Tracy’s Reviews

What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie

What Ales the Earl (Widow's Brew, #1)What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie
Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

Series: Widow’s Brew, #1

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Harry Graham and Penelope Barnes were childhood friends and eventually lovers, they parted ways ten years ago when Harry went off to war. But unbeknownst to Harry, Pen gave birth to a daughter and moved away from Darrow.

Now Harry is back from the war and had unexpectedly inherited the earldom of Darrow from his wastrel brother. He has promised his mother he will marry and has chosen his bride – Lady Susan Palmer. The night he is going to propose, his friend the Duke of Grainger begs him to do an investigation for him. Grainger also inherited unexpectantly and has found a payment being made to someone identified as JSW in Little Puddleton. Harry delays proposing and sets off for Little Puddleton.

Pen has lived in the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows and Abandoned Women and their Unfortunate Children since her daughter Harriet was just a baby. As the daughter of a tenant farmer, she never expected Harry to marry her and has no regrets, she loves Harriet and will do anything to protect her – even marry the vicar. She lived with her aunt while she was expecting and they came up with a story – Pen calls herself Mrs. Barnes and claims to be a war widow, she has made a life for them, with her knowledge of farming, she grows hops for the brewery they started – Widow’s brew. This story has held for years, but new comers to the home recognize the distinctive silver stripe in Harriet’s hair, that mark her as a Graham. They assume that she is the daughter of the former Earl (Walter) as he spread his seed far and wide. When Harriet confronts Pen about her birth, Pen feels rushed to marry the vicar before gossip spreads.

Harry comes across Harriet and when he sees her hair, makes the same assumption as everyone else. But when he finds Pen being assaulted, he knows the truth. Harriet is his! This begins the reunion of Harry and Pen – but there will be no happy ending – he is going to marry Lady Susan, Earls do not marry farmers daughters. They reconnect and it is clear that the passion and friendship they shared never died and now Harry wants Pen and Harriet in his life for good, but Pen is not sure, she has to do what is best for Harriet – she loves Harry, she always has and always will and she desires him, but she has doubts about how Harriet will be treated.

When Lady Susan, Letitia (Harry’s SIL) and his mother show up in town, Harry’s ideas for the future take a radical turn – but will Pen agree with his new plans?

This book was well written, fast paced read that had a little bit of angst, steamy love scenes, some amusing banter and a sweet second chance at love. And while I didn’t particularly care for Harry at the beginning (it had nothing to do with him not considering marriage to Pen), I did end up loving him by the end. I also thought that this book was one of the most historically accurate regarding the class differences that I have read in a long time, because let’s be honest, an Earl would not consider marrying a farmers daughter – it just wasn’t done. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series and hope that we get a glimpse of Harry, Pen and Harriet’s future, since this book did not have an epilogue (Boo!).

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

The Singular Mr. Sinclair by Mia Marlowe

The Singular Mr. Sinclair (The House of Lovell, #1)The Singular Mr. Sinclair by Mia Marlowe
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The House of Lovell, #1

Release Date: July 17, 2018

Lawrence Sinclair has been smitten with Lady Caroline Lovell since the moment he laid eyes on her. But a former Major in his majesty’s Calvary and the estranged heir of an earl with no prospects, has no business wanting the daughter of an Earl – even if he did save her brother.

Lady Caroline has no desire to marry, after 3 seasons and many thwarted suitors, she holds out hope that she will make it to her 21st birthday, unwed and free to set her own course, thanks to a small fortune left to her by her grandmother. But Lawrence is a puzzle that needs solving and the first and possibly the only man that has ever made Caro rethink her future.

Lawrence would love nothing more than to marry Caro, but he feels honor bound to walk away from her. But he has seriously underestimated his love! Caro isn’t willing to let him walk away without answers and is willing to stoop to forgery to get them!

When a HEA seems to be in their grasp, a shocking family secret paired with a stunning betrayal and an even more surprising twist – may change the all the plans they have envisioned for their future.

