Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top 4 Unusual Historicals for May 2018

Is there anything worse than a reading slump? Because, that, my friends is exactly where I’m living these days. If it weren’t for revisiting some old favorites on audio I’d literally be getting nothing read. But one thing sure to cheer me up? Browsing for books. Even if, you know, I’m not reading them. May is kind of quiet when it comes to not-your-usual historicals, but there’s potential all the same.

Kept by the Viking by Gina Conkle 
Loyalty to the Brotherhood comes before all. Including women.  
Formidable Viking leader Rurik knows the law. His loyalty to the Forgotten Sons is his bond, and no woman will threaten what he’s built from the ground up. But the Sons are a roving band of Vikings, and Rurik is growing restless—so when Normandy’s chieftain offers land, the proposal intrigues him. And the sultry Parisian thrall he finds in his tent intrigues him even more…  
Safira is cunning and clever and full of secrets. Rurik’s men have no interest in securing her safe passage home, but, piqued with lust, Rurik views Safira’s wiles as a captivating challenge—one he’s determined to conquer, even if lying with her is as defiant as it is inevitable.  
Traveling with Safira has been a fantasy come true—what started as lust is quickly turning to the kind of partnership Rurik could never have dreamed. But their arrival in foreign lands marks a new chapter, one that demands a Viking wife. With impossible decisions to be made, Rurik’s alliances are fraying, and past promises may not be enough to save him from having to betray those he’s sworn loyalty to—including Safira. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a literal unicorn. A historical romance published by Carina Press. How momentous is this? Let me put it this way - if you go to the Carina website, click on the Historical Romance link, and sort by publication date? This is the first historical they’ve published since September 2016. Two years ago. I’m one-clicking this on principle.

Love’s Sweet Melody by Kianna Alexander 
Autumn, 1946

Warner Hughes returns home from war with the lingering effects of battle. Abandoned by his sweetheart and ostracized by his community, he feels he has no real home. 
Elizabeth “Betty” Daniels has one love: music. Betty’s family wants to see her married, busy with affairs of the home, leaving no time to pursue her art.

Warner’s only solace is in the sweet melody of Betty’s music. To Betty’s mind, marriage means giving up the freedom to pursue her art. Can Warner let love in, and can Betty make room for love? 
The latest in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series chugs along with Alexander’s entry set post-World War II. This sounds incredibly promising, with a returning veteran with, from the sounds of it, PTSD and a musically-inclined heroine. Alexander is no stranger to historicals, having written contributions for the Daughters of a Nation and The Brightest Day anthologies.

The Bashful Bride by Vanessa Riley 
A friend's newspaper advertisement for a groom nets the most famous actor in London, Arthur Bex. Shy heiress Ester Croome proposes to elope with the handsome man, who she's secretly loved for two years, in order to escape an impending engagement arranged by her overbearing family.
Trying to outlive the shadow of his villainous uncle, Bex needs to marry quickly—to a woman of good character. And smart, beautiful Ester fits the bill. But a harrowing trip to Gretna Green and dangerous abolition rallies prove to be a more treacherous stage than either imagined. Infatuation and a mutual love for Shakespeare might not be enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains and secrets of family and the past. 
The second, and final, book in the author’s Advertisements for Love duology, features that most tempting of reader catnip - a road romance! I also love that we’re getting an actor hero looking to outrun his family’s reputation and a heroine who has secretly been in love with him for years.

Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue
Alexandra Barratt has found the perfect man--it's a shame he thinks she's a boy... 
Fleeing from the murderous Grady brothers, Alexandra disguises herself as a boy and joins a frontier party heading West, with her brother and sister in tow. The wagon train is captained by the irresistible Luke Slater, who's never met a woman he couldn't charm. 
At first, Alex can't believe the way every woman in town falls at Luke's feet, including her suddenly flirtatious sister. But when she sees him naked in the bathtub, she finds herself swooning over him too. If only she could wash the muck of her face and show him who she really is. Unfortunately she has more pressing concerns... 
The Gradys aren't about to let Alex, nor the small fortune she stole from them, slip through their fingers. Only by maintaining her ruse does she have a chance of protecting her family. But fate, it seems, is conspiring against her. 
This debut has Old School written all over it - I mean, hello? We’ve got a chick-in-pants story, and she spies the hero naked in the bathtub. I’m...well, I’m reserving judgement on this one. But I love historical westerns, and we have a debut author. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and give this one a whirl. Plus, you know, another road romance and a heroine on the run. I’m only human.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to this month?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#TBRChallenge 2018: The Courage To Say Yes

