Category Archives: Historical Romance

Book Review: ‘The Beauty Bride’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: The Beauty Bride (The Jewels of Kinfairlie Book 1)

Published: 8th November 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

More cherished than gold are the Jewels of Kinfairlie, and only the worthiest may fight for their love…The Laird of Kinfairlie has unmarried sisters, each a gem in her own right. And he has no choice but to see them all wed in haste.

Lady Madeline’s heart is not for sale…especially not to a notorious outlaw like Rhys FitzHenry. Yet Madeline’s hand has been sold, to none other than this battle-weary warrior with a price on his head. A more dutiful maiden might cede to the Laird’s command and meekly accept her fate, but Madeline has never been obedient. She decides to run away, though she never dreams that Rhys will pursue her. She does not expect this taciturn man to woo her with fanciful stories, much less that each of his enthralling tales will reveal a scar upon his shielded soul. She never imagines that a man like Rhys could imperil her own heart while revealing so little of his own feelings. When Rhys’s past threatens his future, Madeline takes a leap of faith. She dares to believe him innocent — and risks her own life to pursue a passion more priceless than the rarest gem.

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A highlanders romance. Be wary of fairies that like to cause trouble. Best to keep them on your side for they may lend a hand – or perhaps a foot – at just the right moment. Seems Darg has her uses after being disturbed from her slumber with her treasure trove. Only handy to those that can see her though. A younger set of eyes needed in the form of Madeline’s sister Elizabeth.

Alexander has had the role of Laird of Kinfairlie thrust on him sooner than he would have hoped with the loss of his parents. Running the keep is one thing but his family is another. Five sisters he needs wed but none will help his quest until the eldest, Madeline, weds first and she holds fast to her first love returning to claim her. Though lost to her he may be after going off to battle. The keep is in need of funds and won’t feed everyone that winter so he needs to think of ways to help the load. Seems with his Uncles timely auction of some old relics he too might be able to gain some coin after Rosamunde, his Aunt, suggests he auction the finest jewel of Kinfairlie – Madeline. Seems he just needs to be dared to take the plunge to set a whole lot of adventure in motion.

Madeline and her sisters are happy to go to their Uncles auction but are sure to get a surprise. The moment Madeline arrives she feels the eyes of all the men on her. She just can’t put her finger on what is making her feel uneasy to begin with. Doesn’t help that a mysterious stranger in the shadows keeps drawing her eye. The moment of reveal happens and she can’t but think it a cruel prank. Cruel it may be but prank it is not. With the bidding increasing she fears for whom will claim her – spoilt brat with daddies money to name but one. It seems the mysterious stranger is to claim the prize at any price. Seeing no way out from what her brother has done to her she knows she has to escape on her own when the coast is clear. Namely while everyone is planning the wedding for the next day. Seems she should have taken more note of her husband to be, as he doesn’t look like he’s willing to give up his jewel for anything.

Seems Rhys thinks Madeline may the key to claiming his homeland keep, or more a way to bind it to him through her if she is who he thinks she is. He knows she will make a run for it but isn’t too far behind. He should have got a little closer though as dangers are too clear on an open road no matter how much you may think you know who you travel with. Saving the life of his wife to be is one way to get in her good books but his manners in general are going to do nothing but constancy piss her off.

Seeking sanctuary with an old friend may keep them safe but a night. Though as long as they have time to wed and bed first he’ll be happy. Now who would have thought he could go from showing her the heated highs of passion to heated lows of anger so fast. He really needs to watch what he says if he wants to keep his wife with him. One thing that is always on his mind, and now hers, is that he is a wanted man from the English. Seems to get home the road will be filled with danger and angst. Though as long as a bit of passion continues the nights will be warm. They soon find themselves on the run, back to his home but on the run from others nonetheless. Seems our Rhys can be a bit wily when needed but Madeline’s not short of a task or two. Staying close is what’s needed to stay alive but it may also be what keeps them apart if they don’t communicate better. More him than her mind you.

Madeline has a little magic help from a teardrop stone given to her by her Aunt that was once her mothers. Turning black is bad so she needs to learn what she is truly doing to see how and when it turns white and glowing. Their ribbons are tied for souls entwined but only Darg and Elizabeth can see. Are they going to get tangled tighter or wither apart? Dangers that follow are only the first trouble and others may be closer to home.

Great back and forth banter and confrontations between Rhys and Madeline. You can clearly see they both have met their match. Not the way they would have chosen to meet but seems fate has other ideas for these two. Well fate with a little help – or hinder at times – from the troublesome Darg. Though in her defence she was disturbed from her sleep and her treasure – well she saw it as hers as it had been left for so long – was being taken away. What better way than to cause a bit of mischief. Lets see what she can get up to next. Elizabeth will soon be there to follow her new friend.

Side characters were good too, thought Thomas and Rosemunde were funny. They seemed to know all would work out as it was meant to. Great start to the series and can be read as a standalone from reading The Rogues series.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: Once Upon a Kiss

Published: 16th November 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

For over a thousand years – so legend has it – the brambles have grown wild over the ruins of Dunhelm Castle. Many believed that the thorns were a sign that the castle was cursed, so no one dared to trespass, and the secrets that they protected and concealed have remained hidden – until now…

Armed with a pair of gardening shears, Baird Beauforte is determined to clear away the brambles that hinder the development of his resort, and he won’t let local superstition deter him. Dunhelm Castle is supposed to be the latest jewel in the Beauforte Resort chain, but the renovations can’t be finished if the workmen are frightened of a so-called curse. To dispel any lingering fears, Baird decides to vanquish the briars himself. What he never expects is to find a mysterious slumbering beauty…

Aurelia is like no one he has ever met before. Upon awakening, she demands to know his identity and why he is in her father’s castle! Bemused by her claim of being a king’s daughter, he is certain he has never met this “princess” before, although something about her rouses a haunting sense of familiarity. Soon, dreams plague this by-the-book businessman…dreams that feel more like memories. And Baird begins to wonder if he can claim his heart’s princess – now and forever – with a kiss…

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book that has a castle in it. One that has a very interesting tale attached to it. Time and fate will always bring the souls of the past back to where they began so they can truly end happily ever after in this present day look on the tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Dunhelm castle A.D. 800 is where our princess Aurelia falls into a slumber only to awaken 1200 years later with true loves kiss. Her father Hekod’s castle is under siege by the evil Bard, son or Erc. The man who killed her brother and now wishes to claim her and the castle. Aurelia wants to help her father and knows her skills are the best with a bow. But on a second shot she pricks her finger and soon feels herself being pulled away and under into a deep sleep. It seems the stories and curse she never took much faith in were true. Now she just has to wait to see how the story ends.

Baird is at the location of the new holiday development for his company. Something drew him to purchase Dunhelm castle and calls to him to stay. The renovations are under way but there is one area the builders are reluctant to go near. A place full of vines in a dark shadowed area that appears to have superstitions and curses attached to it. With a pair of shears and a lot of determination he manages to uncover a set of stairs leading down to a chamber. This is when Julian, his lawyer and friend, makes an appearance, comically complaining as he goes, just wanting them to hurry up and get back to the States. He might not want to be there but seems was needed as he finds a release to open a door to reveal a hidden crypt. One that just so happens to have a beautiful women sleeping in the centre of on a stone bed. Baird feels compelled to get closer to her and almost loses control with his need and desire to wake her up. A kiss comes to mind and when her head slowly turns towards him he knows there is no holding back. A kiss to wake and connect with a stranger, one that has some very strange ideas on what’s going on and who everyone might really be.

Waking up Aurelia doesn’t think any time has passed at all. Or if it has, well then maybe a few days or week at most to start with. The last thing she remembers is the castle being under siege and her father being in danger. When the stranger in front of her – handsome one mind you – says his name is Baird she just automatically thinks he is Bard, son of Erc. Means she has an automatic dislike to him, well tries to anyway. She never met the real Bard so has nothing to go on. Just that the castle belongs to her father so is dismayed when Baird says he owns it now. She just thinks that he must have staked a claim to it and now fears for the lives of her people. She doesn’t think she can trust Baird at all but has a strange pull towards him. Same goes with his friend Julian who, because of his lack of hair, she thinks is a monk, one that uses a lot of powerful magic. Seems neither of them really took much notice when she first spoke as they didn’t have a clue what she was saying but after hearing them speak she managed to pick up their language in no time. She was gifted with the use of tongues so can speak any language needed. You would think that the moment she gets outside and sees the changes to the castle she would know a lot of time had passed but she just keeps putting this down to magic. She just wants to find her father and figure out what happened to her home. Something Baird feels compelled to help her with.

Baird can’t believe his luck with how he feels about Aurelia from the moment she woke up. Shame he now thinks she has lost a few marbles as she thinks she is a Viking princess and that her father owns the castle. He just thinks that something bad must have happened to her or her father to make her regress into a fantasy world to protect memories she isn’t ready to remember. Little does he know that she speaks the truth and that danger could fall upon them all if they do not remember their past lives that are about the effect their present ones.

I found it a bit amusing that Aurelia thought that Julian’s power of magic was so advanced that she wrote off seeing a car, helicopter and then electricity as nothing short of magical. The part where her and Baird butt heads about her having a bath and not understanding how the taps worked made me laugh a lot. Also laughed with how Aurelia sees Baird’s interior designer Marissa. The way she sees things are from a Viking perspective so for someone to dress as Marissa does and act around Baird that she must be a mistress who has his ear. Now Marissa in general was just a right pain throughout, so annoying with most of the things she says. For some reason, maybe something to do with the past, she thinks that her and Baird and meant to be. She gets a reality shock when it becomes clear that the only woman for him is Aurelia. Well if they can all figure out what is really happening around them that is. They might have a connection building between them but neither can be sure what the other is really thinking. They need to believe in each other and the past to be able to see their future.

Superstitions hold truths and if they want to be able to close the past and finally live they need to look back and finish what they started. Seems Ursilla might have a little helping hand to do with this, or more like talking riddles with a twinkle in her eye and a tale to tell. One they all need to listen to if they want to get their happily ever after. Fun read with lots of laughs along the way and an interesting look at how the story could be told in a present day setting.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Rogue’ by Claire Delacroix

Title: The Rogue (The Rogues of Ravensmuir Book 1)

Published: 16th December 2014

Author: Claire Delacroix pseudonym for Deborah Cooke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix and www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage

Twitter: @cooke_delacroix

 

Synopsis:

Dear Reader:

Seductive and mysterious, Merlyn was the laird of Ravensmuir — never had a man so stirred my body and soul. I gave myself to him — willingly, trustingly, passionately — and we soon wed. Then a horrible revelation emerged, shattering my innocence and my marriage…

Five years later, Merlyn returned to my doorstep, desperate for my help. The scoundrel swore he was haunted by memories of me, that a treasure locked in Ravensmuir could clear his name. Yet I could not surrender to his will again. Now he is said to be murdered and Ravensmuir has fallen into my hands.

But even as I cross the threshold of this cursed keep, I hear his whisper in the darkness, feel his caress in the night, and I know that Merlyn has told me but part of his tale. Should I do as is right and expose his lair? Or dare I trust my alluring but deceptive spouse – the rogue who destroyed my heart?

— Ysabella

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book from a series new to you. A lot can happen over the Christmas tidings, as Ysabella and Merlyn are about to find out.

Kinfairlie is a small village where a tale surrounds it of the demise of Laird and Lady Kinfairlie and their family. Burned to the ground waiting to be reclaimed by its rightful heir. It’s the sister keep of Ravensmuir which was taken over by Merlyn’s father Avery Lammergeier. One whose idea of trade was tainted by how greedy he got and how easily the lies started to unfurl.

Merlyn is a rogue of a man who needs to find out who tried to kill him and why, but not before trying to woo his wayward wife back where she belongs. It’s time she heard the truth, this time from him and not twisted by another. It seems Ysabella detests lies but is now holding on to a few herself. Classic communication issues arise between these two that need a swift fix it they are to outwit those that would harm them.

Seductive and mysterious are two very good words to describe Merlyn. He tempts Ysabella still no matter her reasons for leaving in the first place and his lure to get her back is risky. She knows he plays games but seeks truth, not just passion, from the moment she is back in his presence. Can she truly let herself be pulled back into his world or will she need to flee again?

Whirlwind romance, passion galore or love at first sight? Either way their lives were entwined the moment Merlyn set eyes on Ysabella at the Kinfairlie market. She had such quick wit and sharp responses that he knew he had met his match, one he very much wanted to keep. She might have willingly gone with him to wed, and then to bed, but knew very little of his nature. So-called truths told from another and her fears of it made her, and in turn her family, run back to the village.

I’m not sure if she wished he’d tracked her down sooner but five years is a long time so when he comes calling seeking her aid she doesn’t want to trust him. Could her decision be too hasty though as word later the next night from his right-hand man Fitz brings news to turn her soul cold? She has a chance of a better life for her brother Tynan (though I think we know from the start there’s more to it) and her sister Mavella when the estate in name passes to her and wastes no time in taking it for their sakes. But has the one man who stirs her soul tricked her? Danger falls within the Ravensmuir keep and Ysabella might have need of a few tricks herself to outwit those that might harm her. Also to try to figure out what her husband has need of her for. Could she get what she’s always wanted from him? Love can be fickle if never spoken aloud. Maybe it should be, among other things, so the air can clear and they can start anew. Well if the troubles of the past will let them that is.

Interesting characters throughout but Ada is just a woman scorned who wishes to blame her misfortune on others and not herself. Also by the end she’s just a bit batshit crazy that you long for her own downfall. Her brother Arnulf is a calm, loyal servant to his master Merlyn and someone you would always want watching your back.

Passionate rogue found a way to get his wayward wife back, whether he can convince her to stay is something else entirely. Fun, intriguing read from start to finish. Some secrets and twists easy to spot, others came up to surprise you that I liked.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Heart of Stone’ by Willa Blair

Title: Heart of Stone (Highland Talents Prequel)

Published: 26th August 2016

Author: Willa Blair

Facebook: www.facebook.com/willablair

Twitter: @willablair

 

Synopsis:

Bound home after two years away, Gavan MacNabb comes across a lass and her deerhound in a moonlit circle of standing stones. Little does he know that the garland of bluebells she weaves and the spell she sings will change the course of his life.

Marsali Murray doesn’t really believe the old wives’ tale that making a chain of bluebells by the standing stones under a waxing moon will bring true love, but she’s desperate to try anything to escape the boring, everlasting sameness of her life. Anything except marrying a man her father chooses for her. When her deerhound, Corrie, insists on following Gavan, Marsali decides that’s the excuse she needs to have the adventure she craves. She’ll go where he goes, whether he is the man promised by her spell—or not.
Gavan has already seen much of the world denied to Marsali. He’s ready to settle down. She is eager to spread her wings. Can they find what they need with each other?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A Scottish Highlander historical romance.

Marsali longs to find her true love, hopefully before her father sells her off to the highest bidder for political gain. An old tale she’s told tells of a spell that once cast will bring forth her true love. One that involves stringing bluebells together and singing a song in the middle of a sacred circle of stones. She knows its a long shot so is shocked when a man appears before her, a very handsome one to boot. Though at the end of the day maybe she should just listen to her deerhound Corrie – the fearsome beast she is lol – she seems to know who she should be with.

Gavan is on his way home when he gets drawn towards a voice singing on the wind. It’s like he feels a pull towards the voice and when he finds the one it came from a pull towards her as well. He might want her but holds back for fear of scaring her. Then he takes note that she is in the middle of nowhere by herself with only a deerhound to protect her. Said fearsome deerhound that all but bounces over to him to say hello. Good old Corrie, she knew who he was to her master even before they did. He almost wants to scare her into seeing how dangerous the situation could be but settles on offering to escort her home instead. She might insist she is fine but she secretly wishes for him to force her to be led by him spell or no spell. She may have cast it but how much faith should she have in it anyway? More than she does it seems as they meet again by chance. You can see the pull is there but not acted upon, mainly due to him leaving the next day. Thinking she has lost her chance it seems fate, or should that be Corrie, has other plans as she rushes off to follow him hours after leaving. Marsali might have longed for adventure and she is about to get it when she follows her faithful hound.

Danger is along the path she travels so its good she has a Scottish Highlander to come to her rescue. To keep her safe becomes his first priority and it seems the closest place to do that would be his home. But there awaits a long lost love, one he had hoped would wait for him. Though does he still want his past or maybe now a new future. He thinks to give Marsali time for her adventurous nature to wear off so she will go home on her own choosing but really he wants her to stay, even if he won’t say it. She longs for him to see her as his love as she has quickly come to see him as hers. They fit together no matter where they are. I mean come on even the hound knows they are meant to be. But with past lovers, family ties and hope being tested it’s a wonder if love can concur at all.

Nice short, sweet, clean, adventurous Scottish highlander romance to chill out with on a chilly evening. Would be interesting to see how others in their families get on with their own stories. Lots more tales I hope.

4 out of 5 stars

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Book Review: ‘Claiming – A Medieval Romance’ by Saskia Knight

Title: Claiming-A Medieval Romance (The Gresham Chronicles Book 1)

Published: 16th January 2014

Author: Saskia Knight

 

Synopsis:

After her father’s death, Lady Rowena Gresham wants nothing more than to be left alone to run her estates and live a life free from the destructive passion that had ruined her mother’s life. But the year is 1207 and her father bequeaths the estates to a distant relative.

Sir Saher de Bohun fought alongside her father for the King and has been rewarded with the wealthy Gresham estates, and the feisty Lady Rowena. But he will not take her by force and is determined to woo her into his bed.

But will Saher’s courtship be enough to allay her fears, enough to stop her from putting into action a plan, the discovery of which would incur both his displeasure and the King’s wrath?

Passion, hot enough to melt the heart of the iciest maiden, contained within.

 

Review:

Short and sweet historical read with a lot of passion being awoken. Claimed is definitely the right word as that’s what Sir Saher de Bohun wants to do with Rowena from the moment they meet. And if she’s really being honest with herself she wants to be claimed by him just as much.

Rowena was always her fathers’ favourite daughter. Almost like his shadow with helping running the castle and its land. It’s all she’s ever wanted to do, as she has no intention of ever marrying for she fears where it might lead. Her sisters’ paths are set – one married and the other taking orders to be a nun – and so she thought hers until their father died. Her father always led her to believe that the castle, land and all it makes would be hers to run after his passing. She is in for quite the shock when the sheriff and a priest turn up to tell her otherwise. It seems her father left the castle and all its land to another, one Sir Saher de Bohun. That’s not all he left, as it seems she is now within that deal also. If she leaves she will lose that which she loves most and have nothing but if she stays she will live with a stranger. One she fears will draw forth her passionate nature and in doing so seal her fate like her mothers.

Saher always wanted land of his own and is pleased to take over the Gresham estate. He knew Rowena’s father well and trusted him. He might have spoken of his daughters strong will but its not until he meets Rowena that he truly believes the force of it. He knew what he was to be promised and is keen to set a life forward but he will not force her to stay. Going further when they are married he will not force himself on her either. No matter how much she temps him. One kiss sparks more passion than either was expecting and it’s not long before he sees a way forward with his new wife. He must woo and seduce her to come to him, her reactions only fueling him on to what he knows they both want. It’s her passionate nature that pulls her back though with fear, this fear he wants to rid her of.

She wants to plan an escape all the while he is trying to get to know her. The longer they are in each other’s company the more her mind, and body, changes with what she wants. Can she truly trust him with her heart and body as well as her land?

Fun short historical read to chill out to on a cozy afternoon. Would be interesting to see how her sisters fare from here on too.

4 out of 5 stars

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