First up is Heather Cullman's Scandal (Signet). Commoner Gideon Harwood has come home to England far richer than when he left, and now he's stumbled onto something even better--a way to acquire a titled wife and an introduction into society. Lady Julia Stanwell is none too pleased to have to pretend an infatuation for a stranger, and less happy that she is being forced into a marriage to protect her family. Can this pair ever possibly come to love one another? Well, this is a romance novel. For historical romance fans who love all period details and proprieties, this one will be good. For those who aren't as wild about all the tiny details of the time period, this one won't fascinate. Of Cupid's five arrows, it's earned three. It also reminds me very strongly of another romance I read in the last year and can't recall the title of, so much so that I was certain I'd read this one already. I hadn't, but I'm still digging back through last year's reviews to find the other, just to satisfy my curiosity.
The second book I have to share with you this week is Catherine Coulter's The Penwyth Curse (Jove). Merryn de Gay is only eighteen, yet widowed four times. Bishop of Lythe has been sent by the king to become husband number five, but before the curse that has killed her previous husbands can take his life as well, Bishop wants to find a way around it, a way to win the lady's heart. I have to be frank here and mention that I'm not a huge Coulter fan, but I will also admit that I liked this book better than most of hers. Along with all the typical romance trappings, there's a bit of magic in this tale, as well as a couple from sometime in the past--though for a little while, the switching back and forth is a little jarring--who I believe I liked better than Merryn and Bishop. For me, though, the paranormal elements added greatly to the story. I'm giving this one three and a half arrows. It's a good way to while away a cold winter's afternoon.
Come join in the discussions in the forum. And until next time, happy reading!