Sunday, July 17, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

His Lady Midnight by Jo Anne Ferguson -- Regency Romance

Lady Phoebe Brackenton lives a double life. Part of the time she's a typical Society lady but in the dark of the night she rescues criminals about to be transported. Now she's about to be caught if she doesn't act fast. With her assistant wounded, Lady Phoebe has to make her own way through the dark streets of the docks of London. She loses her way and her carriage but jumps into the nearest nobleman's carriage she finds, believing it to be empty. The carriage is not empty, however. Lord Galen Townsend is inside waiting for his wayward brother and he wants an explanation. He may have a shocking reputation, but Lady Phoebe has no choice but to trust him with the truth. He decides to take her to Thistlewood Cottage, his friend's residence outside of Bath. The journey is dangerous and now Galen is implicated in Phoebe's crime and if caught, they're both in trouble. As Phoebe and Galen learn to trust one another and become friends and possibly more, they must decide whether to abandon their more noble causes to choose love or continue on the same paths without. Then Galen's brother shows up and may ruin everything. The romance is the strength of the story. It's passionate without being overwhelmingly so. (Passionate kisses but nothing more). The writing is good and the characters are well-developed. I admired Lady's Phoebe's convictions. However, in order for the story to happen, the author has to have Lady Phoebe break all the rules of Society. I couldn't put the book down because I had to find out how Lady Phoebe found her way out of trouble, but I was bothered by the lack of historical accuracy. If you are more of a fan of romance than history, you'll love this book.

A Rogue for Christmas by Kate Huntington -- Regency Romance

Fourteen-year-old Mary Ann Whittaker is headed to the pawn shop to pawn her greatest treasure in order to save her family when she's accosted by a brute intent on robbing and murdering her. She's rescued by a handsome gentleman who is impressed by young Mary Ann's bravery. He helps her pawn her ring, escorts her home and disappears. The Whittakers learn that a Christmas angel has paid their debts and sent a goose for Christmas dinner. Mary Ann vows to marry her angel. Seven years later, Mary Ann is a reigning Society belle and has refused all offers of marriage. During a party given by her wealthy brother-in-law, she encounters her rescue angel once again and is determined not to let him go this time. Lionel St. James is not a fit person for a young lady like Mary Ann to know. He's been disowned by his family and makes a living as a professional gambler. Mary Ann won't take any excuse. She's determined to reform Lionel. He has no choice but to succumb to the charms of the lovely Whittaker ladies and join them at their country estate for Christmas. Along the way he becomes charmed by the happy, loving family such as he's never seen the like of before, but he knows it's only temporary and come the new year, he'll be out of the streets. When some unexpected guests arrive, they add more tension to the party, but Mary Ann has faith in Lionel. Only she can see the angel underneath the devilish exterior. Lionel must learn to believe in himself and make others see what Mary Ann sees. For that he will need a Christmas miracle and Mary Ann is determined to make it happen. This story is very much like A Christmas Carol infused with romance. It only needs Tiny Tim's famous life at the end. I love A Christmas Carol but not so much A Rogue for Christmas. Mary Ann is very young and innocent and acts like a much younger girl. Lionel isn't really that bad and is rather appealing if you like the wounded soul type. The story is supposed to be heartwarming but I found it a bit too schmaltzy. The plot is also very unrealistic and Mary Ann breaks a lot of rules to make her dream come true.

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