Victorian Era

The Traitor’s Club: Ford by Laura Landon

traitors club - ford
The Traitor’s Club: Ford by Laura Landon

Release Date: 05/30/17
Series: The Traitor’s Club, #1

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lady Calinda aka Callie was burned years ago by her betrothed and has decided that men cannot be trusted and wants no part of marriage. She is content to help her grandfather run the Crown’s shipping company.

Captain Ford Remington is one of the “Queen’s Scoundrels”, he has returned from the war and is at loose ends, he feels a bit of survivor’s guilt and desperately wishes there was something he could do for all the wound/crippled soldiers that were not as fortunate as he and his friends were. His chance arises when the Queen requests his assistance with the Crown’s Shipping Company. Profits have been declining for years and she wants Ford to go undercover and find out why. His reward will be half interest in the company. The money will enable Ford to help those soldiers, so while he has no desire to spy again, he can’t turn away this opportunity.

Ford meets Callie at a ball and befriends her – he feels badly about deceiving her, but he has a mission and until he learns more, she is a suspect. Callie is shocked at her reaction to Ford, she hasn’t had any interest in a man since her ill fated betrothal. Even though she tries to keep Ford at a distance, she feels a connection to him and begins to share her worries about the company with him.

As they work together to figure out who is stealing from the company and how, they fall in love. Ford can never seem to find the right time to tell Callie about his mission and knows the longer he waits, the harder it will be for her to forgive him.

Things come to a head and when Callie finds out the truth, she shuts him out. She refuses to talk to him, listen to him or read his letters. Up until this point, I though this was a 5 star read – but the way she acted turned me off and I had a hard time liking her after that. She came across as a hypocrite since she was also keeping secrets from her family and especially from her grandfather. She assumed the worst about Ford and steadfastly refused to believe she might be mistaken.

She does redeem herself (sort of) but for me, it was too little, too late.

The book is well written, interesting, moves at a steady pace, has very mild love scenes (kissing only), great secondary characters and a decent mystery. I loved Ford, from the first page to the last and I look forward to reading the other “traitors” stories.

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

The Detecting Duchess By Kate Parker

The Detecting Duchess (Victorian Bookshop Mystery Book 5)The Detecting Duchess by Kate Parker

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: A Victorian Bookshop Mystery #5
Publication Date: May 26, 2016

Kate Parker gives us yet another delightful, intriguing, mystery and adventure set in Victorian England. I feel as if I have waited absolutely FOREVER for this book – and it has been about a year-and-a-half – much too long since the last release. I hope the next book won’t be as long in coming! I also hope the author doesn’t decide to make this the last of the series because I can see so many delightful storylines in this newly wedded state!

Miss Georgia Fenchurch is the middle-class owner of an antiquarian bookstore. She is also a member of the Archivist Society and the fiancé of the Duke of Blackford. The Archivist Society was formed to help individuals who can’t or haven’t been helped by Scotland Yard. It was in one such investigation that Georgia met the Duke of Blackford.

Over the course of the books in the series the Duke has wooed Georgia. He had a time convincing her that she could still be who she really was and be his Duchess at the same time. Finally, in the last book he managed to convince her to marry him! I was so excited – and now – this book brings us to the wedding – so – what trouble can Georgia get into with only a few days left until the wedding . . . .

Eight days before her wedding, Georgia gets a visit from Eugenie Munroe who begs her to find Greyson Burke who is an investigator for the crown. Georgia is itching for something to do in order to keep her mind off the upcoming wedding, but after she hears Eugenie’s tale, Georgia is sure she won’t be able to solve it before the wedding and will only agree to taking on the case if she can involve all of the Archivist Society in the case.

Eugenie had been in Egypt with her uncle who had been tasked to solve the robbery of gold coins valued at over a million pounds. Eugenie’s uncle had been murdered in the course of the investigation and she and Greyson had taken up the task of finding who had committed the murder.

Several murders and an ocean crossing later, the investigation lands on English soil. However, Greyson has disappeared and Eugenie has no idea where to turn – so – she turns to Georgia Fenchurch.

As Georgia investigates, there are attacks upon Eugenie and later on Georgia. Then there are more murders and many, many suspects. Then add abductions and more threats of murder before all is solved. Goodness what an exciting ride through the twists and turns of a delightful investigation.

Then, of course, we have the wedding. Oh! what a romantic time that is. Blackford’s wedding gift to Georgia absolutely could not be any more perfect. My goodness my heart was all aflutter!

I highly recommend this book and hope it delights you as much as it did me!

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The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen: A Historical Romance NovelThe Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen: A Historical Romance Novel by Victoria Alexander

Release Date: 05/23/17

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

I love Ms. Alexander’s writing style – it is light without being fluffy, funny, emotional and poignant. This book had all those elements plus a bit of steam, a missing cousin, a road trip to Paris and wonderful secondary characters!

India Prendergast is a no nonsense, independent, sensible woman. She is trying to find her missing cousin, Lady Heloise and all her inquires have been ignored by the Lady Travelers Society. India goes to the society – bent on getting answers and proving that the society is a scam and seeing justice done. This is where she meets the most annoying (and charming) Derek Saunders.

