Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

Thank you to Shabby Blogs ( for the free frame!

Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome to a new feature on Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.

The Historical Romance Edition:
Since Mary of Buried Under Romance and I are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, we've decided to focus on our beloved genre.

Here are our rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 3, 2008.

Wildstar by Linda Ladd, published May 1984

Raised by the Cheyenne, the silver-haired beauty named Starfire knows nothing of her past life, her childhood as Elizabeth Pennington Richmond. The Cheyenne are her people and their ways are hers. So when the tall blond stranger steps out of the darkness and carries her off into the night, she fights him with all of her strength. Terrified, she has no idea that he has been sent to rescue her after all these years.

In the darkness of night, Logan Cord has not gotten a good look at the young woman he has been sent to rescue. As he watches her sleeping in the slowly brightening light of the dawn, his breath catches at the sight of her beauty. Then, her eyes open to reveal their startling violet fury, and she turns on him with teeth bared. Not realizing the adventure ahead of them, Starfire and Logan embark on a journey of self-discovery, danger, ... and love.

To find out more about Linda Ladd and her books, click below:


Head over to Mary @ Buried Under Romance and Ki Pha of Doing Some Reading for their picks for Throwback Thursday.^_^

Fellow historical romance readers are welcome to join us. Enter your link below so we can visit your TBT: HR Edition post for the week! (Then go here to copy the Link code to your blogs.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden (Review + Giveaway)

Love Saves the World would like to welcome Caroline Linden and her latest book, Love in the Time of Scandal. Last March, I binge-read through the first two books in the series, so I'm really excited to be part of this blog tour for Benedict and Penelope's story.

Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway (Enter via Rafflecopter below)
Grand prize: A journal to keep track of all your own scandals, plus print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, Love and Other Scandals, and It Takes a Scandal.

Runner Up: print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, Love and Other Scandals, and It Takes a Scandal.

To follow the rest of Caroline's stops, click here.

* * *

About the book:

Love in the Time of Scandal

Scandalous #3
By: Caroline Linden
Releasing May 26, 2015

The third book in a deliciously sexy 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.

Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can’t forget how he abandoned a friend in need -- nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He’s the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn’t feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel ...

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. But, though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father’s control, spirited Penelope just doesn’t suit his plans for a model marriage -- until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope’s. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful ... beguiling ... and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

Goodreads Link

Goodreads Series Link

Buy Links:

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My Review:

If we are to strictly follow the unspoken rules of courtship, Benedict should not even remotely consider Penelope as anything more than a friend, because she's the younger sister of a lady he proposed marriage to and was rejected. In the same vein, Penelope should not even remotely entertain the possibility of Benedict, because he was recently courting a friend of hers (Frances Lockwood). (Penelope's advice was also instrumental in Benedict's second rejection.)

But, as the series implies, Caroline Linden created these characters, paired them despite scandalous circumstances, and waited for love to do the rest.

Penelope didn't want to want Benedict, and really tried her best to hate him, and she did a very good job of showing scorn and indifference when she was around him. But Benedict proves to be a hard man to hate: he's handsome, well-mannered, patient, and loves his sisters very deeply. (And Penelope happens to really like Benedict's sisters.) His one fault is how he badly he handled his friendship with Sebastian, but even that had been forgiven and forgotten by everyone (except Penelope) (Read: It Takes a Scandal).

When our hero and heroine are caught in a compromising situation, a villain uses this opportunity to stir up trouble for Penelope, who has been meddling in his affairs. The rumors prove too damaging for Penelope and Benedict, and their only course of action is marriage. Marriages of (in)convenience usually have virtual strangers marrying, but Penelope and Benedict have the dubious distinction of being that rare couple who know, but hate each other before marrying.

Miss Lockwood was anxious to please, listening to his every word as if it had the gravity of Scripture. Miss Weston also seemed to regard his words as biblical, but rather more as she might view the hissing of the serpent in Eden.
- loc 395

I like how Caroline Linden explores the twin emotions of love and hate. There are a lot of sparks that fly between the two: both from the attraction and desire that they feel, and from the sharp exchanges between the two of them. (They could be Benedick and Beatrice from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.)

"Do you really hate me?" he interrupted.

She flushed again. "Have you really been in love with me all along?"

