The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath

‘You are not my master, sir. I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am that nobody is any longer nor will anyone ever be again. Nor do I need a benefactor.’

 

Blurb:
He’s got iron control…
But she might be his undoing!
Part of The King’s Elite. Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?

 

Review:

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Determined Lord Hadleigh! It’s my very first time on something like this, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I loved Lord Hadleigh a lot. The final book in the King’s Elite series, we finally get to know Penny Penhurst’s, and Lord Hadleigh’s stories. Penny’s life apparently lies in ruins, and Tristan, Lord Hadleigh, has a compulsion to help her get back on  her feet. However, this ‘knight in shining armour’ soon finds out that this ‘princess’ has every intention of rescuing herself. It’s a beautiful story of hope, healing, courage, and triumph in the face of adversity.

Penny is such a strong heroine. No-one would blame her if she did lie down and wallow, but that’s not the true Penny. She’s courageous, proud in a positive way, (not an arrogant, superior kind of way), resourceful, and as determined as Lord Hadleigh. The way she confronts her situation, the way she accepts what has happened, and decides who she will be from now on, brought a lump to my throat.

Tristan, Lord Hadleigh, has his own secrets which help explain his driving need to seek justice above all. His resourcefulness and determination mirror Penny’s, and it’s fascinating to watch them dance round each other. Tristan’s overwhelming desire for truth and justice makes him seem to Penny to be cold and overbearing; yet these very qualities enable him to acknowledge his own faults, and respond with humility.

There is a large group of wonderful authors writing Mills & Boon Historical Romance at the minute, and Virginia Heath is one of the best. She writes the most delightful, witty, and humorous characters, who are perfect foils for each other. Her dialogue is sharp, snappy, and full of wit, her settings are wonderfully descriptive, and her books captivate you from start to finish. A real paragon of storytelling, you’ll definitely want to put Virginia Heath on your autobuy list.

 

Buy:  Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin Mills & Boon took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

 Virginia’s Website     Virginia’s Facebook Page       Virginia on Twitter

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A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes

‘She looked unearthly, pale face surrounded by darkness. The ghost he had thought she was.’

 

Blurb:

Lost in the Highlands
Found by the Scottish Earl!
Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Far from her home in France, Marguerite Vallon escapes her arranged marriage to a man she despises. Stowing away in a stranger’s cart, she finds herself headed deep into the Highlands with Ewan Lochmore, new Earl of Glenarris! Ewan vows to protect her. But maybe the freedom Marguerite has been searching for can be found with this rugged warrior…

 

Review:

Before I get to the review, is it okay if I comment on the book cover first? Oh my goodness, it is gorgeous! I love the pose, the style of the dress, and the colour. That I love the colour is actually surprising, because I’m a Taurus and we all know we’re supposed to hate red!

Now for the story, which I loved very much. It’s straightforward enough; Marguerite Vallon is being used as a pawn by her father, and has been sent to Scotland to marry Duncan McCrieff, who she’s never met. This isn’t an ‘Arranged Marriage’ story though, for me, this is a ‘Transformation’ story. Marguerite runs away from McCrieff by hiding herself in the cart of Ewan Lochmore, which causes problems as he is the hated rival of the McCrieffs. Naturally, she is discovered, and the story then becomes a beautiful blend of integrity, clan rivalry, suspicion, and longing.

I really love Marguerite. When we first meet her, she’s almost like a ghost, fading into the background, and in fact Ewan does at first mistake her for one. Her inner journey is reflected outwardly by a clever use of colour (clothing) as she transforms from being insubstantial to corporeal. Her name too reflects this, as it’s French for the Oxeye Daisy, and just like a daisy unfurls its face to the sun, Marguerite slowly unfurls to Ewan. It really is a joy to experience this transformation with her.

