Regency Era

Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil by Caroline Warfield

Lady Charlotte's Christmas VigilLady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil by Caroline Warfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: None – Stand Alone Novella
Publication Date: 10/20/17

This is a very sweet and clean novella.

The story opens in November of 1818 with a man being dumped on the threshold of his lodgings in Venice, Italy. He’s unconscious and smells of the sewer. This is our introduction to the ne’er do-well brother of Lady Charlotte (Lottie) Tyree. He is David Tyree, Earl of Ambler who is on his grand tour and Charlotte is accompanying him because she’s always wanted to see Rome and he wanted to give her that. However, he has spent all of his time drinking and carousing and has seen none of the sights they were there to see.

The cause of David’s wet condition was the canal – he had decided to swim it just as George Gordon, Lord Byron had done. When he developed a very high fever, Charlotte sought out the services of a physician, Salvatore Caresini (Salvo). The diagnosis was dire – few survived putrid fever at that time.

Charlotte was determined to nurse him rather than leaving it to the doctor and his assistant. The doctor was just as determined that the only person near David would be his assistant, Giacomo because he had immunity to the disease. You have two very stubborn, protective and determined people coming together and they have to find a way to help each other and save lives.

Salvo physically removes Lottie from the rooms her brother is staying in and locks her out. He then takes her to stay at his own home with his mother and children. You will love the children – they are unruly, holy terrors. The children don’t know what to make of Lottie and the mother doesn’t trust her – after all her son is a very good looking widower!

When more and more cases of the fever show up Salvo asks Lottie to do her best to keep his children away from the market where it is ripe to catch the disease and to see that his mother only uses fruits and vegetables brought in from outside the city and only water from the well is used for cleaning. Even the well water must be boiled before drinking. She does her very best, but the disease still strikes the doctor’s home. Lottie does all she can to nurse the children she’s come to love and to nurse her brother as well.

What a lovely story of different classes and religions coming together to find love and happiness. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

What The Earl Needs Now by Michelle Willingham

What the Earl Needs NowWhat the Earl Needs Now by Michelle Willingham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Earls Next Door #2
Publication Date: 10/24/17

What a truly engrossing read! The prose is excellently written, the pacing is just right, and the HEA is hard won and well deserved! I loved my introduction to Michelle Willingham’s work and definitely look forward to reading more from her. This was a real can’t-put-it-down book and I definitely have to go back and read the first book in the series now!

Lily Thornton has loved Matthew Larkspur, Earl of Arnsbury, for a long time. When her father was trying to marry her off and Matthew was getting ready to leave for India, she and Matthew said their vows in front of a priest – but there was no license – and they both knew it. But they had a one night honeymoon. Lily lived on that one night for the two years it took Matthew to return – a scarred and broken man. He had been captured in India and tortured for over a year – horrible torture that I won’t describe. It broke him physically and mentally. In today’s world, we would say that he has PTSD. He loses himself in remembrances of the torture and can hurt someone.

Lily has visited Matthew almost daily since his return, but he’s broken and he doesn’t want her to cling to a broken man – so he tells her he doesn’t remember her. Oh – but he does. She doesn’t give up and keeps visiting. She seems to have a calming effect on him and he is drawn toward her light. Until something happens one day and he hurts her.

Matthew is eaten up with remorse and now Lily is afraid of him. She still loves him, but she keeps her distance from him. That is what really draws him back into the world – that and getting rid of all of the medications he’s been taking. He needs a clear head if he is going to deal with his demons and win Lily back.

Matthew is a sly devil and knows how to woo this particular lady. Oh! Yes, he does. Not with flowers, candy or jewelry – but with veterinary books and a correspondence course. Can you believe?

There are also some pretty nasty villains in this book – Matthew wasn’t captured by accident and the perpetrators are too close to home for comfort.

