Tag Archives: New York 1800s

charlotte amanda douglas copeland

Historical Romance Review: Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass

historical romance review
Charlotte Rating: one-star
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Charles Copeland
Imprint or Line: Belmont Tower
Genres: Historical Romance, Civil War Romance
Pages: 239
Format: Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass


The Book

Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass is…

It’s a…

Well, it’s a book.

The best thing about this circa 1978 quasi-bodice ripper is the Newport cigarettes ad in the middle of it:

 photo Newport ad.jpg Charlotte

The Plot

Charlotte takes place during the American Civil War in New York City beginning in 1863 or 1864 (both dates are given). For a historical book, it’s historical, but for a romance, the romance is lacking.

This book is only 239 pages long, but the hero doesn’t make an entrance until page 144. And he is missing-in-action for most of it. The back blurb tells you the entire plot of this dreck.

The first 100 pages or so mainly focus on the heroine’s brother, Richard. He is a debauched reprobate who parties for days on alcohol and opium binges.

What else? Oh, he sleeps with a married actress and has a threesome with a teenage bargirl and her 33-year-old mother. Then he participates in the Draft Riots by beating up cops and burning down an orphanage for young Black children. Finally, he deflowers the new virgin maid. He’s an asshole but at least he did something.

The only reason I kept reading this dull book was to relish Richard’s eventual comeuppance. Which he got, but it wasn’t horrible enough.

As for romance? I wasn’t kidding when I said there was none.

Final Analysis of Charlotte

Forget about this one. I already have.

(PS) I searched the web and so far, I only see one copy of Charlotte by Amanda Hart Douglass for sale for $49.95. Whoever is selling it should pay YOU $49.95 to get it off their hands. Yes, it’s that bad of a book!

1 Star


Lovely young Charlotte Bourne was the apple of her father’s eyes and a belle of New York society. The onset of the War Between the States introduced her to young Liam Brady, whom her dissolute brother Richard had hired to serve as his substitute in the Union Army. Liam and Charlotte fall deeply in love, but before they could marry, Charlotte had to come to terms with her turbulent feelings for the two other men in her life. The raging Civil War echoed the conflict in Charlotte’s heart…

midnight princess jo goodman

Historical Romance Review: Midnight Princess by Jo Goodman

Midnight Princess, Jo Goodman, Zebra, 1989, Pino cover art


4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

The Book, Characters & Set-Up

This review is of Midnight Princess, book #1 in the “Marshall Brothers” series by Jo Goodman, a pseudonym used by Joanne Dobrzanski. Published by Zebra/Kensington, November 1989, the book was later reissued as Her Defiant Heart. (This series connects to Ms. Goodman’s “Dennehy Sisters” series). This review is of the original print book.

Heroine: Jenny Holland, 24. Brown hair and eyes. Mystery woman.

Hero: Christian Marshall, 31. Copper hair, aquamarine eyes. Publisher, New York Chronicle newspaper.

Location: New York City, New York. December 1866-May 1867.

Tropes: Historical Romance. Mystery woman. Newspaper publisher. New York City.

The Plot

The book starts in New York City, December 1866. Christian Marshall, the hero, one of the series’ eponymous titular characters, and publisher of the New York Chronicle newspaper is at a hospital for people experiencing emotional distress. He’s watching one of the “patients,” a woman known as Jane Doe, being treated. He feels sympathy for her and decides to help her.

Later, she shows up at his home.

“Jane Doe” has a real name; it’s Jenny Holland, the heroine. As the book continues we learn more about the traumas she’s suffered in her life. We also learn about Christian’s trauma and that Jenny has three people who want her dead.

In the end, Christian rescues Jenny from a perilous situation. The villains trying to kill her are stopped. Christian gets a major—but very pleasant–Christmas surprise. Jenny and Christian marry and have their Happily Ever After.


Ms. Goodman is a licensed therapist, and this imbues her writing. Many of her heroes and heroines have significant trauma that they are trying to work through, and Jenny and Christian are in that category. This makes Midnight Princess an interesting, compelling book, and Jenny and Christian are interesting developed characters.


Even though I found the book compelling, I can’t say that I truly liked either Jenny or Christian. This is an issue I have with Ms. Goodman’s work. I find it interesting, but I can’t say I like her characters. The supporting characters only exist to advance Jenny and Christian.


Ms. Goodman writes good love scenes. They don’t get anywhere near erotica, but they do explore what the characters in the scenes are feeling and can be very emotional and romantic.


Assault, attempted rape, battery, sodomy, and murder all occur in the book. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line

Midnight Princess/ Her Defiant Heart is a very dark book and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, readers who like books with solid character depth and interesting storylines may like it.

4.14 stars.

Wicked Stranger rawlings

Historical Romance Review: Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings

stranger in my arms louisa rawlings
Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1992
Illustrator: George H. Jones
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Historical #157
Book Series: Moncalvo Brothers #2
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 298
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings

The Book

Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings is the sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, Stranger in My Arms.

As I’ve often said before, Rawlings (aka Sylvia Halliday) wrote exquisite romances. She also penned the sensational Stolen Spring, which took place during the era of Louis XIV.

The Hero and the Heroine

Noel, the hero of Wicked Stranger, is the devil-may-care twin brother of Adam from Stranger in My Arms is as different from Adam in temperament as they are as similar in looks.

Noel is a flirt, a charmer who always sees the positive in life and prefers to live without responsibilities. Adam is broody, quiet, gruff, duty-bound, awkward with women, and suffers from the horrors of the Napoleonic wars as he was a general, while Noel was a mere corporal.

Noel Bouchard is in New York after living in France. He’s looking to make his way in life and meets the elite Babcock family.

The Babcocks have several daughters, one being the lovely yet prickly Elizabeth, to whom Noel is strangely drawn.

The heroine of Wicked Stranger, Elizabeth, is often shrill, mean, insecure, and ill-tempered. At first, I thought she didn’t deserve such a great man. She’s part of a well-to-do New York family and was hurt by love in the past, by fortune seekers who wanted her money and not her.

So now she hates all men, especially men looking to advance their income through marriage.

The Plot

Perhaps it’s because Noel sees the hurting soul beneath her tough exterior and just wants to make her happy. For some reason, Noel falls for Elizabeth, and hard! He pursues her relentlessly.

Lucky, lucky woman. *Sigh!*

There are some twists and turns in this book. For example, Noel briefly pretends to be his brother, Adam (just like Adam had pretended to be Noel in the prior book).

Marriage comes quicker than you’d expect for these two, but there are many tribulations they face. There are deaths and a duel, reconciliations, and the love story ends on a passionate, loving note.

Final Analysis of Wicked Stranger

While Louisa Rawlings’ Wicked Stranger is nowhere near as perfect as its predecessor, this is still a delightful read. The wonderful, charismatic hero, Noel, makes this romance shine.

I adore Rawlings’ heroes; they’re so diverse and compelling. Noel was the star of this book, as he was such a magnetic character. Elizabeth was a very lucky woman to find him.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.1



Elizabeth Babcock had always been “just plain Bessie,” overshadowed by her socialite sisters. Few suitors looked beyond her razor-sharp repartee — and temper to match — before leaving for less challenging opportunities. Until, that is, that night in Paris when she crossed rapier wits with Noel Bouchard …

A gambler, a soldier, a man of the world, Noel Bouchard prayed never to be saddled with a dull domestic life. Marriage, if entered into at all, should be an adventure — tempestuous and lusty. He needed a woman with verve and spirit. With passion and wit. A woman like Elizabeth Babcock …