Neither said a word.
- loc 1356

* * *

"Don't kiss me," she whispered even as she tipped her head to let him do just that.

"Only if you don't kiss me." His breath was hot on her skin.
- loc 2476

Love in the Time of Scandal is really about Olivia Townsend, Penelope's friend, a widow who is being hounded by her late husband's cohorts, Simon, Lord Clary. Penelope suffers the consequences of trying to help her friend out. This, perhaps, is the one point of the story that I wish the author had developed further. From the moment this conflict is introduced, I could sense the urgency and weight of the situation -- it's dire enough to have Olivia leave town and for Lord Clary to use very underhanded methods to get even with Penelope -- but, as the story continues and is eventually resolved, I still have some questions about what Lord Clary was really after ... and whether Olivia Townsend will really get her happy ending (There are hints that she might get it with Penelope's brother, Jamie? *fingers crossed*).

Linden's novel highlights a lot of points for reflection: family dynamics (Benedict's is very dysfunctional), friendship and loyalty, society's unforgiving standards, the cruelty of rumors, the limited choices that women have, etc. And, between Benedict and Penelope, we see how trust is tested and how intentions, no matter how good they are, can come into question.

It is not a secret that Benedict was hoping to marry into money to escape his father's control, and I was a bit concerned when sex came so quickly and easily to Benedict and Penelope -- but Caroline Linden does a good job of developing intimacy between our hero and heroine -- Penelope is not shy to ask the difficult questions. And it's very good that Benedict is willing to answer them.

"Must everything be a storm of passion and emotion with you?" He reached for his glass again. "I wouldn't have asked her if I didn't hope to be accepted." He paused thoughtfully, glass raised, then added, "And the same went for Miss Lockwood, if that was your next query." He tossed down the brandy.

Penelope's face burned. "You didn't love either of them."

"No," he readily agreed. "There are many reasons a man asks a woman to marry him. Love is only one possibility."
- loc 2389

There's so much honestly between Benedict and Penelope, that it leaves no doubt, in the end, that they are truly meant for each other.

Love in the Time of Scandal is book 3 in Caroline Linden's Scandalous series, and was released May 26, 2015.

Disclosure: I received this review copy via Edelweiss as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Avon and to Caroline Linden for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

* * *

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, three 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

Author Links:

* * *


Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway (Enter via Rafflecopter below)
Grand prize: A journal to keep track of all your own scandals, plus print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, Love and Other Scandals, and It Takes a Scandal.

Runner Up: print copies of the first two books in Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, Love and Other Scandals, and It Takes a Scandal.

To follow the rest of Caroline's stops, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Free and Discounted Historical Romance Novels

Hi, all!

Summer vacation is winding down for us, and school officially starts on June 8 for my two kids. I hope that means more time to read (I had planned to read a lot this summer, but ... best laid plans and all that.)

Anyway, here are this week's free and discounted historical romance novels that I've found on Amazon. Enjoy~

No Place for a Lady (The Regency Rags to Riches Series, Book 1) by Jade Lee
FREE on Amazon

About the book:
372 pages, 84 reviews (Average customer rating: 4 stars)

The London rookeries are slums, rife with criminals, and shunned by the upper crust.

But someone there intends to murder one of England's greatest leaders, and Marcus Kane, Lord Chadwick, will follow every clue, even into the bowels of London's underground. But he can't find his way alone.

A partner is required.

Fantine (Fanny) Delarive is perfect. She knows the slums better than anyone, has survived its labyrinth alone for years, and knows every criminal lurking in every dark corner.

Then, the investigation detours the pair into the bright ballrooms of the ton.

And Fantine fits in here, too.

Which changes everything.

Lord Chadwick knows a woman of Fantine's ilk is entirely unsuitable for him. But she's infinitely more exciting than any well-born lady he's ever met.

Now much more than an acquaintance with the independent, self-reliant Fantine is required ... and it must end with nothing less than marriage.

Romantic Times Hero’s Kiss Award for a Great Hero
2002 Madcap Finalist for romantic comedy

REGENCY RAGS TO RICHES, in series order
No Place for a Lady
Devil's Bargain
Almost an Angel
The Dragon Earl

Trials of Artemis: Haberdashers Book One by Sue London
FREE on Amazon

About the book:
337 pages, 272 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

The Haberdashers
In 1805 three little girls decided to create a "boys club" because boys have more fun. Their childhood was filled with sword fighting, horse racing, and archery. Now in 1815 they are all grown up and expected to join Society. Who will marry such independent and deadly misses?