I thought this was a very good story, I loved that Lawrence never waivered in his devotion to Caro, nor did he ever feel sorry for himself and his lot in life. The book wasn’t perfect, there are situations that come up, seem important and then are promptly ignored without explanation or repercussion, the love scenes are barely tepid and the ending feels a bit too good, to be true. But it is a sweet story and I am looking forward to the next book.

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

The Captain’s Heart

The Captain's Heart (Hathaway Heirs Book 3)The Captain’s Heart by Suzanna Medeiros
Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Hathaway Heirs, #3

Released: April 27, 2018

Capt. Edward Hathaway is given a letter from Freddie Reynolds to deliver to his betrothed. Freddie saved his life and he feels honor bound to grant his wish, but argues that Freddie will probably see her before he does. But when Freddie passes away, a grief stricken Edward is determined to carry out his request.

Grace Kent was saddened to learn of Freddie’s death and feels guilty that she had planned to break the betrothal when he returned. She loved Freddie, but as a brother and only agreed to marry him so he didn’t go off to war with a broken heart. So when Edward comes to deliver the letter, she refuses to see him. Edward is diligent and finally catches her returning from a ride – but he believes her to be her widowed sister Helen and she doesn’t correct his misassumption.

Edward is very interested in “Helen” and wants to tempt her into an affair until “Grace” returns. Grace is equally interested in Edward, no other man has ever captured her interest and she decides to give into her desire. But when the real Helen shows up, she knows it is time to come clean with Edward.

She goes to see him with the intention of telling him the truth, but when she tries, he stops her and they let their desire have full reign. Later Edward realizes that “Helen” is Grace and he has ruined her – he tells her they will marry. He feels incredible guilt for making love to Freddie’s love, even though Grace told him that she never loved him as a lover and was not going to marry him.

Grace refuses to marry him, demands he give her the letter and leaves. Edward complies – but this is not over – she will marry him.

The book was okay, it was a little too “intsa-love” for my taste and I didn’t really care for Grace at the beginning of the book. The book is well written, packs an emotional punch, has steamy love scenes and finally a HEA. It is the third book in the series, but it 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*

Claiming the Highlander’s Heart by Lily Maxton

Claiming The Highlander's Heart (The Townsends, #4)Claiming The Highlander’s Heart by Lily Maxton
Tracy’a rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Townsends, #4

Release Date; July 9, 2018

I have read a lot of historical romances and I think it is safe to say that I have never read this particular storyline before.

Georgina Townsend, the youngest and last unattached Townsend has just returned from a trip to Glasgow, while in town, she got some very troubling and unsettling news from her doctor, she is still processing that information when she learns that her house was robbed and her mother’s music box was stolen.

Unwilling to just accept the box is gone, Georgina tracks down the thieves and joins their band of outlaws to learn the whereabouts of the last link she has to her mother. She is a little surprised by the group and is undeniably attracted to their leader, Malcolm “Mal” Stewart.

Mal returned from the war to learn his family had been forced out of their home and left for Nova Scotia, but died aboard ship during a typhus outbreak. Alone in the world and extremely angry, Mal decides to make the “Lords” responsible for the clearances pay by stealing sheep. He is sort of a Robin Hood type and has a band of strays that have joined him. When Georgina approaches, he is instantly smitten, but the others are leery and decide she needs to be tested. Georgina gives them a false name – Catriona MacPhearson and is willing to do whatever is necessary to stay with the group until she gets what she came for.

She passes their test with flying colors, she also learns that she and Mal share a love of music and they play exceptionally well together. Her feelings are getting muddled and when their raid goes wrong and Mal is shot – she chooses to stay with him. They take Mal to a remote cottage to heal and while there, he gives her the music box as a gift. But instead of leaving right away, she stays until she is sure he will recover and then leaves without a word.

Weeks pass, Malcolm is still hurt and upset that she left, but tells himself to forget her. She is not faring much better. So when he takes a chance and tracks her down – he is shocked to find out who and what she really is. Georgina is shocked (and elated) to see Malcolm, but is also worried – will he tell her brother? The desire between them is even stronger than they remembered – but neither is willing to give an inch. Plus Georgina has a secret that may change everything between them.

