About Sheila

I am an attorney and a lifelong reader. I voraciously consumed Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Judy Blume as a child. By the time I was 11 years old I had moved on to Agatha Christie and Rex Stout. When I was thirteen I read Gone with the Wind for the first time and I became a lover of romances. For over twenty-five years, I have been reading all kinds of romances -- many of them multiple times. In college, I majored in Political Science minored in American literature and covered all types of political histories and political theory books, the classics of literature and the modern touchstones of literature, but for pleasure I still gravitate to romances. I read every day and usually finish a book in a day or two. My favorite book is the Great Gatsby but a close second is Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey.

Review: Any Day Now

Review: Any Day NowAny Day Now (Sullivan's Crossing, #2) by Robyn Carr
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #2
Published by Mira Books on April 18th 2017
Genres: Commentary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Serious but not dark look at a woman who is trying to rebuild her life and the man she meets who helps her look to the future.  Enjoyable and soul enriching story that focuses on hope and redemption.

THE STORY:  Sierra Jones has come to Sullivan’s Crossing as part of the beginning of her new life.  She comes to be close to her brother (Cal from WHAT WE FIND) as she works on her recovery from addiction.  As she moves day to day in building a new life, she finds herself becoming part of the community and meeting Conrad (Connie) Boyle, a local firefighter with whom she begins spending time.  But even as the future begins to unfold, darkness from Sierra’s part threatens her future.

OPINION:  This is a serious and thoughtful look at a woman who is struggling to rebuild her life and the sweet man who doesn’t want complicated, but can’t help but be attracted to it.

Sierra is a woman who is working hard to recover from her addiction.  This book is unflinching in its portrayal but this isn’t a downer book.  Indeed, this book is about triumph and recovery and hope.  I liked her as a person and I admired her determination to overcome her illness.  I also admire this book for giving Sierra an addiction where there is still stigma.  I can’t help but cringe at reviews which complain about having a main romance character with an addiction — as if such people are not deserving of a happy ending.  I enjoyed flawed characters making their journey through the world.  This book is serious, but not dark.

I great deal of the lightness in this book surrounds Connie who is a gentle, giving soul.  He is an uncomplicated man in that he just wants a happy ending and a family.  Of course, Sierra upends those dreams but he is a good contrast to her and a great support.  (Plus who can resist a sexy firefighter?)

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book takes a serious look at addiction and recovery.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ANY DAY NOW is the second book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series.  While there are overlapping characters, this book reads as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: No One But You

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: No One But YouNo One But You (Silver Springs, #2) by Brenda Novak
Series: Silver Springs #2
Published by MIRA on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 448
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Really enjoyable small town mixed with mystery and crime romance.  These are two wounded people who have no reason to open up and trust one another — and yet they do.  They have a sweet romance combined with an exciting storyline for each of them.

THE STORY: Sadie Harris is struggling.  She is separated from her husband who doesn’t want to let her go and is trying to sabotage her efforts to be self-sufficient in order to driver her back to him.  When a job opens up with helping Dawson Reed at his farm preparing for the possibility of his sister being returned to his custody.  Everything seems perfect about the job except that everyone in town knows that Dawson savagely murdered his parents but managed to be found not guilty.  With the whole town against her, Sadie agrees to take the job in order to support her son.  As Sadie and Dawson spend time together, they grow closer and find that there is something between them worth fighting against the whole town for.

OPINION:  I really enjoyed this book because it acted somewhat as a romantic suspense in ways that I didn’t expect when the book began.  The merging of the various storylines was done in a skillful manner.

There is a lot going on but the heart of this story remains Sadie and Dawson.  They are both people who have been damaged by their pasts and have no reason to trust one another.  But as the two spend time together they form a friendship, and alliance, and understanding that it is them against everyone in town.

I thought this book had some beautiful moments between Sadie and Dawson as both are willing to sacrifice for the other.  And there is a lot of action and excitement as they story threads play out.

I really enjoyed this book and now want to go back and read the first one in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The premise of this series comes from men who were troubled boys at the New Horizons Boys Ranch in Silver Springs.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NO ONE BUT YOU is the second book in the Silver Springs series.  This book, however, can be read as a standalone without any problem.  (I haven’t read the first book yet and didn’t feel that I missed it.)

