The first of my Christmas reads and it was charming. I found myself smiling much of the way through the story, even when I wanted to pinch the hero, the so very bound-by-duty Andrew Blackshear, who is the eldest of the family and so very, very, very proper. *LOL*
Our heroine, Lucy Sharp was born to get under Andrew's skin and drive him to total distraction. And that's exactly what she does with her impulsive and adventurous ways. Propriety? Not something she adheres to for the most part. Brought up by an unconventional widower after the way-too-early death of her mother.
It was cute, it was heart-warming, it was filled with love and surprises. I'm not fond of the cover (it's just too modern-looking for me), but the novella is a very pleasing read for the holiday season. Check it out!
You now that feeling when you already like an author's work and then you read their newest and you're totally reminded of why you like it? This was a perfect example of it for me.
With a course hovering over his head, Aidan has spent his entire adult life in debauchery. His last stint lands him in the care of Cristyn's father's sanatorium, where she acts as kind of a physician's aid to her father. He and Cristyn form a friendship that eventually transforms into more but because of Aiden's reservations they end up parting ways.
I loved Cristyn's openness and candor. She still behaved as a proper lady however that never stopped her from acknowledging her feelings, speaking her mind, and demanding the respect she knew she deserved.
I found Aiden's true feelings touching and the perfect basis for his addictions. There was honesty in what he did and as a character he grew immensely, trying to make up for past mistakes, and by taking up on his family's radical ideas of helping those in need. He was frank about his mistakes and totally owned them. I particularly loved how he handled his association with an old paramour, which in the eyes of his society would have been total ruin, possibly even worse.
Other characters from previous books make appearances here giving us glimpses of Aidan as part of a loving family. It also provided a sort of epilogue for the other men of Wollstonecraft stories, which I always consider a treat. Overall, I thought it was an endearing, charming, and unique story. I would recommend this series and author to anyone that enjoys history along with their romance.
* I received a copy of this story at no cost to me; this is my honest opinion and in no way was it influenced by the author or publisher. *
What a pleasure to pick up a book by a new to me author and thoroughly enjoy it! <3
This is the second book in the series but it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first one yet I never felt lost or like I needed to read the first one first.
I love enemies to lovers stories and this one hit the mark in all the right places. Callie is smart, determined, caring, and knows how to fight against injustices in a world where men set the rules. Although Truitt was at first hesitant of working alongside such woman, he learned to admire her both as a fighter and as a woman. Their romance had the perfect pace and their chemistry, in and outside the bedroom, was perfect as well. They made have made a few mistakes towards the end but overall they made a pretty good team. I think they are one of my favorite couples ever.
So the romance was wonderful but it was not the only good thing about the book. Not exactly a story about spies it had some its elements. The suspense was engaging from the start and it kept me turning the pages even when it wasn’t about the two main characters, which is always a good thing. Most of the story takes place in France and I loved that the author didn’t use any “accented” dialogue nor used unnecessary situations to remind me where the story was taking place.
With complex, fun characters; suspense, action, and romance, this is a story I definitely recommend to anyone that enjoys stories outside ballrooms.
*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher*
(Prior reports linked at the end.)
I really tried. I kept telling myself there would be a story, a romance, that I could read and review. Somehow I would be able to set aside the problems and read the book. But it's not going to happen.
Piper and her mother are set upon by thieves/kidnappers, but they are rescued by our caped hero, who turns out to be the Barrett Maddox, 6th Duke of Manchester. What he's doing in Boston we don't know yet.
He rescues Piper, almost kisses her, then discovers she is with her mother. He suggests/invites them to join him sailing to New York.
Here's where things about the writing just got really, really bad.
First, we don't know what an English Duke is doing in Boston. Dukes have responsibilities that they can't just up and leave for extended periods of time.
Second, we learn that Piper's mother used to be "Lady Carolyn Vesser," but not how that title applied to her. Is she an earl's daughter? Why would she have left England and married an American in the 1830s?
Third, the original implication is that the duke is sailing on the same ship, the Maria, as Piper and her mother. When Piper asks him where he is taking them,
“To the Maria.” He paused as his eyes drank her in again. “Although it’s an awful ship. I am travelling to New York as well, and you could both travel with me. You would, most assuredly, be safer.”
Andresen, Tammy. Taming A Duke's Reckless Heart: Taming the Duke's Heart (Taming the Heart Book 1) (p. 9). Kindle Edition.
