The weather has turned at last, dear readers, and, rather suddenly, it is not longer garden time. But that means it’s the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book! Thankfully, here in our romance garden, there is always sunshine, and always plenty of books to help you through those lengthening winter evenings. Here are just a few from our genre experts for this month!
Bridget: London’s Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch
I’ve been in a bit disillusioned by the romance genre of late, so I went back to an oldie by goodie for this month. This was one of the first romance novels, and still remains a favorite of mine. Though it’s the second in Enoch’s Lessons in Love series, new readers won’t have any trouble getting into this story.
the Marquis of St. Aubyn’s may be referred to as “Saint”, but all of London society knows that him as a dangerous–if alluring scoundrel. Evelyn Ruddick would normally have nothing to do with him, but St. Aubyn is the head of the board of trustees for the Heart of Hope Orphanage, and she will do anything to get them the help and support that they need, even if it means forming a partnership with this rakehell. But when their working relationship takes a turn for the scandalous, Evie and Saint are both forced to reconsider who they really are, what they really want…and how many rules they are willing to break to make their hearts happy.
First and foremost, I loved the chemistry between these protagonists. Saint may be selfish and spoiled, but he is also quite smart, and therefore has the capacity to recognize and respect Evelyn’s intelligence and determination. He may enjoy making her blush, but he’s not cruel, and he’s honest, which is my favorite part of a hero. For her part, Evie is no simpering miss–she is strong and determined and doesn’t back down. The result is a book full of snappy, witty banter that doesn’t do much to hide the growing respect and devotion these two characters feel for each other, both in spite of, and because of, their differences. It was a treat to see how well this story has aged, and I hope it can bring a smile to other readers, as well!
Note: The cover image on the Boston Public Library’s site is incorrect for this listing. The book is indeed by Suzanne Enoch. And is very good!
When an American gunslinger finds herself pitted against a notorious Scottish earl, things are bound to get interesting, and that’s just what happens in Kerrigan Byrne’s latest Victorian Rebels book, The Scot Beds His Wife.
Samantha (“Sam”) Masters, former member of an American family of train robbers, comes to the Highlands posing as a Scottish heiress in order to hide from dangerous associations from her past in the American West. Upon arrival she immediately meets Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, her new neighbor, and the person intent on purchasing her property which has been unoccupied for years. When Gavin finds Sam unwilling to sell, the two quickly become adversaries, but the arguments and banter that ensue lead them to a reluctant respect and powerful physical attraction to one another. When Sam finds herself in danger, she and Gavin marry for mutual convenience, her for protection and him for the ownership of the land he believes to be hers, but what they don’t expect is to fall in love. Gavin’s devotion to his family and tenderness with his wife are not at all what Sam expected, and as for Sam, Gavin is deeply affected by her unique blend of strength and vulnerability.
This is one of my favorite types of romance, one with well-developed characters all around, including many secondary characters who would be welcome additions to upcoming books in the series. It’s also both fiery and fun, never taking itself too seriously, but still managing to pack in plenty of danger and passion to make for a good story. For those who, like me, didn’t love The Highwayman, the first book in this series, I encourage you to give Kerrigan Byrne a second chance. The Scot Beds His Wife was a fun read, and I look forward to exploring some of the Victorian Rebels books that I missed between this one and the first.
Until next month, beloved patrons!