ADD IT O N GOODREADS

Expected Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Imprint: N/A
My Source for This Book: Gift
Official Blurb:

Welcome to Doyle’s Grange, a charming house near the hills of Exmoor, where the garden is beautiful in every season, and the residents are respectable year-round.

Except when the clock strikes midnight…

 

One Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel

Author’s Website: http://www.carolynjewel.com
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

Ten years away from Doyle’s Grange isn’t quite long enough for Viscount Northword to forget Portia Temple, or their passionate adolescent affair. Portia, however, is about to marry another man. Northword tells himself it is wrong to interfere in her life at this late hour, but interfere he cannot help, with his words, his body, and the truths of his heart.

What Worked For Me:

  • I’ve always been a fan of estranged lovers in novellas, because it helps to ease the whirlwind nature of the romance. In this particular case, I loved how their estrangement came about, and Northwood’s determination to finally have Portia for his own.
  • I also liked that Northwood loved his wife in his own way, even though it wasn’t the grand passion he had with Portia.  Too often in romance, a spouse who isn’t the hero/heroine is painted as spiteful and shrewish, and it was nice to see that Northwood had found some sort of comfortable happiness with the woman he married.
  • The past mistakes made on both Portia and Northwood’s parts are really what made this story stand out.  Portia had done something that is virtually unheard of in romance novels, and yet, she was still a very sympathetic character, which I loved.
  • I really enjoyed watching Northwood try to convince Portia that she deserved better than the man she intended to marry, and more than that, the fact that she was marrying at all just to escape her horrid sister-in-law.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  •  I despised Eleanor, but more than that, I didn’t like just how much screen time she got. While I realized that she was the main antagonist of the story, in the end, this was a story of reconciliation between two estranged lovers. With the lowered wordcount that comes with a novella, Eleanor’s screen time took too much away from the couple.
The angst of this story is what made it for me.   Both Northwood and Portia made some serious mistakes in their past which still haunt them after all of these years, and I really enjoyed watching them learn to forgive both themselves and each other for things that could not be changed.
The only big drawback to this story was how much screen-time Eleanor got, and the almost abrupt ending.  Even so, I definitely enjoyed it, and will be reading more from this author.
4/5 Stars

What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan

Author’s Website: http://www.courtneymilan.com/
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Official Blurb:

Fleeing the consequences of her father’s embezzlement, Mary Chartley takes a position as a lady’s companion, only to find herself a virtual prisoner at Doyle’s Grange, her employer’s house. And then the nightmare truly begins: the man she loves, who also happens to be the man from whom her father stole, shows up at her door seeking recompense. And not merely in pound sterling…


What Worked For Me:

  • As with every Courtney Milan story, there was a great deal of depth and emotion that one doesn’t often find in novellas especially.
  • loved the hatred that John felt for Mary, mainly because it was so easy to see that his hatred stemmed from a sense of devastated betrayal and hurt. Yum.
  • I really loved watching Mary not only learn to stand up for herself, but to help others do the same, especially considering that the time period didn’t really allow women to protect themselves from unscrupulous men.
  • The ending was very satisfying.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • The whole ‘naked” scene had me a bit taken aback. While I understood the motivation, and while I can’t deny that it was a very succinct and eloquent way of expressing how Mary was feeling about the entire situation, I just didn’t like it.

I was actually a tiny bit disappointed in this one, which very well may simply be the result of how much I typically enjoy everything Courtney Milan writes. I think I tend to hold her works to a higher standard in my mind because she’s always been a favorite historical author of mine. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed this one, but there was one sour note that I didn’t care for, that colored the rest of the story a bit unfavorably for me.

Even so, I loved both Mary and John, and watching the two reconcile was absolutely delicious.

A solid 4/5 Stars

A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas

Author’s Website: http://sherrythomas.com/
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2.5, Fitzhugh Trilogy
Series Best Read In Order: Worked Well As A Standalone
Steam Level: Warm

Official Blurb:

After losing her childhood sweetheart to another woman, Isabelle Englewood is heartsick. But then something remarkable happens: Upon arriving at Doyle’s Grange, her new home, she meets Ralston Fitzwilliam, who looks almost exactly like the man she cannot have. Come late at night, she tells him, so I can make love to you pretending that you are the one I love. 

Little does she realize what she is about to unleash…

What Worked For Me:

  • I liked that the whole “you look like the man I love” thing only lasted for a moment — it was very obvious that Isabelle began to fall for Ralston for far more than his resemblance to Fitz.
  • I also liked Ralston’s reaction to seeing Fitz for the first time.
  • Even though I despised the cheating that occurred before this story started, I loved watching the romance progress between Ralston and Isabelle. There was just something so sweet between them that kept me reading.
  • I also enjoyed the fact that Isabelle had previously enjoyed a happy marriage. I would have hated to have thought of her as having wasted her life waiting for Fitz.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  •  This isn’t really fair to the story, as I haven’t read the previous book in the series, but I found it pretty darned horrifying that a married man would carry on an affair with another woman and then suddenly decide he was in love with his wife and drop the mistress like a bad habit.  I say it isn’t fair, because while I despise infidelity in romance, it wasn’t actually in this story that the infidelity occurred. Even so, it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn’t really enjoy it, even though I understood that the circumstances were not quite so straightforward.

This one was a bit iffy for me.  Having never read the previous book in the series, I’m not privy to the actual intricacies of the relationships, but was rather put off by what I heard of it from this story.

However, I loved the way that the romance developed between Ralston and Isabelle, which made it easier to forget those things.

3.5/5 Stars

Overall, this was a lovely anthology of interconnected historical romance from some of the most talented authors in the genre today.  While there were facets of each story that didn’t quite appeal to me, the writing, and more importantly, the romance was exceptional across the entire anthology.

Recommended for fans of estranged lovers, letting go of past mistakes, and of allowing yourself to find happiness.

A very solid 4/5 Stars.