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Hannah Fielding "Hannah Fielding, romance novelist" (Deal, Kent, United Kingdom)

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A Lady's Wish (Rogues of the Sea Novella)
A Lady's Wish (Rogues of the Sea Novella)
by Katharine Ashe
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightfully sweet and heart-warming read, 1 Feb. 2013
Sometimes life's path is not the one you thought you would tread and this is certainly the case for the two main characters in Katharine Ashe's regency novella A Lady's Wish. Patricia and Nikolas first meet at a May Day celebration, and after a deliriously intense and happy day they agree to meet the next morning and run off together. But it is not to be, for the very next morning Patricia learns that her parents have betrothed her to another man and she is forced into an unhappy and loveless marriage. When she does not return to their meeting place, Nikolas searches for Patricia before running off to the Navy to try to forget about her. This book then tells the story of what happens nine years later when the two characters meet again. Is it just down to chance or are there stronger forces at work here? Is someone once again fiddling with their futures, or it is simply destiny that their paths must cross again and entwine?

It is a short story, but I found it to be a delightfully sweet and heart-warming read. Katharine's use of description was not overpowering, but emotive - reflective of the strength of the feelings that these two characters have held back and suppressed for so many years; for example:

A fortnight back in London and he looked for her everywhere, upon the street, in the drawings rooms, in the lips and eyes and hair and hands he danced with in crowded ballrooms.

But all men were not like Oliver. Some were passionate. She had kissed a man of that sort once. On one perfect day she had tasted heaven.
The story is told from the point of view of both main characters, which allows you to understand the pain and heartache that both have endured since their original love-at-first-sight meeting. Both characters are fully formed and believable. Patricia, now a widow, is kind and thoughtful, yet has a spark of fieriness about her. She yearns to experience fully the desire that she felt on that one day with Nikolas, and it seems that she is not afraid to break with society's rules to experience that again, even if it is just the once -a single night of passion - before she returns to her sensible family life with her children. Nikolas, now a celebrated war hero, returns to land knowing that he should settle down but struggling to settle for anything less than the girl who stole his heart all those years ago. Both are still haunted by the memory of each other, their first loves.

There are some fabulous other characters mixed into this book as well. I loved Patricia's slightly mad elderly aunt and her rambunctious and flirty younger sister. Patricia's late husband, Oliver, also fascinated me - while I wanted to not like him, I couldn't help feeling somewhat sorry for him. We also get an intriguing glance at a main character in one of Katharine's other novels in her Rogues of the Sea series, Alex Savege - a Robin Hood upon the sea - in Captured by a Rogue Lord.

The novella packs in quite a few twists and turns, which is impressive considering its length. Whilst you might hazard a few guesses at the mystery of the force pulling these two characters together and how it will ultimately resolve, the plot will keep you guessing throughout, and that for me is a sign of a good book. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Sweet Enemy: A Veiled Seduction Novel
Sweet Enemy: A Veiled Seduction Novel
by Heather Snow
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.20

5.0 out of 5 stars This novel has all of the usual things we associate with, and love about, historical romance, 29 Jan. 2013
This book is the debut novel from Heather Snow and I am very impressed. This novel has all of the usual things we associate with, and love about, historical romance - society rules, nobility and titles, balls, dresses, romance and fluttering hearts. But what makes it stand out is the crossover element, adding a touch of mystery and danger that keeps the plot moving forward quickly and making the book a real page-turner.

Added to that is the fabulous heroine, Liliana, who is not the usual lady of the Regency period. She is strong and independent, and extremely intelligent; the kind of woman you root for as she outsmarts her way through the book, going against the wishes of her aunt and single-handedly taking on the world:
Her entire life she had been told to keep out of men's pursuits. As if men alone had a brain worth educating. As if only men were capable of understanding complex scientific theory or making any worthy contribution to the world besides making babies.

Well, not today. Liliana took a bold step forward. "I'd wager, my lord," she scoffed, "that this woman can not only make that weapon fire faster, but increase its accuracy measurably."

Heather Snow's characterisation in this book is wonderful. Liliana is a chemist and so the book is littered with scientific references which add authenticity:

She'd always had it-this compulsion to break things down to their elements. To discover the why and the how. It was what drove her to continue to pursue science, even though she'd been harshly rejected by the male establishment. And in a sense, it was what drove her now. She would discover the truth.
Could you see guilt in someone's eyes? And if so, how did you quantify it?

