Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wed to a Highland Warrior-Donna Fletcher

Wed to a Highland Warrior

Donna Fletcher

Avon, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062034878

In 1005 in the woods of Scotland, Bliss the Pict curses her gift as she waits for her destined mate to arrive just as she had envisioned. King Kenneth’s soldiers accost her with one insisting her race of pagans will be no more. His older comrades warn him that she is a seer who will steal his soul. While they debate what to do with her, Bliss says her husband has come for her. She claims Trey MacAlpin as her mate as he steps out of the mist. He affirms her statement.

Bliss knows that the MacAlpin brothers will fulfill the prophecy to place the True King onto the Scottish throne and that she would be part of the epic struggle. However, she was unprepared for her attraction to Trey as they head to his stronghold. However King Kenneth’s soldiers assault them on their dangerous trek but she knows her greatest peril is to her heart as she loves Trey; unaware even with her ability to read the future that he loves her too.

The final eleventh century MacAlpin brothers' Warrior King Scottish romance (see A Warrior’s promise, Loved by a Warrior and Bound to a Warrior) is a fabulous finish to a fresh medieval saga. Fast-paced from the moment the Pict seer names her husband, fans will appreciate this strong historical wondering which sibling is the true king.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To Tempt An Irish Rogue-Kaitlin O’Riley

To Tempt An Irish Rogue

Kaitlin O’Riley

Zebra, Nov 6 2012, $6.99

ISBN 9781420112405

In 1876, Paulette Hamilton enjoys her life as a single person with no desire to marry. She especially likes working at her family’s bookstore in London. One customer changes her feelings about marriage when widower Lord Declan Reeves, accompanied by his young daughter, Mara enters the bookstore to buy the child a book.

Paulette feels for the silent Mara who has been mute since she watched her mom die in a horrid fire; in which her dad is the only suspect. Ironically like Paulette, Declan has had no motive to wed in his case because of his miserable first marriage. Yet he and Paulette share an attraction. As he begins to frequent the bookstore, they fall in love, but the tragic fiery death of his late spouse stands between them.

The fourth Hamilton Sisters Victorian romance (see When His Kiss is Wicked, Desire In His Eyes and It Happened One Christmas) is a superb historical as the lead couple team up in investigating the death of his wife. Fast-paced from that first memorable meeting in the store, fans will appreciate this romantic mystery while rooting for this couple and his child to find out what happened that devastated a father and daughter so that the pair can move on with Paulette’s love making them whole.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

‘Twas The Night After Christmas-Sabrina Jeffries

‘Twas The Night After Christmas

Sabrina Jeffries

Gallery, Oct 30 2012, $19.95

ISBN: 9781451642469

In 1803, his parents sent him away to Titus’ Farm when he was eight years old. When he was younger Pierce Waverly believed they would welcome him home, but they never did. Now thirty one year old Pierce is the cold Earl of Devonmont who prefers the life of a rake as he lives up to the image demanded by his late father. In fact he has not been home in years and has not seen his Mother in all that time as he assumes she hates him or why else did she abandon him to distant family.

In December 1826, Mrs. Camilla Stuart sends him a note in which she warns him that if he wants to ever see his ailing mother he better come home now before it is too late. Stunned, he assumes his mom is dying so though he knows she will not welcome him he rushes to Montcliff to see her. Instead he finds his Mother healthy as her companion Widow Camilla sent him the missive hoping for the pair to reconcile. She did not anticipate her attraction to the troubled son of her employer or him to her.

This is an entertaining late Regency Christmas romance starring two individuals brought together by an estrangement. Filled with humor, pathos and a late twist, the cast makes for a warm wonderful holiday second chance at family tale even though the villain is over the top of the Tower.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Winter Wonderland-Fern Michaels, Holly Chamberlin, Leslie Meier and Kristina McMorris

A Winter Wonderland

Fern Michaels, Holly Chamberlin, Leslie Meier and Kristina McMorris

Zebra, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420121445

"A Winter Wonderland" by Fern Michaels. Actress Angelica Shepard gets away from New York for a Rocky Mountains holidays in Colorado. In Denver, trauma surgeon Dr. Parker North is despondent as he failed to save the life of an injured child. Each takes a respite at the same remote location. When a snowboarder drills Angelica, Parker gives her medical attention. Soon they are giving each other undivided attention.

"The Joy of Christmas" by Holly Chamberlin. After much introspective musing, Iris Karr moves away from her sweetheart Ben Tresch. Years later, Iris remains consumed with guilt over leaving her beloved and unfulfilling her dying mother’s wish. She is asked to come home for Christmas where she will see Ben.

"The Christmas Thief" by Leslie Meier. Elizabeth Stone looks forward to Christmas in Tinker's Cove, Maine with her family. However, her plans change when someone steals jewels from the Cavendish Palm Beach Hotel in Florida where she works at the same time Elizabeth is attracted to Chris Kennedy. Her mom Lucy joins her daughter in Florida for the holidays.

"The Christmas Collector" by Kristina McMorris. Estate liquidator Jenna Matthews ignores nostalgia as those feelings can interfere with sales. However, part of elderly Mrs. Porter’s estate includes a keepsake that Jenna has doubts should be sold. Soon she and her client’s grandson Reece meet.

These are four entertaining holiday romances with the bonus of Lucy Stone amateur sleuth as part of the fun anthology.

Harriet Klausner

The Warrior-Margaret Mallory

The Warrior

Margaret Mallory

Forever, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446583091

In 1508 on the Isle of Skye, Duncan MacDonald and his chieftain’s teenage daughter Moira fall in love. However, when her raging father and her equally angry brother the heir catch them, they exile to France Duncan and his cousins Alex (see The Sinner) and Ian (see The Guardian) who allegedly abetted him with his disloyal violation. Moira, while carrying Duncan’s child, is married to abusive Sean.

In 1516, Duncan finally comes home. His chieftain Ragnall assigns Duncan to breach Sean’s castle in search of weaknesses. Instead he arrives as Moira and her son Ragnall attempt a desperate escape. Duncan helps the pair to freedom, but his beloved distrusts men as her lover, her father and her brother abandoned her and her offspring to a brutal beast.

The third Return of the Highlanders historical romance is am entertaining second chance at love tale. The hero is somewhat stereotypical of the sub-genre, but the lead female and their child bring freshness as abuse victims. Fans will appreciate this engaging sixteenth century Scottish romance as love heals the mind and soul.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Walnut Tree-Charles Todd

The Walnut Tree

Charles Todd

Morrow, Oct 30 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780062236999

In 1914, pregnant Madeleine Villard asks her best friend Lady Elspeth Douglas to come from Scotland to Paris to be at her side during the last few months of her pregnancy. Elspeth travels to Paris as the Germans invade Belgium and head to France. Madeleine's husband Henri and her brother Alaine enlist in the French army.

Elspeth loves Alaine who admits to her that he feels the same way; he gives her a family ring telling her he will speak to her guardian Uncle Kenneth when he returns from combat. As the Germans close in on Paris, Madeleine gives birth prematurely to a son. Meanwhile Scottish Captain Peter Gilchrist arrives to rescue Elspeth, who is confused by her feelings for him and her betrothed even as she provides sustenance to the soldiers near the front.

This is an exciting WWII military romance as all is not quiet on the northeastern front. The key cast is fully developed so that the transition in class status that the war to end all wars brought as its most lasting and radical outcome feels genuine. However, it is the atrocities and tragedies as an outcome of war that makes this a strong historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Need of a Good Wife-Kelly McNees

In Need of a Good Wife

Kelly McNees

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425257920

In 1866 in Manhattan City, Clara Bixby loses her job at Rathbone’s Tavern. This is the latest setback, having lost her baby followed by her husband George deserting her. She reads about a town in need of marriageable women. Seeing an opportunity, Clara writes to Destination, Nebraska Mayor Cartwright asking if anyone is interested in a wife.

Widow Rowena Moore still grieves for Richard who died in the Civil War. With her father in an asylum, Rowena worries about paying the bills, as she sells items like her wedding ring. She knows this is a far cry from her upper class social status. Fortyish Elsa has worked at the Channing Mansion laundry for three decades. When she reads an ad for Christian wives, she decides to take a chance on a change. Clara hosts a meeting with twenty two applicants for eight men. She pairs snobbish Rowena with widower businessman Daniel Gibson, but fails to mention he is the butcher and has five young children. Leopold Shreier wants a cook not a wife. Elsa is interested as both are older Bavarians. One woman backs out in Manhattan City. In Detroit, two more women leave. Another dies on the train. Four of Bixby’s Belles reach Destination. The men whose women fail to arrive accuse Clara of fraud. Cartwright likes her, but can’t help her as she faces a trial.

This is a super western romance with the three female protagonists possessing different personalities while the time and places come alive with nuances like the letter exchange. Although George’s actions seem illogical, fans will enjoy this engaging Cornhusker romance.

Harriet Klausner

The Marriage Trap-Jennifer Probst

The Marriage Trap

Jennifer Probst

Gallery, Oct 2 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781476717517

Venezia Conte rants and rages at her brother Italian billionaire businessman Michael. She blames him for her long time beau Dominick not marrying her; as their widow Mama insists Michael must wed first. He does not want to marry anyone, but does not want to stand in the way of his sisters so he needs a fake spouse.

Last year Alexa Ryan (see The Marriage Bargain) introduced her sister-in- law photographer Maggie Ryan to Michael. Maggie loves Michael but assumes he loves Alexa. Desperate she tries a love spell while he chooses her to be his sham spouse since she will be in Milan anyway. Whether it is a love spell or just old fashioned love, Michael and Maggie want the temporary removed from their relationship.

The second entertaining Marriage to a Billionaire contemporary romance is a lighthearted farce starring likable lead characters and fiery Italian female warriors. An enjoyable tale, but only for readers who ignore the plausibility of a nineteenth century relationship premise in a twenty-first century drama.

Harriet Klausner