The Romance Garden!

And after a downright autumnal week, dear readers, it seems that summer has decided to come back for a visit–so it’s a perfect day to return to our Romance Garden, where our genre experts bring you some of their favorite reads from the past month!

Lady Reading in the Garden (1894). Niels Frederik Schiøttz-Jensen

 

Bridget: Lord of Lies by Amy Sandas

This is the third installment in Amy Sandas’ Fallen Ladies series, but that will have no effect at all on your ability to enjoy this–though, if you’re anything like me, it will definitely make you want to track down the others in the series to read them, too!

Portia Chadwick had once resigned herself to a life of quiet (and boring) decorum–until the day her sister is abducted by a moneylender.  Desperate, Portia tracks down Nightshade, a man who knows England’s darkest shadows, to help her find him.  Dell Turner grew up in the bleakest of circumstances, and he’s never shaken the dirt of the gutter off his shoes–or the chip off his shoulder.  He’s perfectly willing to help the young lady who comes begging for help finding his sister, but he never anticipates that she’ll want to be involved in the case…or that he’ll be so eager to keep her by his side.  But when their partnership is dissolved, what hope will Dell have that Portia will want any more to do with him?

I’m really tired of the “delicate miss decides to have an adventure” story, but Portia’s honesty, and her genuine interest in learning made her feel like a different kind of heroine.  I also really appreciated the fact that she and Dell could be upfront and honest with each other during their partnership–and learned how to transfer that honesty into their real life relationship, too.  Though some of the situations here were a little outlandish, the heart of this story is a really fantastic, visceral, pulse-pounding and heart-warming romance that made me an instant fan of this series.

Kelley: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare


Tessa Dare’s newest series, “Girl Meets Duke,” is off to a great start with the story of the Duke of Ashbury (Ash), a scarred war veteran, and Emma Gladstone, a seamstress trying to make her way in the world after being cast out by her vicar father. After a firm rejection from his fiance, Ash believes that he is too hideous to be loved or desired by any woman, but he knows that he needs to have an heir to ensure that his tenants and employees are cared for when he is gone. Enter Emma Gladstone.

When Emma shows up demanding to be paid for the wedding dress she made for the duke’s former fiance, Ash offers her two choices: he can pay her what she is owed for the dress or he can make her a duchess. While it’s not the most flattering of proposals, due to financial reasons and the opportunity to help a friend, Emma accepts under the condition that the duke join her for dinner- with conversation- every evening.

The book is full of Tessa Dare’s signature charming touches like comical pet names and Shakespearean insults. Add a well-meaning butler, a meddlesome maid, an incorrigible teenage boy, and an ornery cat, and you have a romance that has as many funny moments as romantic ones. And all of those moments lead our main characters closer to each other, closer to healing, and closer to love.

Until next month, dear readers, remember…every mind needs a little dirt in which to grow!

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