She hadn't been a bit surprised by the curiosity that had gripped her when she'd given in to his kisses - after all, she was nothing if not inquisitive. Any good scientist worth her sodium chloride was.

In this story, Liliana has gone undercover. She is trying to discover the identity of her father's murderer. It is not her intention to fall in love with Geoffrey, the earl of Stratford, but there is something very alluring about him and she cannot help but be attracted to him. Geoffrey is also a very interesting character and not at all what you (or Liliana) expect him to be. He is not bogged down in the rules of society; he listens to Liliana's theories and advice and he treats her as an equal, not just an adornment he can parade while he gets on with his work in political circles. He too does not want to marry, but understands that he has duties as a earl to keep the family name going. The chemistry between Geoffrey and Liliana is explosive and passionate, but also wonderfully tender. It was such a pleasure to read about how their love for each other grew and how they solved the mystery surrounding Liliana's father's untimely death.

The book is written from both Liliana and Geoffrey's point of view, allowing you as a reader to fully understand the intense feelings and conflict that each is feeling. Heather Snow's description is wonderful. You can really believe the actions and reactions caused by the analytical mind of Liliana in a society which is not yet quite ready to accept this academic dedication and ability in a woman. The descriptive detail of the unusual setting and situations that the characters find themselves in is superbly handled, with just enough to allow the pictures to blossom and captivate you. The addition of the mystery to the story allowed the characters to fall in love over weeks rather than days, without affecting the pace of the book. I loved the often humorous and sometimes sarcastic dialogue between the characters, and the twists and turns that formed this mixture of romance, mystery, suspense and intrigue.

I really enjoyed this novel and I am pleased to see that already another book in the series has been published. I look forward to reading it.

Pleasures of a Tempted Lady: Number 3 in series (Donovan Sisters)
Pleasures of a Tempted Lady: Number 3 in series (Donovan Sisters)
by Jennifer Haymore
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I was quite simply riveted, 22 Jan. 2013
You know that moment when you rather wearily order a desert in a restaurant, knowing you are full and not expecting much of the crème brūlée, but when you take that first spoonful - oh my! It's delicious, and at once you give up following the conversation of your companions and lose yourself in a decadent few minutes of sheer escapism. That's the best analogy I can find for reading Pleasures of a Tempted Lady.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to read a copy of this book pre-publication, and from the synopsis I had expected to enjoy it given the era in which it is set, the passionate cover and the high seas adventures promised. But I hadn't expected to be quite so gripped! Jennifer is a wonderful writer with such expert control of the narrative - drip-feeding information carefully, never telling the reader more than she needs to know, and the result is an intriguing read. In addition, there is so much action, so many twists and turns, that I was quite simply riveted.

This isn't a book weighed down in over-poeticism and writing that reads as if the author were penning the novel in the time it is set, which can often be the case, I find, in historical romance - though that is not at all to say that the writing isn't well-crafted because it absolutely is. The writing is direct and modern in feel (outside of the dialogue, of course), which means it is the plot and the characters that are the focus. And I loved these two elements of the book. The plot drew me in from the outset - such drama and heartache and longing. And the characters were especially gripping - I loved the Donavan sisters' dynamic, and was delighted when it became clear that the novel was to cover not just one love story, but two. And sensual love stories at that - the love scenes were moving indeed.

Jennifer Haymore is an exciting new find for me, and I shall be sure to check out her other books. If you like historical romance, and page-turning books with strong characters and dramatic stories, then I very much recommend Pleasures of a Tempted Lady to you.

A Secret Disgrace (Mills & Boon Modern)
A Secret Disgrace (Mills & Boon Modern)
by Penny Jordan
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great romantic read and a wonderful testament to this prolific and much-loved writer, 22 Jan. 2013
The heroine, Louise, has returned to her grandparents' home in Sicily, on a mission to lay their ashes to rest there. But first she must get permission from the local patronne, Caesar, which opens a whole can of worms, given that the last time she saw Caesar she was a rebellious teenager who slept with him, was rejected and then disappeared to secretly bear his child. As the story unfolds, we see Louise and Caesar trying to untangle the past, their secrets and their sense of duty to family and villagers, all the while wrestling with their ongoing attraction to each other.

Abundantly passionate, beautifully written, this book drew me in from the first paragraph. I especially like Penny's way of focusing on the emotional aspect of the story at all turns - coupled with her ability to smoothly move the reader between Louise's and Caesar's point of view, I felt a great sense of being in each character's mind and really understanding them.

