It's time again for another two historical oldies reviews :)
Author: Johanna Lindsey
Title: A Loving Scoundrel
Series: Malory-Anderson Family #7
Release date: 27th of April 2004
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Historical, Romance
Published by: Atria Books
Pages: 368 pages in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey sweeps readers into the privileged world of English aristocrats as she presents a new novel of passion, intrigue, and romantic pleasures featuring the incomparable Malorys -- a family of dashing rogues, rakehell adventurers, and spirited ladies. Now Jeremy, the son of gentleman pirate James Malory, falls in love....
When Danny, a young woman who grew up on the streets of London with no memory of her real family, is banished from her gang because she helped handsome rakehell Jeremy Malory steal back the jewels his friend lost in a card game, Danny demands that Jeremy give her a job. She is determined to become respectable in order to fulfill her dream of marrying and starting a family. Intrigued by her beauty and spunk, Jeremy hires Danny as his upstairs maid, although he wants her as his mistress.
Under the tutelage of Jeremy and his cousin Regina, Danny blossoms into a lady. Although she is drawn to Jeremy by passionate feelings she has never experienced before, she refuses to be anything more than a servant to him because she knows he is not the marrying kind. When Danny undergoes a Cinderella-like transformation and poses as Jeremy's new love in an attempt to help him avert a scandal, a few highly placed members of the ton remark on how familiar Danny looks. Now tongues are wagging, raising the question of her true identity, which threatens not only Danny's chances of capturing Jeremy's heart but her very life.
With the humor, lovable characters, and romantic intensity that have placed Johanna Lindsey's six previous Malory novels in the ranks of the best-loved and most widely read romantic novels of our time, Johanna Lindsey delights readers with an emotionally powerful tale of an irresistible scoundrel who meets his match in a brave, strong-minded young woman and can't help but fall in love.
Danny is a spunky and opinionated thief living with her merry band of wrongdoers disguised as a boy simply so not every man she meets will molest her or more. She crosses paths with Jeremy who needs her for his dastardly deeds aka her services as a pickpocket. He gets what he wants, but she is left with her little butt thrown out of the guild of troublemakers. And what does a feisty and determined woman do when someone else is at fault in her misfortune? She demands Jeremy for a job and a roof over her head. And that is exactly what she gets in the form of a maid job and a lot more in the form of the master of the house.
I’m especially drawn to rags to riches, Cinderella, underdog heroine, secret identity romances – so, this book was perfect for me in that aspect, because it included all those tropes. It is also a blessing if the heroine actually has a backbone and isn’t a meek wallflower, someone who knows what she wants and isn’t held back by proper etiquette to ask or do what is needed. In addition, a woman in historic fiction who is determined to steer clear of the hero and isn’t easily swayed is all good in my book. Needless to say, I thought Danny was awesome.
The relationship between the main couple was another pro to me. They was a constant power battle going on between them and with the balance shifting back and forth, it was interesting to observe these two on who would raise the white flag to the other first. Another positive aspect: Jeremy’s unwanted, but very determined suitor with her lies was handled brilliantly and the outcome was like watching a funny situation comedy.
I haven’t read any previous books of the Malory series this story is part of so I can’t really show the reoccurring characters the proper amount of excitement and love they probably deserve, instead, I read this book with an outsiders point of view. Despite lacking the recommended pre knowledge, I enjoyed this story heaps and didn’t have any issues with warming up to obvious old favorites.
I didn’t, however, entirely enjoy how the virginity issue was handled and what lead up to that and at times I had slightly issues with the believability of everything going on. Also, too much limelight given to the assassin was also not necessary and distracted from the romance. Nevertheless, these all are very minor issues that didn’t distract me from enjoying this book.
Danny: Independent, tough and resilient. I admired her determination to still find and become a proper woman and lead a respectable life with a nice husband and children, despite her background and difficult situation. I simply liked her as a woman and character, she didn’t annoy me at all and that is quite rare.
