Author Archives for Tracy

About Tracy

Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

Daring the Duke by Lana Williams

Daring the Duke (The Seven Curses of London Book 7)Daring the Duke by Lana Williams
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Seven Curses of London, #7

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Still reeling from the death of her beloved friend, Lady Lillian Bartley goes to London with one goal in mind – to make Elijah Waters, the Duke of Burbridge pay for breaking her best friend Helena’s heart. Lillian is a sweet, loving, loyal person, she doesn’t blame Elijah completely for Helena’s death, but she feels that he was a major factor. Helena had fallen fast and hard for Elijah when he danced and flirted with her at a ball. Later she receives a letter from an “admirer” wanting to meet with her – but when he doesn’t show, she falls into a fit of despair and when she becomes ill, fails to fight for her life and dies. Lillian believes that Elijah sent Helena the letter and toyed with her affections and she will do the same to him – she will make him fall in love with her and reject him as he did Helena.

But when she meets Elijah, she has a hard time reconciling the man who so callously hurt her friend with the kind man who is obviously dealing with his own grief over the recent death of his father. Lillian’s plan begins to unravel before it even starts – she is consumed with self doubt and questions herself, her worth and her motivations.

Elijah has his own doubts and guilt to deal with, he is attracted to Lillian, but he is not ready for a wife. The death of his father hit him hard and he spent most of the previous year in a haze of alcohol and meaningless dalliances to staunch the pain. Now he has finally realized that he owes it to his father to be a better man and take up the reins of the duchy. Elijah tries to do the right things, but besides the estate, his mother is suffering. She has turned to drinking to cope with her pain and Elijah feels responsible. When Lillian saves his mother from a potentially humiliating scene, Elijah begins to wonder about her reason for being so nice to his mother. But as time passes, he realizes Lillian is a truly beautiful person and he longs to know her better. When he suggests a ride in the park, Lillian agrees, only to be hurt when he fails to show. She then begins to question her decision to not hold him liable for Helena’s pain. What Lillian doesn’t know is, Elijah’s mother is on death’s door. She consumed some doctored spirits at a party and was poisoned. Elijah was not with her at the time, because he was out looking for the man who is selling altered liquor – he believes that his mother was subjected to it the night she almost caused a scene. He was given a copy of the Seven Curses book by Lillian’s brother Viscount Frost and read that things can be added to liquor to improve potency and shelf life while cutting costs – but the true price is high – many of the additives are poisonous.

When Elijah realizes he missed his meeting with Lillian, he rushes to see her – she forgives him and promises to visit the Duchess, but her own insecurities have taken root and the budding relationship they had may never blossom as a result.

Elijah doesn’t understand the change in Lillian, but he is grateful for her attention to his mother. The Duchess is finally starting to move past her crippling grief, thanks in part to Lillian. Elijah decides that Lillian is the woman for him and sets out to court her. But Lillian can’t seem to accept his attentions, she cares for him, but doesn’t feel worthy of his attention. So when an opportunity to help him by finding the apothecary that is suppling the additives to liquor distributor, she jumps at the chance to prove herself worthy of his love.

I thought this was a well written, emotional story that did true justice to how people grieve and the harmful effects of self-doubt. Lillian and Elijah are both dealing with insecurities and both are grieving, I liked how Ms. Williams dealt with both issues and I found the storyline of the tainted/altered liquor completely fascinating. There are no love scenes in this book beyond a couple of stolen kisses, so the heat level is low, but I didn’t feel like the story suffered from the lack. I thought this was a well done story that tackled some very sensitive issues and still managed to have a HEA. And while this is the seventh book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me*

Wagering for Miss Blake by Callie Hutton

Wagering for Miss BlakeWagering for Miss Blake by Callie Hutton
Tracy’s rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Series: Lords & Ladies in Love

Release Date: June 11, 2018

I had a hard time with this book, the first half was very repetitive and the second half plunged headlong into the absurd.

Giles Templeton, third son of the Earl of Wexford meets Miss Suzanna Blake at the Duke of Bedford’s wedding and falls in love at first sight. He will have her, he never fails…

Suzanna is attracted to Giles, but her mother insists that she marry a man with a title and as a third son Giles is not that man. She fights her attraction and tries to push him away – but he is determined to win her. This is the gist of the first half – him chasing her and her pushing him away – but she never tells him why she is looking to marry a title.

They attend a house party and finally, Suzanna gives into temptation and they make love – in fact, she insists – because you know, she can’t marry the man she loves and wants the memory (eye roll). Giles thinks this means she has finally accepted the inevitable – but she tells him, it changes nothing, she will only marry a man with a title. He then suggests a wager – she will marry him and fall in love with him and if she doesn’t he will donate to her favorite charity. Game on!

