Historical

The Duke Who Didn’t (Wedgeford Trials #1)

The Duke Who Didn’t (Wedgeford Trials #1)

By: Courtney Milan

Blurb:

Miss Chloe Fong has plans for her life, lists for her days, and absolutely no time for nonsense. Three years ago, she told her childhood sweetheart that he could talk to her once he planned to be serious. He disappeared that very night.

Except now he’s back. Jeremy Wentworth, the Duke of Lansing, has returned to the tiny village he once visited with the hope of wooing Chloe. In his defense, it took him years of attempting to be serious to realize that the endeavor was incompatible with his personality.

All he has to do is convince Chloe to make room for a mischievous trickster in her life, then disclose that in all the years they’ve known each other, he’s failed to mention his real name, his title… and the minor fact that he owns her entire village.

Only one thing can go wrong: Everything.

Review:

The Duke Who Didn’t was a much-anticipated book from Courtney Milan. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors, so I had this baby pre-ordered, and as soon as I caught up with my library books, I started reading.

Chloe lives in Wedgeford, a town famous for its trials. A complicated sounding, day-long quest to find specific medallions or tokens. I’m not sure about all the rules because this year, Chloe and Jeremy didn’t participate. Instead, Chloe helped her father introduce his life’s work, a special sauce, to all the trials’ participants. The plan was to sell the amazing sauce, build a sauce empire, and enact revenge on the racist pricks that stole her father’s original sauce before kicking him to the curb. I can completely get behind this plan.

Poor Jeremy wants nothing more than to make Chloe happy. He’s jovial to Chloe’s more serious nature. He’s learned to be that way after years of dealing with poisonous people. Humor seems to be a coping mechanism. It’s also something he’s good at. He’s been coming to Wedgeford for years because it’s the only place in all of Britain where he feels like he belongs. The only problem is he’s conveniently forgotten to tell them he’s the duke and owns their entire village.

I loved the ending to The Duke Who Didn’t so much. I loved that Chloe was the grouchy one of the two and that Jeremy was always trying to make her happy. I loved their relationship, not only with each other but with their family. I loved how Chloe reacted to the big reveal. I loved how everything played out. It was perfect.

I’m looking forward to learning more about Wedgeford and their trials. There were other characters mentioned and spoken to, but there was very little focus on them. The book was very much centered on Chloe and Jeremy. Still, that doesn’t make me any less excited for the rest of the series.

5/5

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (Feminine Pursuits #2)

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (Feminine Pursuits #2)

By: Olivia Waite

Blurb:

When Agatha Griffin finds a colony of bees in her warehouse, it’s the not-so-perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week. Busy trying to keep her printing business afloat amidst rising taxes and the suppression of radical printers like her son, the last thing the widow wants is to be the victim of a thousand bees. But when a beautiful beekeeper arrives to take care of the pests, Agatha may be in danger of being stung by something far more dangerous…

Penelope Flood exists between two worlds in her small seaside town, the society of rich landowners and the tradesfolk. Soon, tensions boil over when the formerly exiled Queen arrives on England’s shores—and when Penelope’s long-absent husband returns to Melliton, she once again finds herself torn, between her burgeoning love for Agatha and her loyalty to the man who once gave her refuge.

As Penelope finally discovers her true place, Agatha must learn to accept the changing world in front of her. But will these longing hearts settle for a safe but stale existence or will they learn to fight for the future they most desire?

Review:

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows was a slow burn romance. Once it got going though…shoo. The two heroines are in their mid-forties, which was a new one for me. Romances, at least the ones I’ve read, tend to be thirties and below. It was nice to see someone middle-aged get a second chance for love.

Agatha is bisexual. She’s a widow who loved her husband and loves her son. She works hard at the print shop she owns to provide for her family to keep them safe. It’s a very volatile period, especially for someone in her line of work. It was honestly very interesting to read about.

Penelope is a lesbian who has married a man who is in love with her brother. Her brother and husband sail the sea hunting whales, living the life of a married couple, while she stays at home alone. For the most part, it works for her, but she is lonely.

There’s an almost instant attraction for the couple, but because of the time and their personal histories neither woman is sure where the other stands. Lots of hinting and angst happen before things are able to progress.

They’re a cute couple, and there’s a lot of passion. I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the side characters, though. Penelope’s brother and husband were cute. Agatha’s son was annoying, and more often than not, I wanted to slap him. A character from the previous book made an appearance, but you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one.

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows further cements my enjoyment of Olivia Waite. I pre-ordered it because I enjoyed The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics so much, and I was not disappointed. I will definitely be pre-ordering the next.