Trials of Artemis
(Regency, Hot) Loving Lord Lucifer ...
An independent bluestocking sneaks into a library to read rare Greek texts and ends up with a husband instead.

Jacqueline "Jack" Walters loves archery and Greek military history. In her third season she has failed to inspire so much as one marriage proposal and is planning to settle into the quiet life of a spinster.

Gideon Wolfe, Earl of Harrington, has been avoiding marriage but a case of mistaken identity in the library has left him saddled with an argumentative and unwilling fiancée.

Return to Rhonan: Regency Romance Suspense (Lords of Rhonan Book 1) by Katy Walters
FREE on Amazon

About the book:
224 pages, 13 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.2 stars)

A supernatural romance.

Ghosts, Hauntings, witches and seances all work to make this a riveting regency romance.

A book of lost love, passion, suspense and the hope of marriage

In 1810, Lord Duncan Mavebury, heir to the Rhonan Estates, and Muriall Mondell, beautiful, but penniless, are in love and planning to elope to Duncan’s vast estates in Jamaica. To their dismay, vicious landlords of neighbouring estates, begin to seize the land of tenant farmers, clearing the Scottish Highlands for sheep grazing. Hundreds start to die of starvation.

Muriall and Duncan delay their plans, as they strive to save the lives of the tenants. Unbeknown to Duncan, his brother Lord Maximillian, a rakehell and member of the Hell-Fire club, is intent on abducting Muriall.

In the present day, American, Jessica McGregor mourns the death of her beloved aunt and guardian ... Her cousin Dinah urges her to visit the North-West Highlands of Scotland, a place their aunt longed to visit, to search for their lost ancestors. Jess reluctantly agrees and books into Rhonan Manor Hotel, where she meets the owner, the handsome, Earl of Rhonan, Lord Douglas Mavebury. Immediately attracted to her, he sweeps her off her feet, determined to make her his own. He fails to tell her the Manor is haunted by his long lost ancestors, or that a demon festers in the dungeons below the ruined castle in the grounds, a demon planning vengeance on the inhabitants of Rhonan. Unless he acts quickly, Jess's life in danger.

Dragon Knight's Sword (Order of the Dragon Knights Book 1) by Mary Morgan
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:
382 pages, 76 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.7 stars)

Duncan Mackay will do anything to lift the curse from his family -- even forfeit his own life. But his plans change when he encounters the woman from his dreams, literally. She is from the future, somehow has his lost sword, and can talk to the Dragon that is able to lift his family’s curse.

Brigid O'Neill has spent her life listening to the mythological legends from Ireland and Scotland. So, when an ancient sword lands at her doorstep and she starts dreaming of a rugged Highlander, she drops everything and takes on a quest that will alter everything she believes.

Before their journey ends, not only will Duncan and Brigid battle an ancient curse, they must also find the courage to believe in the destiny that brought them together.

Embracing Scandal: (Scandalous Siblings Book 1) by Suzi Love
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:
297 pages, 14 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.6 stars)

After Lady Rebecca Jamison, a mathematical genius, saves her family from financial ruin by secretly investing in railway stocks on the London stock exchange, a greedy syndicate, desperate for Becca's calculations and predictions, murders her friend and threatens the Jamison family, forcing Becca to beg assistance from her childhood friend, Cayle St. Martin.

The newly titled Duke of Sherwyn has returned to London after five years on the continent extending his family's shipping interests. He's shunned his privileged London life and his father's unbending attitudes, and becomes committed to employing the spying tactics he learned on the continent to help Becca indict the syndicate -- and using his skills as a lover to seduce her into his bed.

But how will Cayle be able to convince Becca, a determinedly self-sufficient spinster, that he can be more to her than just a protector?

The first in my scandal series with heroines whose scientific knowledge and intellect are an affront to increasingly prudish early Victorian society.

Elusive Passion (Ryland Brothers Book 1) by Kathryn Smith
$0.99 on Amazon

About this book:
388 pages, 21 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.2 stars)

Who is the mysterious Varya? On the surface she's a woman who tempts men beyond reason, but no one has touched the heart of the elusive creature ... that is, until now.