Ewan on the other hand, is a Scottish highlander, the complete opposite of French Marguerite. He is a physically strong man, though learned, but his position and title of the Earl of Glenarris has been thrust upon him unexpectedly, and he feels he is untried in the eyes of his people. Ewan’s journey to becoming the Earl in truth, is an other joy to experience. His decisions about Marguerite, his care for her and his people, his interaction with her, all reflect his inner growth in becoming. I love him!

It’s no secret I love Elisabeth Hobbes. She’s the author responsible for causing me to fall  back in love with Mills & Boon Historical, after about 10 years of being disillusioned with romance novels in general. I love the way she evokes mood, atmosphere and a genuine sense of the era. Her research, attention to detail, sense of humour, and ability to tell a story, all combine to make her an excellent author time and again. Her characters and their stories are always ‘real’, and true to the age, while still retaining the sense of romance and glamour that are the hallmark of Mills & Boon.

This is the third book in the Lochmore Series, (reviews of the first two can be found here and here). I really am loving the unfolding of this shared mystery. I didn’t think it would work, but a little piece of the puzzle slots into place as each subsequent book moves us backwards through time.

 

Buy: Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Elisabeth’s writing career began when she entered her first novel into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013 and finished in third place. She was offered a two-book contract and hasn’t looked back.
Elisabeth also works as a Primary school teacher but she’d rather be writing full time because unlike five year olds, her characters generally do what she tells them. When she isn’t writing, she spends most of her spare time reading and is a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book. She loves historical fiction and has a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes.
Elisabeth enjoys skiing, singing, and exploring tourist attractions with her family. Her children are resigned to spending their weekends visiting the past. She loves hot and sour soup and ginger mojitos – but not at the same time!
She lives in Cheshire with her husband, two children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.

 Elisabeth on Twitter             Elisabeth’s Facebook Page           Elisabeth’s Blog

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this as a free digital copy from the author, in return for an honest review, and also in paperback as part of my paid subscription for the Mills & Boon Historical bookclub.

Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple

‘She pressed her face into the soft folds of his coat to breathe the warmth of his scent, knowing the coat had a better chance of a future with him. Oh God, but her heart ached.’

 

Blurb:

A plain Regency governess
In bed with the duke!
Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

 

Review:

I have to say that this is the first book I’m struggling to find words for. Unlaced by the Highland Duke is such a wonderful, emotionally intense story, that I don’t think I have the skills to do it justice. But I’ll try.

The story itself is simple – Joane Langdale is a widowed cousin of Bella, the Duke of Lochmore’s late wife. However, because Jo is from a poorer branch of the family, she is still being passed from pillar to post to make herself useful to her richer relations. These relations also interfere in Bella’s son Jamie’s life, and through the machinations of Lady Theale, Jo ends up going to Lochmore with Jamie, and his father Benneit, the Duke of Lochmore. As Jo grows closer to Jamie, she also grows closer to Benneit – but he is supposed to be marrying to end a feud . . . .

Jo is, well quite simply, she IS Jo, a heroine so real she comes alive on the page. She’s a wonderful mix of what makes us human. Our experiences, emotions, personalities, and depth of character all combine to make us truly unique, and Jo is no exception. All her experiences, and the grey drabness with which she, and others have clothed her, cannot truly hide her wit, humour, and joyful spirit.

Benneit too leaps off the page. He is a dreamy hero, and completely worthy of Jo. There is something really satisfying at watching him being brought to his knees. His aloofness, his ability to fall back on years of control, his very position, have all combined to create a façade, an armour which he hides behind, causing him to appear emotionless. Jo’s presence, and her ‘Great Grey-eyed Stare’ slip through his armour, and suddenly, it seems to him, it isn’t protecting him any more. We get a real sense of his anger and bewilderment, as he struggles to subdue his passions, keep his word, and continue to hide his ‘weakness’. And although he repeatedly tries to retreat behind the façade he has built up, each time gets harder than the last. His struggle is so real, we can almost hear the cracking and shattering of his armour.