The Book: The Courage To Say Yes by Barbara Wallace

The Particulars: Contemporary romance, Harlequin Romance #4390, 2013, Available Digitally

Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?: Wallace is basically an autobuy in the Romance line.  But an added mystery with this book - I had both a print copy and a digital copy in my TBR.  Because apparently one copy wasn't enough?  My guess is I snagged the print at a conference without realizing I already owned it in e.

The Review: This is an interesting book and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how "successful" I think it is.  But I enjoyed this, and I thought the author does a wonderful job of juxtaposing the emotional baggage between the romantic couple, so I'm counting this one largely as a win.

Hunter Smith is a photographer who travels the globe documenting political hot spots.  He's home in New York City, in between assignments, eating breakfast at the same greasy spoon diner every day and should be working to hire a new assistant.  Instead, this man who spends his entire life not inserting himself into "the story," who instead chooses to stand outside to document "the story," finds himself playing white knight to a damsel in distress.

Abby Gray left her abusive POS boyfriend 6 months ago.  She's living in a women's shelter and is working the only job she could find - as a waitress in a crappy diner.  And she's not a very good waitress.  She thought Warren was gone for good, but instead he turns up at the diner, grabs her wrist hard enough to leave bruises, and before she can diffuse the situation, her hunky regular customer intervenes.  Much to her horror. Abby doesn't need or want pity.  She got herself into her current mess, she's going to figure out a way to get out of it.

The trajectory that follows is pretty straight-forward.  Hunter can't leave well enough alone, feels guilty when Abby's asshole boss fires her, and offers her the vacant position of being his assistant.  His last assistant basically said that what Hunter really wanted was a housekeeper, and Abby, with no marketable skills (she hitched her wagon to the abusive ex at a young age) can't say no.  She needs the job - and cleaning house for Hunter, helping him organize his life, is something she is qualified to do.

The abusive ex angle is the conflict in the story that I'm not entirely sure the author pulls off to satisfaction, and a lot of this has to do with timing.  Gun violence and the domestic violence history of men who perpetuate gun violence are in the news a lot right now - it's hard to set that aside, especially since Warren is portrayed as "a bully."  Once Abby stands up to him, he basically slinks off into the sunset once he realizes she cannot be pushed around anymore.  This is a nice idea, but one that rarely plays out in real life.  I don't want to say Wallace writes this as "easy" - but the reality is that women escaping these types of situations aren't always so lucky.  I don't think the author minimizes the conflict, but I also think it's a conflict that's hard to do justice in the category format.

Now, that being said, where this book really shines is in the character growth and development.  You have a hero who has spent his life always on the outside, putting a barrier between himself and anything resembling feelings.  The camera serves as a wall between him and the outside world.  Getting close is not an option.  Then you have a heroine escaping an abusive relationship, who has been beat down and belittled her entire life - first by a stepfather, then by a boyfriend.  She, too, is closed off emotionally in many ways, distant and scared - and really?  Who could blame her?  But that's not even the best part - this isn't a traditional Rescue Fantasy.  Not really.  The heroine realizes fairly quickly she's "safe" with Hunter - so there's this great push-pull dynamic to their interactions, right from the get-go.

It's how these two characters bounce off each other that makes for interesting reading.  They're not really that different, have more in common than they first realize, and help each other grow over the course of the story.  Even better?  Wallace doesn't try to do too much with the ending.  It's a bit more than "happy for now" - but it's also not a "let's get married and start working on getting you pregnant with triplets" ending either.  Thank the sweet baby Jeebus.

I've read a number of books by Wallace and while this isn't a favorite, it's still pretty darn good.  There's some interesting things on the page here and it was time well spent on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Final Grade = B

Sunday, May 13, 2018

#RomBkLove: Day 13 Closed Door

#RomBkLove is a social media hashtag and brainchild of Ana Coqui.  Last year she hosted an entire month (all by herself!) of romance novel-related chatter on Twitter and I'm sure needed about a 2-month long nap afterward to recover.  So when she opted to host the month-long extravaganza again this year - she asked for help, with themes and with hosting.  So here were are, on Day #13 and my contribution: "closed door" romances.