When they return to London, Giles steps up his pursuit – but the arrival of her parents brings his courtship to a swift end. When they finally are able to talk alone, she tells him, she wants to marry him, but her mother will forbid it, he tells her he will win and not to worry. But when he misinterprets a meeting between Suzanna and Lord Pemberton (her mother’s choice for a son-in-law), he admits defeat and leaves London.

Weeks go by before he pulls his head out of his backside and decides to fight for the woman he loves, but is it too late??

Honestly, I have read this plot before and it has been done better – it seemed completely contrived and implausible – if they were really in love, they would have eloped – period. And since when is the handsome, wealthy, landowning with an income, son of an Earl “unsuitable” – Seriously?? Her parents where over the top and almost cartoonish, her mother was a complete witch and her father a wuss – I kept hoping they would run away together – just so they didn’t have to have her parents in their lives! And why her father loved her mother so much is a complete mystery to me – her mother flat out said that she would have been happier if she married someone with a title – I almost felt sorry for her lovelorn father. Giles and Suzanna were both likable, but I was annoyed that Suzanna didn’t tell him why she had to marry a title, keeping it from him made no sense and made her look bad – especially after she slept with him. The book has wonderful secondary characters, warmish love scenes and I did enjoy the ending and Giles’ shift from “winning” to “earning” – for me that was the best part of the book. So in the end, the book was OK, but not a keeper. It is part of the Lords & Ladies in Love series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*

The Princess by Elizabeth Elliott

The Princess (Montagues, #5)The Princess by Elizabeth Elliott
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Montagues, #5

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Let me start by saying, this book is written in the first person – I am not a fan of first person narrative.

Princess Isabel Plantagenet is the widow of the Crown Prince Hartman of Rheinbaden and daughter of King Edward I of England. Sent to Rheinbaden at the age of 6, Isabel is back in England for the first time in years and is faced with a very dirty, very angry Faulke Segrave. Faulke had arranged a betrothal to Avalene, but has learned that the King betrothed her to his assassin and is demanding Faulke marry Isabel or be tried for treason.

Isabel endured much in her first marriage and has no desire to be subjected to that kind of pain again, which she is sure will happen when Faulke learns the truth about her. Faulke has a reputation of womanizing and three wives who died under questionable circumstances, but looking at him, Isabel cannot fathom the first and completely believes him capable of murder! But she has no choice, she is but a pawn for her father and will do her duty.

Isabel is saddened when the captain of her English guard is found dead, poisoned and further investigation reveals his daughter and her family are also dead. Her father sends her a new captain and has Dante figure out who murdered him. When Faulke returns, Isabel is stunned at the change – he is gorgeous and he knows his effect on women- but she is determined to resist the pull, her father has promised that if marriage to him is unbearable, he will support her decision to live apart from him. Faulke is completely different today, today he is handsome, charming and more than willing to marry her. When he learns of the murder, he insists on moving in with Isabel and helping with the investigation. Her father agrees and when Faulke wants to push up their wedding, much to her dismay.

They marry and Faulke learns one of her secrets. He is patient and kind to her and helps her move past her fear. They grow closer and she begins to have hope for a happy marriage, but when a contingent from Rheinbaden is set to arrive and demand her presence, she feels bound to tell Faulke the truth and reveals her darkest secret. He is furious and she is heartbroken.

When he calms, he admits he knew or suspected her secret all along (?!?) and is angry that she deceived him, but he still cares for her and defends her honor. It seems like they will get their HEA, but Faulke’s enemies are not done with him yet and they will learn that his enemy is closely tied to her – but will the figure out why she has become the target of his enemies wrath or will Isabel pay the ultimate price?

The book is well written, but since it is first person, I never learned anything from Faulke’s POV, he was such an interesting character that I felt deprived not getting to know and understand him better. The mystery was decent, the love scenes were mild and the secondary characters were abundant and likable, the story and characters were an interesting mix of fact and fiction with a healthy dose of creative license. This book is part of a series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title with no problem.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*

The Gunslinger’s Vow by Amy Sandas

The Gunslinger's Vow (Runaway Brides)The Gunslinger’s Vow by Amy Sandas

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Runaway Brides, #1

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Alexandra Brighton has just accepted a marriage proposal from Peter Shaw, a member of one of the most prominent families in Boston. This proposal is everything her aunt has hoped for her since she came to live with her 5 years ago. But the instead of being overjoyed, she feels like she has made a horrible mistake and suddenly longs to go home to Montana. She askes her two dearest friends for help and sets out alone.