4.5/5

Say No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4)

Say No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4)

By: Eloise James

Blurb:

One little wager will determine their fate—a daring escape or falling into temptation with a rakish lord.

Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.

No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.

If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.

But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.

Review:

Betsy and Jeremy made a nice couple, and I liked that they didn’t fall into bed quickly. I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but it was fairly obvious, from the beginning, that the duke never stood a chance.

Betsy has been haunted by the fact that her mother abandoned her children for a man she wasn’t married to. So Betsy set out to prove that she was as far from her mother as possible. She was the belle of the ton and turned down numerous proposals. She decided to either never wed to prove society wrong, that blood will not, in fact, tell, or marry someone and live a passionless existence. Thankfully, that gets worked out.

Jeremy is how from war and dealing with PTSD. He spends most of his days drinking in the billiards room, conveniently Betsy’s favorite place.

Say No to the Duke has lots of banter and great side characters. Betsy’s adventure is a bit disappointing but probably realistic. There was a surprise reveal at the end, which added some excitement. Overall, it was entertaining.

4/5

Destiny’s Captive (Destiny #3)

Destinys Captive

Destiny’s Captive (Destiny #3)

By: Beverly Jenkins

Blurb:

Noah Yates fully believes in the joys of a happy family and a good wife. But that’s not the life for him. No, he would much rather sail the wild seas in search of adventure, not tied down. But then the unthinkable happens . . . he finds himself literally tied down. To a bed. By a woman.

And Pilar isn’t just an ordinary woman. She’s descended from pirates. And after giving him one of the worst nights of his life, she steals his ship! Now Noah is on the hunt, and he’ll stop at nothing to find this extraordinary woman . . . and make her his.

Review:

Destiny’s Captive is the last book in the Destiny series and follows the final Yates brother. Pirates, rebels, PTSD, and Cuban history are all included, and it’s, of course, very well done.

Trigger Warning

Noah was shanghaied on his eighteenth birthday and ended up living through hell. He was starved, given a scar on his face, beaten, and raped. He’s never talked about what happened to him and is an entirely different person than who he was growing up. Dark and brooding and never having fun, then he meets Pilar.

Pilar is part of a group of rebels fighting against the Spanish rule of Cuba. She’s a thief and smuggler. She steals Noah’s boat, and naturally, he tracks her down. She immediately intrigues him, and he proposes almost on the spot.

I’m glad Jenkins included the segregation on the train. It was a reminder of what people had to live with at that time. A lot of the book you feel like you’re in a bubble with the characters, so the dash of realism made Destiny’s Captive better.

I could relate to Pilar’s homesickness. I did think that she got over being a rebel very quickly. It had been her life for a decade, more if you count the fact that her father was one as well. She basically grew up in that world. Then she was told she was being hunted and it would be best if she disappeared, so she did. There was no fight. It was the smart thing to do, but she never even struggled with it, which I found odd for her.

This was an excellent climax to the series. We got to see all of the storylines wrapped up. Seeing Alanza get married was perfect. I do wish we could have seen little novellas of a couple of the minor characters, like Naomi and Pilar’s sister, but it doesn’t seem like those were written. I’m am really looking forward to reading more Beverly Jenkins.

4/5

Destiny’s Surrender (Destiny #2)

Destinys Surrender

Destiny’s Surrender (Destiny #2)

By: Beverly Jenkins

Blurb:

The child he didn’t know he had . . .

Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it’s time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn’t as simple as he’d hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina “Billie” Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!

The woman he didn’t know he loved . . .

Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she’s willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she’s saying “I do” in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?

Review:

Billie and Drew were a different couple. Billie was a whore, and Drew was her customer. At the end of Destiny’s Embrace, we saw her have a baby, which turns out to be Drew’s. Before that though, they were both a bit in love with each other, but because of her job, neither acknowledged it. Things, of course, change.

Billie was an interesting character to read. She was a prostitute. In westerns, there’s the trope of a hooker with a heart of gold. They may be good, but they never have a happy ending. It was nice to see that trope changed.

Drew was a lawyer that was starting to have issues practicing law due to racism. Then when he finds out he’s a father, things get worse for him. He’s not really my favorite hero, he came off as a pretty rich boy, but he could have been worse.

Like the Destiny’s Embrace, their romance was pretty quick. They did have years of buildup prior to the book, but once they were forced together, things went super-fast.

One of my favorite parts of the series is seeing their mother’s romance blossom. The conversation she had with Billie about sex was amusing. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

3/5