People, I have a lot to say on this topic and will try not to slip into deep ranting mode, although it's going to be hard (ha!).  I truly believe that the only thing romance novels have to have, what they have to adhere to, is the happy-ever-after.  Our romantic couple needs to ride off into the sunset at the end.  This leaves a lot of shading in between for the author to write the story that they wanna tell.

This is paraphrased: There's a moment in the documentary, Love Between the Covers, where author Eloisa James asks an aspiring writer, "Are you selling this to the inspirational market?  Because if not, it has to have sex."

I'm beginning to think I'm the only one who was heavily annoyed by this "advice," because nobody else called it out (that I've seen anyway).  If anything, trolling through GoodReads only seems to enforce James' advice.  How many of us have seen the reviews: "This was a terrible book - it had NO sex scenes!"  So the book was "bad" because you didn't get to read a sex scene?  Really?!  Because this makes me question why you're reading romance.  If you're just "in it" for the sex - there's alternatives outside of the romance genre.  Just sayin'.

Now before anyone makes the erroneous assumption that I'm a prude who doesn't like the dirty words and smexy times - ha ha ha ha ha!  It is to laugh.  I'm one of what I'm beginning to think is a dying breed in romance readership.  The reader who will, literally, read across the entire sensuality spectrum.  Skanky hot sex scenes that would horrify my father?  Yep.  Sweet, just kisses that I'd be OK with my niece discovering on my bookshelf?  Yep.  I'll read it all.  I've loved it all - and Auntie Wendy is here to tell you why.

At the end of the day, it's about the story.  One thing romance readers and writers have been chaffing against since the dawn of time is this idea that romance is cookie-cutter.  It's one thing and one thing only.  Yes, it's the happy ending - but we're literally serving all sorts of cocktails (ha!) and I guarantee there's something on the menu for darn near every taste and preference.

Sex, like anything else in fiction writing, needs to be organic to the story.  Some stories need the hot and steamy sexy times - while in other stories such shenanigans would feel out of place.  There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than reading a very good story to only get to a love scene that feels shoe-horned in and "out of place" - like the author had to fill a quota.  Or the other side of the coin: a very good story that desperately needs a love scene that doesn't have one.  Yes, it can happen folks - I know this because I've read examples of both.

If you take nothing else away from Day 13, I hope it's this: Just because a book doesn't have sex scenes in it doesn't make it "bad."  Just because a book has wall-to-wall sexy shenanigans doesn't make it "bad."  At the end of the day, it's about the storyWhat best serves the story?

Now, to get this party started, I'm going to mention a few of my favorite "Closed Door" romances.  I hope you'll have time to stop by Twitter today to follow along with all the discussion - which you can do without an account.  Just check out the #RomBkLove hashtag.

Some of Wendy's Favorite Closed Door Romances:

  • Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist - set at the Biltmore mansion, a "downstairs" romance.
  • Janice Kay Johnson - check out any of her SuperRomances.  When she does write sex, it tends to be G-rated and she writes some of the best darn conflict in the genre.  She's criminally under-appreciated.
  • Someone more well-versed than I will have to pick up this mantle on Twitter - but seriously, SO MANY TRAD REGENCIES!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Reminder: #TBRChallenge for May


Hey, hey, hey!  For those of you participating in the 2018 #TBRChallenge, a reminder that your commentary is "due" on Wednesday, May 16.  The theme this month is Contemporary.

One of the broadest TBR Challenge themes - contemporary means any book set during "present day," at the time it was originally published.  So hey, that 25-year-old category romance you're dying to read?  Would totally count.

But what if you're not wild about contemporary romance?  What if you're a "you'll pry my historicals out of my cold dead hands Wendy!" kind of reader.  Hey, no problem!  The themes are optional.  The goal is to read something, anything, out of your TBR.

