Arts and Entertainment, Books

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Fighting highway attackers on behalf of defenseless travelers is a hobby, of sorts, for Lord Charles Percy. One such rescue brings him into the path of the Honorable Henrietta Allendale—only it soon becomes evident that she’s not at all defenseless. A mutual but almost reluctant interest sparks between them, but the criminal schemes of one notorious Black Diamond brings peril to their association in The Baron’s Blunder by author Susan M. Baganz.

It was the cover that most drew me to this novella. Yes, it’s quite lovely and has depth, it’s bold and vibrant in a dark kind of way, and it was the darkness that got me curious. When it comes to Regency fiction, I’m finding that I prefer stories with high stakes involved, aside from just social or romantic connections and displays of old-fashioned English manners and speech.

Hence, I appreciated the danger and intrigue in this Gothic Regency romance. It was great to come across a heroine with fire to her, and by that, I don’t mean she’s brash, wild, or rude to people. She isn’t perfect, may even be a bit snobbish, but she’s got wit, brains, faith, and a level of fearlessness that makes her character interesting.

I found some parts of the story to be rather clichéd or overdone, there’s perhaps too much winking, and the romance has quite a few references to “warmth” and “sensations,” which gets repetitive. Also, though this isn’t an insta-love story, the eventual jump to love still felt rushed to me, on one party’s part in particular, especially since they both began the story so opposed to marriage.

Still, I very much enjoyed this read, ate it up in one evening, and would be happy to continue the series.

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The Baron’s Blunder is the prequel novella to the Black Diamond series.

  

 

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Books, Fiction

Most Truly by Reina M. Williams

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Most TrulyMost Truly by Reina M. Williams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

What might have happened to Elizabeth Bennet’s younger sister, Kitty, and Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, after Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Author Reina M. Williams answers that question in her Love at Pemberley novella, Most Truly.

Well. I took the plunge.

I’ve never been easy with the idea of late sequels to classics, not written by a classic’s original author. But I gave this little romance a go, and it was a quick, pleasant read.

I liked the inclusion of Kitty’s uncertainty about how to carry out her own new attitude, though the number of mentions concerning her getting past her former silliness did become redundant. And, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson praised Austen for being “a great artist,” saying, “Miss Austen understood the smallness of life to perfection,” there is indeed an art to writing of the smallness of life without a story merely seeming slow or uneventful. I did find parts of this novella to be slow.

Nevertheless, the simple plot kept me interested as I imagined the characters as I frequently see them in the 1995 BBC miniseries production of Pride and Prejudice. Though I’m pretty sure I’ll still decline to read any direct retellings of Austen’s original novels, I’m a little–just a little–more open now to the thought of creative continuations.

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Most Truly is Book One in the Love at Pemberley series.

Miss Darcy Decides (Love at Pemberley, #2) Miss Bennet Blooms (Love at Pemberley, #3) Misunderstood: A Pride and Prejudice Novella (Love at Pemberley, #4)

 

Authors, Books, Fiction

Unveiling Love: Episode IV by Vanessa Riley

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Five Gold Stars

Unveiling Love: A Regency Romance by Vanessa Riley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

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My goodness. This series about Barrington Norton, a barrister of color, and his wife, Amora, put me through so much that I’m rather speechless by now. But I enjoyed every winding, pulsing minute along the way to this fitting ending–an imperfect and glorious ending to a tale of suspense and searching, doubt and faith, darkness and light, anguish and love.

Its minor flaws aside, the series is such a must-read for fans of Regency ChristFic. I look forward to reading this author again.

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Unveiling Love in all four episodes

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Authors, Books, Fiction

Unveiling Love: Episode III by Vanessa Riley

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Five Gold Stars

unveiling-love-3Unveiling Love: A Regency Romance by Vanessa Riley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“Not a victim any more. No more. I won’t be. Monster, you will have a name.”

Even a delicate vase when broken had sharp shards.

She’s still battling the terror of a hazy past incident that haunts her. Yet, Amora Norton is determined to help her barrister husband, Barrington, uncover the truth concerning a string of horrendous crimes. Doing so may or may not help bring the Nortons’ marriage back from the brink of disaster in Unveiling Love, a Regency suspense tale by author Vanessa Riley.

Here I am, plunging through this tale a good deal faster than I expected to. Can’t really help it, since Episode II left me on the edge of my seat (figuratively, as I was actually on my feet), and Episode III here had me engrossed from the get-go.

Yes, this is why I had to download the complete series at once, as I wouldn’t be able to stand the virtual cliffhanging sensation this story would surely leave me with if I had to sit waiting for a following episode.

Really, though, I’m as anxious as Amora and Barrington are to get to the bottom of the troubling mystery that’s left several victims in its wake. And I appreciate how Amora is consciously pushing back against victimhood.

She and Barrington still frustrate me–Barrington jumping to drastic conclusions at lightning speed, and Amora resisting him in various ways when it’s as plain as day how they really feel about each other, how well they fit together. But, hey, their marital missteps play into the need for a true “unveiling.”

I could say more, but I’m ready to just get on with the unveiling, now…

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Unveiling Love in all four episodes

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