Mini Swarm Reviews: A Plethora of Historical Romances

Posted 16 June, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review | 15 Comments

ABDUCTED BY A PRINCE (Cinderella Sisterhood #3) by Olivia Drake
Historical Romance
352 pages, paperback
Available now (April 2014)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

She Was Stolen Away…

Ellie Stratham gave up her childhood dreams of a fairy tale romance long ago. To repay her late father’s debts, she’s forced to serve her spoiled cousin, Lady Beatrice. But Ellie has devised a secret plan to escape her life as a drudge. A plan that is thrown into jeopardy when she’s abducted by a mysterious stranger.

But Can He Steal Her Heart?

A notorious seducer of women—and a scoundrel to boot—Damien Burke has earned his nickname as the Demon Prince. But his plot to kidnap Lady Beatrice to make her brother return a priceless heirloom backfires—and he ends up with their penniless cousin, Ellie, as his hostage. By the time Damien realizes his mistake, he and his fiery-willed captive are trapped in a remote castle during a wild winter storm. And he soon finds that the true hostage may be his own heart.

You know, it’s got to suck when you’ve got a plan (kidnap a Lady to get an heirloom back) and it backfires so spectacularly (you kidnapped the wrong girl, a girl who means pretty much nothing to her family and, therefore, will not be of any help in getting back said heirloom). Bad enough Damien is known as the Demon Prince and people are scared to death of him. But now he’s got a useless, penniless kidnap victim on his hands. And she’s making his life extremely difficult (good girl!). A fun, fast-paced Cinderella story where the evil cousin gets hers and the two lovers live happily ever after. As they should.

THE COUNTESS CONFESSIONS (Boscastle #14) by Jillian Hunter
352 pages, paperback
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Signet Select
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

All Emily Selwick wanted was to convince the man she had adored for years that she was the woman he ought to marry. She never expected that her ill-fated deception at a party would uncover a scheme against the Crown and ensnare her in the sensual trap of an enigmatic stranger.

Damien Boscastle, the Earl of Shalcross, knows he must marry Emily to defend her honor and keep his mission secret. But, by saving her reputation, he will draw her into his arms as well as a dangerous intrigue.

After a whirlwind courtship that leaves her breathless, Emily finds herself wed to a husband who vows not only to protect her from his menacing world—but to train his wife in the pleasures of passion.

Before you say anything, no. I haven’t read the other 13 books in this series. Actually, this is my first one and works perfectly as a standalone (I didn’t realize there were so many others in the series until I went to write this review). Damien is seriously swoon-worthy what with his spy skills and, ahem, bedroom skills. Through a series of unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it) events, Emily and Damien wind up married. While this story wasn’t perfect, it was fun and, sometimes that’s all you need.

TAMING A WILD SCOT (Claimed by the Highlander #1) by Rowan Keats
346 pages, paperback
Available now (November 2013)
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Wrongfully accused of murder and left to die in a hellish Highland dungeon, Ana Bisset has lost all hope of freedom. But the beautiful healer’s luck takes an unexpected turn when a hooded stranger appears as her rescuer. After a harrowing escape, Ana settles alone in a quiet village where no one knows her past or her reputation. The last thing she ever expects is to meet her mysterious savior again…

Niall MacCurran is no hero, but a warrior on a dangerous mission to expose a threat to the realm. After his decision to free Ana, he now realizes that it is he who needs her help—willing or no—to advance his quest. But his growing feelings for the delicate yet resilient beauty soon jeopardize their safety—and not even Ana’s healing gifts may be enough to protect their love, or their lives.

There’s just something about a man in a kilt (probably because I grew up surrounded by that…we went to a lot of Highland Games!). Of course, I picked this one. But, unfortunately, it was kind of a slog. I wanted castles and romance but I got huts and hiding. Not exactly what I was looking for. Plus, there wasn’t a great connection between the hero and heroine — not enough sparks for my taste. Oh, well.