This is a well written, well paced story with an unusual storyline as well as a heroine with a unique problem. There is a lot of desire, some steamy love scenes, dangerous situations, an exceptional hero, very likable secondary characters, some heartache, some joy and a sigh worthy HEA.

This is the fourth book in the Townsends series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title.

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

The Duke and I by Heather Boyd

The Duke and I (Saints and Sinners Book 1)The Duke and I by Heather Boyd
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Saints and Sinners, #1

Release Date: July 5, 2018

3.5 stars – rounded up because this was an ARC and will probably (hopefully) be corrected before release.

Nicolas Westfall, the Duke of Stapleton is a widower with several grown children, his youngest daughter Jessica is almost ready to make her come out and he needs someone to guide her. Enter Gillian Thorpe.

Gillian is a widow and has just lost her position as a governess when she meets Nic. She agrees to be Jessica’s companion and will help prepare her for her upcoming season. She and Nic get on very well together and keep their relationship strictly professional for almost nine months, then a kiss under the mistletoe opens the flood gates and their relationship takes a steamy turn!

Nic is falling hard for Gillian and decides to ask her to marry him once all his houseguests leave. Gillian is also falling for Nic, but he has made no promises or spoken of a future, so when Nic’s eldest daughter Rebecca says that Nic is going to marry and Gillian is no longer needed, she has no reason to believe it is not true and agrees to take another job.

I thought this was a very sweet story of second chance love, it was well paced for a novella and very steamy without being gratuitous, the characters were likable (except his daughter Rebecca) and the ending was very sweet and satisfying. There were a lot of typos, title errors and an inconsistent timeline – but they didn’t really ruin the story for me, but they were distracting if you are a detail oriented reader (and I am). But overall it was a nice short book and I will be looking forward to the next installment.

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

A Lady’s Guide to Passion and Property by Kate Moore

A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property (Husband Hunters, #2)A Lady’s Guide to Passion and Property by Kate Moore
Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

Series: Husband Hunters, #2

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Lucy Holbrook has inherited the Tooth and Nail inn from her father as well as the responsibility of Adam, an old blind man that has been at the inn for as long as Lucy can remember. Adam was injured years ago and taken in by her father, Adam is mentally disabled and suffered an horrific event, one that her father took great pains to keep secret. Now that Lucy has inherited the inn, her friends from London think she should find a husband, they offer to bring her to town and sponsor her for a season. But Lucy is not sure she wants a husband and can’t leave Adam or the inn. They leave her a copy of the Husband Hunter’s Guide and encourage her to reconsider.

Captain Harry Clare has been staying at the inn since the Pantheon Club closed, he needs to finish his final case and reap his reward. Harry is sure that Adam is the man he has been tasked in finding – a blind man who witnessed a murder. Harry is sure that if he can unlock Adam’s secrets, he will find the person responsible for leaking information to England’s enemies and will finally finish his mission, get his promised reward, save his family home and get the Pantheon club re-opened. But first he has to get Lucy to trust him enough to leave Adam and go to London. Simple, right?

This is a complex story with lots of secrets, surprises and twists. I felt that it would more accurately be described as an historical intrigue novel rather than an historical romance – the romance in this book is VERY light and subtle – I have no idea how Harry and Lucy fell in love as their relationship really it wasn’t the primary focus of the book. But there is a really great mystery to solve and a lot of surprising revelations made. There are cameos from characters in the previous book that tie up some loose ends and the introduction of a new character that will make you want to read the next book!

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

One Week to Wed by Laurie Benson

One Week To Wed
One Week to Wed
One Stolen Night…leads to unexpected wedding vows!
Widowed Lady Charlotte Gregory believes she’ll never love again after losing her husband, until meeting dashing Lord Andrew Pearce brings her respectable, lonely world back to vibrant life! Left alone one night, they give in to their desires only to find their secret passion leads to shock, scandal…and a sudden marriage of convenience.
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One Week To Wed - Laurie Benson
Author Bio –
Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romance novels. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Her novel An Unexpected Countess was voted Harlequin’s 2017 Hero of the Year by readers.

