The Gentleman’s Quest by Camille Elliot

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. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Gentleman’s Quest by Camille Elliot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

And yet he never quite felt he deserved to be anything other than alone.
Alone was where he was comfortable… Alone was where he belonged.
It was hard to remember that here, talking to Honoria…

Christopher has stayed away from Honoria since the accidental death of her brother, Christopher’s best friend. But when a man is murdered on Christopher’s property, Honoria may hold the evidence that will prove Christopher’s innocence in The Gentleman’s Quest by author Camille Elliot.

I don’t read a ton of Regency romances. But I enjoy them from this author because the main characters command a level of respect, and there’s always danger mixed in. Higher stakes than just questions about who’s going to court or marry whom.

This romantic suspense tale doesn’t shy away from the characters’ harsh realities. Honoria is feminine without being wispy or weak, and the British spelling throughout the novella is a nice touch.

Now, the emotional development seems a little awkward and hard to follow at times, and the characters’ thoughts wander on a bit long, here and there. Also, it’s not my favorite thing when a plot climaxes or resolves with “all of a sudden” information. When a momentous detail near the height of the story isn’t tied to some detail or hint from earlier, or a character has a key memory that doesn’t pop up until the end to make it all clear, it gives the resolution a thrown-together feel.

Nevertheless, other fans of inspirational and historical romantic suspense may want to check out this quick and entertaining read.

 

A Bittersweet Moment by Vanessa Riley

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.

A Bittersweet Moment by Vanessa Riley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Theodosia aspires to have her own business someday, selling choice flowers to perfumers, but she wants to learn better diction first. Ewan, the second son of an abusive earl, agrees to help Theo while she encourages him in his own dream: to earn his independence with a living as a playwright. But when Theo and Ewan begin falling for each other, their already unusual arrangement becomes even more precarious in A Bittersweet Moment by author Vanessa Riley.

So. While anticipating reading a Regency romance, The Bittersweet Bride, I came across this little prequel number and decided to read it first.

This is one of the authors whose books I dive into with or without at least skimming the book blurb beforehand, so it was an extra treat for me to find out Ewan is a writer. I mean, sensing the agony he feels in the midst of “the odor of the death of words”–you have me right there, from the first page, Mr. Fitzwilliam. Then add to that his sentiment regarding the ignorant way that “men of little vision deal with paper.” Good gracious, I love reading about writers.

Even with her determination, her feisty streak, and her reluctance to trust, Theo isn’t all sharp edges, which is a plus. Her meeting Ewan isn’t an insta-love connection, though when their affection for each other does come up, it does so suddenly, and the descriptions and declarations of love become pretty excessive from there.

Nevertheless, the vocational and romantic plight of these characters has whetted my appetite the more for the related novel.

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The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. Greenwood

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. I received a complimentary copy of this book, for which I’ve given an honest review.

The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Lady Hester Douglas’s brother, a duke, has survived the war, but he might not survive his injuries. Hester, a spinster, goes off to nurse the duke herself, which isn’t the most ladylike choice, but her widowered minister, Reverend Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey. Besides the struggle to keep her brother alive, Hester struggles with her long-held feelings for the reverend in The Darkest Hour by author Rebecca J. Greenwood.

While reading this novella has given me a different picture of the heroine, I’m quite a fan of the book cover: soft drama, a wonderful contrast of darkness and light, and lovely, excellent typography.

Hester is a bit of a nonstandard romance character, as is Alasdair, which I appreciate. I also appreciate how the story has some characters of color, a historically accurate inclusion that I think a lot of Regency tales miss. The emotion on the cover matches the mood of the story, which is rather dark and painful but brings the light of hope.

Although “electricity” doesn’t only have to do with our modern uses for it, I wasn’t sure if one reference to it was the best fit for this story, along with a character’s use of the word “brownnose,” a twentieth-century, American term. Also, the repeated emphasis on Hester’s physical beauty feels overdone, and I think when it comes to the story’s descriptions of the characters’ romantic sensations, a little less could have been more.

Nevertheless, this is the kind of sweet Regency tale that ChristFic romance readers should very well enjoy.

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This standalone novella is a part of The Darkest Season series, along with The Darkest Summer.

 

The Virtuous Viscount 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. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Virtuous Viscount by Susan M. Baganz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Just when Marcus Allendale, Lord Remington, is thinking it may finally be time to find a wife, a serious carriage accident brings Miss Josephine Storm into his path. However, Josie’s grave injuries present a challenge for Marcus’s growing interest in her. And more than their relationship could be in danger, due to the nefarious schemes of the obscure Black Diamond in The Virtuous Viscount, a novel by author Susan M. Baganz.

The Baron’s Blunder, the novella that precedes this novel, is what drew me into this Gothic Regency romance series. It may be ironic, but friendship is what I liked most about this story—specifically, the friendship between Marcus, Phillip, Michael, and Theodore. They’re not a bunch of perfect people, and they don’t all share Marcus’s faith, but the dynamic among them is fun to watch, and their bond is more of a brotherhood.

(Side note: during a particular scene where these friends/brothers storm into raw action, I imagined what it would’ve been like if the fiery Henrietta, the heroine from the prequel novella, could have just happened to burst into the fray with her pistol. Whew!)

Much of the romance in this book has a heavy fairytale quality. I enjoyed some of Marcus and Josie’s earlier exchanges, but, admittedly, I can’t say I came to like Josie overall, and there didn’t seem to be a good balance of strength(s) between the two of them. Also, their individual ponderings about each other would feel redundant at times or would weigh on the story without necessarily moving the plot forward. I think I might’ve enjoyed this particular tale more as a somewhat shorter, tighter read.

Nevertheless, the suspense and danger that began to unfold in the preceding book deepens here. Plus, the admirable showing of Marcus’s friend Phillip in this novel would make moving on in the series all the more interesting.

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Here’s my review of the prequel novella of the Black Diamond series, The Baron’s Blunder.