Miles Christian, the Marquess of Wynter, never expected to be abducted at gunpoint and accused of murder -- and certainly not by a woman! When he discovers his would-be kidnapper is the elusive Varya, a beauty courted -- and desired -- by most of the men in London society, he is doubly shocked ... and enthralled. Obsessed with this seductress, Miles is determined to keep her by his side as they hunt for the true culprit, even if it means putting them both in danger.

For Varya the danger lies in Miles's very touch, and though she's far from ready to trust the dashing rogue, she cannot deny the attraction that flares between them. But when they are caught in a compromising position, Varya reluctantly agrees to pose as Miles's mistress, even as she resists his potent efforts to woo her into his bed. For none could guess that her bloodlines are as pure as any English aristocrat's or that behind her public mask lies a woman determined not to relinquish her hard-won independence to a man's desire - unless she ensnares his heart as well.

The Daring Debutantes Series, Boxed Set (Three Regency Romance Novellas) by Jerrica Knight-Catania
$0.99 on Amazon

About the collection:
401 pages, 19 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.1 stars)

Get all three of the Daring Debutantes Novellas in one collection!

The Robber Bride, Book 1 --

When Victoria Barclay, privileged daughter of the Viscount Grantham, has a life-altering experience as a young girl, it sets the course for the rest of her life. She is determined to make a difference in the world, no matter the consequence, and becomes a highwayman -- or woman, as it were -- robbing the rich and donating her pilfered gains to the poor.

Life-long friend and neighbor, Phineas Dartwell, Earl of Leyburn, suspects his dear friend is up to no good. She’s become evasive, and even worse, he cares that she’s become evasive. When she refuses to confide in him, claiming it’s for his own good, he severs the friendship out of wounded pride and a wounded heart.

But when Victoria’s activities are brought to light in the eyes of the magistrate, Phineas must find a way to acquit his friend -- and dare he hope, future wife? -- of the charges.

The Gypsy Bride, Book 2 --

Engaged to a reprehensible baron, Bianca Manning knows she must do something to escape her fate. She decides that a Romany camp is the last place her mad fiance would think to look for her.

The last thing Emilian Carrol needs is a spirited Englishwoman in his life, but he can't seem to say no when she begs to hide out in his tribe's camp. And maybe she's just the thing he needs to help heal his wounded heart.

Thomas Barclay, future Viscount Grantham, is bored to tears and looking for a distraction. When his old friend Baron Tisbury asks for help in tracking down his missing fiancee, Tom decides to make himself useful and goes in search of the wayward girl.

Caught between two worlds, Bianca must figure out which man holds the keys to her heart.

The Stage Bride, Book 3 --

Thomas Barclay has had a rough year, to say the least. After being jilted by the only woman he ever loved, he's sworn off love for good, along with any semblance of respectability, by attempting to drink away his sorrows. However, when his meddling sister sends him off to the country to pull himself together once and for all, he finds himself trapped with the most vexing and obstinate creature he's ever been forced to encounter.

Amelia Harding has more than overstayed her welcome at Ms. Denby's School for Girls. At the ripe age of eighteen, she's finally being forced to enter the marriage mart, which also means returning to her father -- a prospect she refuses to even entertain. So she decides to run away to London to pursue a life on the stage. Unfortunately, her plans go awry and she finds herself in a carriage bound for the country in the company of a drunkard. A handsome drunkard, but a drunkard, nonetheless.

Now they both must decide if they will continue to let their pasts define them, or if they will start anew in each other’s arms.

Fabulous Firsts: A Boxed Set of Eleven Full-Length Series-Starter Novels (Jewels of Historical Romance)
$0.99 on Amazon

About this collection:
3000 pages, 25 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

Eleven full-length novels from eleven New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors! Each book is the first in a beloved series. From the majesty of medieval castles to the glittering ballrooms of the Regency, read an enchanting novel from each of the Jewels of Historical Romance!

UNDENIABLE ROGUE by Annette Blair, Book 1 of her Rogue’s Club series
London, 1815: Thanks to a battlefield promise, Gideon St. Goddard, Duke of Stanthorpe, will take a bride. Sabrina Whitcomb needs to provide for her children, but wedding a stranger is no light matter.