Reminders:

1) If you're participating via social media, remember to use the #TBRChallenge hashtag

and 

2) It is not too late to sign-up!  You can get further details and links to all the blogs participating on the 2018 TBR Challenge Information Page.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mini-Review: Home to Wickham Falls

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MQV6XDH/themisaofsupe-20
I have a devil of a time DNF'ing category romance.  I mean, they're short books, right?  Surely I can suck it up and stick with the story for 200-some measly pages and just finish it, can't I?  Well, no.  Sometimes that's just not possible - even in category romance.  I mean, first off - do you know how big just my category romance TBR is?  Second, as much as I love category romance, I've read a few that have been rage-inducing and I don't enjoy hate-reading, as a general rule. 

I'm happy to report that Home to Wickham Falls by Rochelle Alers is not rage-inducing.  No, it commits the other sin that will make me DNF a category romance:

It's boring.

Sawyer Middleton is a fabulously successful software engineer living in New York City.  He left small town Wickham Falls after a final falling out with his headstrong father and his visits home have been infrequent, much to the pursed-lipped annoyance of his mother and sister.  But Dad has had a heart attack and Sawyer realizes he cannot stay away any longer.

Jessica Calhoun is a single school teacher and BFF's with Sawyer's sister.  She's positively perfect in every way.  She's a dynamite teacher, a fabulous cook, and has an amazing vegetable garden.  She's the sort who shows up with a picnic basket full of food when someone in town has a crisis / medical emergency / relative to bury.  She's also the perfect hostess - because OF COURSE she is.

Look, I get that this is my baggage - but the whole shorthand of heroine being a fabulous cook/hostess/Mother Earth-type and OF COURSE the hero is attracted to her for those qualities - this tends to get on my last good nerve.  But I hate to cook, am as crafty as a rock, and hate gardening because eww, dirt and bugs.  And really, you know what a good hostess is?  Someone who makes sure my wine glass stays full.

Wait a minute, where was I?  Oh yeah...

Conflict?  What conflict?  There is literally NO conflict.  At least for the first 43% of the story which is where I'm giving up.  Basically what you're reading about is two people going about their daily lives - which hey, is true to life but boring as hell in fiction.  It just is.

I literally had the same reaction to this book that I did with my recent foray into Robyn Carr territory.  Like the Carr, this is very Small Town Cutesy and seems to be catering to the readers who WANT that sort of thing.  Look, I read cozy mysteries for a lot of years - so I get it.  But what's disappointing here is that Alers includes some serious underpinnings by way of character development and then just...doesn't do anything with it.  So what could have added richness and depth to the characters is just sort of left there, floating on the surface.

I was going to persevere and finish this because it's not bad, per se - but I was getting to the point where I was unmotivated to pick it up and turning to my audiobook TBR instead.  Yeah, time to move on.

Final Grade = DNF

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Latest News From Wendy-Land

Remember when I used to blog regularly and my posts were insightful and informative and just generally pretty good (what do you mean no?!).  One thing I've learned over the years is that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint - and where I was 15 years ago (yes this blog is 15 years old...) is not where I am today.  For one thing, I've done the whole "moving up the ladder" thing at The Day Job which let me tell you, really reflects in my blogging mojo these days.  Plus, you know, I'm mired in a reading slump right now - which is no bueno.  But I do have some random bits of news, so here I am (and here you are).

+++++

First up is that the Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction edited by Kristin Ramsdell (another former RWA Librarian of the Year) is going to be published in August 2018 - and ::drumroll please:: yours truly is one of the contributors! 

As a reference book (read: expensive) and being one of several contributors, I figure my total royalties will be somewhere around $2.57, but you know what?

MY WORDS ARE GOING TO BE IN A PUBLISHED BOOK YO!

Plan on me being just as annoying about this as I have been since I was named RWA Librarian of the Year....way back in 2011.  No, I'm never going to let that die.  I'm getting it engraved on my tombstone.  You've all been warned.

+++++


In other happy news, I have an update on the health kick weight loss journey.  As of the typing of this post I've lost 34 pounds.  I'm 11 pounds away from my "goal weight," which is what I was when I finished graduate school.  That equated (at the time) to a size 10 (nearly 20 years ago...) and I figure a size 10 on this side of 40 is totally realistic.  I started this journey in mid-August 2017 so yeah, it's been one of those "slow and steady" kind of things, which I hope bodes well for me keeping it off.

Exercise is still...well, the pits (I just don't like it folks) and I still miss bread - but being smarter about my carbohydrate and sugar intake has really been the key for me.

