Review: The Gentleman Who Loved Me

Review: The Gentleman Who Loved MeThe Gentleman Who Loved Me by Grace Callaway
Series: Heart of Enquiry #6
Published by Colchester & Page on June 15th 2017
Genres: Historical

FINAL DECISION: Not a book for everyone. Rosie is a hard heroine to have empathy for and Andrew’s past is not fully confronted. Despite this, I enjoyed how these two interacted and grew together through the book.

THE STORY: Primrose Kent has been disappointed with her prospects. Although supported by influential people, she is a bastard and society will not let her forget it. Determined to marry a title, Rosie creates a whole new set of problems for herself. Andrew Corbett is the owner of a prominent brothel in London. A former prostitute himself, Andrew has built his own business. He is also determined to protect Rosie. The two share a past that she is not aware of. Andrew, however, finds that the girl he once thought of as a sister has grown up — and he is unwillingly aware of it.

OPINION: This book begins with several strikes against it, but despite that ended up being a story with depth and I liked it quite a bit.

Rosie is a difficult heroine to like. She is spoiled and self-destructive and sometimes quite annoying…but she does grow and change as the story progresses. I was happy that I gave her a chance. Her background and past warped some of her views, but as she experiences the world more, she begins to recognize her own failings.

Andrew is a complicated hero. Having become a prostitute by necessity, he both fully claims and is ashamed by his past. I thought that his history and his current circumstances were nuanced and complicated and his rags to riches story is certainly hero worthy. My complaint, however, is that his past and occupation was just too quickly dismissed as important by Rosie’s family. That just bothered me throughout the story. It felt contrived and I thought that there needed to be more drama or angst surrounding it.

The plot includes a mystery (expected in the Heart of Enquiry series) that keeps the story moving while Rosie and Andrew explore their passions together.

This is a dark and complicated story in parts and while I enjoy such stories, I know that not every reader is willing to take a darker journey.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book contains voyeurism (not the hero and heroine) and a certain event that some may consider cheating after the hero and heroine have become involved.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE GENTLEMAN WHO LOVED ME is the sixth and final book in the Heart of Enquiry series. Although the romance is self-contained and thus can be read as a standalone, the relationships between the all the characters in the book make this a book better read as part of the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


Review: Never Say Never to an Earl

Review: Never Say Never to an EarlNever Say Never to an Earl by Grace Callaway
Series: Heart of Enquiry #5
Published by Colchester & Page on December 21st 2016
Genres: Historical

FINAL DECISION: I really admire this book for giving us a hero with a mental disorder. I loved the mystery and relationship between these characters and I thought the journey these two take gave this story more depth. And it’s really hot!

THE STORY: Miss Polly Kent, a wallflower, has a special talent that has convinced her that she cannot hope for love. Polly can see the aura of people which gives her a sense of their emotions. A chance encounter has her meeting up with the ton’s biggest rake, Sinjin Pelham, Earl of Revelstoke, the last man she wants to see. Sinjin is in a jam as he apparently attacked a prostitute (although he has no memory of the encounter). Soon Polly and her family are helping Sinjin find out the truth. He also has a dark personal secret that keeps him painfully separate from people. The personal encounters between Polly and Sinjin crackle with intensity and threaten ruin.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book. I especially liked the complexity of Sinjin’s character and the willingness of the author to take the chance to give her hero a flaw that is definitely not common among heroes or heroine’s in romance. The reality of the situation and the decision to not have a magic solution to solve the lifelong problems that this couple will have was a refreshing take that I did not expect.

What I did expect from this romance was lots of heat and mystery. Both were just as I expected in the story. The story has a small paranormal twist with Polly’s talent (but standard historical readers shouldn’t turn away from this book for that reason because it is not a big part of the story).

Sinjin is one of my favorite Callaway heroes. He is deeply flawed and has struggled with his problems without much support. Like all good rakes, he finds something lasting and stabilizing about Polly — a man who has any vice he wants sees something necessary in a decent and honorable woman.

Fans of the Heart of Enquiry series will also get some significant appearances by characters from prior books.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book also has appearances from the hero and heroine of the next book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NEVER SAY NEVER TO AN EARL is the fifth book in the Heart of Enquiry series. While this book is a self-contained romance that can be read as a standalone, there are overlapping characters from previous books in the series that means that a reader gets more if they have read those books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


Review: The Viscount Always Knocks Twice

The Viscount Always Knocks Twice (Heart of Enquiry Book 4) by Grace Callaway
Series: Heart of Enquiry #4

Fun Feisty Romance with a Good Mystery and Lots of Sexy Scenes

“He had no doubt that Miss Violet Kent was responsible for the state of his mind and body.”

FINAL DECISION:  This is a fun romp of a historical romance with plenty of sexy scenes, a enemies to lovers story, and a little mystery tossed in.

THE STORY:  Violet Kent is an unconventional woman. She likes sports and wearing trousers. She is always getting into trouble because of her curious nature. Her best friend is a man and his brother wants to keep her away because he believes her to be an untrustworthy flirty. Richard Murray, Viscount Carlisle is determined to protect his brother from Violet. When they end up at a house party together, Violet and Richard reluctantly have to join forces to solve a murder for which Richard’s brother might be the prime suspect.

OPINION: I’m a fan of Callaway’s books and this one is in the middle for me.  I enjoyed the characters and their interactions — the two seem to have no hope of getting together in the beginning.  Violet is definitely not a stereotypical historical miss with her tomboy tendencies and her desire to help investigate crimes.  She is outspoken, gets in trouble that would destroy reputations of the women in most historical novels, and doesn’t blink at engaging in pre-marital sexual exploration with Richard.  The blatant sexuality of this book is typical of Callaway’s books, but I have enjoyed other books more.

For me, the tension between Violet and Richard is resolved too soon and the story relies more on the mystery to move the action forward.  While the story is perfectly fine and I enjoyed it, I missed the sizzling sexual tension in Callaway’s other books.

The book is a quick read and there is plenty here for followup in future books. I also enjoyed Richard’s character as he has to grovel for his poor treatment of Violet in the beginning of the books — and I always enjoy the hero having to grovel.

WORTH MENTIONING: Callaway’s books are always filled with very sexy scenes and this book is no different although most of it stops short of intercourse.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE VISCOUNT ALWAYS KNOCKS TWICE is the fourth book in the Heart of Enquiry series.  Although characters from the other books appear, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.