A couple of reviewers have commented on the speed with which Matthew handled his PTSD and criticized Lily for giving up on him. I beg to differ with them. If you look at the amount of time the story says elapsed, it wasn’t exactly quick. Yes – it happened within a few chapters of the book, but the elapsed time covered in those chapters isn’t terribly short. Then, regarding Lily – he really frightened her and hurt her – I would think anyone would have to think twice about being in his company given those circumstances.

This was a truly excellent read!

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

King of Hearts by Eileen Putman

King of Hearts (League of Rogues, #1)King of Hearts by Eileen Putman
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: League of Rogues, #1

Release Date: September 28, 2017

After a drunken bet goes horribly wrong, Gabriel Sinclair finds himself with a noose around his neck and in his last moments contemplates his life and wishes for a second chance. His second chance comes in the form of Louisa Peabody…

Louisa Peabody is a woman who has been grossly wronged by the men in her life and has made it her mission to save other women from the injustices heaped on them by men. Scarred inside by the events leading up to and her incredibly brief marriage, Louisa believes that love is not for her and turns all her passion into helping other women. When her latest rescue mission goes wrong and she ends up with Gabriel instead of the woman she planned to save from the gallows, Louisa reluctantly takes Gabriel back to her home and nurses him back to health.

Once Gabriel recovers and is ready to leave, Louisa makes him an offer, help her break the woman she originally meant to save out of prison and she will pay him a small fortune for his help. Tempted by the money and the lovely repressed woman making the offer, Gabriel agrees to her mad scheme.

Gabriel and Louisa are wonderful leads that have both had more than their fair share of pain and heartache. Gabriel finds himself drawn to Louisa and fights his reaction to her – he will leave and forget he ever met her – he really will! And Louisa needs no man in her life, she will be happy to see the last of Gabriel – she really will! Ah, the lies we tell ourselves 🙂

This is a truly lovely story of second chances and the healing power of love. I thought it was really well written and paced well. The dialogue is both amusing and heartfelt. The secondary characters aka “The Flowers” are a wonderful addition to the story and add several additional storylines to this book without pulling the focus from Louisa and Gabriel. The love scenes are warm and well placed, there are some tender moments, some tense moments and moments of joy. Happily, the villains get their comeuppance and everyone gets a HEA.

I really enjoyed this book and would be happy to recommend it.

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

An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing by Emily Windsor

An Earl in Wolf's Clothing (Rules of the Rogue)An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing by Emily Windsor
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rules of the Rogue, #1

Release Date: September 28, 2017

When I first read the blurb for this book, I thought that this was going to be a typical lovers separated by a misunderstanding story, and to a certain extent it was, but it was also so much more!

The opens with Sophie Beckford searching for her betrothed, Bram, the Earl of Kelmarsh. They are to supposed to be in the ballroom announcing their betrothal but he has gone missing and when Sophie finally locates him – he is with another woman! Sophie overhears their conversation and is heartbroken, she rips off her betrothal ring and leaves the ball without speaking to him. Days later, her family leaves for Ireland with Bram in hot pursuit.

Bram just misses the boat taking them to Ireland and for reasons unknown to the reader, he is not able to follow her. He has secrets that he cannot share with Sophie, he is a spy for the crown and the meeting she overheard was not what it seemed, but sworn to secrecy and unable to explain, it appears that he will lose his lady love, but he is not willing to give her up without a fight – he is unable to go to Ireland, but he writes to her and sends gifts, hoping to win her back. Now almost a year later, she is back in London, but she is not the Sophie that he remembers.

Armed with a new wardrobe and her feisty Irish cousin, Sophie is back and determined to forget Bram and his betrayal. She makes her intentions painfully clear to Bram when he corners her at Almack’s and tries to explain the misunderstanding without revealing his secrets.

With the “help” of his fellow agents, Bram sets out to complete a final mission for the crown, retire and win back his lady. Ah, the best laid plans………

This story is both amusing and heartfelt. I loved that Sophie didn’t immediately forgive Bram, she made him work for her forgiveness. And I loved that Bram never gave up, he knew he hurt her (unintentionally) and owned it, while I wouldn’t say he groveled, he did work hard for her forgiveness. The book has both amusing and tense moments, a great cast of secondary characters, secrets, revelations, kidnapping, some warmish love scenes and finally a very hard earned HEA.