Malcolm Kincaid is a bounty hunter, but he has only one true goal in life – to hunt down and kill the man that murdered his younger brother. So when a fancy dressed woman enters the saloon in Wyoming asking for help – he has no problem saying no.

But fate isn’t done with these two, when Alex is robbed and abandoned in the wilderness, she happens upon Malcolm. He agrees to take her as far as the next town – period. She uses their time together to try and change his mind and eventually succeeds.

As they travel together, their mutual attraction builds and Alex knows that she cannot marry Peter and plans to send him a letter once she reaches her father’s home. When men hunting Malcolm attack, Alex saves him, but not before he is shot. She tends his wounds and nurses him back to health. He is shocked at how resourceful and competent she is and askes about her past. Slowly they learn each other’s secrets (well most of them) and Malcolm makes it clear that he has no place in his life for a wife until he avenges his brother. Finally their attraction can no longer be denied and Alex pushes when Malcolm tries to be honorable. They both acknowledge their feelings to themselves and know that their time together is ending.

When they finally reach her father’s home – Alex is shocked and hurt to learn how much her father has kept from her the last five years and Malcolm learns that he and Alex have more in common than he thought. On their last night together, he tells her he loves her, because if he doesn’t make it back from his quest, he wants her to know. Alex is fuming when she learns that Malcolm left and refuses to be left behind. But will she arrive in time??

This was an entertaining read, the book is well written and is chocked full of action, adventure, gun fights, sexual tension and lots and lots of secrets. I did feel like it dragged a bit in the middle and the ending felt a little rushed, but overall I enjoyed the book and would be happy to recommend!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Settling the Wind by Kari August

Settling the WindSettling the Wind by Kari August
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful American Frontier Historical about the settling of Estes Park Colorado and set in 1875. The story primarily focuses on Henrietta “Etta” Schodde and Collan Wallace, but there are MANY other characters that are both fictional and actual persons that contribute to the story.

Etta is living with her sister’s family after the sudden death of her husband Charles, she loves her family, but wants some time alone. She sees an ad about Estes Park and decides to go for a visit. Once there, she falls in love with the area and makes friends, days before she is scheduled to leave, she is given the opportunity to buy an established claim share and jumps at the chance. Much to her family’s dismay. But Etta longs for independence and feels like this is her way to achieve that. Her first days alone are a reality check, but she doesn’t give up.

Collan Wallace is a life long friend of Etta’s family and has been wandering for years, when he travels to Denver, he meets Abner and learns about an opportunity in Estes Park, he decides to give it a try, he writes to Etta’s brother Herman and tells him of his plans and askes to buy some cattle. Herm writes back quickly, yes he will send cattle to him and while he is in Estes Park, will he please look in on his sister Henrietta? Etta was his childhood friend and there is no one in the world he likes to tease more than her. He realized too late that Etta was the girl for him years ago when she met her husband Charles. Back then he didn’t acknowledge what he felt for her, but seeing her now, all those feeling come rushing back. But it is clear that her feelings are still engaged with her late husband. He tries to stay away from her and establish himself.

These two will have to face many trials and tribulations before they finally get their HEA – there will be a surprise pregnancy, greedy Englishmen, fire, abductions, good friends, some laughs, some tears, feelings of guilt and a lot of baking. But in the end, these two will finally realize they are meant to be together.

I thought this was a great story, but it was really more of a historical fiction novel vs a historical romance. The romance in this book is very understated and the steam level is nil. Added to that is the fact that there are a lot of historical facts interspersed in the novel, sometimes to the detriment to the story. The facts are interesting, but in most cases, don’t really add to the story and make the book seem a bit wordy.

I did enjoy the book and would be happy to recommend it, but be warned, if you are looking for a romance novel, this isn’t it. However, if you are looking for an interesting, well written historical fiction novel with wonderful characters and an engaging story – read this book!!!

You Never Forget Your First Earl by Ella Quinn

You Never Forget Your First Earl (The Worthingtons, #5)You Never Forget Your First Earl by Ella Quinn
Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Worthingtons, #5

Release Date: May 29, 2018

Geoffrey, Earl of Harrington and heir to the Marquess of Markham is in need of a wife, his first choice Lady Charlotte has apparently decided on the Marquess of Kenilworth. To take the diplomatic post he wants, he must have a wife, but as the season is drawing to an end and many families have left town for the continent – his options are limited. So when he runs into his old friend Gavin Turley and is invited to tea, he thinks his luck might be changing. Just to cover his bases, he seeks advice from his grandmother, the dowager Marchioness of Markham.

