marriage of convenience

“Accidentally Compromising the Duke”: The Quick & Easy Way to Avoid an Unwanted Marriage

28644556Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid
Entangled: May 30, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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Adeline Hays is on the verge of marriage to an odious man; this marriage is not something that she wants but something her father has arranged. To escape this unwanted marriage, Adel decides a compromising is in order, only she compromises herself with the wrong man! Instead of finding her way into the room of her preferred suitor, Adel finds herself in the arms of Edmond Rochester, the duke of Wolverton. I do love a “compromised” theme in my historical romance and Accidentally Compromising the Duke delivers just that. (more…)

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The Unexpectedly Serious “Study of Seduction”

25814323The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books: March 22, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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The Study of Seduction is a surprisingly heartfelt historical romance. Normally, when I pick up a Sabrina Jeffries book I expect something light and romantic. While The Study of Seduction is romantic, the themes explored were unexpectedly serious and dark. That’s not to say that Study of Seduction isn’t a signature Jeffries’ book, it is, but it also explores some pretty serious stuff as it relates to the couples romance.

Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough has been charged to look after his friend’s cousin (and sister’s best friend), Lady Clarissa Lindsey. Clarissa has had some trouble with a persistent suitor who seems unable to comprehend the fact that Clarissa is not going to marry the man. Clarissa’s cousin Warren is required to travel to the Continent; however, he wants to ensure that Clarissa is protected from the determined Frenchman. Edwin reluctantly steps in to escort Clarissa and her mother to social events, and before he knows it, the pair of them are engaged. (more…)

“The Art of Taming a Rake”: A Feat Not As Challenging As One Would Assume

22037784The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan
Ballantine Book: January 26, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Review Source: Free from publisher.

Beach Vacation
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The Art of Taming a Rake features one of my favourite historical romance tropes: the marriage of convenience.

Venetia Stratham has returned from the continent after hearing rumours that Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne is paying court to her younger sister. Not on Venetia’s watch he’s not.

Burned by her rakish betrothed years ago, Venetia sets out to make sure that her sister does not suffer a relationship with a lord that is incapable of being faithful. Naturally, Venetia decides she must confront Quinn in a gentleman’s. Just managing to skate ruin (again), Venetia heads over to Quinn’s mansion to confront him once again having not received the definitive answer she wanted. When Quinn’s shot and Venetia found holding the pistol, Quinn decides to do the honorable thing and proposes marriage, otherwise Venetia will be the talk of the ton and her sister’s chances at a successful marriage will be ruined. Since saving her sister was the whole point of her escapes, Venetia reluctantly agrees to the marriage with the caveat that she can return to the continent when Quinn determines who’s out to harm his person. As is expected, this marriage of convenience becomes something less than convenient very quickly. (more…)

“The Irresistible Rogue”: Serving Your Country, Through Marriage?

23848336The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman
St. Martin’s: November 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Review Source: Free copy from publisher.

Beach Vacation
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I loved Bowman’s previous romance, The Unlikely Lady – it was funny, romantic and a little ridiculous (in a good way). So, when I cracked open my eReader to start The Irresistible Rogue I had high hopes. While I certainly liked The Irresistible Rogue, I have to admit that it fell a bit flat in comparison to The Unlikely Lady (which simply sparkled). The Irresistible Rogue was still everything that I’ve come to expect from this author – witty, charming, fun – but I wasn’t quite convinced by the whole spy angle.

At the end of The Unlikely Lady readers learn that Lady Daphne Swift has been married in secret to a spy, Captain Rafe Cavendish. What motivated their marriage of convenience was the necessity of Rafe bringing Daphne along to the docks during a mission where her linguistic skills were an asset. Daphne, you see, speaks Russian, and the men Rafe is tracking only speak Russian. However, the only way Daphne’s elder brother would agree to Daphne’s participation was for Rafe to marry her (in name only) and protect her with his life. Now, a year later, Daphne is ready to move with her life and is on the verge of engaging herself to another man, at least, as soon as her husband grants her an annulment. Complicating matters further is Rafe’s refusal to grant the annulment because he once again needs to call on Daphne’s Russian language capabilities. And he, like Daphne, feels this inconvenient attraction, which makes it quite hard to contemplate an annulment to the very person you’re attracted to. (more…)

In Which We Jointly Review “I Spy a Duke” – and find it falls short of expectations

I Spy a DukeI Spy a Duke by Erica Monroe
Quillfire Publishing: October 5th, 2015 (Historical Romance)

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

At long last, another joint review! Jaclyn and I compete for your attention in this post.

We had high hopes for this one, but this was a bit of a dud for both of us. Do you agree with us? Disagree? What did you think of I Spy a Duke?

If you were hoping for a duel, or a joint review in which we at least both liked the book, don’t despair! We’ll have another joint post coming up in which we review Juliet Marillier’s Tower of Thorns.

The Book…

In the first in an adventurous new series, USA Today Bestselling Author Erica Monroe introduces the Covert Heiresses: four women who by day are the talk of the ton, and by night England’s top spies.