I had not read any of Ms. Windsor’s previous books, but after reading this book I am definitely going to be checking out her backlist while I wait for the next book in this series!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an copy that was provided to me by the author – all opinions in this review are my own*

Twelfth Night With The Earl by Anna Bradley

Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters, #3)Twelfth Night with the Earl by Anna Bradley

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Sutherland Sisters #3
Publication Date: 11/14/17

A delightfully entertaining holiday read. It is full of sweet love and redemption. While this book doesn’t feature any of the Sutherland’s, it does feature one of the characters we met in the last book, Lady Charlotte’s First Love. I liked Ethan in that book even though he was somewhat presented as a bad boy. You knew he had a good soul because of the way he stood up for Lady Charlotte. I was so glad to visit with him again in this book and learn his story.

You just have to like and smile at Ethan Fortesque, Earl of Devon, from the beginning. It is almost Christmas, he’s in his cups and he’s on his way from London to his country seat, Cleves Court in Cornwall. He’s thinking about all of the bad things that have happened in his life and especially about his wastrel father and he has this conversation with himself. “Too much . . . . earling? Earlishness . . . ? Lordshippery … .?” You can tell he has a good sense of humor.

Ethan had vowed never to set foot in Cleves Court again. He wanted to let it molder into the ground, to put it and everything in it from his mind forever. He thought his father had closed it up two years ago just before he died, but has just recently learned that it had been left it up and running. Ethan doesn’t care that it is almost Christmas – he wants it closed and closed now!

He’s tired and cold as he approaches his childhood home. He expects to find his old housekeeper and maybe one or two other servants in residence. Imagine his surprise when he arrives to a brightly lit home with carriages in front and the sound of Christmas carols wafting out to him. Well, he’ll put a stop to that right away – how dare they have a party in his house, without his permission.

Theodosia (Thea) Sheridan, has loved Ethan since they were children. She wants, above all else, to help him learn to deal with his pain and to learn that he cannot run from it. She knows that closing Cleves Court won’t quiet his demons – they’ll follow him wherever he goes if he doesn’t deal with them and make peace with them. Her challenge is to get him to stay at Cleves Court long enough to realize that and to make his peace.

You’ll meet three delightful imps in this story – Henry and George who are ten-year-old twins and Martha their six-year-old sister. They are orphans who are staying at Cleves Court while the orphanage is being repaired. These three have impishness and mischievousness fine-tuned to an art. Maybe they are just what Ethan needs to push him along the way to deal with his ghosts.

I hope you’ll give this lovely book a read. It is so much lighter and sweeter than the other two books, Lady Eleanor’s Seventh Suitor and Lady Charlotte’s First Love, in the series. It truly is a lovely holiday read.

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Blog Tour! The Duke Of Danger by Darcy Burke

In this post:

Giveaway
Book Blurb
Barb’s Review
Excerpt
Other Books In Series
Meet The Author


TDoD Giveaway


Giveaway Info:

Kindle Fire HD8 with a $25 Amazon Gift Card – US shipping ONLY

Rafflecopter Form HTML:  a Rafflecopter giveaway


About The Book:

After killing his opponent in a duel, Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge, is known as the Duke of Danger. Tortured by guilt, he shields himself with a devil-may-care attitude. However, when he kills another man in another duel, he’s beyond redemption, even though it wasn’t his fault. He refuses to smear a dead man’s name, especially when he’s left behind a blameless widow who doesn’t deserve an even bigger scandal.

Widowed and destitute, Lady Emmaline Townsend must marry the man of her parents’ choosing or beg unsympathetic relatives for support. The only way out is to ask for help from the one man she’s sworn to hate, the man who owes her anything she asks, the man who killed her husband. They strike a devil’s bargain in which passion simmers just beneath the surface. But her dead husband’s transgressions come back to haunt them and threaten their chance at love.

