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Isabella

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Marrying the Wrong Earl (Lords & Ladies in Love)
Marrying the Wrong Earl (Lords & Ladies in Love)
Price: £2.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Love takes compromise, 2 May 2017
Like the previous book in this series, Marrying The Wrong Earl explores how a marriage born out of social expectations can develop into a true romance after the couple is already married. While this may sound a fantasy in a world where easy divorce hardly motivates anyone to make an effort and take their responsibilities in making the marriage work, it is actually a good lesson in how some little compromises on both sides are worth the greatest prize of a loving companionship.

With a few steamy scenes more than in other books at a time when the couple's feelings for each other are not yet even dawning (though in the context of marriage), I would have wished for a little more room for the description of the romance development, but it was still a pleasant read.


For the Love of the Viscount (The Noble Hearts Series Book 1)
For the Love of the Viscount (The Noble Hearts Series Book 1)
Price: £2.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice handling of a known trope, 21 Mar. 2017
A pretend courtship blooms in real attraction and love. This is not an unknown trope in the genre, the author's ability in this novella lies in surprising the reader with a heroine who opposes marriage so strongly that the hero almost gives up on her... almost. Find out how he convinces her into surrendering her hand and heart. This is a novella-sized romance that you can read and enjoy in one sitting.


An Unwelcome Proposal: A Regency Romance (A Forbidden Love Novella Series Book 4)
An Unwelcome Proposal: A Regency Romance (A Forbidden Love Novella Series Book 4)
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to The Forgotten Wife, 28 Feb. 2017
This novel follow The Forgotten Wife by the same author and describes the parallel romance of the siblings-in-law of the previous book which I had very much enjoyed. This one is equally well written and delivers a HEA that especially the hero has much earned, but I felt a bit lost trying to figure out when the first sparks of romance had started and could not connect with the heroine's probably overdrawn stubborn idea of not contemplating marriage even to a person she acknowledges feelings for out of fear that any such feelings are supposed to be fickle by definition and ultimately lead to unhappiness.

If you read or have read The Forgotten Wife, which I would recommend you to, you will want to know how the story ends, and here you have the solution.


The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers
The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers
by Thomas Fleming
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.27

2.0 out of 5 stars A superficial collection of events with several inaccuracies, 26 Feb. 2017
Mr Fleming's book sounds like a work by a "jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none". e.g. in Hamilton's chapter several inaccuracies in terms of timeline and lack of cross study of relevant contemporary records and letters of the time result in misleading and often blatantly wrong assumptions that only an attentive biographer dedicated to studying the whole body of evidence on a specific historical figure could clarify.

My suggestion in general is therefore to avoid such confused collections of myths and half-read records and pick one full biography of each individual, e.g. in Hamilton's case the best and most widely researched biography is Ron Chernow's book.


The Danger in Daring a Lady (The Naughty Girls Book 6)
The Danger in Daring a Lady (The Naughty Girls Book 6)
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story of unexpected love and redemption, 16 Jan. 2017
I am so glad I picked up this book out of the many I downloaded for free when it was being offered as a promotion. I had been heavily upset by the umpteenth historically inaccurate and disrespectul fictional biopic and was in need of a warm romance with undisputed hea to cheer me up.

This book did more than cheer me up, it engulfed me in a beautiful story of unexpected love and redemption that had me reread some passages as soon as I had finished the book. Ms Locke, you have a new fan, I'll be looking forward to the story of the remaining two bachelor Alexander twins, I particularly can't wait to see who you will pair up the ever intransigent Anthony with and see him fall head over heels in love.


The Whiskey Rebels (Random House Reader's Circle)
The Whiskey Rebels (Random House Reader's Circle)
by David Liss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.02

2.0 out of 5 stars Historically inaccurate and too many unsavoury characters for my taste, 10 Jan. 2017
The Whiskey rebellion is depicted as the scheme of a woman who is widowed and sets out to revenge her husband's seath on Alexander Hamilton who introduced the tax on whiskey to finance the new Central Bank and the speculators who provoked the Panic of 1792, with Hamilton's affair with Maria Reynolds and thrown in as part of her catalyst actions that will ultimately cause Hamilton's finale demise and violent Death.

Since both the Hamilton affair and the speculation ended in 1792 and the Whiskey Rebellion that was brought down by Hamilton dates 1794, we are talking of a book that is blantantly historically inaccurate and exhudes an embarassing quantity of unsavoury characters. However, it is an action novel, so if this does not bother you, the writing is not too bad.


Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton: A Master Passion
Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton: A Master Passion
by Juliet Waldron
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Where is the love and passion?, 10 Jan. 2017
I had already read a fictional biopic on Richard III by this author (Roan Rose) and given my previous honestly negative experience I dreaded what she could write about the Hamiltons, especially with respect to Hamilton's notorius affair with Maria Reynolds.

Well, thankfully Alexander Hamilton wrote so much about himself already that this author was probably forced not to stray too much from the beaten track, even if I personally do not agree with the picture of the Hamiltons’ marriage as an overall frustrating experience on both parts.
On one hand we have an Alexander Hamilton who is depicted as an unrepented flirt all his life, who chases skirts and repeatedly betrays his wife to satisfy his flesh during the times he and his wife are separate (with Maria Reynolds being only the most embarassing and notorious case, one that only gets a few pages and that in my view is never satisfactorily discussed by Alexander and Eliza in the book), a man who never really repents and feels sorry for his infidelities and ultimately only finds peace with his God, but not really with his wife, by deciding to throw away his shot and spare Burr’s life at the risk of his own life and his family’s welfare.

On the other hand we have an Eliza Schuyler Hamilton who seems never to loosen up even after her marriage, whose constant virginal shyness clearly frustrates a man who seems to get her pregnant the few times he manages to coax her into love making while Maria ensnares him with her gymnastics, an Eliza who feels frustrated not only by her husband’s infidelities, but by her lack of selfesteem, especially in her relationship with a brilliant penworm and socialite husband, a woman who manages a household that is so efficient as it seems gloomy and sad for most of their marriage. Having most of the book based on her point of view did not exactly help having a pleasant feeling during the reading.

In this overall depiction, I failed to see where the mutual love that is anticipated on the cover was, where was the passion that made Eliza decide never to remarry and spend the remaining 50 years of her life without Hamilton trying to save his legacy with the only wish to join him in a better world. I do not think the surviving correspondence (and I am not speaking only of Hamilton’s letters to Eliza) and their actions support this picture. Flawed and arrogant as the man was, despicable as his one year affair with Maria was, abominable as his decision to wash his dirty linen in public thus humiliating his wife was, he seems to have loved his wife better and more passionately than I could perceive from this text, just like Eliza seems to have had more spine than to quietly have accepted her husband back in her bed after the disclosure of the affair without a genuine repentace for his infidelity and a great deal of groveling on his part, as seems to have been more than the case in real life.

The writing style is not bad and if you can turn a blind eye on some historical inaccuracies it is not a bad book, better and less disrespectful than "Roan Rose" was with the historical Richard III at least. However, if you are looking for a fiction novel on the Hamiltons, I think that a better research and understanding of what was in the lines of all the original documents we have by and about Alexander and Eliza Hamilton allowed author Elizabeth Cobbs to deliver a more plausible portrait of their marriage, better capturing the spirit of their love in “The Hamilton Affair” than this author could with this book.


Scandalmonger (Harvest Book)
Scandalmonger (Harvest Book)
by William Safire
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.62

1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and not as accurate as it purports to be, 6 Jan. 2017
In the context of fiction, even if nominally "historical" fiction, I can excuse a lot, but not everything.

I can excuse poetic licences and inaccuracy even when the author purports its work to be God given report of the documented facts: I have a pc and an internet connection to check facts on my own and form my own opinion on the events that are subject of the fictionalised account. Now, one of the pillars of this book is Callender's (the scandalmonger) assumption that Hamilton's affair was a cover for a real speculation scheme on Hamilton's part - with the excuse of a supposedly extended research to which the author dedicates an entire "underbook" of notes, including a two lines statement by Jacob Clingman (Maria's new lover and later second husband) to Monroe of 1 January 1793, we are given an appaling portrayal of an Alexander Hamilton as debauched seducer of teenaged married mothers, intriguer, forger of documents, ruthless liar who would tarnish the reputation of a poor woman to save his public profile.

Well, I've done MY research and in this respect let me just say that I felt sick at Hamilton being portrayed as seducing a 19 years old Maria 4 years before the documented affair "because circumstantial evidence says the Hamiltons and the Reynolds were in New York at the same time" when documented evidence in Clingman's (not Hamilton's) deposition sees Maria in February 1792 admitting of the Reynolds' link with Hamilton being only a few months old. Furthermore, the letter by Jeremiah Wadsworth to Hamilton dated 2 August 1797 relates how Maria had applied to both him and even Governor Mifflin and that in trying to get them help her obtain her husband's release from prison she had spontaneously told both of them the story of her first acquaintance and following "amour" with Hamilton in words that very interestingly match Hamilton's recount of their first encounter as reported since the first draft of the Reynolds pamphlet of July 1797 (before Wadsworth's letter). So long for your underbook and deliberately omitted records Mr Safire, Hell has a special place for people like you.

