The Lady Most Likely…, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway
While masquerading as a full novel, this is really three novellas combined into one house party. Happily married Carolyn throws a house party for her brother, Hugh, a duke, to find his bride, but many other couples find themselves thrown together as well. It was cute and sweet, as I’d come to expect, but nothing particularly special despite having two of my favorite romance authors (Julia Quinn and Eloisa James) writing for it. Great for an afternoon’s diversion, but probably only if you can get it out of the library.
Tempt Me at Twilight, Lisa Kleypas
Harry Rutledge is a real romance novel hero; a rugged man who could easily be cast as a villain, but who really has a heart of gold. He’s been treated so badly throughout his life that he believes he’s lost the ability to love. Poppy Hathaway is just the girl to set him straight, from the minute she chases her sister Beatrix’s ferret into his office and has no idea who he is. Poppy has her heart set on Michael Bayning, but Harry is determined to win her for himself.
In part, I liked this book, and in part, I didn’t. Harry is too ruthless of a man for me, plus he’s quite a stereotype. He goes out of his way to ‘win’ Poppy without any consideration for her feelings. This made the beginning of the book very difficult to appreciate. (It didn’t help that I was on a plane and not particularly well!) When I picked the book up again later, though, things started to fall into place, especially when Harry realized he did care what Poppy felt about him. Of course, the novel proceeds to go the route of little-abandoned-boy-becomes-man-who-cannot-love-but-can-be-redeemed. At least it was done well, and when I finished I eagerly went on to the next in the series, which follows right below this one.
Married by Morning, Lisa Kleypas
Leo Hathaway has seemingly recovered – as much as possible anyway – from the death of his fiancee several years ago. He’s cut a rakish path through society since then, more or less aimlessly and full of humor, with few people getting under his skin. The exception is his sisters’ governess, Miss Catherine Marks, with whom he shares a mutual hatred. They regularly mock one another but can’t seem to stay away, and naturally that sexual tension explodes. But Catherine has a few skeletons in her closet and Leo must relinquish his devil-may-care armor before they can truly fall in love.
Like most other people who have read and enjoyed this series, I have been waiting for Leo’s story since book 1. He’s the tortured soul that we all managed to fall in love with even when he was making life difficult for Amelia – who can’t adore a man who is so devastated over the loss of his fiancee? I think we all just wanted Leo to be happy. When Catherine Marks appeared, it was obvious that she was the one (as I’m sure Kleypas planned it!) This tied nicely into the last book and made them perfect follow-ups to one another. I felt this was stronger all around – stronger romance, better plot (though still a romance novel one), and sparkling interactions between all of the characters. For a book I’ve anticipated for a couple of years, Married by Morning didn’t let me down, and that was a nice feeling.
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