A few pages later, however, we learn that he has led them -- distance not described -- to his own "boat."
“Lady Vesser, why don’t I send a note to the Maria that you will be travelling with us tonight? My boat is right here and I am sure you will be more comfortable.”
Andresen, Tammy. Taming A Duke's Reckless Heart: Taming the Duke's Heart (Taming the Heart Book 1) (p. 10). Kindle Edition.
Fourth, there are a couple references to Piper's cleavage. She tries to cover it and Maddox's eyes travel to it. I'm just not comfortable thinking that a well-bred young woman traveling from Boston to New York in 1854 would be wearing something that bares her bosom. Even though it's May, the weather in the evening might be cool, and it almost certainly will be once they're at sea, so shouldn't she have some kind of cloak or cape or other covering?
Fifth, there is the matter of their luggage. These two women are essentially moving to New York, so they have trunks. TRUNKS. Only one apiece? Or more? Oh, who knows? The author isn't specific, and she just has the driver of the carriage pick up both trunks and carry them to the bottom of the gangplank to Maddox's "boat."
Sixth, we get this nonsense about peerage titles, something that drives me up the ever-loving wall.
Piper and her mother are going to New York to visit (or live with?) Piper's cousin Sybil, who has already been referred to as "Lady Fairfield."
But now, in the company of the duke, Mrs. Baker says:
". . . Piper, I was girlhood friends with Mr. Maddox’s mother, Lady Priscilla Fairfield Maddox. Now the Duchess, of course."
Andresen, Tammy. Taming A Duke's Reckless Heart: Taming the Duke's Heart (Taming the Heart Book 1) (pp. 11-12). Kindle Edition.
I thought I had misread something, but later on that same page, Piper replies to a question about having family in England:
“Yes, of course,” she replied. “Actually my cousin, Lady Sybil Fairfield, Viscountess of Abberforth, is waiting for us in New York.”
Andresen, Tammy. Taming A Duke's Reckless Heart: Taming the Duke's Heart (Taming the Heart Book 1) (p. 12). Kindle Edition.
The same family name???? And a viscount is never "of" something. Viscount Abberforth would be the correct form.
Okay, that's bad enough. But how is Sybil a viscountess? She's already been described as being in desperate need of a husband, so we know she's not married to the viscount. If she's the daughter of the viscount Abberforth, we know he's dead because that's already been established, too.
Her cousin, Sybil, also needed to marry but had yet to choose a suitor. A sigh escaped her lips to think of her cousin. Beautiful and titled, she supposed most women would be jealous of Sybil, but Piper knew the truth. After the death of her parents, Sybil felt weighed down with responsibility. She was having difficulty running the estate.
Andresen, Tammy. Taming A Duke's Reckless Heart: Taming the Duke's Heart (Taming the Heart Book 1) (p. 2). Kindle Edition.
If her father the viscount died without a male heir, the title would have gone to another male such as a nephew. In the absence of a direct male heir, the title would have gone in abeyance or reverted to the crown. The idea of Sybil, a young woman in America, being given a title in her own right is utterly implausible.
And what is this business of running an estate? In New York? Rural New York, perhaps, but the implication is New York City, since Piper is counting on Sybil's ability to introduce her to New York society.
Furthermore, while Mrs. Baker may have given up her own title when she married an American, she would not not NOT have referred to His Grace the Duke of Manchester as "Mr. Maddox." Never, never, never. If there is an explanation for this, it needs to come at the spot the event happens, not more pages into the book.
Once again, the point is to make the pages disappear so the reader is lost in the story, not wondering why there are all these unexplained anomalies.
Eighth -- the overall effect.
The pacing is completely off. The opening scene does nothing to set the plot in motion; all it really does is raise questions. When Piper and her mother go to the docks to board their ship, there's still not enough explanation. And there's no description at all! I don't know what Piper looks like. I don't know what kind of night it is. Warm? Breezy? How does the air smell in the harbor area? We get some of Piper's reactions to being touched by the duke, but it's kind of silly description. Her heart is pounding. Something happens to her nerves. It's beyond clichéd.
This is one of those books that might have a decent romance plot buried in the garbage, but it desperately needs competent editing. It needs to be fleshed out with good description, reasonable background development, and for the love of Queen Victoria, some historical research!
DNF, because I refuse to waste any more time on this piece of crap.