THE BRIDE WORE BLUE by Cheryl Bolen, Book 1 of her Brides of Bath series
England, 1813: For six long years Thomas Moreland has dreamed of the beautiful young noblewoman who rescued him. Wealthy now, he's come to Bath to rescue his fair Felicity—while endeavoring to win her love.

NOBLE SATYR by Lucinda Brant, Book 1 of her Roxton Family Saga
France & England, 1740s: In the age of hedonism and enlightenment, Antonia is abandoned at Versailles, where the predatory Comte de Salvan plots her seduction. The Duke of Roxton snatches Antonia to safety—but is Roxton a noble savior or a satyr most despicable?

LADY DANGER by Glynnis Campbell, Book 1 of her Warrior Maids of Rivenloch series
Scotland, 1136: Deirdre of Rivenloch has never had trouble turning away men. But when she marries the powerful Sir Pagan Cameliard to save her sister, Deirdre soon finds herself losing the battle over her heart.

THE MacKINNON’S BRIDE by Tanya Anne Crosby, Book 1 of her Highland Brides series
Scotland, 1124: When Iain MacKinnon's young son is stolen by the English, he captures the daughter of his enemy to bargain for his son's return. But even as Page blames the chieftain for welching on a contract with her father, she suspects the truth...

LUCIFER’S ROGUE by Colleen Gleason, Book 1 of her Draculia Vampire Trilogy
England, 1802: Voss, the Viscount Dewhurst, is an immortal who loves women and all things pleasurable, with no regard for others. Things are about to change when Miss Angelica Woodmore crosses his path and the rake falls...hard.

THE WILD ONE by Danelle Harmon, Book 1 of her De Monteforte Brothers series
England, 1776: When handsome black sheep of the family Lord Gareth de Montforte thwarts a stagecoach robbery, he finds himself inheriting his dead brother's fiancee and infant baby.

ROGUE’S HONOR by Brenda Hiatt, Book 1 of her Saint of Seven Dials series
London, 1816: A duke's daughter in disguise is rescued by legendary Regency Robin Hood, the Saint of Seven Dials. Love is the last thing either needs, but when was love ever wise?

AMETHYST by Lauren Royal, Book 1 of her Chase Family Series
England, 1666: Amethyst Goldsmith will soon be condemned to a loveless marriage, and she sees no way out—until a devastating fire sweeps through London, and tragedy lands her in the arms of dashing nobleman Colin Chase.

THE DEVIL OF KILMARTIN by Laurin Wittig, Book 1 of her Kilmartin Glen series
Scotland, 1307: Symon MacLachlan encounters Elena Lamont and discovers her touch frees him from the madness he battles. Certain she is the legendary Lamont healer, he tries to lure the skittish lass to marry him, but will he be able to win her love?

SILVER STORM by Cynthia Wright, Book 1 of her Rakes & Rebels series
Connecticut & Virginia, 1783: Dashing privateer Captain Andre Raveneau saves spirited Devon Lindsay from the Redcoats. He reluctantly agrees to deliver her to her fiancé, but doesn't count on falling in love with her himself!
Friday, May 22, 2015

ARC Review: At the Spy's Pleasure by Tina Gabrielle

Click here to pre-order the book on Amazon, release date: May 26, 2015

Jane, Lady Stanwell, is finally out of mourning and is looking for a lover, but it is not an easy feat. Her husband's suicide has tainted Jane, and has given her a reputation among the lords and ladies of the Ton. Men would be wise to stay clear of her, whose husband chose to end his life over a horse than to continue living with his wife. She's only looking for pleasure, with no commitments -- and she's narrowed her list down to one man, Simon Marbury.

Barrister by day, spy by night, Gareth Ramsey has been tasked to shadow Simon Marbury over suspicions that his family's foundry is manufacturing faulty cannons, which has resulted in countless injuries and death among British soldiers -- but the assignment develops an unfortunate complication when Gareth meets Jane, and discovers that he wants to be the one she chooses as her lover.

"Don't you feel it?"

"Feel what?"

"The attraction. Don't tell me you didn't enjoy our kiss last night."

A tingling began in the pit of her stomach. She shook her head in denial. "I did not."

