It’s Read a Romance Month, so I thought I ought to do my bit for the cause – and review some romance. I’m pretty much exclusively a historical romance reader when I read straight up romance, so here are two of the new ones I’ve recently read – both by authors new to me as I continue my quest to find new (to me) historical romance authors, having read everything from the people I like!
First up, and out this week in the US (and in September in the UK) is How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries. This is the third book in the series – and as per usual I’m late to the party and haven’t read the other two. This wasn’t a problem though as I still enjoyed the book. Some elements of the plot felt a little bit far fetched to me, but Jeffries carries it off – just. My problems with US-written-British-set historicals usually come with the language choices and there were a few moments in this, but probably not any that would annoy an American reader. I have a personal problem with “princess” as a term of endearment – makes me think of Eastenders and gangsters, but that’s just me! The denouement seemed to happen very quickly – there seemed to be a lot of build up for not a lot of resolution, and there were a few revelations at the end that felt like they were late attempts to make the baddie more three dimensional and add a bit of depth to a character that we hadn’t seen in the flesh for a long time (I’m trying not to give plot points away here!). I have another, older Sabrina Jeffries on the pile and there was certainly nothing here to put me off reading it. If I was giving star ratings, it’d be 3.5 out of 5.
Out next week in the US (and at the start of October in the UK) is Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney. Another book that’s one of a series that I haven’t read (sensing a theme here!), this is the story of Laurel and James – who are married but have been separated for 10 years after she witnessed him carry out a “shocking act of violence” (I’m trying not to give away the plot again) and are drawn back together after a chance encounter “turns passionate with consequences that cannot be ignored”. Now the accidentally pregnant trope is not my favourite of the romance plotlines, but I’m always willing to give them a go – especially this one – as it seemed to promise a strong minded heroine. However, once I’d read a little and discovered a bit more, the plot device separating them felt a little contrived and flimsy – Laurel knows that James is a spymaster when she marries him, and there’s a certain risk of violence attached to that. She also lives in a time that was much rougher and she hasn’t exactly led a life sheltered form that since they separated and so I found some of her issues hard to believe. But, just because a book isn’t really for me, that doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going to like it. This has a strong Christian theme to it – and the characters have strong moral standpoints rooted in their beliefs so I’m sure that it’ll appeal to those who don’t like their romances to be filled with immorality. It does have some sex scenes in it though, so it’s not for the very conservative end of the Christian reading spectrum.
So, there you have it – two reviews, neither of them the raves that I was hoping to be able to post when I was lining up romances to read in August for RARM. So to counter act that, I’d like to point you in the direction of Eloisa James’ latest, Three Weeks with Lady X for a really good historical romance, and some really good non-historical not just a romances – like Jenny Colgan’s Little Beach Street Bakery and the recently re-issued Tickled Pink from Christina Jones. There’s still some more romance waiting to be read on the pile – I’m hoping for more success next time!
My copies came from Netgalley – in return for an honest review – I’m assuming they’ll be available in all the usual places where you can find romances – but here are links to both on Amazon.com – How the Scoundrel Seduces and Not Quite A Wife