These are some more historical romance reviews from last year that I never posted. Also, this one is a bit longer than my mini reviews as I wanted to include the rest of the historicals I read last year.
It’s also exciting because the lowest rated book in this wrap up is a 3.5/5 stars which means lots of good books ahead!
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower (The Wild Wynchesters #2) by Erica Ridley
Plot: Tommy Wynchester has been pining for Phillipa for a year now. Meanwhile, Phillipa is trying her best to not marry one of the titled gentlemen her parents keep suggesting. When a mutual friend is wronged, the Wild Wynchester family and Phillipa have to team up.
I really loved this one. Also, I think this is the first f/f historical romance I’ve read! Love to see some representation in historicals! Also, it seems like Tommy identifies as nonbinary (they don’t say the word since that term didn’t exist, but there are discussions on it), but clearly uses she/her pronouns.
Tommy’s arc is all about wanting to be loved for herself since she is constantly in costume and disguises. I loved when she talked about her family loving her for her. Phillipa wants to have the agency to make her own choices which felt very real for a woman in her position.
We also get a tad of fake dating/courting as Phillipa and one of Tommy’s disguises make a pact to court for a bit. I just love the Wynchester family so much and it was a lot of fun being back in this world.
My only critique was that it felt a bit slow at times, but I think that is just how Erica Ridley’s writing is. It is very descriptive and the plot moves a bit slower than I would like, but it does allow for the characters to develop and grow.
Also, Erica Ridley said that the couple on the cover is a real life couple which is TOO CUTE. 4/5 stars
*thanks to much to the publisher for a copy; all thoughts are my own*
The Downtown Devil (Uptown Girls #3)
TW: violence, traumatic childhood
Plot: Justine Greene is just trying to do her part to help women in New York and in the process, she comes across Jack Mulligan who everyone knows to stay away from. But, when she suddenly owes him a favor, she realizes that he might not be as dark and dangerous as everyone says.
The Greene sister’s dad is literally my least favorite character in these books (excluding the like villains) and he was abroad the whole book so I was very pleased with that.
I loved Jack and Justine’s dynamic, he is the big bad and she is this super good person and he doesn’t think he deserves her and all that good stuff. Honestly, I don’t have a ton to say about this one except it was so good and an excellent conclusion to this series. Joanna Shupe is such a good writer and she writes steamy scenes so well.
Book Two is still my favorite, but this one is probably just as good, I just found the plot more interesting in book two. 4/5 stars
When a Rogue Meets His Match (Greycourt #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Plot: Messalina forced into a marriage of convivence by her uncle to marry one of his staff who is trying to rise in the ranks. But it turns out he is much more than the brute she has painted him to be.
This was my first Elizabeth Hoyt novel and I had no idea what to expect. Right from the start I was hooked with this story and plot. I’m a sucker for a marriage of connivence plot so I was hyped when we went there (I don’t read synopsis so I wasn’t expecting it lol).
The stakes in this novel are high as there are people hired to kill other people and neferaious relatives etc. It was intense at some points, but I do think all the action being towards the end made the stakes feel lower than they were.
Overall, I enjoyed this one, but was never sucked into the story in the way that I like to get. I would read more from this author as I did like her style. 3.5/5 stars
*thanks to the publisher for a free copy; all thoughts are my own*
I also buddy read this with Jennifer and you should check out her bookstagram here.
The Lady Gets Lucky (The Fifth Avenue Rebels #2) by Joanna Shupe
Newport & NYC, 1895
TW: death of a loved one, toxic parents, verbal abuse
PLOT: Alice and Kit are both in Newport for a house party. Alice is there with her overprotective mother and Kit is there to support his friend who is trying to reconnect with a childhood friend. Alice wants to get married to get away from her mom but is struggling finding a man she connects with. She noticed Kit is very skilled around women and seeks him out for his help learning how to flirt and attract a man. Kit only agrees since Alice has connections to a chef who he wants the recipes of. In exchange for recipes, Kit agrees to give Alice lessons on seduction.
Okay I didn’t read book one in this series (I don’t love childhood friends to lovers, and I saw some mixed reviews), but it might have helped my understanding of the house party that the characters are at in the beginning. I could tell that book one covered some of the same time since Harrison and Maddie totally read like romance main characters. It was fine but did make it a tad harder to follow the plot in the beginning.
But other than that this book was so fun. I am a sucker for “kissing lessons” in historicals. I feel like the virgin heroine trope can be annoying or done in a weird way, but it works so well in this one. Shupe handles it like a pro. Alice is inexperienced, but not dumb or overly naïve like certain characters, cough Bridgerton heroines, and it goes to show how much the genre has grown since the early 2000s.
Joanna Shupe is just so good? This is my 4th novel by her and aside from one of the books, I have adored all of them. I still think second Uptown Girls book is my favorite, but I this might be my second fave.
I cannot emphasize enough how quickly I read this one. Y’all, know I love a quick read and I read this in two sittings.
I also thought Kit and Alice communicated well together and I loved seeing Alice mature and grow self-confidence.
Also, Alice likes to cook which was so fun and I loved all the moments they shared in the kitchen and all the kitchen staff that totally knew what was up between them. 4.5/5 stars
The Heiress Effect (The Brother’s Sinister #2) by Courtney Milan
TW: toxic parental figure
PLOT: Jane is doing everything in her power to stay unmarried to be able to stay with her sister at her Uncle’s house. To do this, she acts stupid and wears the most outrageous gowns. Oliver is trying to get into politics and makes a deal with a Duke (I don’t remember who) to embarrass Jane and ruin her.
I loved this one so much. Jane and Oliver were the best and so cute together.
But, what I loved most of all was the communication between them. They are both keeping secrets from the world and yet end up sharing with each other. Even though I am pretty sure neither of them knows why they trust the other so much. It was grand.
Also, Jane’s younger sister has a mini romantic plot line which was also very enjoyable, and I don’t always like secondary romance plot lines. Basically this series is fab. 4.5/5 stars
The Countess Conspiracy (Brother’s sinister #3) by Courtney Milan
TW: suicide, death of a parent, miscarriages, trauma from miscarriages
PLOT: Violet has been hiding behind Sebastian who has been presenting her work since woman are not “allowed” to be scientists. But, Sebastian is tired of being the one receiving all the credit. He also has been in love with Violet for years.
This is such a slow burn for two characters who realize their feelings early on.
I loved Violet so much. She isn’t going to change for her family, a man, or the world and dang I respected that so much. We stan a STEM queen. I also loved the complexity to her familial relationships and liked seeing them progress. Her mom had one moment that had me cheering.
My main critique of this one is I thought the ending dragged longer than it needed to and everything could have been wrapped up a bit quicker. 4/5 stars
“What was the point of code, after all, if everyone could understand it”
Thanks for reading & if you have any historical recommendations please leave them in the comments!