+++++

Book #1 (1977)
I'm mired in a reading slump right now - mostly out of laziness and general tiredness.  But I have fallen into an audiobook hole by revisiting the Sharon McCone mystery series by Marcia Muller.  I originally read some of these when I was a teenager and then, fresh out of college, revisited the first 19 on audio (#33 is due out this summer).  But it's been nearly 20 years since I've "read" any of these and it's been a fun nostalgia trip.

Sharon is a single woman, living and working in San Francisco for a low-cost law cooperative as their in-house investigator.  The early books (I'm on #6 at the moment) largely serve as time capsules now, but in some ways they hold up remarkably well.  Although some of the character depictions are dated (Ask the Cards a Question (1982) being the best/worst example of this so far), in many ways Muller was ahead of her time and some of the conflicts are still (amazingly) relevant.  For example, gay characters aren't portrayed as deviants.  Yes, they're set in San Francisco, but it's still pretty radical when you figure these early books were published in the early 1980s.  However, there is some racial stereotyping.  Although, to be fair, not as egregious as I've read in other 35 year old novels. 

What I've found most remarkable as I've torn through these is how "current" some of the conflict has read - which I guess goes to show that the more things change the more they stay the same.  In The Cheshire Cat's Eye (1983) neighborhood gentrification figures into the plot (upwardly mobile white people buying up cheap property in minority neighborhoods...) and in Leave a Message for Willie (1984) there's a bunch of alienated white guys running around playing soldier and spouting off racist garbage (a precursor to the militia movement that came to the forefront during the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995).  I've found it fascinating, especially since I've only been able to remember small snippets of these books given it's been nearly 20 years since I've had exposure to them.

Would I recommend them to today's reader?  I don't know - possibly.  Like all things, it depends on the reader.  I think they're an interesting time capsule, and Muller's Sharon McCone predates Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone - which puts another interesting spin on these because while both characters are "independent women" - Sharon is less prickly and actually has a love life (Kinsey did too - but Grafton tended to keep it off page when she mentioned it at all).  There's actually been a couple of closed door sex scenes, which it also pretty remarkable since, in my experience, mystery readers get downright irritated when "love cooties" creep in to break up the discovery of dead bodies. The fact that Muller didn't have her hand smacked for including romantic entanglements for her private eye heroine (and the character hasn't been punished for them thus far) is interesting.

We'll see how long this audio glom lasts - but unless I hit an epic wallbanger, it's probably going to last for while.  Good thing too, since right now this series and resulting nostalgia trip is the only reading I seem to be getting done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Top 5 Unusual Historicals for April 2017

Spring seems to have finally sprung for most of us in North America, and April is the beginning of what is the start of my busy time at the office. My favorite way to unwind? Browsing the virtual and physical shelves looking for historicals to add to my insane TBR. Hey, some people play golf, I go book browsing. Here are the historicals catching my eye this month:

A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan
To seal their bond, they must break the ties that bind.
Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist’s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house party, hoping to sneak a peek. He finds the orchid, yes…but he finds something else even more rare and exquisite: Michael Vallant. Professional sodomite.

Michael climbed out of an adolescent hell as a courtesan’s bastard to become successful and independent-minded, seeing men on his own terms, protected by a powerful friend. He is master of his own world—until Wes. Not only because, for once, the sex is for pleasure and not for profit. They are joined by tendrils of a shameful, unspoken history. The closer his shy, poppy-addicted lover lures him to the light of love, the harder his past works to drag him back into the dark. There’s only one way out of this tangle. Help Wes face the fears that cripple him—right after Michael finds the courage to reveal the devastating truth that binds them. 
OMG, gimme gimme gimme. First, look at that cover. Seriously. Second, we’ve got a romance between an opium-addicted hero who falls for a male prostitute. I have to read this if only to see how the author pulls off the happy ending. (Note: newly self-published, this was originally published via Samhain. Check your digital TBRs before one-clicking!)