HOW TO MASTER YOUR MARQUIS (A Princess in Hiding #2) by Juliana Gray
292 pages, paperback
Available now (January 2014)
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Of all her sisters, Princess Stefanie is by far the least amenable to law and order, which is why she’s appalled to find herself masquerading as an unbearably drab clerk for the most honorable barrister in England. But her dull disguise turns out to have its privileges: namely, the opportunity to consort unchaperoned with her employer’s exceedingly handsome nephew, James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield.

Hatherfield quickly realizes that his uncle’s spirited new clerk is, in fact, a lovely young woman of daring habits. The outwardly impeccable marquis isn’t about to reveal her deception. After all, he’s hiding a dangerous secret of his own. But when one too many escapades with the madcap princess bring Hatherfield’s troubled past to light, it is only Stefanie’s sharp wits that stand between the marquis and utter disaster, and only Hatherfield’s daring that can save the princess from the shadowy agents bent on finding her.

I do like a good “in disguise” story, especially when there’s a sassy princess and difficult Marquess involved. Though I haven’t read the first in this series, that isn’t a problem (I’m interested in meeting the first couple now!) as the book can be read as a standalone. Stefanie/Stefan is in disguise as a law clerk though Hatherfield catches on pretty darn quickly that she’s a she and not a struggling law clerk. And, of course, he’s feeling those pangs of lust, too, which leads people to believe that he plays for the other team. But not everything is gender-bending shenanigans. There are some dark tones in this story, too, especially when it comes to Hatherfield’s past. Told in both the present and with flashbacks, this novel looks good on my historical shelf.

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

15 Responses to “Mini Swarm Reviews: A Plethora of Historical Romances”

  1. I think Abducted by a Prince and The Countess Confessions definitely sound like my sort of books. I especially find myself warming towards Damien, it would be funny to see how he works his way out of that situtation! Thanks for putting these books on my radar Mary and for these lovely reviews!

  2. I feel another Historical Romance binge coming in my future. Darn the whole kidnapping the wrong girl, I mean what is the chances? 🙂

  3. Ooh. My hold count at the library just increased.

    I’ve read the first book in Juliana Gray’s series. I think the stories of the three princesses are told simultaneously. The second one sounds fun, though. The first one, if I remember correctly, had some… interesting situations.

  4. Abducted by a Prince has caught my eye more than once. I can’t wait to check it out after your review (I love a good kidnapping story gone wrong.) The other romances sound wonder as well, even the huts and hiding one (who can pass up a man in a kilt?) Thanks for the reviews, Mary 🙂

  5. I’m always on the lookout for more romance reads, truthfully speaking, and Olivia Drake and Juliana Gray have officially made the shelf. Not to mention Damien’s bedroom skills! 😉 Thanks for such helpful reviews, Mary!

  6. I struggled with Taming a Wild Scot too Mary! I agree completely – not enough sparks between them. Whenever there’s a hero in a kilt, there need to be EPIC sparks. It’s a highlander romance rule 😉 Abducted by a Prince sounds like fun though, so I’m definitely adding that to my list!

  7. I want to wear a big fancy dress and be a period piece cover model. *pouts*

    Admittedly I’m not a huge fan of historical romance, but if I ever want to foray into this world, it’s always good to have recs from a friend. 🙂

  8. Aw… love all these. Sounds like some perfect reads for the summer. Btw, what DO they have under their kilts. Don’t say you have no idea. I know that was one reason you went to those games. 😉 LOL

  9. HAH you preemptively stole my question of the other 13 books but hey that it worked as a stand alone was great. YOu must have been in a total period romance/ historical romance mood. lots of bow chicka wow wow *cackles madly*

  10. Wow you really read a lot of HF! I wish I could devour books that quickly! I’ve been wanting to read a good HF romance but the one I started ages ago didn’t work for me.

  11. I will skip the highlander, but must admit the rest sound pretty darn good. Kudos for jumping into a series at the 13tth book, but I often find it is safe in HR to do so. Great mini reviews Mary!