Purchase links:
Amazon – http://smarturl.it/TDoDAmzBT
Barnes & Noble – http://smarturl.it/TDoDNookBT
iBooks – http://smarturl.it/TDoDibooksbt
Kobo – http://smarturl.it/TDoDKobobt
Goodreads – https://goo.gl/h8b4A2


Barbara’s Review

Series:  The Untouchables #6
Publication Date:  9/26/17
Barbara’s Rating – 4 of 5 stars

Oh, my.  I think I am in love – with Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge (Duke of Danger).  Yes, he has fought in three duels ending in two deaths, but the duels were fought for honorable reasons.  They were fought to avenge the death of his father, to protect a child and to protect a friend and her child.  What else was he to do when the miscreants wouldn’t stop, back down or apologize?  He always tried everything he could to avoid the duels, but in the end, they couldn’t be stopped.  Lionel is really a very sweet, very loving, very loyal, but extraordinarily honorable man.  Another thing I liked about him – he came from a very loving family and had a very strong, loving bond with his father.  What is not to love?

Lionel is guilt-ridden over the deaths and they haunt him – especially the last one.  He’s filled with self-loathing and feels he doesn’t deserve anything good or loving in his life.  He is sure anything bad that happens to him is deserved.  He is so guilt-ridden that he banishes himself to Ireland after the duel – to pay penance.

The book opens with the scene of the third duel.  The opponents are on the field, the path is laid out by the seconds, the count has begun – and – a shot is fired . . .  then another . . . .both are wounded . . . one will die . . . . one will suffer.  One leaves behind a destitute widow and the other will do all in his power to help her if she will let him.

Eight months later, Emmaline, Lady Townsend is still angry, very, very angry at Lionel.  Everything bad in her life over the last few months is because of him.  She has planned her revenge very carefully and is ready to execute her plan.  However, fate intervenes in the form of her parents.  They have arranged a marriage for her to a lecherous older man that she cannot even imagine spending her life with.  What will she do?  She hurriedly develops a plan because her father is to sign the betrothal contract the next morning and he just told her today.  She will force Lionel to marry her – a marriage totally in name only.  She will have total autonomy, he will pay the bills and there will be no intimacy of any kind and no children.

I certainly didn’t warm up to Emmaline as quickly as I did to Lionel.  She didn’t seem to have a lot of self-awareness and blamed others for her problems – mostly Lionel.  She had been feeling pressured, by her parents, to marry.  So, she elopes with the handsome man who pays attention to her at a house party.  She doesn’t know him at all – she romanticized him – but she married him.  Then she was surprised when he wasn’t the man she thought he would be.  Well – duh!    Then, when her parents are arranging her second marriage she has a knee-jerk reaction.  Granted, she had little to no time to plan a real escape from her situation, but, what was her first reaction?  She’d make Lionel marry her – because he owed her everything.

Lionel is standing in the way of a very dangerous man and that man is determined to remove Lionel from his path – by any means necessary.  Will Lionel survive?

Emmaline and Lionel certainly don’t have a very auspicious beginning to their marriage but, if they work together, they can make it a success.  Lionel wants that from the beginning but Emmaline wants nothing to do with Lionel and it takes her much longer to figure out that Lionel isn’t the man she thought he was either – but in a much better way than with her first husband.  As she discovers who he is – and it starts with a tiny black kitten with jade green eyes – she comes to respect, admire and, yes, love him.  However, love may not be enough for them.  Being near Emmaline is a constant reminder to Lionel that he killed her husband.  He can’t forget it and sometimes he can’t be near her because of it.

This is a great read – and I certainly recommend it.  However, there were a couple of things that niggled at me as I read.