Elizabeth Turley, daughter of Viscount Turley, knows Geoffrey is looking for a wife and she might be interested in the position, but she wants a love match and will settle for nothing less. She met Geoffrey before and thought him attractive and interesting, but he was pursuing her friend Lady Charlotte at the time and she has been advised to not make things easy for him.

At tea, Geoffrey “tests” Elizabeth and is delighted to learn that she meets all his requirements for a wife, he of course has other options to explore (his mother sent him a list of potential brides – including Elizabeth), so he asks Elizabeth to save a dance for him and she agrees.

When Geoffrey learns that Elizabeth really is his option for a bride, he decides to court her and his attempts are amusing. Armed with a list from his grandmother, Geoffrey sets out to win his lady. Elizabeth who was at first uncertain, begins to have hope that she and Geoffrey could have a love match, and when he finally proposes, she accepts.

They marry and share an incredible wedding night, but Elizabeth’s heart is shattered when she overhears Geoffrey and his father talking. His father is congratulating him on his bride and Geoffrey replies she was the last choice available and met all his qualifications. She thought he loved her and now feels the fool for falling in love with him. His mother and grandmother offer her advice and she agrees to give their suggestions a try.

Geoffrey is clueless as to what has upset his bride and as they travel to Brussels, he tries to figure out what when wrong and how to fix it. But with the war coming to a head, his first priority must be to his superior Sir Charles. When the battle literally comes to their doorstep, Elizabeth decides that life is too short and tells him she loves him. But before Geoffrey can respond she falls asleep. And before he can examine his feelings and tell her, tragedy strikes and he may never get the chance.

This was sweet book, but the first 70% of the story just dragged for me, however, once they leave for Brussels, the pace of the story picks up and the ending is wonderful. The story features likable characters, amusing advice from friends and family, some steamy love scenes, a bit of action and finally a HEA complete with an epilogue.

This is the fifth book in the series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title with no problems at all. While this was not my favorite in the series, it is a quick read and I would have no problem recommending it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Seductive Surrender by Collette Cameron

Seductive Surrender (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, #6)Seductive Surrender by Collette Cameron
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, #6

Release Date: May 23, 2018

Gwendolyn McClintock meets Dugall Ferguson when her carriage runs him down. Injured by highwaymen, Dugall had stumbled out of the woods into the carriage’s path. Gwen insists on caring for him.

Gwen is aunt and guardian to Jeremiah, the new Laird McClintock, she has traveled from their home in South Carolina to Scotland. She has no idea what to expect in Scotland, but she is intent on seeing Jeremiah claim his birthright. She sold their plantation, packed up her niece, nephew, aunt and nanny and is anxious to see what the future holds for them.

When Dugall wakes, he is surprised to find himself bound and the fiery angel who found him on the road riding his horse! He convinces Gwen he is not a threat and offers to help her oversee the estate – until he hears back from the diplomatic corps – his lifelong dream is to be an agent for the corps and nothing, not even a gorgeous red head with a charming accent and hysterical sayings will stop him from leaving.

They arrive at the estate and Gwen immediately takes charge, she tends Dugall’s wounds and shares a kiss with him, letting it slip that she had been betrothed before – four times to be exact. As she is coming to terms with the kiss, she meets some of the other residents of the house. From Aunt Dolina, she learns that her grandparents eloped. Her grandfather was the younger brother of the previous Laird and caused quite a stir when he eloped with his brother’s intended bride.

Dugall takes her and the family to meet his brother, Laird Ewan, on the way there, someone takes a shot at Gwen. Terrified for her, Dugall insists on guards and when she learns the shooter escaped, she agrees and begins to think coming to Scotland was a mistake.

Weeks pass with no further incidents until the solicitor, Mr. Christie shows up with the will – Gwen is stunned by not only the revelations, but by the conditions. Dugall promises to look into it – but has received his acceptance to the corps and needs to leave. Gwen is a more than a little heartbroken, but she will not stand in his way. She cannot stay at Suttford House and accepts a position at Craiglocky Keep. Dugall leaves for his meeting with the corps and Gwen and the children settle in at the keep. Gwen misses Dugall and when he returns a week later, she is overjoyed to see him, until she is shot! Dugall is beside himself – his Gwenny has been shot and it makes him realize how he feels about her.

When news arrives from their investigation, it changes everything and Dugall will have to decide if he will give up his dream or keep the woman he loves.

This was a sweet, quick read with likable leads and cameos from previous characters, there is a decent mystery, entertain banter, some kisses, some shocking twists/turns and a sweet epilogue.

This is the sixth book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone title with no problems.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me*

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