She wants revenge…

When bluestocking Vivian Loren becomes the governess for the wealthy Spencer family, she’s searching for clues about the murder of her brother, not a husband. But Vivian didn’t count on James Spencer, the infuriatingly handsome Duke of Abermont.

He needs a wife…

As head of Britain’s elite intelligence agency, James has no time to woo a wife. When he discovers Vivian’s quest for answers has made her a pawn in a treacherous plot, James realizes they can help each other. She’ll become his duchess, and he’ll keep her safe from one of Napoleon’s deadliest spies.

What begins as a marriage of convenience quickly becomes anything but, as they find out love is the most dangerous mission of all.

(more…)

The Complicated “Highwayman”

23723798The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin’s: September 1, 2015 (Historical Romance)*

Beach Vacation?
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The Highwayman is a historical romance that has been getting rave reviews. It features a bluestocking working for the Scotland Yard and a hardened criminal who kidnaps her to make good on an old debt. Then, readers become aware that the relationship between Farah and Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is much longer in standing than is originally thought to be.

When she was eight, Farah was orphaned and met fellow orphan Dougan. From their first meeting, the pair was inseparable, even “marrying” each other as children. Unfortunately, fate stepped in, cruelly wrenching these two apart. Now, seventeen years later, Farah poses as Dougan’s widow, blaming herself for his death, and is on the verge of pursuing a relationship with a new man. At least, until Dorian Blackwell kidnaps her to protect Farah from an unknown foe. (more…)

“When a Scot Ties the Knot” with a Bookish Spinster, Humour Ensues

23587120When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Avon: August 25, 2015 (Historical Romance)*

Outstanding Adventure
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It’s no secret, I’m a huge Tessa Dare fan, and I’m fairly certain that When a Scot Ties the Knot is my favourite book by this author since A Week to be Wicked. This latest historical romance, was everything that I’ve come to expect from Dare: funny, silly, and romantic.

At the age of sixteen Miss Madeline Gracechurch was on the cusp of making her debut into society, the only thing holding her back was her paralyzing fear of crowds. Naturally, as a young woman of sixteen, Madeline makes a rather impetuous choice and invents herself a suitor in one Captain Logan MacKenzie, effectively taking away the necessity of a Season. After killing off her devoted beau years later, Maddie settles into spinsterhood in a castle that she inherited from her godfather. Maddie develops a budding career as a naturalist illustrator, until a Scottish highlander comes to call: (more…)

“Put Up Your Duke” and Inherit a Bride

23314826Put Up Your Duke by Megan Frampton
Avon: June 30, 2015 (Historical Romance)*

I’d go there again!
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Put Up Your Duke is Frampton’s second book in her Dukes Behaving Badly series featuring a duke that was behaving badly until he met his match in his unexpected fiancé.

Nicholas Smithfield is living the high life when he learns that he’s the new Duke of Gage, oh and thanks to an ironclad legal arrangement, he’s also got a fiancé. Lady Isabella Sawford has been groomed her entire life to make a good marriage, and her parents’ plans found fruition when she became engaged to the Duke of Gage. These plans were dashed when the former duke with disinherited. For an instant Isabella felt that she would finally have her freedom, only to learn that she is now engaged to the new duke. Luckily the new duke couldn’t be more different from the previous one, this one actually wants to know Isabella as a person rather a possession. Of course, this rapid change in bridegroom does not make for an illustrious start to a marriage… (more…)

Another Emotional Romance from Balogh in “Only a Promise”

23274098Only a Promise by Mary Balogh
Signet: June 9, 2015 (Historical Romance)*

Outstanding Adventure
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Mary Balogh’s historical romances pretty much speak for themselves. Rather than cashing in on the overt and explicit relationship that readers tend to encounter in the romance genre, Balogh leverages the emotional impact in her historical romances. In Only a Promise Balogh brings her signature emotional exploration to a marriage of convenience and it was wonderful.

Ralph Stockwood has returned from the war alone; his friends having died fighting. Ralph blames himself for encouraging his friends to go with him and would rather have not survived at all. Rather than paying lip service to this emotional turmoil and survivor’s guilt, it is quite clear that Ralph has been damaged. While recovering from his wounds, Ralph tried to kill himself on a couple of occasions, something that is not generally explored in the romance genre. With Ralph, Balogh brings home the more realistic impact on war, and it’s done very well. (more…)

Magic & Romance in “The Shattered Court”

23281690The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
Roc: April 28, 2015 (Fantasy Romance)*

I’d go there again!
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Lady Sophia Kendall is days away from coming into her power. As a noble born woman, and thirty-second in line for the throne, Sophia is a powerful commodity and will become even more of one if her magical abilities are strong. Before Sophia can be carefully initiated as a royal witch, Sophia is forced to flee the city with Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, who happens to be accompanying her in the city when the capital is attacked. Suddenly Sophia finds herself an unbound witch, more powerful than she ever imagined herself to be, and also more dangerous. One hasty wedding later, Sophia learns a lot about why witches are bound so quickly, but this knowledge might come at a price. (more…)