- loc 558

I liked Gareth, and the author really nailed the alpha male type perfectly. I enjoyed reading how assertive and take-charge he is. I love how confident and brazen he is, but he doesn't just barrel into any situation without considering matters. I thought he handled the mortifying situation of discovering Jane's list (with the names of potential lovers) with tact and sensitivity. I thought he made an interesting riddle: how is a barrister like a spy? Both are concerned with justice and the law, and both have a tendency to blur the lines of right and wrong -- where the end justifies to means. It's already a difficult "double life" for Gareth -- and now he has to deal with another dilemma: does the need of the one (Jane) outweigh the need of the many (his investigation into the faulty cannons)?

I thought Jane had bitten off more than she could chew with her decision to find a lover -- she chose Simon Marbury, believing that he is a dandy and nothing more -- but quickly realises that there's more to Simon than she could manage. She makes the same misjudgement with Gareth -- seeing only what's on the surface and not delving deeper. But, what's great about Jane, is that she is a fast learner -- and she doesn't allow herself to get trapped into an unwanted situation. She handled Simon's advances very well and was also very clear in what she wanted in her liaison with Gareth.

The story progresses in 2 prongs: the development of the love story, and Gareth's spy mission -- and Tina Gabrielle does a very good job of seamlessly moving these 2 stories together. I haven't read the first book in the series, but Robert Ware, the hero of the first book appears in Gareth's story. I liked the juxtaposition between Robert, Gareth and Daniel, a fellow spy -- Robert is newly-married and his decisions and actions are informed by his new situation. Gareth is slowly forming an attachment with Jane, and one could see how this is affecting his work -- both in a good and bad way. Daniel doesn't seem to be in any lasting relationship, and his words and actions are very telling: the work comes first. Nothing is more important than the work. I love how the author showed how one event could elicit very different reactions from people in different situations: from the one with nothing to lose, the one with something to lose, and the one with everything to lose. (Read Chapter 11)

That being said, I thought At the Spy's Pleasure read very well as a stand-alone. I will be reading Robert's book soon, though, because I'm very curious.

At the Spy's Pleasure is the second book in The Crown's Secret Service series and will be released on May 26. To find out more about Tina Gabrielle and her books, click below:

Disclosure: I received this ARC from Entangled Publishing. Thank you to Entangled and Tina Gabrielle for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition

Thank you to Shabby Blogs ( for the free frame!

Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome to a new feature on Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.

The Historical Romance Edition:
Since Mary of Buried Under Romance and I are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, we've decided to focus on our beloved genre.

Here are our rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 3, 2008.

The Black Duke's Prize by Suzanne Enoch, published 1995

Sent to London by her untrustworthy uncle, the beautiful and feisty Katherine Ralston arrives for the Season in utter despair. Not only is she caught up in the mad whirl of ballgowns and galas, she must also make certain that her disreputable uncle doesn’t sell her family estate in her absence. Katherine Ralston, a country girl at heart, sees the Season in London as something she must endure. Nicholas Varnon, known as the Black Duke for his rakish and irresistible charms, sees the season as a chance to repair his rakish reputation. Yet, he seems to be taking quite an interest in the spirited Katherine. Suspicious of trickery, Katherine is determined to ignore the sinfully sexy charms of…the Black Duke. Little does she know, she may have just met her white knight in shining armor ...

To find out more about Suzanne Enoch and her books, click below:


Head over to Mary @ Buried Under Romance and Ki Pha of Doing Some Reading for their picks for Throwback Thursday.^_^

Fellow historical romance readers are welcome to join us. Enter your link below so we can visit your TBT: HR Edition post for the week! (Then go here to copy the Link code to your blogs.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

Click here to buy the book on Amazon
Click here to buy the paperback at The Book Depository

Let me warn those who plan to read Mary Jo Putney's The Rake that this is a long novel, but let me then proceed to assure my fellow readers that reading The Rake is not only worthwhile, but absolutely essential. There's a reason for the length of this novel, it's that Mary Jo Putney captures every detail and aspect of the life of a rake and what happens when he is given a chance to reform. There is the personal struggle, the ups and the downs, and the ultimate triumph -- and Putney takes us through every step with such perfect writing and insight.

Reginald Davenport is known as the Despair of the Davenports, but he doesn't mind it so much. He was also set to inherit his uncle's title (Earl of Wargrave) and estate, but, when a closer relative is discovered and inherits what Reginald had expected to be his, it sends our dear rake on a downward spiral. The story could end here, and it does in most other stories -- often, the (dis)inherited party becomes the villain and meets a terrible end -- but Reggie's cousin, the new Earl, must have sensed something good in Reggie, and gives him an opportunity to turn his life around.

