The holiday books are here! In abundance! Quick, someone give me a rec, I’ve been bitten by the Yuletide Love Bug! To feed the holiday romance monkey on my back, I took a chance on a new to me author with a catchy title, A Holiday by Gaslight. I mean you can’t get more smexy season’s greetings than “Holiday” right smack dab in the title. My leap of faith paid off because the novella was such a nice slow burn that I, oh she of rapid reading, took my precious time with this one, enjoying it bit by bit and making it last. Imagine, making a novella stretch over a series of reads! Good thing too, as it didn’t really lend itself to rapid reading, definitely a story that you pick up when the cozy romancey mood strikes. Besides, just because it can be devoured in a few hours doesn’t mean it’s good good.
Ahh.. Yikes, Gee, look at me from up high, perched on this rando soapbox. *slips down, but I’m totally grinning.*
My first thoughts when starting Sophie’s story was how throwback it felt. Yes, it’s historical and yesssss, it is supposed to feel that way, but the entire vibe made me want to rustle up a petticoat and lantern and find a dashing titled man to flirt with whilst my chaperone is distracted. A credit to the author for infusing such authenticity into her writing!
Sophie is a practical young woman. She wants to do her duty to her family, and a prickly fiance will do the trick. Only, this “suitor” is waaay too prickly and Sophie isn’t interested in the rigmarole that is surely promised when she begins to picture her life wedded to such a freaking curmudgeon! Only…she kind of…likes him and his hotness is kind hard to ignore. And though he is the strong, silent, surly type, Edward Sharpe is also a man who feels deeply and his attraction to Sophie is impossible to disregard, loathe he is to admit it. Almost losing her due to his stuffy grimness, shakes Edward in uncomfortable ways and when presented with an opportunity to seal their betrothal, to her surprise and their mutual pleasure, he does not waste time letting her in.
OHMIGOSH this was suuuch my jam! I love a surly ass grimster hero! Grimster? Not a word?- Is now! A virile Victorian merchant hero with a serious case of the grumps- sign me TF up! I love seeing these jagged iceberg hearts melt and grow and the redemption is always major *heart eyes!* Love!
A novella that reads like a novel, A Holiday by Gaslight is a fun treat. The resolution is a little swift, but with fewer pages, the characters obviously have less time to dick around and get in their own way. If you are looking for a quintessential Victorian historical romance, definitely check this one out!
The Duke That I Marry by Cathy Maxwell
Spinster Heriesses, #3
Is it wrong for a woman to want more?
Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be “sold” to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.
When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?
Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn’t have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as “love.” Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.
Seriously. I hate being the grinch that stole the romance review, but this was a complete miss for me. Aside from being a little unfocused, it was dull.
The equivalent of re-gifted Christmas fruitcake. Uninspired and in general, “meh.”
I’ve been a huge fan of Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series (phenomenal!) and the blurb for The Duke That I Marry, gave me ideas.
Ideas like I’d found another group of hysterical historical heroines to fall in love with. I was blurbed! Unfortunately, I didn’t much care for the heroine, Willa, her faux plight or her gaggle of gals.
I totally wanted to love a new gaggle of gals!
Instead, I found myself more or less impatient with their antics and unconcerned if their unions lasted, let alone if Willa got her HEA.
HEA apathy? Kiss of death. DOA, Do not attempt to
I believe the major problem, for me, is that the plot felt too contrived and the characters too unlikable. There has to be some kind of balance. I can live with awesome characters in a contrived and bizarre plot. I can stomach less than stellar characters in an exciting and interesting story (typically the blandish characters benefit from awesome storytelling in these cases, I call it “plot goggles”).
But I simply can not have ehh characters doing a bunch of blah in a meh story! It becomes choreish and then the eyes glaze over, and then you start fantasizing different ways for the characters to freaking scram, and then it occurs to you, hey, just DNF this bad (literally) boy, but then you’re already almost done and what’s the harm in finishing because, meh– and then you find yourself skipping passages, because, boring, but then you feel the residual effects of the blurb haunting you and start to think, well maybe you missed the part where things get good, so you flip back and dutifully re-read the boring passages your eyes glazed over the first time and then yoishsbgfatshbdbdan – whoops, more eye glazing because, ehh, and at this point your brain is shrugging, slumped and defeated inside your skull because yep, you were definitely TF blurbed and managed to fall prey once-a-damn-gin and DAMMIT you promised yourself that in 2018, you were going to DNF, DNF stuff and for the love of jaysus, IS IT OVER YET?!
Also- the cover- c’mon, doesn’t it look like some child bride being checked out by her wealthy, philandering husband who has three other child brides at home, and she better not get outta line or why he aughtaaaaa- ok ok ok, I’m sneering at this point, but could they look any less romantic as a couple! Neither have any romantic or reverent looks in their eyes, let alone the body language. How can the jackhole hero even be redeemed if he’s smarmy on the cover? See what happens when I try to give odd covers a chance!
Hopefully, you get my drift, but if you don’t, I can go all freaking day. But for the drift getters, I can’t recommend this one.