Jeremy: Supposedly, he is also from similar background of gutter life as Danny, but I felt that he had left that life far far away in the past and he had also forgotten what it was like in regard to his treatment of Danny. I felt he wasn’t really as supportive of her issues and her goals as he should have been. Despite this, he manned up managed to be a decent hero. Has to be mentioned: his family was lovely.
I really liked this romance, luckily, I’ve never really hit and missed with an historical oldie and this is another win for me. There were many aspects to like, but the heroine Danny was my number one in this book.
Author: Jacquie D’Alessandro
Title: Red Roses Mean Love
Release date: 24th of June 2009
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Historical, Romance
Published by: Dell
Pages: 372 pages in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
Yellow for friendship.
Pink for passion.
But . . . Red Roses Mean Love.
She dreamed of roses....
Orphaned and abandoned by her fiancé, Hayley Albright is determined to care for her younger siblings even if it means having to give up her own dreams. She doesn't expect to ever find love or get married . . . until one moonlit night when she saves the life of a mysterious stranger. . . .
And he wants only to make her dreams come true....
Lord Stephen Barrett woke up gazing at the face of an angel. He was alive. And safe, for now, from the killer stalking his every move. Allowing Hayley to believe he is just a tutor of modest means, Stephen stays on for reasons of his own, never anticipating the passions Hayley would stir in his cold, wary heart. Her innocence is pure seduction. Her touch is sweet temptation. And suddenly the man who has everything is willing to risk it all--for a woman who has nothing to give . . . but all her heart. . . .
I love romances with hidden identity (preferably some successful/wealthy having to pretend and live the life of someone not so financially blessed), it’s one of my absolute guilty pleasures, so obviously, this book was just what the doctor ordered. Well, there is an over privileged aristocrat Stephen, who has someone after him with the clear motive to send him to the other world. After one nasty close call, he ends up at the dedicated care of Hayley, the sole caretaker of her three siblings and every other staff member, with the latter acting and needing more guidance then the actual children. Of course, the foreign environment brings about changes in various forms for everyone involved, including attraction and love between the cold hero and independent heroine, with the latter naturally not knowing who the hero is in reality. But with hidden identity comes confrontation, and as usual, it tends not to go smoothly when the one in disguise is unveiled.
The family oriented take on the romance, the focus not only being on the couple and the home-sweet-home like environment with all the quirky family and misfits was refreshing and heartwarming. The main couple was still in center stage, but no one was neglected, thus every single character had a distinct personality and traits that made them unusual and likable. All that was brought out by everyone’s interaction with the hero, who through the various people comes to know himself more, what he lacks and what he desires, and as a side effect comes to appreciate and care for all the people that have this influence on him. It was pleasing to see the change, but I was also glad it wasn’t abrupt, the changes were subtle and took time, he was still a jaded douche, but less so with every good deed.
I also liked the mystery in the book even though it wasn’t very prominent. It was fun to guess who was after Stephen and I admit that I was surprised by the revelations. Hayley’s occupation was also an intriguing surprise.
The biggest flaws in the book were at times the hero and heroine for two entirely different aspects: the heroine was too nice and forgiving, the hero too bitter and mean. It’s not to mean that I didn’t enjoy reading about them and didn’t find them ideal for one another, but it was sometimes frustrating due to the choices they made, how they acted and what they said.
Hayley – She was very admirable, generous and kind, but I feel she should have shown a more tougher and demanding side of her more often, with her complete household and with Stephen. Overall, I liked her, but she was too saintly at times and more heroic than the hero with all the saves she managed.
Stephen – As with Hayley, I mostly liked him, but he absolutely knew how to act like a complete jerk on too many occasions. His specialty was to decide one thing and a second later act the opposite. Nevertheless, it wasn’t really his interactions with Hayley that made me like him, but all the scenes between him and various individuals of the Albright household – sweet, humorous and caring.
While the main characters have to be top notch for me to enjoy a story, it wasn’t entirely the case her. I liked the main couple, but they weren’t by far the strongest point. Still, I thought this book was charming, heartwarming, cute, but a bit frustrating. In general, I liked it a lot!