 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Lara has a real gift in creating characters so real, you’d swear you could hear them breathing. The romance is intensely emotional, sensual, and believable. The setting and scenery are breath-taking, and skillfully drawn, so real, it’s easy to forget you are reading. And if you like men in kilts, it’s got those as well! Incidentally one of the main reasons I recommend this, or any of Lara Temple’s books, is her heroines. In my humble opinion, they are comparable with any of Georgette Heyer’s. They  are witty, humorous, fun to be with, and the hero never knows quite what to do with her.

This is the second book in the Lochmore Series, (review of the first one can be found here ). I am really enjoying the glimpses of this shared mystery, as each subsequent book moves us backwards through time.

Buy:  Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.

When she was fifteen Lara found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later she emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Regency Romance but it took three decades of various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech before she returned to her first love.

Lara lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She loves to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and read as many books as possible. She recently went looking for that crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…

 Lara on Twitter    Lara’s Facebook Page   Lara’s Website

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this as part of my paid subscription for the Mills & Boon Historical bookclub.

Musings

First, please can I apologise for the gap between reviews? I had hoped to be able to review a bit faster than this, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far. This is a huge learning curve for me, and I think it’s a combination of this, a lack of confidence, and life getting in the way. I’m hoping that as I learn more, and get more confident, I’ll be able to increase the frequency of my reviews. So please bear with me as I learn.

One thing I’m learning is that there’s a world of difference between reading for pleasure, and reading for a review. I mean, I know what I love, like, don’t like, or what leaves me feeling flat, but communicating that to someone else? That’s the hard part!

Also, I’m excited to share that I’ve been accepted as a new Mills & Boon Insider! The picture is the goody bag I received, minus the lovely bookmark because I forgot to put it with the other goodies! This is a big thing for me because I love Mills & Boon, as well as being more nerve-wracking. Hopefully, it’ll help me learn and grow even more.

Thank you for sticking with me,

Debbie x

 

His Convenient Highland Wedding by Janice Preston

‘She had never felt so … unnecessary’

 

Blurb:

Bought by her husband…

Bound by secrets of their past!

The start of The Lochmore Legacy – A Scottish castle through the ages! Earl’s daughter Flora McCrieff brought shame on her family once, now she discovers she must wed impossibly rich but low born Lachlan McNeill. He’s undeniably handsome, but a man of few words. Despite the attraction that burns between them, can she reach beyond his impeccable clothing to find the emotions he’s locked away for so long…?

 

Review:

His Convenient Highland Wedding is a great title for this book. It’s about a marriage that’s convenient for the hero, convenient for the heroine’s family, but is it convenient for the heroine? It’s a story about secrets: hers, his, and the underlying mystery; and I wondered how on earth this was ever going to work out, and if they ever could or would be honest with each other, and find true happiness together.

I loved Flora, and really felt for her. She is not a typical Victorian woman, as is evident at the beginning of the story. Her will and strength are apparent as she defies what is expected of her. And yet, just a few years later, when she learns she is to be married, she appears quiet and downtrodden, as if that independence and strength has been beaten out of her. It’s as if she’s a completely different person, and her bewilderment, frustration, and resentment are palpable. However, although Flora now appears to be a typical woman of the time, her strength of mind, will, and courage soon bubble back to the surface….

Lachlan is a wonderful hero. Although a Victorian male, he also is not typical for the times. He is from a different background, and has many wrong assumptions about how the nobility behave. He just doesn’t know what’s expected of him and consequently makes a lot of mistakes. His past is always hanging over him, and he constantly feels the weight of guilt which he cannot share with anyone. Yet, Lachlan’s real character also cannot be suppressed….

Do I recommend this? Without hesitation! Janice creates wonderful characters, and equally wonderful atmospheric settings, and moods. And although she gives a realistic portrayal of how women were really treated, (they were thought of as brood mares, and pawns for example), she does it in such a way that doesn’t detract from the reader’s enjoyment. Janice’s skill causes us to become emotionally involved right from the start. We share Flora’s frustrations at not being listened to because she’s female, and her resentment that her ideas aren’t as valid or relevant as a man’s. And it’s also thought-provoking, as Janice wonderfully illustrates the truth that men and women really do need to talk to each other….