My favourite scene in the book is the one in which the two lovers finally shed their defences and come together. I don't want to spoil the plot-line, but I will say that the power of the stormy weather wonderfully adds drama and passion to the sequence: `"One storm is over, but there is another, I think, that is possessing us both with equal ferocity of need - if you trust me with that need, with our love?"'

The ending left me with a warm, happy glow - just the happy ever after you crave in a book such as this, with loose ends neatly tied up and a lovely surprise twist.

In all, a great romantic read and a wonderful testament to this prolific and much-loved writer.

Sowing Secrets
Sowing Secrets
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A warm, funny, romantic and uncomplicated read, 22 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Sowing Secrets (Kindle Edition)
The book is centred on Fran's love of roses and gardening, and with `the one night stand' being a gardener, there are lots of references to all things horticultural which I enjoyed immensely, given my own love of gardening. What's I liked most about this book, though, is its readability. It is like a chat with a friend over a cup of tea. The author's uncomplicated way of writing draws you in - comforting and humorous, often making you smile:

`Cleaning's rightful place is as a displacement activity while you are psyching yourself up for something more interesting.'

`One good shove and all my troubles would have been over. The thought might have shown on my face, because he stopped smiling and carried on down the stairs.'

Unusual for this chicklit genre, Fran is approaching middle-age, is already married, has a grown-up daughter from outside of the marriage and is a technophobe. But she is warm and funny, and endearingly likeable, if not a little potty at times - she often unconsciously sings or hums inappropriately timed songs. She has some charmingly funny moments, as well as some cringeworthy `can't believe she said/did that' ones. She is desperately trying to save her failing marriage, and it seems to be an impossible task. But there is a happy ending for Fran and some unexpected elements that leave a nice warm feeling when you close the book.

A warm, funny, romantic and uncomplicated read; perfect to take to the beach or get lost in on a park bench on a summer's afternoon.

A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere Book 1)
A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere Book 1)

5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and delightfully sensual, 22 Jan. 2013
Confidently situated in Georgian England, with a believable and well-researched historical setting, characterisation and dialogue. It is fast-paced, colourful, amusing and delightfully sensual, and the description is wonderfully visual. I loved the strong, uncompromising characters and the grittiness of their actions and choices, which felt true to the era. I found myself emotionally invested in the story, and hoping for a satisfying ending (which was neatly delivered).

What I most enjoyed was Victoria's expert juxtaposition of passionate, erotic content with mundane action, which added to the thrill of the sexual encounters. And goodness me, what steamy sequences!

I am looking forward to reading the next titles in this Devil DeVere series; the next one is cleverly set up in A Wild Night's Bride, meaning I'm keen to read on.

In all, I heartily recommend this novella for readers who enjoy fun, sexy historical romps.

The Devil's Thief (Loveswept)
The Devil's Thief (Loveswept)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the fast pace of this book, 22 Jan. 2013
I loved the fast pace of this book, and the detailed plot which kept me turning pages (I read it in one sitting). There's a lightness to the writing - a sense of fun and energy - that is compelling. The setting of London at the time is a great backdrop, and characters are likeable. My favourite is Wiley, a young street-wise man who takes a shine to Julianna and proves himself to be more of a man than many of his upper-class counterparts. I also liked Julianna, for her moral struggle and her courage.

What stands out most in the book, though, is the very passionate encounters between Julianna and Alasdair. From the outset, the writing is extremely steamy (and there is some strong language)! Here's one of my favourite moments:

He broke the kiss. "Julianna," he said desperately, pressing kisses along her cheekbone and then her hairline. "Juli." His voice was ragged. "You are the very air I breathe, the blood in my veins. All that is right in my world. If you ever do something so bloody stupid again, I will turn you over my knee and spank the living daylights out of you."

Julianna burst into surprised laughter, but he could hear how shaky it was. "Promises, promises," she whispered. "Perhaps you should teach me a lesson right now?"

Overall, I enjoyed the book and will be looking out for the next in the series.

Ransom My Heart
Ransom My Heart
by Meg Cabot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly different historical romance, 22 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Ransom My Heart (Paperback)
The cover of this book drew me in - classical and romantic - and the book did not disappoint. I found it to be a refreshingly different historical romance, in that it has a unique blend of the conventions of the genre and also elements of the most contemporary romances in terms of characterisation and writing style.