When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

To learn about her upcoming books, visit her historical blog, and to sign up for her newsletter go to http://www.lauriebenson.net.
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Tracy’s Review:
One Week to Wed (The Sommersby Brides #1)One Week to Wed by Laurie Benson
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

If you have ever read my reviews, you know I am not a fan of leads that have been in love before – rarely do I finish a book and believe that the hero/heroine who had previously been in love, have gotten over their first love and truly, madly, deeply love the “new love”. Well, I am happy to say, this book exceeded all my expectations and ended with me honestly believing that Charlotte loved Andrew with all her heart.

Lady Charlotte Gregory is a widow, her beloved Jonathan died four years ago at Waterloo and she is content to remain a widow forever. She honestly believes that love only happens once and that her heart died with Jonathan. So she is more than a little surprised to be attracted to Lord Andrew who she meets while visiting friends.

Andrew is just as taken with her, but he works as an agent for the crown (on a forced holiday by his brother and boss) and believes that he can never have a wife or family and Charlotte is a respectable widow, not someone to dally with and leave. But when they meet again days later at a village fair and spend time together, they both give into their mutual attraction. Andrew is shaken to his core by his feelings for her and bolts. He returns to London and tries to forget her.

Charlotte comes to London to visit her sister, Elizabeth “Lizzy” the widowed Duchess of Skeffington and while out shopping, run into Andrew. To her horror, she realizes Andrew is the man her sister Lizzy has set her sights on! Andrew is equally surprised, he has no interest in Lizzy and has avoided her like the plague, but when he sees Charlotte with her, he can’t stop himself from approaching them. Charlotte seems angry and he regrets leaving without saying goodbye. When they leave, Charlotte feels ill and is waspish with Lizzy, angry at Andrew for leaving her without a word and at Lizzy for never telling her the name of the man she has “loved/wanted” since she was 17. She goes to rest and is awaken by her youngest sister Juliet, she feels out of sorts and when Juliet mentions the tea always makes her feel better during her time of the month – Charlotte has a shocking realization – she is pregnant. She was married for 10 years and never conceived, so she was sure that she was barren, especially when Lizzy never conceived either. Juliet is supportive and says she must tell Lizzy.

Lizzy is furious and kicks her out of her house and refuses to speak to her. She doesn’t fare much better with Andrew, he is also angry and feels like she deliberately deceived him. But he does the honorable thing and asks her to marry him. He says they will live separate lives and doesn’t tell her about his work for the crown.

They marry, and he plans to leave after a few weeks. But married life suits them and he can’t seem to walk away. But all that changes a couple of weeks later when Lizzy finally comes for a visit and Charlotte swears she doesn’t love Andrew and that the child she is carrying should have been Jonathan’s. Andrew overhears and she sees him, but makes no move to explain. Andrew realizes that he loves her and she will never love him, he can’t live that way and tells her it is time for them to part.

She doesn’t understand why her heart is so heavy, but she misses Andrew and wishes she could make things right between them. Weeks pass before they meet again in Manchester – she is with her friends the Knightly’s attending a meeting at St. Peter’s field when all hell breaks loose. The crowd shifts and she sees Andrew! Andrew can’t believe his pregnant wife is at the meeting! His brother sent him here on a mission, but he had planned to avoid her – seeing her hurts too much. But when he is injured, he has no choice but to return home with her.

She finally realizes that she loves Andrew and tries to convince him to stay – but when he throws back her words spoken to Lizzy at her – she knows that she will have to put aside her fears and fight for the man she has come to love with all her heart.

This was a great book, it is well written, steamy-ish, emotional and heart breaking – I thought Charlotte’s refusal to believe that she could love again was dragged out a little too long and I wanted to smack Andrew’s brother Gabriel – but other than that, I wouldn’t change anything about this book and am looking forward to Lizzy & Juliet’s stories!

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