Hi I’m Tree and in 2021 all I want to read is historical romance. I’ll be honest, in April I’ve really slowed down on my HR reading so these reviews are from a hot second ago, but I wanted to post them to be sort of caught up on reviews.
I also read and reviewed (almost) the entire Bridgerton series if you want to check that out here.
Needless to say, I’ve been reading a lot of historical romances. When this “series” started I was reviewing every single historical romance that I read, but it has gotten to the point where I’ve read too many and if I don’t have a lot of thoughts, I won’t share them.
This post is full of books that I LOVED and I would recommend all of them.
Wild Rain (Women Who Dare #2) by Beverly Jenkins
I did not write down the year oops, Wyoming
Published: February 9, 2021
TW: bigotry, sexual violence, physical violence, gun violence, racism
PLOT: Spring is perfectly content with her life as a single woman living in Wyoming. But, when she recuses Garrett from a near death experience, she cannot deny their attraction. Garrett is just in town to do a story on Spring’s brother, but realizes there is much more to Wyoming and Spring than he initially thought.
Thoughts: I loved this couple so much!! They had so many cute moments and I’m a sucker for the snowed in together trope which is how they essentially meet. Spring is self assured and rejects many of the traditional female roles while Garrett is a cinnamon roll. Beverly Jenkins said, he is her first cinnamon roll hero and I’m here for it!! If you want to see her talk about this book, I really enjoyed this conversation put on by the independent bookstore, Love’s Sweet Arrow, check out the convo here.
The story slowed for me a bit in the middle, but then something happened and I got sucked right back in. I also am a sucker for western romances since the couple (cough women) are not so bound by societies rules.
As always, this Beverly Jenkins novel is full of history and features strong women!! 4/5 stars
The Duke Heist (Wild Wynchesters #1) by Erica Ridley
Published: February 9, 2021
TW: childhood abandonment, grief
PLOT: Chloe’s superpower is being invisible, which is very helpful for when she is working on a “case”. When her family’s prized painting is stolen, she will stop at nothing to get it back. The problem is, the Duke who inherited the painting from his father, refuses to meet with the Wynchesters. Thus, the Wynchester family hatches a plan to steal it back.
Thoughts: I adore the Wynchester family!! I love their antics and how they all love each other. Great Aunt Wynchester was hilarious. Chloe and Lawrence’s relationship was a lot of fun to read too. Some moments between them were kind of annoying, but overall, I was rooting for them. Plus, they both are great characters. I loved how Lawrence was socially awkward and just wanted a family. The moment he met the Wynchesters was excellent.
The plot was a lot of fun. Typically, I don’t love the external plots in romance novels, but the mystery plot was so fun. There were a few plot twists that I did not see coming.
My only critique is that Erica Ridley’s writing is a tad disjointed at times, which sometimes worked (introduction of the great aunt), but sometimes was a bit confusing. Overall, this one was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Book two is going to be a f/f romance and the epilogue set it up perfectly. 4/5 stars
I do want to note there is a prequel novella (The Governess Gambit) that I would recommend reading first since you meet the siblings and “see” the family painting get stolen. I really enjoyed it and loved seeing the siblings’ relationships to their father. But, it isn’t a romance so I did not include it here. TW for death of a parent in the novella though.
*thanks to the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review*
A Rogue to Remember (League of Scounrals #1) by Emily Sullivan
1897(?) Italy/UK (they travel!!)
Published: March 9, 2021
TW: death of parents, gaslighting
PLOT: Lottie has run away to travel and tried to ruin her reputation so she would not need to marry. Alec works for her uncle (as basically a spy) and has been tasked to bring Lottie back home when her uncle falls ill. Both of them have feelings for the other that they believe are unrequited.
Thoughts: This is a childhood friends to lovers romance, but also sort of a second chance romance even though they did not have a relationship when they were younger. Both of these are not my favorite tropes, so I had a hard time getting into the story.
I did like both our characters and felt their pain. This was a novel that had these two people talked to each other it would have been wrapped up very quickly. However, I understand why they didn’t, but like…one conversation would have saved so much time. THERE IS SO MUCH PINING!! Which was fun to read about for like half the book and then it was too much.
I was not a fan of the uncle (I mean we are not supposed to like him) but if he hadn’t been so proud or stubborn then they could have been happy years earlier.
The ending was good though! Once all the spy stuff and weirdness with the uncle was the main plot things got rolling and I really liked how everything wrapped up, but it just took so long to get here. Even though this novel is short if took me like a week to get through 2/3rds of it.
I usually don’t comment on the steamy scenes in books but wow these were good. 3/5 stars
*thanks to the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review*
The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister #1) by Courtney Milan
Published: December 8, 2012
TW: miscarriage, assault, rape, anxiety
PLOT: I’ll be honest…I don’t remember much of what the start of the plot of this one is so I’m just going to copy what Goodreads says…
Sometimes love is an accident. This time, it’s a strategy.
Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly—so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.
But that is precisely what she gets.
Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…
Thoughts: Wow I really enjoyed this one. This was my first book by Courtney Milan and it won’t be my last. I love how she writes her characters and the dynamic between the two characters was excellent.
THAT PRIDE AND PREJUDICE MENTION THOUGH!!
I also appreciated how the Duke’s mom was given a complex storyline instead of just being reduced to someone who is trying to come between the characters.
There is a plot point that I wasn’t really a fan of related to a woman dressing as a boy. That seems like it potentially could be harmful to trans readers. Since it is a major spoiler, I won’t go into details, but if you’re sensitive to anything related to that please read with care.
Also, low key almost teared up at one part in this one which was not expecting. 4.5/5 stars
Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare
??, border of UK/Scotland
Published: January 28, 2014
TW: death of a parent, abuse by cousin (very briefly mentioned)
PLOT: Izzy Goodnight has given up on having a life full of adventure and love. Her father has recently passed, and she was left with nothing. So, when she inherits a castle from her godfather, it seems like fate. However, in the castle she finds a grumpy duke who does not remember selling his castle.
Thoughts: This novel really reminds me of Tessa Dare’s novel The Duchess Deal, which I adored. This one is obviously older and thus the comparison probably goes the other way for most readers. But we got a hero who doesn’t think he is deserving of love because he is too damaged and a heroine who wants so desperately so show him he is worth. Obviously the plot is different, but they both discuss that theme.
This novel is so well done. The cast of characters is tiny, and the setting is stagnant and yet we learn so much about our characters. I loved slowly learning about Izzy and Ransom and seeing their relationship grow. It wasn’t as a slow burn as I would have preferred, but it still worked really well.
I actually cried at one point? I am not sure why?? Except both of these characters are just seeking for someone to love them and they both have nothing, but then find each other *tears*. I’m a sap clearly.
I loved Izzy. She just wants to love someone and even when she is saying that she does not expect anything from Ransom, she has a line that is so heartbreaking about this and how she wants to love.
Ransom is a little prickly and harsh at times and I loved seeing him slowly open up. He does something so sweet for Izzy that my heart hurt. 4/5 stars
This novel is the first in the Castles Ever After series and so far it is my favorite! Books two and three were good, but I liked this one best (so far), but I still have book four to read.
Thanks for reading!