The Art of Love by Suzette D. Harrison
Ava Lydell is chasing her dream. A gifted artist, she’s fled the violence of the Deep South for the seduction of sunny California. As luck would have it, the economic crisis of The Great Depression interferes with her hopes and plans. Without patronage and reliable sales, her fledgling art studio fails. Now, she faces poverty, eviction…and the distraction of a mysterious, young stranger engaged in a questionable trade that delivers danger to Ava’s front door.  
In an age of Prohibition and poverty, Chase Jenkins has more than most Colored men. He’s savvy, successful, and hazardously employed. A bootlegger living on the wrong side of the law, he’s determined to discover who murdered his baby brother. He has no time for diversions. Especially one packaged in the form of a “midnight” beauty with sultry lips and curvaceous hips. Unable to deny her allure, he involves himself in her affairs despite better judgment. What begins as a crisis quickly becomes a risky romance. Join Chase and Ava on their journey to outlive danger and indulge in the art of love. 
I am stupid excited about this book because it’s set during The Great Depression. I think (maybe?) the late Dorothy Garlock wrote some books during this era, but I’m hard-pressed to recall any others (hey, let me know in the comments section!). California was a destination for many during this time, desperate for a fresh start and a better life. And while I’ve been vocal on my dislike of the trend of criminal heroes in contemporary romances - well Prohibition is another kettle of fish entirely. Contrary thy name is Wendy.

Lady Rogue by Theresa Romain
HER SECRET SCANDAL  
As far as London’s high society knows, Lady Isabel Morrow is above reproach. But the truth is rarely so simple. Though the young widow’s passionate fling with dashing Bow Street Runner Callum Jenks ended amicably months ago, she now needs his expertise. It seems Isabel’s late husband, a respected art dealer, was peddling forgeries. If those misdeeds are revealed, the marriage prospects of his younger cousin— now Isabel’s ward—will be ruined.  
For the second time, Isabel has upended Callum’s well-ordered world. He’s resolved to help her secretly replace the forgeries with the real masterpieces, as a . . . friend. A proper sort of friend doesn’t burn with desire, of course, or steal kisses on twilight errands. Or draw a willing lady into one passionate encounter after another. Isabel’s scheme is testing Callum’s heart as well as his loyalties. But with pleasure so intoxicating, the real crime would be to resist . . . 
This is the third book in Romain’s Royal Rewards series, and while it’s Regency-set, the intriguing pairing a widowed heroine, her former Bow Street Runner lover, and art forgeries is too tempting for me to pass up. Be sure to check out Romain’s recent interview about this book and her new upcoming series over at Love in the Panels.

From Courtesan to Convenient Wife by Marguerite Kaye
Every woman wants to marry him  
But what if he is already taken?  
In this Matches Made in Scandal story, Jean-Luc Bauduin, Parisian society’s most eligible bachelor, is determined to take only a wife of his choosing. But until that day comes, he’ll ward off his admirers by hiring Lady Sophia Acton to wear his ring! The passion Jean-Luc shares with his convenient bride is enormously satisfying—until he discovers Sophia’s utterly scandalous past! 
Kaye is one of my favorites in Harlequin Historical and she continues her new Matches Made in Scandal series moving the action to Paris. I love, love, love the “fake relationship” trope.

Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian

The one you love…
Robert Selby is determined to see his sister make an advantageous match. But he has two problems: the Selbys have no connections or money and Robert is really a housemaid named Charity Church. She’s enjoyed every minute of her masquerade over the past six years, but she knows her pretense is nearing an end. Charity needs to see her beloved friend married well and then Robert Selby will disappear…forever. 
May not be who you think… 
Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, has spent years repairing the estate ruined by his wastrel father, and nothing is more important than protecting his fortune and name. He shouldn’t be so beguiled by the charming young man who shows up on his doorstep asking for favors. And he certainly shouldn’t be thinking of all the disreputable things he’d like to do to the impertinent scamp. 
But is who you need… 
When Charity’s true nature is revealed, Alistair knows he can’t marry a scandalous woman in breeches, and Charity isn’t about to lace herself into a corset and play a respectable miss. Can these stubborn souls learn to sacrifice what they’ve always wanted for a love that is more than they could have imagined? 
I feel like the blurb does this story a disservice because it makes it sound like your run-of-the-mill Chick In Pants historical and I suspect that will drive some potential readers away. However, early word is that Sebastian has written a “very very queer and very very delightful” romance. Be sure to check out Amy’s thoughtful review over at Love in the Panels. It just makes me want to read this book more.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to this month?