“You’re a dreadful dancer,” he murmured against her ear. Paired with the husky baritone of his voice, the insult sounded rather like an endearment.

 

Isabelle stopped dead in her tracks while a premonition eclipsed her thoughts. Her flight or fight instinct kicked into place. She was being watched… hunted.

 

Alas, should he live to see a hundred years, he’d never forget the sight of the king and queen’s severed heads on spikes… how the mob had paraded them about the courtyard, the crowd cheering and waving their tricolored freedom flags. Those memories were forever burned into his thoughts, into his very being.