Review: A Love to Remember

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: A Love to RememberA Love to Remember (The Disgraced Lords, #7) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #7
Published by Loveswept on August 29th 2017
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: The tale of longtime lovers who have reached a turning point in their relationship, this novella is very sexy. I enjoyed the connection between Rose and Philip but was a bit annoyed with Philip’s motivations.

THE STORY: For Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough, one marriage was more than enough. She never intends on marrying again and indeed she is enjoying her widowhood so much that she is known as the “Wicked Widow”. She is satisfied with her lovers and raising her young son, but her relationship with Philip Flagstaff, Earl of Cumberland, is challenging her intentions. The two have been lovers for several years and recently, Rose’s thoughts have turned toward the possibility of a future with Philip — perhaps even marriage. But Philip is also against the idea of marriage. Having gained the title after his older brother sacrificed his own life for Philip’s, Philip is wracked with guilt and intends on making sure the title eventually goes to someone more worthy than he. So he intends never to marry or have children. When threats arise toward Rose and her son, Philip has to decide what Rose means to him.

OPINION: For me, one of the highlights of this book is how Rose accepts and relishes her own sexual nature. She regrets her past only because she fears that Philips doesn’t want to marry her because of it. But she truly doesn’t regret her lovers or her past. She enjoys sex and recognizes that she is not willing to live a celibate life even if Philip cannot be part of her future. In a genre filled with wide-eyed virgins, this fully realized woman was a definite positive.

Indeed, Philip’s own response to Rose’s past was also welcome. He has some jealous moments, but doesn’t judge Rose for her past lovers. His acceptance of her on all levels is one thing that makes him special. Even if he is annoyingly guilt ridden and thus making stupid irrational decisions.

I liked that Rose and Philip are longtime lovers by the time this book really starts. This isn’t a relationship often depicted in historical romances. What the story shows is that a story can start mid-relationship and still have something to show about how their relationship progresses and changes.

I enjoyed this book even though Philip’s determination to reject happiness annoyed me for quite a while in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: Which looked to be an ending to the series is not. There are more Disgraced Lords books coming.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A LOVE TO REMEMBER is the seventh book in the Disgraced Lords series. This novella can be read on its own. I have read some, but not all of the previous books in the series, and while this book does have references to other characters, the romance is self-contained (but fans of the series will get some treats).

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

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

three-half-stars

Review: A Night of Forever

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: A Night of ForeverA Night of Forever (The Disgraced Lords, #6) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #6
Published by Loveswept on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 240
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  An enjoyable end to the drama of the Disgraced Lords series, the romance between Arend and Isobel has much angst and distrust on Arend’s part.  Isobel must get beyond the shields that Arend has erected while an enemy intends to destroy them both.

THE STORY:  Arend Aubury will do anything to protect the only people he trusts, his fellow Libertine Scholars.  After all his friends have suffered from the person who is trying to destroy them all, Arend knows that he is next and he is ready.  He suspects the stepdaughter of their enemy, Lady Isobel Thompson and intends on keeping a close eye on her.  When Isobel approaches him with her own suspicions about her stepmother, Arend agrees to work with Isobel — while secretly suspecting her.  Isobel wants a marriage like her friends, but can’t seem to ignore the dangerous Arend.  A fake betrothal hides their investigation but also ignites a strong passion between Isobel and Arend while they question motives and evade their enemies.

OPINION:  This book brings the series story regarding the Libertine Scholars enemy to a close. This book overlaps the fifth book in the series, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION. I enjoyed this book because Arend and Isobel are an intriguing match with a significant amount of angst.

Arend is a man who thinks himself unworthy.  He has lived in poverty, been abused, betrayed and as a result has a difficult time trusting anyone.  Even his attraction to Isobel is something that he distrusts.  At the same time, Arend is loyal, caring and willing to sacrifice himself for those he cares about.  His guilt and shame and fear prevent him from having an open relationship, but he cannot seem to resist Isobel.