Derek has been told in no uncertain terms that he must curb his scandalous ways or his uncle (Edward, Earl of Danby) will make sure he does not inherit his fortune when he inherits the title. To prove that he is mending his ways, Derek agrees to look after his great-aunt Gwen while his mother is away – what he finds is a scandal in the making – his aunt and her friends have started a travel society – but they cannot actually provide the services they promise and to make matters worse – one of their members is missing and her relative is threatening to involve the police! Desperate to save his great-aunt Derek declares that he will hire investigators to find Heloise and will trace her travels himself to find her. This is when he meets the maddening (and intriguing) India Prendergast.

India informs Derek that she will accompany him to find Heloise, she is convinced that he is the mastermind behind the scheme to defraud the members and doesn’t trust him at all. Gwen insists that they cannot travel alone and hires Professor and Mrs. Greer as chaperones. India lets Derek make their travel arrangements and the foursome sets off to Paris.

When they arrive in Paris, they are not staying at a hotel – but with Derek’s step-brother Percival aka Val, Marquess of Brookings. The scene when India wakes up and Val invades her bedroom is hilarious! India is unsettled, first Val invades her room, then her luggage turns up missing, then she finds out that there are over 20 “Grand” hotels in Paris – can this get any worse? Why yes, yes it can and it does – much to this readers delight!

At the advice of his uncle Edward, Derek is going to stall India in Paris for as long as he can, giving Edward’s investigators time to find Heloise and hopefully preventing India from having charges brought up against Gwen. He soon learns that India believes he is behind the scheme and to protect Gwen, he lets her. He and India spend a good deal of time together and slowly India begins to lighten up and starts to make some startling revelations about herself.

The journey to their happy ending is not smooth, but it is very entertaining. The book is well written, flows nicely, has an outstanding cast of secondary characters, a bit of steam, a bit of mystery and a lot of laugh out loud moments.

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the next one!

The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less by Victoria Alexander

The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less (The Lady Traveler's Guide, #0.5)The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less by Victoria Alexander

Release Date: 04/01/17

Series: The Lady Travelers Guide #.05

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars!

OMG! This book was totally delightful! It was laugh out loud funny and even though Henry and Celia were the primaries, I fell in love with Edward!

Henry and Celia met briefly and felt an instant connection – but parted ways without exchanging names and even though they both tried to find the other again, they did not and both accepted defeat and moved on.

Henry actually moved on to Katherine and after a whirlwind courtship, proposes to her. So imagine his shock when he meets her family and realizes his missing soulmate is her younger sister!

Unable to break his word he proceeds with the wedding plans even though he’s miserable and knows that marrying Katherine is a huge mistake. Celia is heartbroken but knows that Henry is a man of honor and would be devastated if he had to break his word.

Fortunately for our star-crossed lovers, Henry’s brother Edward and Celia’s Aunt Guinevere have no such scruples and set off on the campaign to make Katherine cry off!

This was an absolutely delightful read and whetted my appetite for the next book in the series! The only complaint I had was Henry came off as a little bit fickle – but in the end he is totally redeemed.

Her Majesty’s Scoundrel’s – Various Authors

Her Majesty's ScoundrelsHer Majesty’s Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

A very good collection of Victorian Era novellas.

To Lure a Lost Duke – Christy Carlyle – 5 stars: This was my favorite in the collection, it was also the longest of the five and the steamiest. This is the story of Octavia aka Tavia and Killian Graves, the Duke of Strathmoor. Octavia is an investigator hired by the Queen to track down Killian and bring him back to London. Killian was a soilder and never expected to inherit, he doesn’t feel worthy and couple that with an accusation of murder – he has decided to walk away from his life. Tavia finds Killian and worms her way into his life. After a confrontation with the murdered man’s brother, Killian agrees to return to London, where he hope Tavia will agree to marry him. But upon his return he is promptly arrested for the murder and believes the woman he loves betrayed him. Can Tavia clear his name and convince Killian that she was not party to his arrest? Great story!

Cast In Scandal – Laura Landon – 4 stars: This is the story of Edward, Duke of Townsend and Alyssa, Countess of Lindleigh. Edward has been tasked with finding a missing agent of the crown and finding out the truth of Lord Lindleigh’s death. Alyssa has lived under a cloud of suspicion for the past year – the ton believes that she killed her husband. Alyssa would be more than happy to live the rest of her life out of society – but for the sake of her daughter, she has re-entered society and is trying to put the scandal behind her – without much success. Edward is drawn to Alyssa and after a rocky start, they form a friendship. Edward manages to find the missing link between the missing agent and the death of Alyssa’s husband – but will he be able to save the woman he loves? I liked this story – both Alyssa and Edward are older and have been in love before and been hurt by those loves.