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: A Scandalous Ruse

Review: A Scandalous RuseA Scandalous Ruse by Ava Stone
Series: Scandalous Series #13
Published by Ava Stone on May 28th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A sweet and gentle romance that has less angst than one might expect from Greg’s past and focuses on characters that fall for one another almost immediately.  Enjoyable even for those who are new to the series.

THE STORY:  Gregory, Baron Avery and Lady Arabella Winslett end up in a pretend engagement in order to save Bella from being forced by her grandfather to marry her odious cousin.  Greg is trying to make his own restitution for his past mistakes by helping the sweet and beautiful young woman.  As the two engage in their pretense, they get to know one another and find out that what began as pretend might be what they both want and need.

OPINION:  This is the story of strangers who enter into a pretend engagement — her because she is avoiding a horrendous arranged marriage; he because he feels guilt from his past mistakes. The two use their engagement to manage to fall in love.  The story was a nice read but not particularly deep.  It did however, interest me in the other books of the series because I know there is more depth to the stories of both the hero and other characters that are developed in the past.

The highlight for me was the genuine nice characters in this book.  Greg and Bella are so sweet together that his book was an easy read that made my heart smile.  I liked reading about their story and I hope we see more of them in the future.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There are a lot of side stories involved in this book that readers of the series might greatly appreciate.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A SCANDALOUS RUSE is the thirteenth book in the full Scandalous series (which combines several separately named series).  This book can be read as a standalone although there are a lot of characters with history that make significant appearances.  I wish I had read this book in order, because I think it would feel more complete.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book from the author.  I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: The Pleasures of Passion

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Pleasures of PassionThe Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors, #4) by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #4
Published by Pocket Books on June 20th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars

“‘Perhaps I don’t want to be reminded,’ she said desperately.”

FINAL DECISION:  A lovely second chance at love story between two people who were torn apart by circumstances, fears, misunderstandings and deception. Niall and Brilliana are good people who must work through the past while maintaining a deception. There was less angst than I thought but that was countered by a genuine desire to recover what they have lost.

THE STORY:  Seven years ago, Niall Lindsey, Earl of Margrave was forced to flee England when he killed a man in a duel.  Niall was shocked when the woman he wanted to marry, Brilliana, refused to come with him.  Niall comes to realize that Brilliana must never have loved him because she married another a mere year later. When a pardon allows Niall to return to England, he finds himself meeting Brilliana, who is now a widow with a young son, again. He intends to avoid the woman who broke his heart, but the man who orchestrated his pardon needs him and Brilliana to fake an engagement in order to ferret out a counterfeiter.  Niall and Brilliana discover that the passion between them is still strong and there is much more to the story of the past than either alone knows.

OPINION:  This is a second chance at love story.  These two were torn apart mostly by circumstances but also by inexperience and their own ability to talk.  Yes, this book’s central conflict is two people who haven’t sat down and had a conversation that might clear up misconceptions that both have over what happened in the past.  But, of course, in the real world misconceptions are common between people and we are not likely to just sit down and have chats with people that we believe have broken our trust and our hearts.  Because while this story might seem to be one about lack of communication, it is really about lack of trust and a willingness to do anything for the one we love.

And the truth is that seven years ago, Niall and Bree did not know how to love one another enough.  This is shows deftly in this book as they unconsciously reverse all the things they did wrong the first time.  Putting one another first.  Believing in one another. Asking questions rather than accepting accusations.

This is not so much the story of the two uncovering what facts kept them apart before, but rather a demonstration of the maturity and growth of two people who missed their chance before.

Niall is a man of honor who fought a duel whose purpose he cannot tell Bree about.  Readers of the series know that Niall killed the man who raped his sister.  While exiled, he has been involved in political intrigued which has hurt his soul.  His return to England has reunited him with his now happily married sister (THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION) but also brought him in contact with the woman he has never forgotten.  Niall is now a more sober, more mature version of himself.

Brilliana, who Niall nicknames Bree, is a woman who has managed to cope with the disappointments life has brought her. Nothing horrible happened to her, but life did not have the joy and pleasure that looked to be promised when she was seventeen.  She has, however, managed to find compensation and joy in other things, especially her art and her young son.  And while she has never loved anyone but Niall, she doesn’t know if she can risk herself again.

This book has wonderful characters and an intensity between these characters.  Love or hate there is — as the other characters in the book observe — something hot and powerful between Niall and Bree.  Something charged remains between them even if they don’t know if they can move beyond the past.