  • The author used the word shagged several times.  I know the term came into use in this context in the late 1700’s, but it just sounded too modern to me.  The author did nothing wrong there – it was all me.  I just didn’t care for it.
  • When Lionel was challenged to a duel by Sir Duncan, it was Sir Duncan who chose the weapons, time and place. I believe it was the right of the person challenged to choose the weapon, not the challenger.
  • When Emmaline has a need to use Lionel’s dueling pistols, she manages to do it in the dark, in the room with a murderer and very quietly. I don’t believe that dueling pistols would have been stored loaded.  That would mean that she had to pack, prime and load the pistol in the dark without making a sound.  Just doesn’t sound plausible to me.

None of those things kept me from enjoying the story – they just sort of picked at me.

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”


Excerpt:

At last, he heard footsteps. The latch clicked, and the door opened. Lady Townsend quickly stepped inside, closing the door firmly behind her.

She took in the small space and positioned herself as far away from him as possible. That still only allowed maybe four feet between them. “This is rather close.”

He straightened to his full height, pushing off the shelves behind his back. “It’s also out of the way.”

She elevated her chin. “I suppose it is.”

“Forgive me, but I’ve been trying to reason why you’d want to marry me, and I’m afraid I’ve come up with absolutely nothing.”

“I admit it’s a severe plan, but I’m at my wit’s end. I’m destined for a marriage I don’t want, and it’s all your fault. You did say you would do anything to help me. Didn’t you mean that?”

“Of course I did. I’m a man of honor, for better or for worse.” Often for worse, it seemed.

She looked away from him, her jaw tightening. When her gaze found his once more, her eyes were fire and ice, a mixture of hot anger and frigid determination. “Your honor has definitely been worse for me. Which is why I am seeking your help—you owe me.”

“I do.”

“Yes, and I’d planned to demand money to settle Geoffrey’s debts. After I gave you the cut direct. Which I didn’t get to do.” She folded her arms across her chest, and he felt her frustration fill the small space. “Things are not going the way I’d planned.”

“I’m sorry things aren’t progressing as you wanted.” His chest squeezed, and he fought to take a breath. “Your life isn’t at all what you’d expected it would be, and that’s entirely my fault,” he said quietly. “I will give you the money you need and anything else you require.”

Anything. Yes, you said that last summer too.” Her gaze locked onto his. “My parents have decided I should marry someone I don’t want to. They have already set things in motion. I need you to marry me instead.”

“Forgive me, Lady Townsend, but I find it difficult to comprehend there is anyone you’d rather marry less than me.”

She laughed, a dark, hollow sound that made his guts twist. “Yes, I can see why you’d think that, and if we were to have a true marriage, it would likely be accurate. However, to save me from marrying Sir Duncan, we will wed, and it will be a marriage of utter convenience—for me. I shall be independent to do as I please, you will provide me with ample pin money, and there will be absolutely no intimacy.”

“You want me to accept an agreement of marriage in which I have no children, not even an heir?”

Her icy gaze didn’t waver. “Yes.”

Bloodiest of hells. How could he possibly agree to that? He had a responsibility to his title, his family. Yes, there was someone—his second cousin’s son—who could inherit, but that wasn’t the point. His father, if he were still alive, would be devastated to think that Lionel would trade away their legacy in such a fashion.

And yet…he owed her. He’d promised her. And if he was nothing else, he was, above all, a man of honor.


Other books in the series:

The Forbidden Duke - BK 1The Duke of Daring - BK 2The Duke of Deception - BK 3The Duke of Desire - BK 4The Duke of Defiance - BK 5


Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect: Site | Facebook |

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Detective Lavender Mystery Series by Karen Charlton

Karen Charlton has taken a bit of poetic license with the real-life Bow Street Runner, Principal Officer, Stephen Lavender by calling him a ‘detective’.  However, the stories are based on his real-life cases in Regency England.  How she came to learn of Detective Lavender is an interesting story in itself.  If you are interested, you can see that here.

Below are reviews of the first three books in the series and the book blurb for the fourth book in the series, Plague Pits & River Bones.


