Girl meets Books is happy to host not one but three lovely historical romances from three lovely authors. We’ve got blurbs and excerpts from all three and a Guest Post from author Caroline Linden. Plus, check out my review of IT TAKES A SCANDAL.
*Avon is hosting a TOUR WIDE Rafflecopter Commenter Giveaway of Three Prize Packs including a piece of Custom Jewelry and Print Copies of Romances from each author.
The second book in a deliciously sexy new series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Caroline Linden, in which an utterly shocking book–Fifty Shades of Grey for the Regency era– has all of London talking and gives more than one young miss a mind for scandal.
Sometimes it takes a scandal . . .
Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.
Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .
From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime
They had a deal…
From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.
But deals are made to be broken…
By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?
USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen concludes her new series with a tale of generosity, passion, and the true kindness of the heart.
A duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.
Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…
It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?
Guest Post from Caroline Linden:
10 Miscellaneous Facts about IT TAKES A SCANDAL
by Caroline Linden
1) I did not intend to write this book. I meant to write LOVE AND OTHER SCANDALS and move on to new characters and then…. Obviously I got sucked in, wondering what would happen to Abigail and Penelope, because I had such fun writing them in LOVE AND OTHER SCANDALS.
2) 50 Ways to Sin, the very naughty series of stories Penelope and Abigail scheme and connive to get their hands on, is real. I know, because I wrote them. They are loosely modeled on FANNY HILL, an 18th C. erotic book so shocking and scandalous, the author was sent to prison and the book was banned. Naturally, it sold like hotcakes underground.**
3) Sebastian was, in my original plan for this book, going to be an orphan dumped on the Stratford doorstep and raised with Benedict, like a poor relation. But the harder I tried to write him that way, the more he resisted. It sounds a little crazy to say ‘this character didn’t cooperate’ but sometimes it’s true.
4) The dogs in this story are as important as the people. Boris and Milo are also some of my favorite characters. Boris especially is inspired by my own dog, who provides the invaluable service of keeping my feet warm while I write.
5) I wanted to set this book outside of London, although not too far. Richmond was a quiet but wealthy town about ten miles from London, and was a popular retreat for centuries. Both Hart House and Stratford Court are based on actual houses still standing in Richmond (Marble Hill House and Ham House, respectively). There is even a real ferry connecting them.
6) The book Sebastian gives Abigail as a gift is also real. Minerva Press published romantic Gothic tales in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the authors were women, including Maria Regina Roche, who wrote THE CHILDREN OF THE ABBEY. You can even read it here: https://archive.org/details/childrenabbey00rochgoo
No one would say Minerva Press books were great literature, but in their day they were extremely popular, especially with young women.
7) My favorite scenes are the ones were Abigail tells off her suitors. I wanted her to be a young woman who believed in herself and what she wanted from a man, and she wasn’t willing to settle. And when Sebastian needs a bit of a kick in the behind, she’s able to administer it, without tears or drama.
8) I am very proud of Mr and Mrs Weston. Not only are they both alive—a rarity for historical romance heroines’ parents—they are affectionate parents and still in love with each other. Even when they get in the way of what Abigail wants, it’s because they’re trying to act in her best interests… you know, parenting.
9) I expect everyone will hate the Earl of Stratford. Don’t worry, I have plans for him.
10) And as for which characters will make future appearances… I’m writing Penelope’s story now. And for those wondering what happens to Samantha, there will be something about her, too.
**If you would like to read 50 Ways to Sin for yourself, you can! Submit proof of purchase of IT TAKES A SCANDAL by 5/6/14 and receive three issues. Details here: http://avonromance.hc.com/takesascandal
My Review of IT TAKES A SCANDAL
The story in a nutshell…
Abigail first met Sebastian when he saved her mother’s dog in the woods. Their brief encounter left a big impression on both of them and in no time did they find themselves wanting to spend more and more time with each other and getting to know one another. They became neighbors, you see, when Abigail’s father bought Hart House right next to the property where Montrose Hill, Sebastian’s home is located. But will they growing affection for each other stand the test, not just of time but of Sebastian’s reduced circumstances, rumors surrounding his state of madness, gossip about his tarnished past, and accusations hurled at him about theft and even murder?
What worked for me?
I was really pleased with this latest installment in author Caroline Linden’s Scandal series. It may seem like a story you’ve already read but don’t let that stop you from giving this one a try. What really made me love this story are the characters.
Abigail is an heiress, from a family of noveau-riche, whose parents would of course wish for her to marry well. She loves reading and taking long walks. She adores her parents and even though Penelope, her younger sister, sometimes gives her a trial, she loves her sister still. But more than that, she’s also smart, brave, and with a good sense. I love that she doesn’t let circumstances dictate what she ought to be doing but follows her mind and her heart instead. She isn’t judgmental or frivolous or easily-swayed. She thinks for herself and only after much debate with herself or counsel with her sister would she form her decisions. But still, her decisions are her own and nobody else’s. Her belief and faith in Sebastian was entirely endearing but the great thing is that she never lets herself be run roughshod. When she believes she’s being maligned, she tells it as she sees or feels it. No more of that nonsense of letting everything bottle up inside of her.
Sebastian is a hero you can definitely root for. He’s no rogue nor a scoundrel. He doesn’t have legions of women dotting his past. He had once been an eligible man but he came home from the war with a shattered leg and faced with a father who had gone mad and who had sold much of their properties for obscenely low amounts leaving him almost bankrupt. He has no prospects and he’s been shunned by almost all the people he’d known all this life after the gossip that the madness of his father had seeped into him as well and the accusation that he had killed his own father. And he’s lived that way for the past seven years: alone but for the company of his dog and his housekeeper and her husband. And then a chance encounter with Abigail changes everything. She sees him with eyes not colored by judgment, addresses him not as a thief or a murderer but as a normal human being, and she seems genuinely interested in spending time with and getting to know him. A gift to his lonely existence if there ever was one. And it was great watching him be his old self, his true self again. A man who went through what he did deserves this and more. And that’s what Abigail gifts him with. He has been dealt by fate with a terrible hand but he still has good sense in him, an understanding of the people who treated him ill. He has anger and bitterness, who wouldn’t have, but they are never misplaced and that speaks of the kind of character he has. Swoon!
They are refreshing in their candor, in their quick study and sense that it makes the plot move forward at a steady pace instead of being stretched so far that it would have lost its momentum. They were withheld by petty misunderstandings that would run past their shelf life in a story like in other books. I particularly love how Caroline Linden presents a familiar set-up or situation and then turns it on its head. It makes what would have been a repeated or tiring thing into something fresh and new. I thought I knew how the characters would react and at times they may start to react in that way but then they would completely surprise me. It’s great.
What didn’t work for me?
I wasn’t a particular fan of the Benedict angle but I understood why the author needed him to be in the story. I was also looking forward to the resolutions for some of the unanswered questions and mysteries like the accusation of theft and the disappearance of Sebastian’s father and while they were explained eventually in the book, I was expecting something more.
My over-all take on it?
A treat for historical romance readers. The winning pieces of this story truly are, for me, Abigail and Sebastian. If author Caroline Linden had created these same characters in another book, I’d definitely read that one too.
My Rating: 4 wonderful stars!
About the Authors:
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at http://www.carolinelinden.com.
Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: http://www.lauraleeguhrke.com.
After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than eighteen historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion and the Laurel Wreath Award.
Gayle lives in Central New York with her three children, her dog, Apollo, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero.
Visit her website at http://www.gaylecallen.com.
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