I enjoyed this book very much with the caveat that I knew who the true villain was almost immediately and so the plotline of who is the mastermind behind the counterfeiting was obvious to me and thus less enjoyable.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Baron Fulkham, spymaster, makes a significant appearance here in preparation for his own story coming up in the next book.  There is also the setup of the characters that are in the next novella.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE PLEASURES OF PASSION is the fourth book in the Sinful Suitors series.  This book can be read as a standalone because everything you need to know is revealed here, but I think the book is much better if you know the background of these characters including the secrets that Niall is keeping and the journey to return him to England.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: More Than Want You

Review: More Than Want YouMore Than Want You (More Than Words, #1) by Shayla Black
Series: More Than Words #1
on April 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

“I can’t be with someone who wants revenge more than they want me.”

FINAL DECISION:  If you allow yourself to get over Maxon being a major jerk, this book is a wonderful journey for his character.  He learns what is really important in his life. His relationship with Keeley is rough and imperfect and finally wonderful.

THE STORY:  Maxon Reed is a man on a mission — to get a deal from his estranged brother.  Maxon is willing to do just about anything — including finding a woman to distract his brother.  When Maxon meets Keeley Kent and there is an instant attraction between them and he knows that she is perfect for his plan.  After convincing the reluctant Keeley to give his plan a change, Maxon spends weeks tutoring Keeley in exactly how to appeal to his brother.  The problem is that every moment they spend together brings Maxon closer to realizing that Keeley is perfect for him.  But will Maxon give up his plan of revenge in order to get the girl himself?

OPINION:  I don’t mind heroes who are jerks in the beginning of a romance book as long as they don’t end up that way.  Maxon is a world class jerk (though his brother has him beat). Intensely competitive with his estranged brother, Maxon clearly has no morals about using people (despite his belief that he does).  His competition with his brother is primary — before friends, before love, before anything and everything.  The good news is that this book just throws Maxon’s world into disarray.  It never goes where he plans. And he ends the book a better person who is capable of love.

Keeley is almost the opposite of Maxon.  Altruistic, emotional, willing to help and do anything for those she cares about.  I like how she operates as Maxon’s guide and conscience in many ways.  While we get a bit from her point of view, the book is really about Maxon’s journey (because he is the one who really needs the help).  Keeley is more of a free spirit than the career driven Maxon, but she is also happier.

The relationship between Maxon and Keeley is complicated by Maxon’s own inability to understand what he wants and needs and how to get there.  I enjoyed seeing Maxon breaking down.  He has a nasty background which doesn’t excuse his behavior but makes it more understandable.  The focus in this book is really on Maxon getting himself right and how his relationship with Keeley is the catalyst for that.

I enjoyed this book more as I got into it (Maxon was hard to like at first).  By the end of the book, however, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book also introduces the romance that is the subject of the second book in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MORE THAN WANT YOU is the first book in the More Than Words series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Addicted to the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Addicted to the DukeAddicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords, #1) by Bronwen Evans
Series: Imperfect Lords #1
Published by Loveswept on June 13th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 260
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A good kickoff to a new series about men who are definitely not your perfect men.  Alex is a man struggling with an addiction and the consequences of his capture and imprisonment and his belief that he is not good enough for Hestia.  I love damaged heroes and Alex is definitely an imperfect one.

THE STORY:  Alexander Sylvester Bracken, Duke of Bedford agrees to help Lady Hestia Cary find her missing father. Alex feels a debt to Hestia’s father for helping in Alex’s rescue from his captivity with a pirate.  When he is forced to take Hestia with him in order to ensure her safety.  Four years ago, Hestia was rescued by Alex from the same pirate who had captured Alex years before.  At sixteen, Hestia fell in love with Alex and doesn’t understand why he has spent years avoiding her.  Alex is determined not to taint the sweet Hestia with his tainted presence but their voyage together allows Hestia to batter down the walls that Alex is using to separate them.

OPINION:  I greatly appreciate books that stretch the genre — and this book does.  Alex is a hero who struggles with his addiction and there is no easy and simple resolution.  He also has done terrible things under the influence of his drug of choice. This book is about how he forgives himself and reaches for happiness rather than dwelling on a past he cannot change.

The story was filled with adventure which I didn’t expect.  There are multiple levels of villains that Alex and Hestia have to defeat on the way to their happy ending. Some of their challenges are external, some are internal.  Some want to threaten their lives and some want to threaten their relationship.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the matchup with Hestia because she seemed too sweet and innocent for the damaged Alex…but she has a hidden strength that I didn’t expect.  Alex doesn’t expect it either.

This book pushes the envelope on Alex’s addiction because there are no easy answers for him.  During this time period, addiction is not understood and is seen as character flaw rather than an illness. My one serious complaint about the book is that I would have liked an explicit update in the epilogue about Alex’s addiction since it was such an important part of the story (maybe in the next book in the series).

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book deals with the issue of addiction in a time period long before there was an real understanding of addiction.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ADDICTED TO THE DUKE is the first book in the Imperfect Lords series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Release Day: Silver Silence with an Excerpt

Release Day: Silver Silence with an Excerpt

Today is the release of Nalini Singh’s SILVER SILENCE, the kick-off to a new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series.  Called Trinity, this series builds on the original fifteen book series but introduces readers to new characters and situations (while not forgetting about old ones).  The tri-racial world of Psy, Changelings and humans have entered a new phase.  Various groups have made attempts to reconstitute a united world after the fall of Silence, but various terrorist groups are plotting against them.  In this new world, there should be no limits on a Psy and a Changeling falling in love (as others have done before them) but Silver and Valentin face their own set of challenges.

 

Read our 5 star review of SILVER SILENCE here.

We have also been given an excerpt of the new book to share with our readers.  Enjoy!!

SILVER SILENCE by Nalini Singh

Excerpt

Laughing at the cubs’ antics, Valentin jogged down the slight incline and waded into what had to be ice-cold water after kicking off his boots and socks. He splashed the cubs, laughed when they splashed him back. Running so they could chase him, he turned abruptly and chased them back, to their unhidden joy.

Silver took a seat on the grass. When the female bear looked her way, she inclined her head in a silent greeting. The bear did the same, then they both watched an alpha bear play with two energetic cubs, his hands holding rough care for their small bodies.

By the time Valentin made his way back to her, he was drenched and his eyes weren’t human in any way. When he spoke, his already deep voice was so low it felt like thunder against her skin. “Couldn’t resist,” he said, pushing back his wet hair with one big hand. “If you weren’t in recovery and if I wasn’t in terror of Nova’s wrath, I’d have invited you. The small monsters wanted to play with you.”

Silver didn’t get to her feet. “Can we stay here a little longer?” It was patent that Valentin had an extremely high tolerance for the cold, but he might want to dry off.

“Sure,” he said, and, moving away several feet, shook off the wet.

Fine droplets settled on the skin of her cheek, but she didn’t flinch at the unintentional tactile contact. She also controlled her urge to reach up and touch the water where it lay against her skin. There was no reason to do that, and Silver was alive because she only did things that were rational.

Settling beside her, Valentin waved at the cubs as their guardian led their tired forms toward a path in the trees that was at the same level as the stream. “Gentler climb,” Valentin told her.

“They seem too exhausted to make it to Denhome.”

“It’s all an act—they’re hoping for a ride on their aunt’s back.” His tone held the same fond affection she’d heard when he spoke of Dima. “It’d take more than a few minutes’ play in the water to wipe out those two.”

The cubs had played with Valentin for almost a half hour. “They’re hyperactive?”

“They’re baby bears.”

Silver watched as those baby bears turned toward her and rose up on their back paws, as if in challenge. A stern sound from their caretaker, and they dropped down and scrambled to catch up with her. Their bodies disappeared into the trees as dusk began to turn from orange to shadowy gray.

Beside her, Valentin sprawled out, bracing himself on his elbows. His drenched T-shirt clung to the ridged muscles of his abdomen, pulled tight across his pectoral muscles, shaped itself over his shoulders. His jeans weren’t much better, outlining the raw muscle of his thighs.

Valentin Nikolaev was a man of violent physical strength even in human form. Yet he clearly had iron control over it; when he’d played with the children, they’d displayed zero fear of their alpha.

“You thought about where you’re going to live when you escape the bears who’ve kidnapped you?”

When she raised an eyebrow at him, he grinned. “Fringe netter with his own Internet channel sent out a breaking report last night. Pasha—who obviously needs more work duties—made up a fake account and posted a comment swearing to have seen you being pulled into a black van by six burly bears in bear form.”