Isobel is a woman who has been tainted by her stepmother’s evil, but still sees the good in people, especially Arend.  Even as Isobel is warned away from him, she finds him irresistible. Isobel is strong willed and willing to go after what she wants.  She can also stand up to Arend which is important.  Most significantly, she believes in Arend’s goodness and is determined to make him see it as well.

I liked the relationship between Arend and Isobel because many times Isobel is the strong one if the relationship which is a reversal from traditional roles.  Arend has the poor self-image and abusive background and it is Isobel who must help him accept himself and believe that he is entitled to a good future.

I enjoyed this book as a closure to the series (even though there will be some spin off books).  I thought that there was enough about the other characters to see where their lives are going without overwhelming the story and the overarching storyline was neatly wrapped up as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Although this book completes the continuing story in the Disgraced Lords series, Evans states that there will be some future connected books wrapping up the romances of other characters in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A NIGHT OF FOREVER is the sixth book in the Disgraced Lords series.  The romance can be read as a standalone although there is an overarching story in the series that finishes in this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: A Taste of Seduction

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: A Taste of SeductionA Taste of Seduction (The Disgraced Lords, #5) by Bronwen Evans
Series: The Disgraced Lords #5
Published by Loveswept on August 16th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 283
Goodreads
three-stars

“Your leaving broke my heart, and it’s been broken ever since.”

FINAL DECISION:  This book was a difficult one for me to rate.  While I liked parts of it and was deeply engaged, at times I was frustrated by the repeated dramas and the necessity of knowing what has happened in prior books.

THE STORY: Lord Hadley Fullerton, the second son of a duke, had his heart crushed five years ago when the woman he loved, Evangeline Althorpe abandoned him to marry for a title and money.  Now when Hadley is on the verge of entering his own marriage, Evangeline has returned.  Now a widow, Evangeline insists that she never left Hadley willingly.  Hadley doesn’t know what to believe but he knows that he is in danger from the enemy who has been after him and his friends.  Danger and secrets abound in this story as Hadley and his friends try to unmask their enemy and Hadley tries to determine the truth of what happened five years ago.

OPINION:  This book was a mixed bag for me.  I enjoy angst filled stories and this one has great possibilities.  Hadley and Evangeline have such a sad story.  Even when this story is resolved, there is still some sadness because not everything can be fixed.  I didn’t mind this.

The problem is that this book desperately needs a view in the future where readers can be assured that everything is wonderful in the end.  Otherwise, there is a lingering sadness that makes the happy ending somewhat tainted.  Such an epilogue, however, is impossible with the way this book and series is structured.  There is an ongoing storyline about the enemy of the men. This book ends on a cliffhanger as to that story.  Therefore, none of the stories in this series are truly resolved yet.  My hope is that the final book of the series will resolve all the lingering issues, but that doesn’t help a reader that starts and ends with this book.

I don’t mind a series where there is a continuing storyline that requires the reading of prior books.  In fact, I enjoyed this book enough to want to read the prior books in the series and continue on to the next book.  For a reader, however, who starts here, there will be some things that are missing or don’t make sense immediately.

I enjoyed the relationship between Hadley and Evangeline.  Because there is no real internal conflict between the characters (they loved one another as the book begins and it never ends), there is a lot of external conflict.  In order to keep them apart, problem after problem arises.  There were just too many things for me.  Rather than so many issues, I would prefer that the conflicts be fewer and deeper.  I eventually got tired of Hadley and Evangeline not talking to one another for artificial reasons.  After a misunderstanding pulls them apart, I would expect that these two would highly desire complete openness between them.  Instead, they continue to act independently causing more problems.

So why did I give the book such a good rating?  The book has a fascinating story with strong characters. I liked them and wanted to read more.  The impulse I had to want to start again from the beginning of the series demonstrates that this book is worth reading.  I would just recommend starting the series from the beginning.  Once I have read this book again in context, my opinion overall might change.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book ends on a cliffhanger as to the ongoing storyline and sets up the next book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A TASTE OF SEDUCTION is book 5 in the Disgraced Lords series.  I have not read the other books in the series and while I figured most of the ongoing story out, I believe this book would be better after reading the other books in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars