Category Archives: Historical Romance

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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Book Review: ‘Mine, Forever and Always’ by Tammy L. Bailey

Title: Mine, Forever and Always

Published: 15th March 2017

Author: Tammy L. Bailey

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tammylbaileyauthor

Twitter: @tammylbailey

 

Synopsis:

Just shy of fifteen years old, and during a fake and impromptu wedding ceremony, LILY SCOTT married her best friend’s brother, HENRY DALTON.

It seemed harmless enough until he leaned in and whispered to her his true feelings, amorous words she has been unable to forget: Now you’re mine, forever and always.

Unfortunately, growing up pulls them apart and transforms Henry into a pompous scoundrel. When they meet again at a house party hosted by Henry’s sister, will Henry remember his once faithful promise to Lily?

 

Review:

A sweet short romantic historical read with great back and forth verbal sparing between Lily and Henry. Loved it right from the start with them and Henry’s sister Jane. Jane is a bit of a master at games it seems, especially when true love is on the cards. Hadley Manor is where we start with a week of fun and mischief when this group gets together. Mr. Waverley was an interesting character and just as good at games it seems as Jane. Now that would be an interesting match.

Everything starts with a letter. Lily writes the letter in question on Jane’s behalf as she feels she would be able to express her love much better than her. Jane wants a letter written that she can later sign to secretly give to Mr. Waverley to let him know her true feelings but the best laid plans don’t go to plan. Jane told her to write from the heart and that she did. She writes of the love she has for the one who holds her heart – her husband of sorts – thinking it would help her heal from how he left. It did nothing of the sort when the man in question is so near and treating her so unkindly, like he doesn’t even remember her at all. More so after she bumps into him dropping the secret letter at his feet. One she very much wants to get back from him by any means necessary before he reads it. By a stolen kiss perhaps?

Henry knew that coming to a party of his sisters would turn into something else as she always has a reason for everything. As a way to stay away from her games he brought Miss Appleton, his latest conquest of sorts, as a distraction. But is she there so someone stays away from him or to help him stay away from someone else in particular. Someone he fears he can never have. The latter I think but it doesn’t really work out that way, as it seems he can’t seem to make himself stay away from Lily. More so when he sees the lengths she will go to get the retrieve the letter that fell at his feet. One he has memorized every word of and on some level wishing it was about him. His mission from then on is to figure out who Lily might have written the letter to but come on man look a little closer to home. You may have saved yourself some time but its fun to see how they play off each other. She might seem shy at first of his dismissive nature but her frustrations soon come to the surface, his also it seems.

Chemistry is bubbling below the surface and you know the higher the tension builds the bigger the passion will become. He needs to get over his mistrust of women and thinking he knows all their games or he will lose the only one who will truly love him forever and always. First book read by Tammy L. Bailey and I would highly recommend it and want to check out any others.

4 out of 5 stars

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

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