“You don’t seem too concerned.” Amber eyes and deep voice, he remained very much a bear in human form.

“Well, according to this ‘eyewitness,’ the getaway driver was in bear form, too. Must’ve been tough for him to steer with one paw since he was drinking a beer at the same time.”

“Bears,” Silver said, making Valentin throw his head back and laugh that huge laugh that wrapped around her.

 

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2017.

Review: Silver Silence

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Silver SilenceSilver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #1; Psy-Changeling, #16) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #16, Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Published by Berkley Books on June 13th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 464
Goodreads
five-stars

“Welcome to the Age of Trinity.”

“Even after all this time, Silver did not understand bears.”

FINAL DECISION:  Moving the action from San Francisco to Moscow, Singh kicks off the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series with the compelling story of Silver Mercant, a powerful Psy woman, and the alpha bear shifter, Valentine who breaks through her silent walls.

THE STORY:  Silver Mercant is the uber effective assistant to the most dangerous man in the world and has also taken on being the coordinator for the new worldwide emergency response/humanitarian response group.  She has also acquired an admirer in Valentin Nikolaev, the Changeling Alpha of the StoneWater bear clan.  Valentin has been courting Silver for months — making sure to meet with her instead of her boss, leaving her food and appearing at her apartment unexpectedly.  When an attempt is made on Silver’s life, Valentin makes it his business to help protect Silver.  In a post-silence (aka a world where the intellectual Psy are allowed to feel emotion) Silver must decide whether to break her own Silence to embrace a potential relationship with her self-proclaimed “teddy bear.”

OPINION:  I approached this book with a bit of trepidation.  When an author puts out a book like ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR and specifically states that she is moving to a new stage in a beloved series with a new focus, a reader who loved the original series might be concerned.  I’m happy to report that while this book moves the series in new directions with the introduction of new characters (and changeling groups), this is still the Psy-Changeling series that I love.  And maybe a better version of itself.

“Something always seems to get broken when a group of bears is out to have a good time.”

I’m constantly amazed by the amount of detail and differentiation that Singh is able to create in her Psy-Changeling world.  For the first time, we get to meet the bear changelings in detail.  And, oh, what a wonderful group these are.  Cuddly, messy, outwardly and unabashedly emotional, partying.  These bears are different from the cats and wolves that the series was previously embedded with.  I love how Singh makes each of these changeling groups different and distinct from the other groups.  Each group has a different culture, a different history, a different set of value priorities and yet they remain unmistakably changeling in their attitudes.  I had thought that I would always love the cats the best, but these bears certainly made an impression on me.

Valentin is a different kind of alpha hero.  He is definitely a dominant and in control, but he is also sweeter and more outwardly romantic and emotional than the other alphas we have met.  (I didn’t think an alpha hero could beat the sexiness of Lucas Hunter, but Valentin certainly does).  He is strong and yet funny and has a soft heart that he is not afraid to show others.  He ends up being a surprisingly good match for the efficient and smart Silver.

Silver is as competent and complex as we have seen through the series.  She has a difficult journey in this book.  (Yes, I ended up crying about half way through). And I never expected where this book went. While this is not the first (or even second or third) Psy and Changeling pairing, Singh always manages to keep the journey of the particular romantic pairing separate and unique.  Silver and Valentin are not like any other couple we have seen in this series — and that is a beautiful thing.

Pairing a wonderful couple with a political thriller is old hat for this series.  But this book gives us new enemies and (perhaps) allies to get to know. A series that never rests on its laurels or gets repetitive, SILVER SILENCE is a winner on all levels: emotional, complex, funny, daring, intriguing and a beautiful testament to love and devotion.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story has moved away from familiar stories in the San Francisco area that series readers are used to and yet this book exists in that world and doesn’t feel separate at all.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SILVER SILENCE is the first book in the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series.  Known as the Trinity series, this book is connected to what went on in the previous 15 books in the Psy-Changeling series and yet really starts out in a new direction. New readers could start here and catch up fairly easily, but I don’t know why anyone would.  Start at the beginning of the Psy-Changeling series because this is one of the best series out there.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to be able to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: The Most Dangerous Duke in London

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Most Dangerous Duke in LondonThe Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society, #1) by Madeline Hunter
Series: Decadent Dukes Society #1
Published by Zebra on May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous start to a new series.  Didn’t go in the direction I expected and I ended up loving Adam. Motives are mysterious until all is revealed which built suspense and interest.  Loved these two together.