The Heiress of Linn Hagh (Detective Lavender Mysteries, #1)The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton
Book 1
Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great start for what is a new author and series for me. I love her writing style — straightforward, descriptive, well-developed characters, etc. Lavender seems to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and MacGyver. He’s exceedingly smart, well educated and perceptive, but not particularly ‘people adept’.

I love the relationship between Lavender and Constable Woods. They are friends, but it seems much more than that — almost father/son. Woods is the ‘people person’. He’s one of those good-natured, affable kinds of people who has never met a stranger. People instinctively trust him and talk to him easily.

As a principal investigator for the famed Bow Street Runners, Lavender is often called to various parts of England to solve cases that local investigators cannot solve. As often as possible, Lavender takes Constable Woods with him.

An heiress is missing — from a room that is locked from the inside. Her uncle contacts Bow Street and Lavender and Woods are sent to Northumberland to solve the mystery and find the heiress.

It doesn’t take them long to figure out that there is more going on than just a missing heiress. There is true madness and evil at Linn Hagh and more than one victim. The mystery is sort of gothic in nature – brooding like Wuthering Heights.

I’ve seen a number of questions about the accuracy of the Bow Street runners scenario’s on other reviews. I was questioning at first as well, but the author includes her research and information at the end of the book in the Author’s Notes section that is really interesting. Seems there REALLY was a principal investigator named Lavender.

Some people may find the writing style a little dry — sort of like the old Dragnet series on TV, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t wait to start the next one.


The Sans Pareil Mystery (Detective Lavender Mysteries, #2)The Sans Pareil Mystery by Karen Charlton
Book 2
Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book two in the Lavender mystery series. Another great addition to the series.

Me Ma says ‘Send a Constable’! Quick! They’re murdering a woman at Raleigh Close on ‘Art Street.” So begins the mystery. In the remains of a dilapidated building, they find the body of a beautiful young woman concealed beneath the floorboards. She’s been dead for two or three days — and — her shoes don’t fit. The young woman is soon identified as an actress from the local theater.

Lavender and Woods investigate and their investigations soon take strange turns — misidentification, spies, murder and general mayhem.

I like the interplay between Lavender and Woods — they play off each other really well. I don’t care for Donᾶ Magdalena, who is Lavender’s love interest. Maybe she’ll grow on me through other books in the series, but so far I don’t like her.


The Sculthorpe Murder (Detective Lavender Mysteries #3)The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

Book 3
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an excellent thriller!  This specific case is loosely based on a case in 1818 when a gang of robbers burst into the home of elderly William Sculthorpe and robbed and viciously assaulted him and his son. The real Stephen Lavender was called to investigate the attack.

You won’t believe how many scallywags there are in this one small town — including the victim himself! There are lots of twists and turns and red herrings thrown at you, but if you pay attention as you read, you can figure out who the bad guys are, but it is always interesting to see how Lavender catches them.

His moral dilemmas at the end are interesting. Lavender is a bit of a nerd — very cerebral and doesn’t interact really well with people so you could see him going either way on those. You’re pretty sure which way he’ll end up going, but — well — it could be either way.

I’m looking forward to the next book.


Plague Pits & River Bones
Plague Pits & River Bones (Detective Lavender Mysteries #4)

Release Date:  January 11, 2018

London 1812: Treacherous gangs roam the capital, and not even the Palace of Westminster is safe. When Detective Stephen Lavender is called in to investigate a highway robbery and a cold-blooded murder, both the cases take a dangerous and disturbing personal twist.

And when Lavender’s trusted deputy, Constable Ned Woods, finds a mysterious severed foot washed up on Greenwich Beach, they soon realize that these ancient bones are more sinister than they first appeared.

With Bow Street Police Office undermanned and in disarray, it will take all of Lavender and Woods’s wit and skill—and some help from Lavender’s spirited wife, Magdalena—to unmask the fiend behind the mayhem, restore peace and justice to the beleaguered city and solve the tragic mystery of the severed foot.

But will they do so in time to foil a plot that threatens to plunge the country into chaos?

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