3 stars and a half

Category Romance Review: The Italian’s Wife by Lynne Graham

Lynne Graham’s The Italian’s Bride is unusual from her other books I’ve read in the past.

Holly Samson is the first Graham heroine I can recall who was not a virgin, and who’s borne another man’s child. The hero is typical of her heroes: dark-haired, ultra-masculine, ridiculously wealthy, smitten with the heroine, and of Italian descent. 3.62 Stars

lynne graham the italians wife

Historical Romance Review: Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

In 1977 Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ long-awaited third novel made romance history as Avon released Shanna in trade paperback edition. I’ve long had a tenuous relationship with Woodiwiss’ romances., but I am glad I read Shanna. 3.74 stars

shanna

Historical Romance Review: Ecstasy’s Fire by Rosalyn Alsobrook

When a book begins with a typo, that’s not a good sign, and Ecstasy’s Fire by Rosalyn Alsobrook begins with one. On the back cover of the book, the heroine is identified as Victoria Connors. In the book, she’s named VIRGINIA Connors. Not a good beginning. 3.5 stars

Category Romance Review: Beloved Deceiver by Flora Kidd

Flora Kidd’s Beloved Deceiver still sticks out in my mind for one big reason. It’s the only Harlequin/Mills-and-Boon I’ve read to feature a hero from the Dominican Republic, which is my parents’ birth country. 3.45 stars

flora kidd beloved deceiver

Category Romance Review: Moon Witch by Anne Mather

Harlequin Presents #38 Moon Witch by Anne Mather In this vintage romance, a much older man falls for his younger ward. It’s an uncomfortable, but compelling read. 3 1/2 stars

moon witch sinclair

Category Romance Review: A Passionate Affair by Anne Mather

In Anne Mather’s A Passionate Affair, the heroine, Cassandra, is a divorcee whom the hero pursues and they engage in a…passionate affair. This was revolutionary. Before this book, lovemaking in this line had been restricted to married couples or “forced seductions” of initially unwilling virgins whose bodies “betrayed them.” A solid romance. 3.5 stars

passionate affair oakley

Historical Romance Review: And Gold Was Ours by Rebecca Brandewyne

And Gold Was Ours is a sequel of sorts to Rebecca Brandewyne‘s Love, Cherish Me. I’d consider this more of a companion piece. While both novels have Brandewyne’s hallmark baroque-gothic atmosphere, And Gold Was Ours is not as dark and emotional as its predecessor. 3.63 stars

And Gold Was Ours duillo

Historical Romance Review: Raven by Shana Carrol

Raven by Shana Carol (aka Christina Savage, aka Mr. Kerry Newcomb & Mr. Frank Schaeffer) is a riveting bodice-ripper. It’s a pirate adventure that features a kickass, resilient heroine whom I adore. It also stars a hero who isn’t worthy to lick the underside of her shoes. This is one of those books I both hate and love and wavered for a long time what rating to give it. 3.49 stars

raven

Category Romance Review: Guarded Moments by JoAnn Ross

JoAnn Ross’s Harlequin Temptation, Guarded Moments, introduces us to the princess Montcroix, the haughty Chantal Giraudeau. It’s up to Special Agent Caine O’Bannion to be on call as Chantal’s bodyguard. 3.59 stars

guarded moments

Category Romance Review: Hard To Get by Carole Mortimer

Oh boy, when I read “the heroine in pursuit plot” synopsis for this Harlequin Presents, was I ever excited to read it. Heroines who are determined to get their men are my favorite kinds! Alas, when the object of said pursuit is a mean arsehole, the chase isn’t worth it. Still, Hard to Get by Carole Mortimer was a wild, emotional whirlwind. With a more charismatic hero, I could have loved this as opposed to liking it. 3.62 stars

hard to get mortimer

Historical Romance Review: The Present by Johanna Lindsey

Over 22 years and under two different publishers, Johanna Lindsey wrote 12 romances about the Malory & Anderson clans. These books were massive hits with her many fans. Her novel, The Present, is moderately short at just over 300 pages. It tells two parallel love stories set in different eras in England, portraying the Malory clan in the past and the “present.” For no matter how time changes, the love lives of the family remain the same. 3 1/2 stars

the present

Historical Romance Review: Crimson Obsession by Deana James

I’ve read about half of the romances Deana James published and I must say Crimson Obsession is probably my least favorite of her works. It’s not a bad romance, but it pales in comparison to her other books. Due to my high expectations of James’ writing, Crimson Obsession was a bit of a disappointment, although if penned by another author, I daresay I might not have been so critical. 3 & 1/2 stars

Crimson obsession

Historical Romance Review: Paradise and More by Shirl Henke

Paradise & More by Shirl Henke is memorable to me for having one of the most eye-catching covers in romance. A dazzling beauty by Pino Daeni, it features a fully naked couple in a glorious clinch, their nudity covered by some strategically placed flowers and the book’s title. Lamentably, I have a later reissue, the stepback version, where their nakedness is hidden under a respectable-looking cover. This is the first book in the House of Torres duo that takes place in late 1400s Spain. 3 & 1/2 stars

Paradise and More

Category Romance Review: A Love to Last Forever by Linda Randall Wisdom

A Love to Last Forever by Linda Randall Wisdom is a fine romance between two former high school classmates, Stacy McAllister and Clarence “Mike” Harper. It’s 1986 and a 20-year class reunion brings the protagonists together. While Stacy was a popular cheerleader and prom queen who dated the captain/ quarterback of the football team, Mike had been a chubby, pimple-faced nerd who’d been picked on by students like Stacy’s boyfriend. 3 1/2 stars

a love to last forever

Category Romance Review: Tonight and Forever by Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson’s Tonight and Forever is her first published book and the first in her long-running series of the Madaris family. It’s a Pinnacle Arabesque romance from 1995, which are category romances but are not numbered, at least not to my knowledge. What propels Tonight and Forever into a “better than good” zone is that it isn’t just a romance about the healing power of love, it’s a book about the power of love itself. 3 1/2 stars

Category Romance Review: Driving Force by Sally Wentworth

Driving Force, a Sally Wentworth Harlequin Presents, offers few surprises but is a satisfactory read regardless. West Marriot– our hero, not a 3-star hotel but a famous race car driver–was terribly injured in a race several months ago. Madeleine French, a nurse and physiotherapist, had been married to West for four years. 3 1/2 stars

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