Engaging the Heiress (Camden Girls, #2) by Juli D. Revezzo – Review

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About Engaging the Heiress by Juli D. Revezzo

Mr. Edwin Hetherington needs a fiancée he will never have to marry.  Years ago, his family lost everything to an unscrupulous Irish landlord. Now, the fellow offers to make amends by reinstating Edwin’s family title and properties forfeited during the famine, if he weds Miss Jera Camden, a young woman Edwin pines for but has never approached with more than polite conversation.

As far as Jera is concerned, so long as she manages to avoid an unwanted Scottish-born suitor of her mother’s choosing, the bluestocking is happy to play the part of Edwin’s blushing bride-to-be.

Can Edwin and Jera dupe the crafty landlord into making good on his promise before the wedding date arrives … or will their best-laid plans result in disaster?

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Review of Engaging the Heiress

It was easy to like the main characters Edwin Hetherington and Jera Camden.  They are friends and both would like more, but social circumstances make that possibility seem farfetched.   That is until Miles Vassyr comes along.  Vassyr makes an offer to help Edwin, in exchange for Edwin’s help.  There are two aspects to the deal.  Vassyr wants an architect and he wants to retore Edwin’s family title.  Vassyr’s motivation is confusing.  He wants an architect, but his heath is failing and may never live to see the the complete project.  He wants to make amends for what happened in Ireland, but why?  I never really figured Vassyr out.  

The Hetherington family history is only vaguely explained.  Which means I also did not understand how a title would be restored.  The subtleties of British titles and how they are bestowed is often lost on this American.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the story.  Like I say, Edwin and Jera are lovely characters whose lives end up taking a turn they did  not expect.  Dealing with the unscrupulous Mr. Vassyr and his creepy nephew challenge the pair.  Almost as challenging is treading among society (including an aggrieved former suitor) and Jera’s family.  The title is a bit of a giveaway regarding certain events, however those events are not evident until they happen.

Engaging the Heiress is the second book in the Camden Girls series.  The books have overlapping characters and some aspects of the plot are interconnected.  It might help to read book 1 first, but it is not necessary.

The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson – Review

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About The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson

Haunted by the assault she’s kept hidden over the past four years, Charity Halliwell finally has a chance to return home to the quaint village she left more than five years before and the happy life she wants so badly to reclaim. All she needs is good conversation with her old friend and an opportunity to find a governess position, and she can leave the fear and guilt behind. But the family who agrees to her yearlong visit turns out to be a far cry from the one she thought she knew, particularly when her friend disappears and the one man she made certain would not be at the house is forced to return. How can she possibly heal and claim her independence when day in, day out she must face the only gentleman who ever held a piece of her heart?

Piers Cavanagh was branded a coward when he failed to show up for a duel he arranged. He had his reasons, of course, but disclosing them would hurt far more than continuing life as an outcast. And worse, with the mysterious departure of his sister, the strange nightly occurrences in the ruins of an old abbey, and the uncomfortable whispers of a secret organization, Piers must overcome his aversion to society and work with the last person he ever thought he would get the chance to speak to again—the girl whose heart he had no choice but to break.

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Review of The Vanishing at Loxby Manor

Abigail Wilson has perfected the historical mystery/romance formula.  The Vanishing at Loxby Manor  has all the elements that are required: a strong heroine who must overcome her 19th century restrictions, a hero who must overcome his own obstacles, a missing friend, and a secret society.  These elements combined with an atmospheric setting, a country manor with it’s own haunted ruins, imbue the tale with a gothic aura.

Piers Cavanaugh’s family is an eclectic group of characters.  Each seems to be hiding something, but you don’t know if what they are hiding is sinister or harmless.  The same can be said of the group of friends that includes Piers’ brother Avery.   Which means, when Seline Cavanaugh goes missing, there is no lack of questionable characters to suspect.   And there is no easy answer to the mystery.  So many clues, so many plots and sub-plots.  Expect to not solve the mystery until very near the end!

As Charity Halliwell tries to find her missing friend, Piers seems to be the only one she feels she can trust.  These two have a past which should keep them apart.  It is a testament to what can only be described as love that they do trust each other.  However, they both have secrets, so trust may be tested.

Heroine Charity Halliwell has impaired hearing, something rarely seen in romance novels.  Having someone in my life that suffers some of the same crowed-room hearing issues, I was immediately drawn to Charity and also to Piers, who understands Charity’s difficulties and goes out of his way to make sure she can hear him.

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor takes place in the same era as Ms. Wilson’s other books.  There is a teeny bit of overlap between novels – from an historical perspective. But they are completely standalone stories.

I am a fan of Ms. Wilson.  I’ve now read 3 of her 4 Regency mystery romances.  They are all wonderful!

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth – Review

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About The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth

In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.

Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.

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Review of The Brass Queen

Two words: Steampunk fundom.

There is more to The Brass Queen than that, but basically, it is all about the fun.  That is, there is a mystery, there is romance, there is adventure.  But there are these larger than life characters that do outrageous things while while uttering outlandish dialog.  So, fun!

Constance, the heroine with a goggle collection, invents and makes weapons (of mass destruction).  I know, it seems an odd profession for a woman of the Victorian age.  What is even odder is that she does it incognito.  She sells her weapons under the name of the Brass Queen.  She a) is not very discriminating about who she sells to and b) needs to hire a good manager to avoid shipping snafus.  One particular snafu has the client wanting her dead.

Trusdale, American spy, becomes the reluctant partner of Constance as they search for the kidnapped scientists.  There is supposed to be a romance between these two.  I found the adventure and the humor kind of overshadowed any romanticism.  However, Constance and Trusdale make an interesting, bumbling, team that overcome several ridiculous obstacles with a combination of a little skill and a great deal of luck.  It was easy to imagine this story playing out in movie format with witty dialog, cool gadgets and lots of explosions.

An over-the-top bad guy with a mustache to twirl is the perfect complement to the hero and heroine.  Lucien is devious, ambitious, over-confident and throws grand garden parties.  Relentless in his pursuit of Constance, Lucien’s final confrontation is fast approaching.  This is evident from the moment you meet him.

While I enjoyed the story, the characters of The Brass Queen were not the kind I could connect with.   If the intent is to turn this into a series, more character development is needed.  However, as a stand-alone story, The Brass Queen, filled with humor and adventure, is steampunk fundom!

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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