© 2016 by Catherine Bilson

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November 3, 2019

I really, really love Betina Krahn’s latest books, especially her current series about the Bumgarten family of ‘dollar princesses’, but this isn’t one of those. It was originally published in 1991, which I realised to my dismay a few pages into it when I started thinking that it read very ‘old skool’ and went to Goodreads to check. I mean… it’s not old skool like something from the 1970s which features forced kisses and other icky nonconsensual things, but it does start off with a hero having revenge fantasies about heartlessly seducing women he doesn’t even know, something which is a pretty instant turn-off and I don’t think you’d see published in a romance today.

The book needs trigger warn...

October 19, 2019

I have to admit I winced when I started this book and found it was written in third person, present tense; I don’t particularly enjoy books written in the present tense no matter the narrator, but the storyline was intriguing enough I was able to set aside my prejudices to read the book. Fran, our heroine, was genuinely unique, the proprietor of a wedding dress shop who matches vintage bespoke gowns to brides. When she finds a valuable couture wedding gown at an estate clearance and clashes with the house’s owner, sparks fly.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fran, who was the main point of view character for most of the book. She was quirky and unique, sympathetic and empathetic in the way she worked to...

October 11, 2019

When the burned skeleton of a young woman is found in a locked trunk, the only hopes for identification rest with FBI Special Agent Zoe Spencer’s ability to reconstruct faces by sculpture. Finding out the victim was a high-profile missing person sets off a chain of events which culminate in the death of the victim’s sister, and Spencer must work out who is killing young women before any more die, in partnership (both personal and professional) with homicide detective William Vaughan.

There are some interesting twists and turns in this procedural, but I struggled to really get into the story because Spencer, supposedly our protagonist, was very closed-off and unemotional. Vaughan seemed more i...

October 2, 2019

In the time of the Scottish Clearances, Logan Blair is desperate to protect his people. Juliana Bernard only has one person to protect, her niece Grace, but time is running out for Juliana. She needs a husband, now, and heads to Scotland looking for the man who promised to marry her, childhood friend Fitz, now a powerful duke. When she arrives, though, it’s to discover Fitz’s brother Logan has been intercepting and destroying her letters as he tries to cut Fitz’s ties to England.

While I love Juliana - her pluck and determination in difficult circumstances were admirable, and I really liked the way she didn’t let Logan get away with anything - I had difficulty ever viewing Logan as anything m...

September 8, 2019

Though this is actually the fifth in the series, I didn’t know that when I started reading and had no idea until I looked at Amazon to get the link for the review. It stands perfectly well alone.

Trigger warnings for elder abuse (including murder), rape, sexual assault and drug use should be advised before you consider whether to read this book.

There are actually several cases running in parallel in this police procedural set among Greater London’s southern boroughs. The author is a police officer and has an intimate knowledge of how cases are actually solved and how the law really works, both to the benefit of the police and in some cases, protecting criminals from detection. Because of this...

August 31, 2019

It’s a little bit hard for me to rate this book, because I’m really struggling with my feelings about the hero of it. Roger, Marquess of Chatton, is a decent enough sort of fellow for the most part, and it also seems plain that in today’s world, he’d be diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Subtlety is completely alien to him, he doesn’t see nuances or reasons behind the actions of other people, and words really aren’t his friends - he has a habit of blurting out things others would find inappropriate. 

Once I’d armchair-diagnosed Roger’s autism, his behaviour was much more understandable - but that still didn’t make him very likable. There’s one moment where he’s verbally nasty to the heroine’s...

August 12, 2019

I haven’t read any of Heather Graham’s previous Krewe of Hunters books, but it was easy enough to pick up that the Krewe are a team of FBI agents who work on crimes outside the usual and who have abilities that are more than the usual as well. Joe, the male protagonist of this book, is a former Savannah cop in the process of joining the Krewe after a ghost helped him solve his last case. Acting as a consultant at the moment, he’s sent with a more experienced Krewe agent to investigate the murder of another FBI agent in a supposedly haunted inn, in the middle of an investigation by a team of paranormal Youtube hunters. Keri, the female protag, is an author of historical crime nonfiction, who...

July 29, 2019

Heading home with her tail between her legs after the final collapse of an abusive marriage, Marygene Brown just wants to settle back into partnership with her sister Jena Lynn, running the family diner on Peach Cove Island. The appearance of her mother’s ghost warning of an imminent murder puts paid to any thought of peace and quiet, though, and soon Marygene is up to her neck in trying to solve the mystery… and save her own neck.

This is a little bit grittier than your average cozy, with Marygene being a domestic abuse survivor and witness to deaths and violent assaults. She’s a great protagonist, though, full of determination to avoid repeating past mistakes and protect those she loves. Th...

July 28, 2019

Though this is the second in the House of Lovell series from this author, it reads perfectly fine as a standalone. It’s a second chance romance featuring Anne, Lady Howard, and Edward Lovell, the Earl of Chatham (formerly Lord Bredon). Lovers when they were younger, Edward’s father packed him off on a Grand Tour to prevent him from marrying Anne, considered below him in station. He asked her to wait, but received word less than a month later that she’d married a baron. 

Now widowed, Anne is acting as sponsor for Miss Finch, a young woman with an absolutely spectacular dowry, a fortune Edward’s estate is sorely in need of. The problem is, his heart is sorely in need of Anne.

There’s a rather in...

June 26, 2019

This is the fifth book in the Cavensham Heiresses series, but reads decently well as a standalone. Fans of the series will no doubt be delighted by the appearance of many of their favourites, but for me the best parts of the book were the sections where it was just Will and Theodora (and Aunt Stella) at Ladykyrke, the estate Theo inherited and is in danger of losing because she can’t prove her right to it. That and the parts about Theodora’s grandfather, who she nursed through years of dementia; they read so believable and so painful, I got a lump in my throat several times while reading.

I understand ‘Rogue’ is one of the buzzwords in historical romance right now, but honestly, Will is the f...

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