And so our rake becomes the hero of his own story of redemption.

When Strickland was given to Reggie, the new earl hadn't realised how deeply relevant the estate was to his cousin. Strickland was Reggie's childhood home, and one filled with many of his memories -- both happy and painful. From this point forward, a lot is revealed about Reggie and the late earl -- and, as I was reading through the revelations, I couldn't help but think that Reggie could have turned out differently had a different relative raised him.

Reality was a demon on his shoulder, whispering that sobriety was a dubious goal, hardly worth the effort it was causing him. All men drank, and Reggie had always held his liquor better than most. What, after all, had he done that was so serious, except be tempted to thrash a brat who had seriously misbehaved?

He fought that demon, and another that whispered that he was doomed to fail, so why stretch his failure out any longer? What made him think he could ever succeed at anything?
- p. 291

I was tempted to pose the same question presented in Wicked: Are rakes born rakes? What I could glean from Putney's writing, and from Reggie's history, it seems to be an inevitable part of a gentleman's life -- but the choice to stay a rake for the rest of one's days, or to move forward to the next stage of one's life. Reggie's father and maternal uncle also had to battle with their demons and alcoholism, and both managed to win over their weaknesses -- now it's Reggie's turn.

What I like about Reggie is that he holds himself responsible and doesn't blame anyone for his current situation. I found it endearing and heartbreaking to hear him talk about how society perceives him. He's accepted his rakish reputation and has used it very cleverly to his advantage. (Read: the confrontation between Julian and his father regarding Meredith, Chapter 22)

He smiled faintly. "How nice to have only one sin, singular. Mine come in scores."
- p. 58

The Rake isn't just Reggie's story -- there's also Alys Weston, who happens to be Strickland's very efficient steward. Lady Alys, as she is known in Strickland, is the best thing to happen to the estate -- she's managed to turn the property into one of Wargrave's most prosperous assets. Lady Alys is a mystery: how did a lady become the steward of Strickland? Putney does an amazing, amazing job of revealing pieces of Alys's previous life while simultaneously building up her current life.

When I discovered Alys's real identity, I couldn't help but admire her for her courage to break free from her former life -- to give up her life of wealth and comfort -- and build a new one. She worked her way up from governess to steward, and she did it all on her own. But Alys isn't perfect -- she has terrible insecurities about her looks (her height, in particular). When Putney allows us to peer into her mind, Alys's self-talk is very negative -- but I'm glad Reggie was there to help her realise just how beautiful she is, inside and out.

Though she was't the sort of woman a man would desire, at least she wasn't really ugly. Her complexion was too tan for fashion, but her features were regular and might have been called handsome if she were a man. It was just that her face, like the rest of her, was too large. She stood five feet nice and a half inches in her stockings, and was as tall or taller than most of the men at Strickland.

Having undone the snarls, she began brushing out her hair. Back in the days when a fortune endowed her with spurious desirability, her heavy tresses had been called chestnut. Now that she worked for a living, it was merely brown, a color of no particular distinction.
- p. 14

I loved the contrast between Lady Alys and Reggie, but I loved the similarities between them even more. Reggie struggles to control his alcohol addiction, and Alys struggles with her self-esteem. At the heart of our hero and heroine is the longing for acceptance and love -- to be valued and found worthy as they are.

Chemistry implies that something within Alys reacts to something within Reggie and something happens -- often, its sparks and fireworks -- but, for our hero and heroine, there was no such grand reaction. The attraction was evident from the very beginning -- something within Alys was drawn to something within Reggie -- the bond formed between the two is something greater and more vital. It's a partnership between owner and steward. It's a companionship between friends. It's an intimacy between man and woman.

The Rake is often listed in many readers' all-time favourite historical romance novels*, and now I understand why.

The Rake is the sequel to Mary Jo Putney's debut novel, The Diabolical Baron, and is part of the Davenport Family duology. To find out more about Mary Jo Putney and her books, click below:

*It was #22 in the first-ever Top 100 Romances Poll by All About Romance in 1998. It was #15 in the second Top 100 Romances Poll in 2000. #75 in 2004 . #68 in 2007. #91 in 2010. #54 in the most current poll in 2013.


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