I have another batch of romances to talk about with you today, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed! Keep reading to learn about the historical marriage-of-convience just published by Kate Bateman, Talia Hibbert’s highly anticipated new contemporary, the start of Eva Leigh’s new historical series inspired by eighties movies, and a historical romance featuring a female auditor by Grace Burrowes.
This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman (October 29)
This Earl of Mine is a marriage of convenience historical romance that starts out in prison. Georgie’s cousin keeps trying to trap her into marriage in order to gain control of her massive inheritance, so in order to thwart him and gain more independence, she decides she needs to marry someone, and that the easiest way to do so would be to marry someone who is sentenced to hang. That way she gets the title of widow, but doesn’t actually have to deal with a husband. Only the man she intended to marry died before she showed up at the prison to marry him, so instead she married a man who was sentenced to be deported. What she didn’t know was that he was actually the second son of an earl who was working undercover to foil a plot to rescue Napoleon, so imagine her surprise when he showed up at a ball a few weeks later!
This book was so fun! It wasn’t really on my radar until it showed up in the mail, but after reading the summary, I had to read it! I really loved My One and Only Duke by Grace Burrowes, which also features a marriage of convenience in prison plot line, so I was excited to see how Bateman handled a similar premise. It’s a much different book than My One and Only Duke, but it’s also very well executed! I feel like I find myself typing this phrase a lot, but I really loved watching the two of them fall in love. It was such a great scene where Ben first shows up at a ball, and I loved how he liked irritating Georgie, but also full supported her having adventures. And it was great to see how involved she was in her family’s shipping business and how Ben was only impressed by her competence, not intimidated. All in all, this was a very satisfying romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait for the sequel!
I received an arc of This Earl of Mine from the publisher.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (November 5)
Get a Life, Chloe Brown opens with the titular Chloe having a near death experience that makes her realize there’s nothing interesting about her life that would be included in her eulogy. So she decides to make a list for herself to help her get a life, starting with moving out of her parents’ house. The only problem with her new place is the attractive superintendent that Chloe is incapable of talking to, but who she winds up enlisting to help her complete her list. And of course, the more time they spend together, the harder it is for them to fight their attraction.
This was such a delightful read! I really like Chloe and her journey to take more control of her life and find her new self, and Red was a perfect fit for her. He really handled her chronic disability well and was only supportive, never weird about it, and I especially liked that his therapy was positively portrayed and that he didn’t use Chloe as his therapy. Also, Smudge! The cat was amazing, and I love how he came into Chloe’s life and introduced her to a new friend (and got her and Red to finally talk, too!). Basically, this book was sweet and adorable and gave me all of the feels while I was reading it, and I really enjoyed it.
Also, I wanted to mention that Get a Life, Chloe Brown reminds me a lot of Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai, which also features two neighbors falling in love. The heroine also has two sisters she’s close with, and the hero is also an artist with a traumatic past that has permanently changed his art. Though Serving Pleasure is a lot more angsty and has a lot more sex.
I received an arc of Get a Life, Chloe Brown at KissCon Afternoon Delights.
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh (November 26)
So My Fake Rake is the first book in a new series that’s apparently inspired by eighties movies. However, I haven’t watched a lot of eighties movies, so I have no idea which ones. That said, this is a makeover romance between two nerds, which is possible all you need to know! Grace has spent years scaring off potential suitors with her love of reptiles and amphibians, but when a celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, she’s determined to marry him. The problem is, he sees her as a colleague, so in order to convince him to see her as a potential bride, Grace talks her anthropologist friend Sebastian into letting himself be transformed into a rake and shower attention on her in the hopes that a rake’s attention will make the naturalist take a second look at Grace. Only the more Grace and Sebastian work together, the more the two of them fall in love, leaving Grace to choose between the future she thought she wanted and the man who’s been her friend all along.
I really enjoyed this book! Sebastian and Grace were delightful together, and I loved watching them slowly realize that. I thought Sebastian’s transformation was handled really well, especially regarding his social anxiety, and that Grace asked a lot of the same questions about her thoughts and motives that I was asking as the reader, which I think helped execute this plotline. I did think the whole thing about Grace focusing on the naturalist and categorizing Sebastian as a friend dragged on a bit too long, and I didn’t like the direction their relationship took after things between Grace and Sebastian came to a head. I also really wish we’d gotten more time with the two of them together after they admitted they liked each other, and I’m still a bit fuzzy on how the two of them were able to get married in the end considering Sebastian has no money. But all in all, this was a highly enjoyable read; I’m only focusing on some of the negatives because those are the things that prevent this book from being amazing instead of really good! If you’re looking for a solid historical romance, you can’t go wrong with this one!
I received an arc of My Fake Rake from the publisher via Edelweiss.
Forever and a Duke by Grace Burrowes (November 26)
Forever and a Duke opens with Wrexham, Duke of Elsmore, visiting his friend and rival bank owner the Duke of Walden to ask him to help audit his personal finances, as he suspects something is off, but the books are too much of a mess for him to work through on his own and he suspects something is going on at his own bank as well. Walden assigns his own bank auditor, Eleanora, to deal with the task, as she’s terrifyingly competent and can be trusted not to share what she finds in Elsmore’s book. What ensues is two weeks of Eleanora and Elsmore being constantly thrown together as she audits his books, and of course, the more time they spend together, the more they fall in love!
This was such a great addition to the Rogues to Riches series, though you definitely don’t need to have read the previous books to pick up this one. I was a little disappointed at first because I was expecting this installment to be about another member of the Wentworth family, but then I got to know Eleanora, and I was beyond thrilled to be reading her book. She’s so prickly and beyond competent at her job, and she desperately needed to fall in love. I’m so glad it was with Elsmore, who was an excellent match for her.
It’s sad that I’m saying this, but it was a refreshing change for Elsmore to know he wanted to marry her right away and never even entertain the thought of trying to make her his mistress. That was one of the things I hated so much in An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn, Benedict’s book in the Bridgerton series. He was convinced Sophie was too far beneath his station and kept harassing her to be his mistress despite knowing how much hurt it had caused her to grow up as an illegitimate child, and he was the second son of a viscount. And this book is far from the only example. Elsmore is not only a duke, but he cited numerous times that other dukes did whatever the hell they wanted and showed how his upbringing would help him ease their way into society. I loved it, and I’m so glad that wasn’t the obstacle to their HEA.
All in all, I thought this was a really dreamy read, and I loved every minute of it. It’s a much different style of writing than I normally see in historicals, and it gives me more of an old fashioned vibe even while the content is still very modern. I did notice that the sex scenes seem to be dialed back a lot from the first book in the series, which is odd, but the characters are still wonderful, and I loved getting to see more of Stephen in this book. I seriously can’t wait for him to get his own story!
I received an arc of Forever and a Duke from the publisher via Netgalley.
As you can see, I have a lot of great books I’ve been reading lately, and I would definitely recommend reading any and all of them if they catch your interest! Which one would you start with? Let me know in the comments!