Sunday, April 29, 2012


LADY SOPHIA'S LOVER (Bow Street Runners #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Mass Market Paperback, 377 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by Avon Books
Genre: historical romance novel
Rating: 5 stars

London, England 1830.  Sophia Sidney’s plans of revenge against the magistrate (Sir Ross Cannon) who sent her younger brother to jail (where he supposedly died during an outbreak of cholera) will fall apart when she realizes she can’t help falling in love with him. She will convince Ross to hire her as a secretary at his special police force office (the Bow Street Runners), with the intention of stealing documents and any piece of information that may compromise him, his operations and his staff. But after better getting acquainted with him, Sophia will realize that not only Sir Cannon is a passionate and lovable man, but also that he is an extremely honorable and irreproachable magistrate and that he wasn’t responsible for her brother’s unjust imprisonment and death.

Beyond any doubt LSL is the most complete and most riveting installment of The Bow Street Runners Series.  The plot is probably one of the most intriguing ever written by LK: the unexpected  mind-blowing twist in the final chapters (I really didn’t see it coming) is just one of the many highlights of this scorching HRN. LK has a flair for drawing you into her plots from the start with likable and believable characters. Ross, The Monk of Bow Street, is one of my favorite Kleypas’ male heroes, a solid alpha male clad in an armor of self-discipline and hard work, resolute and ferocious in his mission to pursue justice, passionless and taciturn. Yet a volcanic passion boils under that strong surface of steel and those piercing gray eyes: it will take a strong  and endearing feminine character like Sophia to peel  those layers of stoicism and discipline and to reveal the caring, loving, passionate and creative lover/husband.

Certain things never change throughout  the career of a talented writer: LK’s trademarks define each page of her novel, delivering a sizzling story of revenge, love and forgiveness with her usual stylish prose, three-dimensional characterization, emotional depths and a palpable (probably some of the most steamy love scenes you will ever read in a HRN) romantic/sexual chemistry. 


A CERTAIN WOLFISH CHARM ( Westfield Wolves #1 ) by Lydia Dare

Mass Market Paperback, 375 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: historical romance novel, paranormal romance novel
Rating: 5 stars

Essex, England 1816. Bewildered and alarmed by the sudden physical growth and changing moods of the twelve year old nephew she has been taking care of for years after his parents’ death, young and proper spinster Lily Rutledge turns to the boy’s cousin and legal guardian Simon Westfield (Duke of Black moor)  for advice. The answer to the young earl’s inexplicable transformation is a well-guarded secret shared by the entire Westfield family. After an initial antagonism, Simon and Lily will be drawn to each other into a love bond that is deeper than any dark family secret and stronger than moon phases.

A Certain Wolfish Charm, my first novel by Lydia Dare, was a very pleasant experience. I found the combination of historical and paranormal to be quite interesting and refreshing. The author gets the reader into the plot right away, keeping a good pace throughout the entire book. ACWC was a gripping read for several reasons: the characters are fully nuanced and likable, the storyline and the romance between H/h unfold sweetly, the erotic tension sizzles from start to finish , the dialogues are always intriguing and entertaining…Lydia Dare injected a good deal of humor in her characters’ banters. All in all, a clever and heartwarming novel with a few loose threads that will lead to the next installments of the Westfield Wolf Series.   


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


BETWEEN THE DUKE AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Royal Entourage #1) by Sophia Nash

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Avon 
Genre: historical romance novel
Rating: 3 stars
A “love affair with a book” for me starts with a click, just like between people: it clicks right away or it doesn’t. In the case of Between the Duke and the Blue Sea, it simply didn’t. And it’s so unfortunate, because I believe this novel had a great potential. To give you an idea of the  way  I felt about this book, imagine to be sitting in front of a beautiful fireplace blazing with fire, but no warmth whatsoever coming out of it. Such a pity…the author introduced such great elements of suspense (the attempted murder plot, the rescue, the mystery of the disappearance of a miner’s hidden fortune, an unexpected new love), without really exploiting all their potentials.
 After a night of outrageous debauchery under the influence of strong spirits, the Prince Regent forces a group of dissolute dukes to a temporary exile in order to reform their scandalous conduct: no more mistresses and other self-indulgent behaviors. The Prince demands   sobriety, marriage and heirs from all of them. The first one to comply to the new orders is the very duke who provided the spirits for that reckless night. Alex Barclay, Duke of Kress will retire to his estate in Cornwall (Saint Michael’s Mount), restore it to its original shape of military outpost, find an impeccable young lady to wed and produce an heir, all within a month.
Roxanne Vanderhaven, Countess of Paxton, is the daughter of a wealthy miner, married to an earl who, after eight years of marriage, decides to kill her. Orchestrating the disappearance of her beloved dog and sure that she would  search for her pet, he leads her on a very weak spot on the cliffs by the sea. When the ground gives away under her feet, she falls,  but she luckily finds the strength to hold on hanging by the rocks and waiting for her husband to come back with help. The Earl of Paxton doesn’t come back to rescue her.  It will be the Duke, Alex, to find her and save her. He also provides her with an accommodation at his castle and protection in the meanwhile she figures out how to react to her husband’s actions.
BtDatBS mainly lacks intensity. The emotional connection between the characters is intermittent. Even the sexual tension is somehow awkward ( I am thinking about their first “encounter” at night after the ball by a pool). Despite the interesting plot, several scenes seem to be written without a real thread holding them together.
It was so below my expectations that I am really curious to read the next (The Art of the Duke Hunting) in the series. I am giving myself a second chance.
One last thought…who killed Roxanne’s husband, the Earl of Paxton? Did I miss it or the author actually never makes it clear?