The Viscount’s Secret – Anthea Lawson – 3 stars: Anthony, Viscount Percival is a spy, he has honed an image of a frivolous flirt to glean secrets. Irenna is the niece of Anthony’s latest target – but somehow she sees past his disguise. Anthony is intrigued by Irenna and hopes that she can be the one woman that can love the real Anthony. But the path to their HEA will be difficult, Irenna has been hurt before and war is brewing. I felt like this novella was a little too short and therefore it made the love story feel rushed and unbelievable.

A Spy to Call My Own – Rebecca Paul – 3 1/2 stars: This story started out so good, but it wrapped up too quickly. Vera is a suffragette and attending college when she learns that her brother has died. Desperate for answers, she travels to Africa to find her brother’s partner, Owen. Owen is an agent for the home office – he fell in love with Vera years ago – but his duty has made walk away from her. When she shows up with a map that she found hidden in her brother’s belongings – he wants nothing more than to ship her back to England where she will be safe. Vera is having none of that and manages to save herself and Owen from certain death when the villain tries to take the treasure that cost her brother his life. This was well written and interesting – but it wraps up way too fast and felt incomplete.

Tempting the Scoundrel – Lana Williams – 4 1/2 stars: Elliott, Earl of Aberland is a spy, he has cultivated the image of a rake and a wastrel to explain his many absences from society. Sophia Markham is his grandmother’s new companion and far to lovely and clever for Elliott’s peace of mind. Elliott tries to send Sophia away – because he knows it will be impossible to maintain his cover with this woman, but his grandmother adores her and he doesn’t have the heart to hurt her. They grow close and Sophia is sure that Elliott is not the scoundrel he wants the world to believe. However when she spies on him and is caught – he makes it clear that he is not interested in her and that he is exactly what his reputation implies. But when danger threatens and Sophia is dragged into an assassination attempt on the Queen – Elliott will move heaven and earth to save the woman he loves. Great addition to the Seven Curses series with cameos from the previous characters.

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

Where Hearts Meet by Maureen Driscoll

Where Hearts Meet (Jasmine Cottage Book 1)Where Hearts Meet by Maureen Driscoll

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Released: 03/23/17

Book 1 of the Jasmine Cottage Series

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for a copy that was provided to my by the author*

I was a bit leery about this book, I am more of a once in a lifetime love kind of girl – I do believe in second love, but when I read books, I want first and only love. This book is the story of Jonathan Graves, grieving widower and father of twins and Arabella Warren, orphan and unemployed governess.

While this is a love story, it was more about Jonathan learning to live and love again without his beloved Caroline. Jonathan loved his late wife, truly and deeply and has felt her loss every day since she passed almost three years ago. But when yet another governess leaves his employ, he decides that it is time for him to remarry and places an ad in the paper for a wife.

Arabella has not been successful in her employment, she is a beautiful young woman and while she loves children, she does not love being mauled by the male members of the few households she has worked in. She is living at Jasmine Cottage with her dear friends Emma, Grace and Daphne and they have just invited Lily and Toby to join their household. Money is tight and Arabella feels guilty for living with the sisters and not being able to contribute. She has had no replies to her many letters looking for employment and is beginning to lose hope. When she learns that Mr. Graves is looking for a wife, she decides to meet with him and convince him that he will need a governess before he gets a wife.

When Arabella arrives at his home, she is dismayed to see a huge number of women already in line. As she decides how to proceed, she is greeted by two young children. Louisa and Phillip are immediately taken with Arabella and when they are joined by Jonathan, they tell him they want Arabella to stay. Jonathan is shocked by his reaction to Arabella and wants nothing to do with her, because what he is feeling towards her makes him feel like he is betraying his wife.

Disappointed that Jonathan has decided he does not want a wife and will not consider her for the position of governess, she returns to the cottage and wonders what she will do. Two days later she is surprised to see Jonathan and his children at her home. He has reconsidered (after being nagged by his children) and asks her to be the children’s governess.

The story is sweet and focuses mainly on Jonathan and his struggle to come to terms with the loss of his first love and accepting the possibility of a new love. It was very emotional at times and I honestly wondered if he would be able to love Arabella the way she deserved to be loved.

Arabella knows that she loves Louisa and Phillip and is certain she could love Jonathan, but she refuses to marry without mutual love. As Jonathan and Arabella grow closer, trouble in the form of Lady Cora, an old friend of Jonathan’s wife, steps in and plants the seeds of doubt and reminds him of his love for his wife. Lady Cora has decided that she will marry Jonathan and wants Arabella out of the way. Unfortunately, her plan works, after Arabella and Jonathan share a night of passion, he proposes but is unable to answer Arabella’s question as to whether he could ever love her. Arabella is heartsick, but agrees to stay a few more weeks to learn if she is with child – if she is she will marry him, if not, she will leave. Jonathan agonizes over her question and just as he decides that yes, he can love her, Lady Cora stirs up more trouble.

It will not be an easy road to HEA for these two, but in the end, hearts do meet and love prevails.

I liked the story, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t like that Jonathan was so unsure of his feelings for Arabella – I understood the guilt, but not the mistrust. The book is well written, flows well, has great secondary characters, some warm love scenes and a very touching epilogue. I will definitely be looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

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