Excited to sit with my next read courtesy of #IndieApril. I realize it’s May; however, I committed to reading and reviewing this book in April. I believe that still counts!
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.
The novel began with a bang – a really great concept with lots of tension and promise for a wonderful novel
Noah Winters is a great alpha
Thea Collins is a believable heroine with an interesting backstory
Noah’s support of Thea near the end is touching (expected, but nicely written nonetheless)
I wish I had more “Good” because I really wanted to like this one
Plot moved at a snail’s pace
Noah was so lovable I had a hard time believing he wasn’t nice, even though we were repeatedly told he wasn’t, his every action was that of a nice, thoughtful person
The Winters’ family history was difficult to piece together
The minor characters did not enrich the story
I didn’t find their inner conflict compelling enough to keep them from HEA sooner
While the sweet breakfast routine was a nice way to show the couple getting closer together, it, like everything else in this novel, became stale rather quickly
I wouldn’t recommend this novel, but I have a feeling it was a poor introduction to the writing of Ms. Burrowes
The conflicts were not complex, or perhaps were not developed enough – I’m not sure what it was but I was unable to connect with the story and characters
Simply put, it was a boring novel – many a time I found myself closing it and loudly saying “Oh for crying out loud!”
The final scenes of violence were not very believable
Save yourself the time and perhaps give another of Grace Burrowes’ novels a try, I know I will.
Thanks for reading! Any comments on this or another Grace Burrowes novel?
Summary from Goodreads: Noah Winters, Earl of Anselm, spent months sorting and courting the year’s crop of debutantes in search of an ideal bride. When the sweet, biddable young thing he selected accepts another’s proposal, Noah decides to court her companion instead. Thea Collins, though, is anything but biddable. She has learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted, especially the handsome ones. When she reluctantly accepts, Noah rushes Thea to the altar before she can reveal her deepest secret. Can she finally move on from her past, or will it come back to haunt her?
Minerva Dodger quickly became one of my favourite heroines because she knows herself and is beyond strong.
Ms. Heath creates a female protagonist who is confident in every aspect of her life and relationships – except, in love. This is something that many women of the modern age experience. The biggest lesson Minerva Dodger delivers is to remain true to yourself.
Her counterpart, the Duke of Ashebury, is everything one looks for in a male protagonist. He is arrogant, gorgeous and powerful. Naturally, he is considerate and thoughtful as well. Watching him fall in love with Minerva is a definite treat since he is so unaware that it is occurring.
I really enjoyed the minor characters too – very well defined without distracting from the romance. I particularly enjoyed Minerva’s friendship with BFF/sister-in-law Grace Lovingdon and her relationship with her parents was both strong and tender.
I also liked the way Ms. Heath created her world and gave us just enough back story to understand the context in which Minerva and Ashe moved without huge info-dumps.
And the ode to Dickens’ Miss Havisham and her clocks? C’mon! That was pretty cool.
I tend to skim over too much description about the angst. While angst is a necessary component of a character’s development in a romance novel, I quickly get bored of extensive analysis of emotions. I also find that modern readers easily understand a character’s predicament – once it’s been stated, is it necessary to go over it again and again?
Having said that, there were times when I skimmed or skipped entire passages where too much rambling was occurring. “Does he love me? Why is he spending time with me? Is Minerva really Lady V? etc. etc.” Again, this is my reading quirk and there are many readers out there who love the analysis as the protagonists evolve.
This novel is a beautiful read.
I loved reading the evolution of Minerva and Ashe’s relationship.
I especially loved Minerva’s realization and acceptance of her own beauty on her terms. And, Ashe’s realization that his feelings extended well beyond sexual attraction for Minerva.
Ms. Heath had me cheering for these two from the very beginning.
If you’re looking for a well-written book with a strong heroine give this novel a try.
“‘I could suffer through [my father’s] disappointment much more easily than I could suffer through not gaining retribution for being wronged.’ A corner of her mouth hitched up. ‘On the other hand, I might just kill you myself.’ She gave a quick nod. ‘Probably would. I’d find immense satisfaction in it, come to think of it.'” (Minerva to Ashe in Chapter 3).
“‘Dear God, how can you possibly believe there is any part of her that is equal to nothing?‘” (Ashe to Jack Dodger in Chapter 20)
Did you read Book 1 of the Hellions of Havisham? If so, let’s chat about it! Thanks for stopping by.
Summary from Goodreads: After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady’s desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair. A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime’s pleasure?
Cam Rohan – can a writer bring to life a sexier alpha male protagonist?!? This guy is HOT!!! Rich. Clever. Perceptive. Considerate. In control. Suave. The list is endless…
Introduction to the Hathaway clan is superbly handled by Ms.Kleypas – it is a big family. Each Hathaway is portrayed so that we know their role in the family and have some insight into the trials of their eventual love story.
The fact that the Hathaways are considered outcasts gives so much opportunity to learn more about Victorian society than just the ways of the ton.
Setting and minor characters are richly described
The central romance of the book is so beautifully written – how can Amelia not fall for Cam?
Amelia’s struggle to finally accept Cam. Her angst seemed without foundation – it wasn’t believable to me that she found it so difficult to say yes. But this was such a small part of the book that it didn’t stop me from reading.
Leo…what a train wreck…except, this will make his HEA tale all the more delicious.
If you love romance and reading a strong, sexy male lead – this is the book for you!
I also really loved the strong relationship and love in the Hathaway family – Ms. Kleypas creates strong female characters who support each other instead of tearing each other down and I love that!
Finally, the strong sense of setting and atmosphere is undeniable. Ms. Kleypas brings us into her world seamlessly.
Oh one last thing – I love that it overlaps with her previous series, Wallflowers, and we get to revisit some favourite characters!
Did you read Mine Till Midnight? If so, what did you think? Any other juicy romances you would recommend based on this review? Would love to connect!
Here’s a synopsis of Mine Till Midnight from kobobooks:
When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.
Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….in Lisa Kleypas’s Mine Till Midnight.
The Good: This book abides by all rules of Regency. You will learn about the complexities of the era and then some. It is truly remarkable how well Ella Quinn weaves the strict social conventions of the Regency era into an intriguing love story.
I loved the strength of Lady Phoebe. She knows her mind and is unafraid of expressing herself and exerting her will.
And, can Lord Marcus Finley be anymore romantic? Who wouldn’t want to be the object of his affection? His determination to win Phoebe’s heart was positively simmering.
This novel is sexy, sexy, sexy! Ella Quinn does not hold back as Marcus seduces Phoebe and it so much fun to read.
The Meh: Her angst about falling for him was a little, tiny bit over the top. I believed it at the beginning. But, for me, it lasted a little longer than necessary.
Overall: awesome, super fun read. Hot, sexy and oh so romantic. At times, a bit too many exacting details about the era – but at the same time I see this as a positive because it really stays true to Regency.
Would love to hear from others who have read this one!