Whatever I can turn a blind eye on in fiction, I cannot excuse deliberate manipulation or partial if not partisan use of records bent to the author's final goal to gain money by adding useless posthumous infamy to a man who paid dearly for his one time private weakness and even stooped to recount and fully prove in his "Reynolds Pamphlet" the sad tale of his flawed human nature with all its consequences.

Furthermore, what I cannot excuse in a fiction novel is said novel to be BORING. The author's choice to relay word by word the written documents of the time as dialogues (though twisted and more than once deliberately misplaced in terms of timeline) to seek an appearance of plausibility in his work makes simply for a struggling wooden prose and stiff odd-sounding exchanges between the characters. For a book that had an incredible potential of drama in setting out to fictionalise the dawning of smear campaigns in the press in the first political fights in newly born United States of America, even without the need to distort the truth, this novel fails to accomplish its mission and never kindles a single spark of emotion or interest.

If you are interested in the history of the time, a good biography of any of the men depicted in this book will serve you better. If you are looking for a good fiction novel, look somewhere else.


The Forgotten Wife: A Regency Romance (A Forbidden Love Novella Series Book 3)
The Forgotten Wife: A Regency Romance (A Forbidden Love Novella Series Book 3)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The memory of the heart, 31 Dec. 2016
I had this author on my radar since spotting two of her books dedicated to a couple of identical twin brothers, which is one of my favourite tropes in romance. I hope I am not giving too much of the plot away by saying that this romance is also partially based on mistaken identities with not one, but two couples of siblings leading to confusion and partial frustration when the feelings of love are mixed with a sense of guilt for a supposedly forbidden love.

In this context, the plot starts with the husband’s amnesia after a riding accident taking a heavy toll on what was a love match with his forgotten wife, similarly as in the film “The Vow” that some of you may have seen (and that was based on a true story), but takes itw own twist due to the daring plan his wife and her sister and brother-in-law decide to put into action to try and help their unfortunate relative recover his memory, particularly his love for his wife.

The result is a pleasant two-hours sweet Regency novella that I personally found enjoyable, even though not too poignant possibly because of its short length. The writing is not overelaborate yet does not fail to convey the feelings of longing and deep affection between the hero and his heroine. It’s just the right book for a cosy read curled up on your sofa during your winter holidays.


The Hamilton Affair: The Epic Love Story of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler
The Hamilton Affair: The Epic Love Story of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler
by Elizabeth Cobbs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.78

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and pleasant novel on both Alexander Hamilton and his wife, 25 Dec. 2016
I freely admit to having being attracted to this book after watching the smash hit musical on the American former statesman whose revelation of his one year illicit adulterous affair with Maria Reynolds (most likely a well preconceived trap engineered with her colluding husband) marked the beginning of his political downfall and understandably wounded Hamilton's loving wife, who nonetheless stood by his side despite his flaws and saw him earn his forgiveness through hardships and the shared sorrow for the death of their first born son.

This novel went beyond expectations and plausibly depicted both Alexander Hamilton and Eliza from their childhood to their loving marriage through Hamilton's honestly despicable lapse of reason during his affair to their reconciliation and his untimely death. Chapter after chapter the point of view shifts from Hamilton's to Eliza's and reports facts more correctly than the musical does, e.g. dismissing any possibility of platonic romantic attachment between Hamilton and Eliza's sister Angelica - the man had to atone for his real indiscretion enough even without making too much of the affection for his sister-in-law who eloped with her English husband long before Hamilton met Eliza and started courting her in February 1780.

Some reviewers have complained for some graphic sexual reference, like a single mention of the erection just thinking of his mistress brought him. Believe me when I say that for a fiction novel on a couple who had 8 children let alone the miscarriages and a husband who exposed his one year affair with a low-born illiterate, but evidently sexwise expert woman, I would have expected a much more heated retelling.

On the contrary, the author surprised me by tackling the references to intimate scenes and thoughts in a very delicate manner, so if you were looking for the Penthouse equivalent of Hamilton's biography with a single focus on American politcs' first sex scandal, you will not find it here, since the Reynolds affair is only a fairly short section, however relevant for the damage it brought in Hamilton's life, as it ultimately was in reality. On the other hand, if you would like to picture the documented pieces of the jigsaw of both Hamiltons's life together, this novel provides a rather accurate, respectful, plausible and pleasant portrayal of one of America's founding fathers and his remarkable wife.


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