Book Review

Book Review: A Proper Scoundrel (Proper Scandals #3) by Esther Hatch

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: May 10th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As the successful owner of multiple railroad lines, Diana Barton is all too accustomed to fending off suitors seeking to stake their claim on her wealth. In order to keep the wolves at bay, Diana has contrived the perfect plan: appeal to the most notorious rake in London, the Baron Lord Bryant, to ruin her reputation and scare off the worst of the time wasters. The ruse will be no hardship—she’s secretly been fascinated by the man for years.

Lord Bryant is well aware of his questionable reputation. Indeed, he has cultivated the image carefully, and the last thing he wants is a wife. But when he’s approached by the younger sister of a business associate, he tells her in no uncertain terms that he cannot help. However, when he sees for himself what she is up against, Bryant grudgingly offers his assistance. Faced with his most complicated entanglement yet, Bryant is firm in his conditions—and Diana knows that to get romantically involved with Bryant would spell certain heartbreak. But as the counterfeit couple grow ever closer, the line between truth and lies becomes blurred, threatening both Lord Bryant’s well-laid plans and the future of Diana’s railroad business.

LOVED THIS STORY.

I’m so glad that I finally got to read Lord Bryant’s story!!! It was well deserved and beautifully written.

I adored Diana. I love the way she’s portrayed even a society/time period that didn’t look kindly upon a businesswoman. It’s fantastic seeing this in regency romances and I couldn’t get enough of her resilience and savvy skills to do what was needed.

And of course I looooved Lord Bryant. My sweet, tortured cinnamon roll soul. He met his match in Diana and their flirtatious banter was on point. The tender moments with hands touching, eyes locked had me swooning. I could use 100 more of those scenes and it would never get old.

Some of the antics were a bit different than I imagined for the story (like the Lady Emily sub-plot). That is my only minor complaint. This book had me loving every moment Lord Bryant swaggered into Diana’s rail business and Mrs. Oliver conveniently slipped away.

Everything was unconventional for a regency and their relationship and that is my favorite aspect of Hatch’s stories. They feel fresh and so incredibly romantic. I look forward to reading her next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: brief physical altercation
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a spouse

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Book Review

Book Review: A Proper Charade (Proper Scandals #2) by Esther Hatch

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 224 pages
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: May 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience’s elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister’s antics – but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.

Taken on as household staff by her brother’s former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth – and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn’t helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated that she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong – even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.

A DELIGHTFUL GEM.

Another great Esther Hatch read. Wow do I lover her books!! This was definitely no exception and I found myself continually smiling throughout.

I loved Patience! She was charming and boisterous. I thought the whole charade concept was humorous. I liked that Patience was full of heart and wanting to find growth within herself. She showcased a lot of great characteristics and this all played out so well.

Add in an admirable, just wanting to be loved hero, Anthony and I was smitten. They were able to be genuine with each other and both worked towards finding their place in the world. I was unsure how everything would work out between them, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t overdone. I actually thought it was all very romantic, and very Anthony (IYKYK).

So much of this was intensely sweet and made my heart want to gush. The only thing I didn’t like was how long a certain ex stuck around for longer than necessary [which is a reading pet peeve of mine]. Besides that, I love these characters, I love these unique regency stories and I’m so excited to read the next in this series.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: A Proper Scandal (Proper Scandals #1) by Esther Hatch

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 222 pages
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: May 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse.

It takes only a moment’s acquaintance for Grace to ascertain that her aunt has married a detestable rake. And Aunt Bell, recognizing the danger of having her lovely niece too near her husband, gives Grace an ultimatum: the young woman has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out. With no experience in the art of attracting a husband, Grace quickly realizes that a worthy suitor might not be so easy to ensnare.

ABSOLUTELY LOVED.

One of those reads where you question why it took you so long in the first place to pick it up.

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. One of the best regency romances I’ve read. Hands down. No contest. If you even are remotely interested in the genre, please give this one a chance. As my second great Hatch book, she’s quickly becoming an auto-author for me!

Grace and Nate had such an amazing dynamic. Fantastic banter. Incredibly sweet. They were such a match. I forgot to even note that it was a fast-paced romance because everything worked beautifully. Somehow at odds with each other, yet working together had me mesmerized.

All of the dances, garden escapes, and meet-ups were wonderful. I love how often they actually got to see each other so you could feel the romance building between them. And one thing Hatch does well? KISSING SCENES. They are swoon-worthy and fill your heart with warmth.

I loved this book. I’m excited to continue this series. Read ittttt!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: implied and brief attempted sexual assault scenes (on and off screen), a creepy step-Uncle who continually hits on main character Grace

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Book Review

ARC Review: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Set in Victorian London from the Queen of Mystery Romance

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe—a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband—Harold Radcliffe—of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for an ARC.

NOT REALLY A MYSTERY?

If you know from the get-go who the murderer is, is it really considered a mystery? Asking for a friend.

Besides that flaw, the beginning started off well enough. I didn’t mind the hero or heroine. The set-up was something I haven’t read before in a Victorian romance so sure! Call me interested. The further things went on the more and more I really couldn’t stand the heroine, Amelie. I think the impression was supposed to come off as strong-willed and capable, but all I saw was a woman in over her head that couldn’t follow basic instructions. Cue a few eye rolls. Michael was the lone savior of the story. I liked his dynamic and POV chapters. I love that his job was a detective and how he pursued the truth.

I found myself intensely skimming the last half because everything was TOO predictable. And based off of the title I thought the story would be a bit different. They didn’t match one another very well. So yes, this book was fine, but not one I’m going to remember.

Overall audience notes:

  • Victorian Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: murder, murder of a pregnant woman, physical altercations, near drowning

NANCY CAMPBELL ALLEN is the award-winning author of eighteen published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres, ranging from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her most recent books, which include Regency, Victorian, and steampunk romance, are published under Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance brand, and the What Happens in Venice novella series is part of the Timeless Romance Anthology collection published by Mirror Press. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999. Nancy loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She nurtures a current obsession for true crime podcasts and is a news junkie. She and her husband have three children, and she lives in Ogden, Utah, with her family, one very large Siberian Husky named Thor, and an obnoxious but endearing Yorkie-Poo named Freya.

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