Eloisa James: MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU

Much Ado About You by Eloisa James
Essex Sisters #1
Avon 2005
387 pages
4/5 stars

Although a bit slow to start, this first book in a series does a really good job introducing the main players in the series and is a pleasant read. I would say I like this series better than Desperate Duchesses, and here’s why.

The Essex sisters series – of which I have previously read the third and fourth ones – focuses on the four sisters whose father, in his will, has decreed that their guardian is to be the Duke of Holbrook. The poor, drunk duke expect four little girls and instead receives four young women, all but one old enough to marry, and, well, you can guess the rest.

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Mary Balogh: SLIGHTLY TEMPTED

Slightly Tempted by Mary Balogh
Bedwyn Family Saga #4
Piatkus 2004
386 pages
4/5 stars

I’m now officially done with the Bedwyn books. I would say I feel hollow, except I don’t, because I’m just going to reread the lot, and then reread them again. So you know. Not really a loss.

Let me preface by saying that I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s not my favourite – that will always be number 3, Slightly Scandalous – but this definitely comes up to top three. Although I have a reason for docking one star from my review, this book has the tenderest relationship between hero and heroine that I’ve ever seen.

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Jennifer Kloester: GEORGETTE HEYER – THE BIOGRAPHY OF A BESTSELLER

Georgette Heyer: The Biography of A Bestseller by Jennifer Kloester
Arrow Books 2011
394 pages (plus appendices)
5/5 stars

I don’t usually read biographies, but there are exceptions. Georgette Heyer is one of them: I’d previously read Jane Aiken Hodge’s The Private World of Georgette Heyer (1984), but it took me some time to finally pick up Kloester’s work. Kloester is the leading expert in Heyer and her Regency world, and the author of another work on Heyer’s writing, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World (2005).

For those for whom the name Georgette Heyer (1902–1974) rings no bells, she is the author of a number of titles including contemporary fiction, detective novels, short stories, and historical novels. She is best known for her twenty-two Regency-set romances, and she is considered to be the mother of that subgenre. Her novels have crucially shaped the way Regencies are still written today, and her novels continue to sell steadily.

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Katharine Ashe: I MARRIED THE DUKE

I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
The Prince Catchers #1
Avon 2013
363 pages
5/5 stars

I forget why I decided to give Ashe a try – I probably saw an interview somewhere or someone summarised the plot of one of her books. This particular title, however, I got because this series is what the library has. I’m always a little apprehensive when I pick up a new author, and the first couple of chapters had me suspicious. But boy oh boy, did I get into it towards the end! Well worth it, let me tell you.

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Maya Rodale: LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY

Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale
Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #1
Avon 2016
361 pages
5/5 stars

This first book in Rodale’s new series introduces the Cavendish family: the three girls and the son, who has just inherited an English dukedom. Their arrival in London creates speculation and stir because, like the heroine of Eloisa James’s latest novel, this family, and therefore the heroine of this novel, are American.

You can also tell by the title that there is definitely a Bridget Jones connection here. While I’m not hugely into very light romance, Rodale hits exactly the right tone and right balance of fun and serious for me!

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Eloisa James: MY AMERICAN DUCHESS

My American Duchess by Eloisa James
Avon 2016
400 pages
4/5 stars

I’m a little unclear about whether this book is part of the Desperate Duchesses series exactly, but nonetheless, My American Duchess is without a doubt one of the most anticipated releases of early 2016. James’s first American heroine takes London, and her readership, by storm.

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