I really enjoyed Meg's language in the book, which draws upon `ye olde' English without reaching the point that the reader is lost or bored. I especially like her inclusion of quite modern imagery, such as this simile: `Finnula Crais, like a splinter, had worked her way beneath his skin with remarkable speed, and digging her out, he realized, was going to be no small task.'

The writing is witty and fun, and the story moves along with energy that kept me turning the pages. The story was interesting, with a good number of twists, and believable - despite the very twenty-first-century feeling heroine who is strong, sassy and courageous. Romance novels traditionally end with the marriage of the hero and heroine, and I liked the fact that in this book the wedding comes around halfway through, which allows us to see how Finnula and Hugh fare as husband and wife.

It's a passionate and romantic book, and I thought the intimate scenes were well described. Meg remains sensitive to the fact that the heroine, Finnula, is young and inexperienced, and while during the time in which the book is set she would have been very much a woman (indeed, she's on her second husband), a modern reader wants to feel comfortable that she is allowed to grow into maturity in her own time. At times, when reading about Finnula I found myself feeling like perhaps I was reading a young adult novel, but then Hugh reappeared - very much a man - and I shifted back to thinking this was an adult book. I expect it may work well as a crossover novel, though it is rather steamy for a young adult reader. Still, I was reading the likes of Mills and Boon in my teens...

Overall, a really good read I heartily recommend, and I will be looking out for other novels by this author in the historical romance genre.

One Small Fib (The Millionaire's Club)
One Small Fib (The Millionaire's Club)
Price: £3.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great romantic read, 22 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Witty, sassy, energetic, crackling with chemistry. A great romantic read. Pure escapism, and I rather liked the characterisation - prickly-but-needy millionaire meets feisty-but-needy air stewardess. The author is unafraid to explore cold realities of life, such as having a woman of the night for your mother, and saying the complete wrong thing and inadvertently ruining the mood while in a sensual moment.

My favourite element of the book was the author's ability to mix poignancy and a wry, warm, funny tone. For example:

One rebel tear teetered on her bottom lid like it was waiting for her to turn her back so it could slide down her cheek. Allie brushed it away with her shirtsleeve. She was tougher than tears, tougher than the heartbreak of losing her dream. All she needed was a little rest and relaxation - plus a roll of duct tape to hold her heart together - and she'd be okay.

Plenty of emotion and layering to the story, and compelling chemistry. In all, a great weekend read, and I'll be looking out for Jan's other titles.

Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, The
Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, The
by Madeline Hunter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With a rounded, heart-warming ending, 22 Jan. 2013
This book is a Regency era romance between two people who seem destined to be apart - not only does society suggest they shouldn't be together, but initially they also find each other deeply irritating. Emma may not be a great beauty, but there is something about her that people cannot pinpoint. She is honest and direct, and Darius finds her impossibly single-minded in her bid to keep the auction house running. Darius, meanwhile, is tall, handsome, moody and intense. He too is tenacious in his plans for the auction house. More experienced, he knows the physical effect he has on Emma and he hopes to use it to gain the upper hand, but to his frustration, he finds her obstinacy and directness somewhat alluring, and he is unexpectedly drawn to her.

The plot follows Emma and Darius's separate paths of discovery in solving the mystery behind Emma's father's death and their frequent misunderstandings regarding the running of the auction house. The book is well written, detailing both Emma and Darius's point of view, which helps you to engage with both characters and understand their motivations and viewpoints. I loved the descriptions of and witty comments about Emma and Darius's tumultuous relationship, which often made me smile:

"You would also be wise not to call me presumptuous unless you are eager to see just how presumptuous an earl can be."
"Then I will find other appropriate words. High-handed. Conceited. Arrogant..." She burned his ears with every other descriptive she could think of while the horse bore them away.

She stood. Her color rose. Her eyes flashed lightning. He half expected a spear to appear in her hand and for her to bellow a Celtic battle cry.
There were also some lovely descriptions of tender moments, where you are reminded of how alone and out-of-her-depth Emma must be feeling:

She did not have to stand alone in that embrace, or be strong. There was no sorrow while those kisses pressed her lips, her face and neck, and no worry or calculations. No thought at all, just the delight of new, fresh sensations, much like feeling the first warm spring breeze after a hard winter.

This book features many of the societal scandals typical of the Regency period, and with some spies, smugglers, art history and a country at war with France thrown into the mix, it provides an interesting backdrop to Emma and Darius's story. With a rounded, heart-warming ending, I really enjoyed reading this first book in Madeline Hunter's new series, and I look forward to reading more.

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