The Former Fiance
Signet July 2002
Rating - Good
Lady Madeline Dalton is in an awkward position. She must implore the help of the man she rejected the year before. But she desperately needs help from the attentions of an obsessed man who stated he will marry her or kill her if not! Her father and friends do not believe the man is capable of this, as he presents a different face to them.
Robinson, 6th Earl of Rosegoode was not destined for the title, the second younger son was quite happy not to have his life contained by the rigid rules of the beau mode.
As a lieutenant at the Battle of Waterloo, he watched in horror as his elder brother is cut down in action and he can't reach him. Returning to England, he turns his back on the Ton and creates something that will be of use...an agency for protective and investigative services for society.
As much as he would like to take revenge on Madeline for the past, his innate honesty makes him devise a plan to hide Madeline and find a way to stop the the mad man's quest.
The gradual awakening of attraction gives us a warm and sensual love story without any graphic sex. What the author accomplishes with the "almost kiss" scenes make it truly worthwhile reading!! The emergence of their feelings for each other is played out against a background of adventure and danger. The adventure and heightened sexual tension make it a page turner! Well done characterizations of the hero and heroine and storyline.
--- Marilyn Malone
Rating - Good
Gerent Fitzarthur, Fourth Lord Carismont is looking for a governess for his difficult-acting daughter.
Kate Kingsley widowed and destitute is worried over her son's future.
Gerent's spur of the moment marriage proposal takes Kate by surprise. Should she take the opportunity for a secure life?
What does the strange flickering lights and voices mean, that only she seems to hear?
The author Sandra Heath brings a fresh approach to the "poor governess" theme. She creates a warm and sensual rapport between two strangers..
Unbeknownst to Kate, magic and danger surrounds Gerent and his island castle.
This is a paranormal regency, although it has enough regency details to maintain it's 1818 time setting, magic is it's main theme and it is an enjoyable reading experience to see how Gerent and Kate are tested by an evil spirit who played an important part of Gerent's past life.---Marilyn Malone
Lady Daphne Hightower, 25 year old spinster hates men --- never wants to marry.
Lord Alexander Heathercott, loves beautiful women --- but does not want to settle down in marriage.
Can Daphne resist the attentions of Alexander (a known rake), especially as her ill grandfather is pressuring her to marry.
Daphne's diaries covering the last ten years provide insight into her thoughts and actions.
I was disappointed that the hero was shown as being interested in only "the most beautiful of women". Shallow in thought and life, he does improve somewhat. It would have been more intriguing if he had fallen for a "regular girl or a plain one" and had to re-evaluate his feelings and expectations. The hero is termed as the epitome of male beauty!!
Much is written of the heroine's stunning beauty and what a trial it is to her. The heroine comes across to me as self-centered in that she leaves her sister without a word or explanation and never sees her again for ten years! Much could have been added to the plot if she had been truly concerned with her only sister's situation.---Marilyn Malone
The Lady Sparrow
August 2002 Signet
Rating - Good
Petite brown eyed Mina , Countess of Sparrowdle has been said to resemble the small brown sparrow and the name "Lady Sparrow" has remained with her. Her forced marriage to an elderly man has made her life miserable. Her husband married her for the fortune that her shipbuilder father had accumulated. Now a widow and still mourning the stillborn death of her son, she finds that her dead husband had many illegimate sons. Wanting a family and having the means to take care of them, she hires a private investigator to help her find them. Her husband's heir is furious that she wants to find these illegimate children. He is desperately trying to elevate his status in the ton, and this scandal could ruin him!
Lowell Merrison, with sparkling blue eyes behind his spectacles, is a fine specimen of a man. This is the first thought that crosses Mina's mind when she meets Lowell.
Lowell, second son to the Duke of Mersford loves to untangle mysteries. Being a private investigator permits him to use his deductive reasoning for good. His protective instincts are heightened when he meets and begins to know Mina.
Mina has no wish to remarry after two major mistakes regarding men, but yet Lowell is so different than the men she has knowm, he is gentle, caring, has a sense of humor and best of all, his self esteem isn't threatened by having a woman partner him in the effort to find the children she seeks.
The Dowage Duchess of Mersford would love to have Lowell married and give her grandchildren. Knowing his mother's thoughts and having no wish to marry, it is amusing to watch Lowell's thoughts and actions change as he realizes that Mina ( an attractive catch on the Marriage Mart), necessitates some major changes in his thoughts about marriage, if he doesn't want to lose her.
Barbara Metzger has written a fine traditional Regency with the emotional awakening of Mina, who realizes what love really is and who has kindness to care about people who are unable to help themselves. The hero is delicious, he is sensitive yet strong and being half blind without his spectacles makes him more human and lovable. I loved the roguish look he could send her through his glasses. (grin).
The author shows us a young woman who slowly becomes aware of her own worth and the realization that she can find a worthwhile love was an enjoyable reading experience. The secondary characters were colorful and worth reading about. The secondary mystery is well done with enough energy to keep one turning the pages.
The storyline is an unusual one, but probably very apt for the time period. ---Marilyn Malone
The Reckless Bargain
Kit Mallory, a dowdy dressed widow returning from India; becomes friends with the Dowager Duchess of Wexcombe, much to the dismay of her grandsons. They believe Kit is trying to ingratiate herself into the Duchess' company.
Enter seductive and cynical Nicholas Darcy, Marquess of Bainbridge; cousin to the present Duke and grandson to the Dowager Duchess. Between them, the cousins concoct a scheme to remove Kit from the company of the Duchess. Their plan --- for Nicholas to seduce Kit and set her up as his mistress!
At first Nicholas isn't a bit appealing to me as he thinks he can charm any woman for any reason.
The author does reform him as the story progresses. He begins to doubt that Kit is a schemer --- then finds himself emotionally attached and unable to tell her that he had started the charade. His scruples are showing as he realizes how he has lied and trifled with Kit.
The Reckless Bargain??? Kit agrees to become Nicholas' mistress if he can help the Dowager duchess in her disagreement with the Duke. Such is her concern for the Duchess that she would become a mistress? Granted neither the hero or heroine are shown as wanting to be married. This needed my suspension of belief to continue reading. Each deals with emotional feelings after the Duke tells Kit of the Nicholas' scheme to seduce her.
The second half of the book deals with Nicholas' attempt to convince Kit to trust him and her debut into the society of Bath.
The Duke's sister-in-law is a fine piece of work (grin). Such a nasty!
The Discarded Duke
Rating Very Good
What is a destitute widow to do? Ursula Roarke's husband had gambled away everything but the blooded horses they both raised and bred. Now; her plan is to get Damien, Duke of Ardsley to propose marriage and solve all her problems. Cold-hearted but out of options, Ursula must get her plan to work!
But there is one problem...the Duke's very handsome bailiff. Ursula finds herself very attracted to the sheep manager, much to her dismay! She can't let her heart rule, can she? But the desire experienced from his kisses has jumbled all her feelings. Confused sensations unsettle Ursula, she never felt this way from her husband's kisses. Can she break with the rules of society and marry beneath herself?
Will Ridd is the Duke's bailiff, blonde and very masculine, he has always been satisfied with his life. Now, knowing Ursula makes him all too aware of his position and the helplessness of making Ursula his wife.
The Duke wants to change the property to a horse farm and do away with the sheep industry that has made the estate so profitable.
His childhood friend Judith Coltrane tries to reason with Damien that the sheep are needed to keep the estate prosperous.
Two separate love stories blend together in Nancy Butler's The Discarded Duke. Damien's manipulative grandmother weaves a dark secret throughout the book. The emotions that Will and Ursula experience kept this reader attuned to the next page, and the next!