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Mixing History With Romance

Hello, and welcome back. I hope you're all staying warm and dry now that fall weather has arrived--at least it has here in the northeast, finally! As I write this, I'm listening to the wind and rain outside, and feeling quite happy that we'll be putting another dent in the drought in our area with all this rain. And thinking of all the lovely books waiting for me to read when I've finished here.

I think we mentioned last year after RWA's big conference when all the editors swore they weren't buying historicals, they weren't selling well, the genre was dead. Usually it takes a little longer for things to cycle around, but this year, the editors were asking for historicals again, and this month's reading material seems to uphold that. I've got three to share with you just this week, and of the November books already sitting on my desk, there are eight of them. Eight. Hm, for a genre that's only just returned from the dead, that's pretty good, I think.

First up this week is Diane Farr's Duel of Hearts (Signet), the second of her Regency historicals. Lilah Chadwick and Adam Harleston are desperate to stop the wedding of her father and his childhood friend and cousin, and will do nearly anything to accomplish their goal, but neither plans on falling in love. It's a sweet story, though there are points where I was truly annoyed with both of them for behaving like spoiled brats insistent on having their way. The secondary characters are quite charming, though, and make up for some of the misbehaving of the main characters. Of Cupid's five arrows, I'm giving this one three.

Next is Claire Delacroix's Rogue (Warner). Some of the characters in this tale are named for people in the Arthurian myths, though I had no trouble keeping them separate from the old stories. Ysabella is wed to Merlyn, though now it appears her spouse is dead. As he was the laird of Ravensmuir, this means his widow will become fair game for the surrounding landowners. Except that Ysabella doesn't believe he is dead now that she is back in their marital home. I had a hard time getting into this story from the very beginning, mostly because it's told in the first person. You get only Ysabella's point of view throughout the entire book, and so it is difficult to feel sympathy for some of the other characters, though my problem was a real lack of sympathy for her. It's a complex tale, winding through past problems and plenty of familial difficulties. Some of you may love it. I didn't, unfortunately. I'm giving it only two arrows.

Finally this week, we have Lynn Kerstan's Golden Leopard (Onyx). Lady Jessica Carville must work with the one man she least wants to be close to, Lord Hugo Duran, the man who broke her heart. Together, they must locate a priceless golden leopard that has been stolen, and in their quest, old wounds are reopened, and Jessica and Hugo are forced into a situation neither expected, but that neither will try too hard to escape. Great chemistry here between the hero and heroine, though I was a bit put out about having the bedroom door slammed in my face more than once. This one's earned three and a half arrows.

Don't forget to join our October book discussion in the forum, and until next week, happy reading!

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