Historical Romance Book Reviews

1
The Duke’s Lady by Brenda Jernigan
2
Scandalous Brides – Cailin’s Review
3
Danegeld – Cailin’s Review

The Duke’s Lady by Brenda Jernigan

I had to buy The Duke’s Lady because I had the second in Brenda Jernigan’s (@bkj1608) Lady Series and I like to read a series in order. I’m glad I did. It was terrific with lots of my favorite elements: sea voyage, sea-captain, pirates, heroine who wears britches. It’s also got balls in England, the tonne, and dressing up for such. What sets it apart is the inclusion of Jean Lafitte, the pirate, and the Battle of New Orleans. The English duke, Adam, has ties to both England and America. The heroine, Jewel, was raised by pirates. This sets in play all sorts of variations on the usual romance themes.

Yes, you have to suspend belief to enjoy this book, but that’s doable. Characters fall in love rather quickly. The plot device that involved the bad guy was the biggest disconnect for me.

The hero is flawed and often doesn’t take responsibility for how people perceive him. He’s a hot head who gets angry and bellow before he thinks. He’s also significantly older than Jewel and falls in lust with her when he believes her to be 16. She was actually 19. I like my historical characters to reflect the times of the novel, so I don’t expect them to adhere to the niceties of society today. When they do, I find it a bit too precious or preachy. I also like my heroes flawed, even extremely flawed, which Adam doesn’t approach.

Jewel was the best part of the book. Although, again, the concept that she was naïve because the pirates that raised her protected her from worldliness required a suspension of belief. Those protective pirates didn’t keep her from learning to throw a dagger or fight with a sword.

I read it in a day and enjoyed it.
Heat Rating: Steamed Milk

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Scandalous Brides – Cailin’s Review

Scandalous Brides
Scandalous Brides by Annette Blair
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great deal. I love Annette Blair’s Rogues Club. I read Unforgettable Rogue as single book before buying this set. It’s worth the $.99 for this book alone. The scene where Hawk breaks the bed is one I’ve remembered since I first read it. Alex’s seduction of her husband is just fun to read.

A Lady by Chance by Cheryl Bolen is another good read if you’re willing to dispense with it being a realistic historical. The romance moves from two people who hate each other to happily ever after. And isn’t that what most of us want from a romance? Bolen does it with interesting characters, which is requisite for this type of story where you know how it will end just not how they’ll get there.

Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant has a complex plot with a villainess wrecking havoc on the lives of hero and heroine. Marriage comes early in this book, but begins with two hearts wounded by past wrongs. While love still hovers under the pain, the two must learn to trust again before it can come to full bloom. The villainess in this book is truly despicable and twisted. She uses anything and anyone to make events work to her advantage causing confusion and strife for all involved. Very good book.

The last title, Scandalous Virtue, is another terrific read. The story of Jack’s change from rake to respectable husband is fairly standard. The true spice of this novel comes from the heroine’s introduction to the more scandalous ways of the ton. Coming from a family and first marriage of extreme propriety, she decides to grab freedom and flirt with scandal. As Jack becomes more sensible, Nessa heads the other direction and takes the story into some interesting twists.

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Danegeld – Cailin’s Review

Danegeld
Danegeld by Susan Squires
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoy Viking historical romances and plain old Viking historical books because I like the untamed brutality of that period of history. Danegeld perches on the edge of not being a romance because it’s not paced like your typical romance. It’s much more realistic. This isn’t a book where the heroine or hero can’t seem to make up their mind without any real reason to keep them from declaring their love. This pair goes through a hell over and over again. The book is not for the faint of heart. It includes two rapes and lots of brutal fighting. It’s definitely a book a guy could like if they like fiction. The commitment between the hero and heroine is much more satisfying because it hasn’t been reached easily and requires both to change to achieve it. In other words, it’s not built on sex. Although you do get sex in this book.

I also liked the playoff between witchcraft and Christianity in the mind of the heroine. The supernatural is portrayed as real in this book, and it is never positively stated from whence Britta gets her abilities except that using them for evil exacts a terrible price. The changes that Britta and Karn go through are a reflection of the changes being wrought in the society they live in.

I’d definitely reread this book.

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