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Search tags: historical-mm-romance
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review 2018-01-22 01:14
It's All in the Brushstrokes!
Wallflower Most Wanted - Manda Collins

Add a beautiful young painter and a handsome vicar who's a duke's son, throw in a dash of murder, and a sprinkle of art forgery, a Trumpian faux populist character, and there you have it.

This was enjoyable with clever writing and likable characters, but I felt like I had to keep putting it down. Could be me, with everything going on. I am looking forward to Gemma's story.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine: http://affairedecoeur.com.

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review 2018-01-21 21:18
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan

The Siege of Yorktown 1781. Colonel Hamilton has his army in place and is just obliterating the small town while awaiting for reinforcements. Two of the stories arise from the battlefield; the third is tied to the descendant of someone at Yorktown. They share their stories in letters and interviews with Eliza Hamilton as she writes her husband's biography after his death (roughly in the late 1810s and early 1820s).

 

Promised Land by Rose Lerner - 4 stars

Rachel faked her death to run away from her marriage and towards Washington's army. She meets up with her husband (one of Washington's spies) at Yorktown. I love a good "can this marriage be saved?" trope in historical romance and this one delivered. Both MCs are Jewish and the story really shined with the choice to have the MCs be of a religious minority; certain scenes that depicted how the Jews dealt with Jewish law and customs while also serving in the military were used to deepen their relationship. I thought the one sex scene was shoe-horned in and didn't add to the story, but by the time it happened I was already rooting for Rachel and Nathanial's HEA. This was my first time reading Lerner, but it won't be my last.

 

The Pursuit of.....(Worth Saga) by Courtney Milan - 4 stars

This novella falls third (or maybe #2.5) in the Worth Saga series, but you don't have to read the first two books to understand what is going on in this story. John Hunter is an ex-slave (ran away from his master, then returned to rescue his sister and mother) living in Rhode Island when the call for black men to enlist in Washington's army comes with an entitlement to freedom papers after the war. John's sister is married to enslaved man, so to keep her man at home while also earning his brother's freedom papers, John enlists in his stead. At Yorktown, he meets British Lt Henry Latham (see post from last week). John helps Henry escape from the British army; in return, Henry accompanies John on his way back to Rhode Island and his family. I love road trips, although this one is longer due to being on foot. There is stinky cheese, the sexual politics and morality of slavery, plus actual courting after John is reunited with his family and Henry goes back to Britain. I loved John and Henry, and seeing them as older men (thirty or so years after the HEA) was a real treat. The Milan magic is in full force here.

 

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole - 4 stars

This novella ties into another of Cole's stand alone novellas, Be Not Afraid (from the anthology For Love and Liberty). In this novella, Andromeda Stiel (granddaughter of Elijah and Kate Sutton from Be Not Afraid) visits The Grange in her grandfather's place to give his story of serving under Hamilton (both in New York and Yorktown) to Eliza. It is at The Grange that Andromeda meets Mercy Alston, the maid and secretary for Eliza. I finally get a Boston marriage-style HEA! This is the shortest of the stories, as there is no military action or duties to add to the story. It also has a mostly fade to black sex scene.

 

I gave a half star more because of the authors' notes found in the back of the book. The authors tell the readers where they got their inspiration (each acknowledged Lin-Manual Miranda and his show) and historical research, plus what drove them to put the project together in the first place.

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review 2018-01-21 03:00
Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Tiffany Girl: A Novel - Deeanne Gist

Tiffany Girl is set just prior to the 1893 World's Fair. Flossie wants nothing more than to become a painter, so it's a shock when her mother tells her she's going to need to stop attending the New York School of Applied Design, help out more with the sewing (her mother is a dressmaker), and start thinking about getting married. Her father has gambled away enough of the family's money that they can no longer afford her tuition. When Flossie hears about an opportunity to work for Louis Tiffany as one of his "Tiffany Girls" during a glassworkers' strike, she announces that she's moving out and will earn the money for her tuition herself.

Her new life isn't easy, but Flossie is determined to make the best of things. She deals with angry strikers and "bustle pinchers," tries to figure out how to make her finances work out, and deals with her loneliness by encouraging the people at her boarding house to all get to know each other better. One of her fellow boarders is Reeve, a handsome but emotionally closed off journalist who turns his nose up a "New Women" like Flossie.

I feel like I've been in a partial reading slump since coming back from vacation. I haven't been reading much, and I keep losing interest in the things I read. I was worried that the same thing would happen with Tiffany Girl. The book's length was a little daunting, but thankfully it turned out to be a really engaging read. I flew through it and could hardly put it down.

I don't read a lot of Christian romance, and there are only a couple authors I'll pick up without reading reviews first. Deeanne Gist is one of them. The religious aspects of her books are usually pretty light. Faith is important to her characters, but they don't think about it every few pages, and I don't recall ever feeling like Gist preaches at her readers.

The religious aspects of Tiffany Girl were particularly light, although important. One of the things Flossie dealt with was the belief of those around her that God's highest calling for women is bearing children. This was directly opposed to her desire to work for someone like Louis Tiffany, who only allowed women to work for him if they were unmarried. If Flossie wanted her independence, she needed to remain unmarried and childless, or so she believed. Religion also came up a bit while Flossie was looking at Louis Tiffany's finished stained glass windows. For the most part, though, that was it. I could imagine some Christian romance fans wanting more, but for me this worked out just fine.

Watching Flossie and Reeve interact was fun, even though both characters had aspects that annoyed me a little. Reeve's opinions about New Women got my back up, although I'd probably have been on his side where Flossie and her "get to know each other" activities were concerned. The lack of privacy in the boarding house was, in general, a bit horrifying, but Flossie's dinnertime question cards would particularly have made me cringe. There were, in fact, times when her questions touched on sensitive topics. I was a little surprised that Reeve answered some of the questions he was asked, considering how private he tended to be.

Flossie was a bit too in-your-face friendly for me at times. I'm an introvert, and I can clearly imagine myself going out of my way to avoid her for a while in order to avoid her icebreaker games. As far as she was concerned, everyone at the boarding house was like an extended family and, up until the competition for World's Fair tickets started, she probably felt at least a little the same about many of her coworkers.

Although Flossie and Reeve were attracted to each other fairly early on, they both had a bit of growing to do before they properly meshed as a couple. I really liked how things progressed with Reeve. He had to rethink his ideas about women and marriage. He also had to learn to open up more and allow other people into his life, even if only a little. I absolutely adored the scene with Mrs. Dinwiddie near the end. In some ways, it worked better for me than the romance between Reeve and Flossie.

Flossie's developments near the end of the book were pretty painful, and the attention Gist paid to Reeve's efforts to make more friends highlighted, for me, the fact that Flossie didn't seem to have any close female friends. Whereas I enjoyed the direction Reeve's story took, Flossie's "growth" seemed at least in part to involve breaking her down. She learned that not everyone around her was to be trusted, that she couldn't always count on her parents to act as her safety net (although Reeve stepped in and kept this from turning out worse than it might have), and that she'd never

be able to make a career out of the thing she most loved to do

(spoiler show)

. On the plus side, she learned that all of this could happen to her without breaking her.

The moment when Reeve and Flossie met again was nice, although I was a little sad about how long it took for it to happen. I missed getting to see the two of them together more, and Gist sped through their courtship period way too quickly for my tastes. I really liked how she resolved the issues hanging between Reeve and Flossie, although I raised an eyebrow at the fact that they apparently hadn't talked about any of it prior to getting married. I'd have thought Flossie would have wanted to know how Reeve felt about

the idea of her continuing to paint and occasionally make some money of her own

(spoiler show)

before they said their I dos.

All in all, this was a good book and a quicker read than I expected it to be. I need to hunt down more of Gist's stuff.

Extras:

Many of the chapters were accompanied by a one-page black-and-white illustration. Also, there was an author's note with information about Gist's historical research. Gist's author's notes tend to be fascinating, and this one was no exception.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-01-20 15:32
slow realisation of love
The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel) - Sarah MacLean

Well that was interesting.  Sophie pushes the bratty husband of her sister in a pond when she finds him with another woman.  She flees the scene, hoping that she will get away. However she ends up in Kingscotte 'King' the Marquess of Eversley's coach as his footman who is heading to his father's estate, many miles from London.

 

She wants to escape the world of London and the strictures but she has no real way to do this without a cascade.

 

King has a problem with his father and the death of an early love he doesn't want love in his life again but she is tempting and he finds himself caring a lot about her and what happens into her. There's shennigans and misunderstanding and a lot of fun and sparkling banter and I really enjoyed it.

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text 2018-01-20 13:19
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
'Til Death Do Us Part - Amanda Quick

This was pretty bland. And there was way too much going on that didn't make a lot of sense to me. I usually like Amanda Quick, but this was not my fav.

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