His Convenient Highland Wedding is the first book in a new four book series. It hints at a mystery that will be revealed and solved backwards in time, through each subsequent book. This is unusual, and I did wonder how this first book was going to introduce this mystery. I enjoyed finding out, as it teased and tantalised, and revealed enough without detracting from the main story, which was Flora and Lachlan’s romance. It also introduces us to Joane and Benneit, whose story will be told in book two of the Lochmore series: Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple.

 

Buy   Mills & Boon

Amazon.co.uk

Harlequin.com

Kobo

Amazon.com

 

Author Bio

Janice Preston writes emotional, sensual and satisfying Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon.
She grew up in Wembley with a love of reading, writing stories and animals and has worked as a dairy farmer, a police call-handler and a university administrator. She has two children, two step-children (all now adult) and a gorgeous, cheeky grandson. She now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and two cats and enjoys swimming, yoga and pottering about the garden when the sun is shining.
If you’d like to know more, please visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicepreston.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @janicegpreston or on Facebook at Janice.preston.author.

 

Disclaimer: I received this as part of my paid subscription for the Mills & Boon Historical bookclub. 

The Marriage Rescue by Joanna Johnson

‘… our worlds are too separate, and always will be.’

Blurb

Rescued by her enemy

Will she meet him at the altar?

Romani Selina Agres has despised the gentry ever since her mother was murdered by a cruel aristocrat. But she’s not sure what to think when Edward Fulbrooke, that very man’s nephew, rescues her from an angry horde. Edward may be different from other nobles, but Selina’s distrust runs deep. So she’s shocked when he proposes marriage to protect her and her people! Can she accept?

 

Review

The Marriage Rescue is the story of a marriage of convenience between two people from two very different worlds and cultures. Selina Agres is a Romani, while Edward Fulbrooke is a member of the gentry, a Squire, and this is just one of the major factors in the way they try to deny, ignore, and retreat from their obvious attraction to each other.

Selina is a lovely heroine. Her internal conflict is made up of many layers, some of which have come from experiencing hatred, prejudice, fear, and a belief she is ‘less than’. And these are wonderfully intensified by the external conflict. However, Selina is no wimp. She is loyal, as evidenced by her devotion to her people; her courage is clearly demonstrated throughout, as she struggles to adjust to situations; yet her passionate, and free nature are always visible just underneath the surface.

In contrast to Selina’s fire, Edward is ice; his manner is very reticent and correct, to the point where he seems almost frozen at times. His own internal conflict causes him to struggle with previous negative experiences, the confines of his upbringing, and societal expectations. Again, these are wonderfully intensified by the external conflict. However,  Edward too is no wimp. He has an ability to command respect; his actions reveal a caring and compassionate nature, even if he is unaware of it; and it is obvious there still remains a spark of fire in his heart.

The Marriage Rescue is Joanna Johnson’s debut novel for Mills & Boon, and Harlequin, but it can take a place of pride alongside the ones from authors who have been writing for far longer.  Joanna has a real ability to draw the reader in, and emotionally invest in the characters, and their story. Yet this happens gradually, almost without the reader being aware of it, and the surge of emotion that brought a lump to my throat at the end, took me quite by surprise. 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I loved it, and Joanna Johnson is now on my auto-buy list.

 

Buy/Preorder:   Mills & Boon                           

                             Amazon UK                            

                             Kobo                            

                            Amazon.com

 

 

Disclaimer: I requested and received a free digital copy of this book from the author, in return for an honest review.

 

 

A New Chapter Begins . . . .

Welcome to Touch of Innocence, my place for reviewing romance novels. Thank you for stopping by.

This blog is a journey into the unknown for me, as I’ve never really blogged or reviewed anything before – hence the name! I hope to post a review every two weeks for now, so please bear with me. I promise I’ll try not to ramble.

Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy my reviews.

Debbie