THE STORY:  Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, has returned to England after years in France following his father’s death.  Adam has returned for revenge and to find out who set the events in motion which led to his father’s death.  He is also in pursuit of a wife.  He discovers Lady Clara Cheswick, the daughter of his family’s longtime enemy.  Lady Clara has no intention of agreeing to Adam’s determined pursuit of her as she is independent and spending her time managing her own property and interests.  Then there is the also the question of what Adam’s true motives are.

OPINION: This book was more intimate and personal than I expected from the description.  Really focusing on the developing relationship between Adam and Clara, the reader is left questioning what Adam’s motives are.

Clara is a woman who desire for independence even if that means upsetting conventional behavior and roles for women.  Having inherited property of her own, Clara plans never to marry but instead publish a paper for women — written by women.  She is independent but isn’t willing to toss away all convention.  That creates tension as she tries to exist both in and outside of society’s expectations.  She also struggles with her relationship with her family.  While she doesn’t always feel close to them, her loyalty to her father makes her suspicious of Adam’s motives — perhaps rightfully.

Adam is mysterious through much of the book.  By the end of the book, however, I loved Adam. In the book, people wonder what Adam’s motives are for returning to England…and the reader is left to wonder as well.  By not cluing readers in to Adam’s thoughts on the matter, the story has more tension and mystery.  And the story needs that mystery because this book is truly driven by Adam’s reasons for returning to England and what his plans are.

This book feels more intimate and personal because the focus of the book is truly the relationship between Adam and Clara.  Can Clara trust Adam? Why is he pursuing a relationship with her? Does he truly intend to marry her? Why?  What I ended up loving about this book is that the answers are more complex than a simple narrative.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Oh, I can’t wait for the other two upcoming heroes. There are some good stories to be told there.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON is the first book in the Decadent Dukes Society.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband

Review: The Girl with the Make-Believe HusbandThe Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys, #2) by Julia Quinn
Series: Rokesbys #2
Published by Avon on May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it? Who was this woman?”

FINAL DECISION:  Behind the British lines in the American Revolutionary War, this intense and emotional story of a husband and wife learning one another is a winner.  The twist? They aren’t actually married but only she knows it.

THE STORY:  Edward Rokesby awakes in a military hospital in the American colonies, he has a hole in his memory of what he was doing on an assignment in Connecticut.  Months are missing during which he apparently also acquired a wife he does not remember — Cecilia Harcourt.  The sister of Edward’s best friend, she has come from England in search of her brother who is missing.  There is a good reason that Edward doesn’t remember marrying Cecilia — they are actually not married.

OPINION:  An usual Julia Quinn book with less humor and more seriously emotional content.  Quinn’s books always have an underlayer of seriousness but usually there is more amusing events.  This book is quickly more serious than I expected.  With a different setting (the colonies during the American Revolution) and much of the action taking place in confined settings (so much happens in the four walls of a room) and a different emotional temperature, this book feels more fresh and different than other Quinn books while retaining the wonderful and likeable characters.

One of the best parts of this book is that both Edward and Cecilia are such nice people. Yet, circumstances twist them up and make them do things that they don’t anticipate.  This story is how two people who seem like they should have an easy road to happiness together become so mixed up that it seems like their happily ever after will pass them by.  The story goes deep into these characters as these semi-strangers begin to get to know one another.

I would say that this is a slowly developing story, but I don’t want to give the impression that the story is boring.  No, this is the story of two people who are discovering one another.  The deception that lies between them and the search for Cecilia’s brother has enough drama to keep the story interesting even as these two talk and laugh and cry and know one another.

I also especially enjoyed the change in venue to the colonies — especially because we get a glimpse of the British side of the war (which is not the usual side in this time period). Moving away from the expected place gives energy to the story as these new details suffuse the story was new relationships and details.  (Plus, I’m glad that we finally get a glimpse of a significant event that is often missing from historical romance books of the period).

I liked this book much better than the first in the series primarily because I really liked these characters who feel like nice people trapped in a situation that they cannot control which challenges their essential goodness.

WORTH MENTIONING:  It is pretty obvious who the next book in the series will be about.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND is the second book in the Rokesby series.  It is not necessary to have read the first book in the series since this book is only loosely connected and the other characters of the series only make a very brief appearance.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars