Review: Ruined & Redeemed: The Earl’s Fallen Wife

Title: Ruined & Redeemed: The Earl’s Fallen Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: June 2017
Length: 376 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance Series: Tales of Damsels and Knights #2
Genre: Historical, Romance

LADY CHARLOTTE FRAMPTON is dead…at least, that is what everyone believes. Fleeing from her life-shattering past, Charlotte reinvents herself as Lotte and becomes the companion to a viscount’s sister. All she is hoping for is a simple and quiet life in the country, away from the demons that still plague her. However, her safe haven is threatened when a visitor arrives one day.

SEBASTIAN CAMPBELL, son to the EARL OF WESTON, failed in the most miserable way…and his sister had to pay the price. At his wits’ end, he seeks advice from an old friend, and as though fate chose to intervene at last, his path crosses that of a young woman with soulfully deep eyes. The pain and regret he sees in them echo within his own heart, and Sebastian knows without a doubt that he has found his other half.

Can Sebastian convince Charlotte that it is never too late for forgiveness and love?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

While the story was supposed to be suspenseful, the first many chapters of the book with Charlotte’s inner dialogue and thoughts, flashbacks, etc. were so confusing. As a reader, it was frustrating. What was she talking about? Where was this going? Was this really the book I thought it was?

Eventually things get less convoluted, except we as readers never get the full backstory fully revealed to us until much later.

Charlotte Frampton, daughter of an earl, committed a horrible crime two years prior, for which her parents institutionalized her for and told everyone she had died. Because she would never get out of the institution.

Until she does.

And now what? She can’t be Charlotte Frampton, daughter of an earl anymore. And what if someone recognizes her!? So she must create a new identity and develop amnesia. That’s how she winds up at Lord Ashwood’s estate under the care of the family and local doctor.

Sebastian, Earl of Campbell, is the strange and seemingly cold-hearted Lord Ashwood’s best (and only) friend. He is dead set on doing anything and everything to anger his father in revenge for marrying his younger sister off to a man not of her choosing while he planned and sent him out of the country. He will never forgive him. And will make what remains of his life hell. Even if it means destroying and ruining the family name. That’s why he initially chooses to marry “lost” and “confused” Charlotte Frampton. When he introduces her to his parents, that’s exactly what he leads with, too. So it was hard for me to buy his story of choosing Charlotte. He also gave a line about seeing she’d been through struggle and was strong in their first meeting.

There was a lot of crossed paths between Charlotte and Sebastian’s sister. I won’t go into those details, but there were SO many similarities.

After the plot really got moving along with the subplot of Baron Northfield, I felt deja vu. I felt like Wolf literally copied another book I’d read. And the more I read, the more convinced I was! And then I got pissed. I kept reading, but I was raging mad. And then I realized. This book’s timeline and events follow along with Once Upon a Devilishly Enchanting Kiss (The Whickertons in Love #1). That’s why all of the business with Northfield felt like I had already read it nearly word for word.

And with all the individuals involved in the business with Northfield, I was shocked at how easily so many who where permanently pained were able to just let go and assist Charlotte. Who a few times in the present time again raised concerns similar to the incidents two years prior. I think Wolf was trying to give Charlotte her own story, humanize her in a way, and it didn’t get there. She still seemed a touch psycho.

Review: Tamed & Unleashed: The Highlander’s Vivacious Wife

Title: Tamed & Unleashed: The Highlander’s Vivacious Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: October 2020
Length: 315 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Highland Tales #1
Genre: Historical, Romance

Waking up alone after a drunken night with a stranger in Gretna Green, CLAUDIA DAVENPORT, sister to Viscount Ashwood, finds herself still unmarried…and with child. In order to preserve her reputation, her brother sends her to a remote estate so she can give birth in secret and then return to society, unscathed…but heartbroken.
However, when her child is kidnapped, Claudia can no longer deny the bond that connects her to her son. Alone, she sets out to discover his whereabouts…and her path crosses that of a stranger, who feels all too familiar.

After marrying an English lass in Gretna Green, GARRETT MACDRUMMOND returns to their room at the inn the next morning only to find her gone. Duty-bound to return to his clan in the Scottish Highlands, he counts the days until he can travel to England to find her. However, when he finally does discover her, he is shocked to realise that she does not remember him.

Determined to remind her of the fateful night they shared, Garrett refuses to leave her side, following her across England without knowing why.

Will Claudia ever remember him? Will Garrett ever learn that he has a child? Will they recover their son or lose him without ever having had the chance to know him?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

I wanted to LOVE this book, but it was so, so hard. But I couldn’t. At least half of the book is spent with Claudia determinedly refusing to divulge any information to Garrett about the mission she is on. It was the same conversation every morning, afternoon, or night, just a different inn. This story had so much potential and it fell so flat.

The plot is fairly linear: Garrett seeks out his now-year-long missing wife, Claudia, in London. For months he can’t find her, which is highly unusual. No one knows where she is, and everyone is wondering. She finally appears and doesn’t even recognize him. He follows her. Watches her. How is he going to get his wife back? One night, she sneaks out, moving across to the unsavory part of town. He winds up saving her from a bad situation and continues on the journey with her, not knowing what Claudia is even seeking: their son. All he has is a name she anguishes over in her sleep, which he presumes is another man, her love.

The plot for the kidnapping did throw me for a loop. I figured out who it was, but all the other details of how he was able to do all the things he did escaped me. I was highly skeptical of the book because how can a man care of a days-old baby while on the run? Constantly, every time Claudia would inquire somewhere, I kept thinking of the baby. If a man only was traveling with a baby, confirmed multiple times, who was keeping it alive?! … And then later, when Claudia is on the ship, it was again unclear how the baby was fed without a wet nurse.

I found it interesting that Claudia doesn’t give one thought whatsoever to her family that she absconds from in the middle of the night. Not until the end.

I also started getting anxious in the last portion of the book when Claudia is on the ship and then winds up on another ship. How will Garrett ever find her with an exchange like that? But she is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the will come for her.

Review: A Duke Like No Other

Title: A Duke Like No Other
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: May 2018
Length: 355 pages
Series?: Playful Brides #9
Genre: Historical, Romance

General Mark Grimaldi is devoted to his service for the Crown, risking his life and giving up everything for his career. The political promotion he’s always wanted is now within his reach, but he needs to convince his estranged wife to return to England and play the role of happy bride in order for him to get the position.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent the past ten years in France, not having seen her husband since she left England. But now he’s on her doorstep, asking her to return with him, and Nicole sees the opportunity to get something out of this deal. So she agrees, on one condition: she wants a baby.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This book isn’t quite like other Valerie Bowman novels. This one really pulled heartstrings more so than most for kind-hearted Nicole. She has suffered so much, for no real known reason.

After a short marriage full of love and bliss, her soldier husband bent on becoming a high-up official essentially bans and abandons her in England. Left to figure out life on her own, with her own “career” with the War Office, she travels to France, where she’s remained all this time, a decade later.

Mark is the product of a noblewoman and mister. His mother’s family disowned her for her choices, and he has steadfastly held on to the promise he made his father upon his death. He will have nothing to do with them. He does do his research and finds them, but he remains devoid of familial bonds. And he wants ALL of it to be a secret. No one can know! NO ONE!

Now a general and aiming for Home Secretary, Mark is prodded by those in charge that he needs to be a family man. Whaaaaat?! He gave up everything for his country, to climb the military ladder, to be at this exact point. NOW he needs to have a family? Well, good for him he already has a wife. Now he just needs to get her to England.

Quietly living a low-key life, visiting and supporting the local orphanage as well as the local police, Nicole’s friends know she is lonely. She never thought she’d see Mark again. They’d just live out their lives like nothing had ever happened. Except he shows up in France for a favor. A big one.

She must return to England and play the dutiful wife for a few months so that Mark can get his new role. Then she can return to France and continue her life. If Mark is going to get what he wants out of this bargain, she has her own condition. In exchange for getting him this promotion, Nicole wants a child. A child of her own to love and love her back. Talk about a man struck! That was the last thing Mark thought.

It was really hard to like Mark. Really, really hard. At some point, I found myself softening to him, but I still didn’t like him a lot. I thought he was very cold, callous, heartless, and selfish. As much as Nicole has obvious and perceived freedom and choices, I felt like for a large part of the first half or so of the book he domineered her and she could never fully get the misunderstandings cleared. Maybe that’s just how it was supposed to be. I mean, I wouldn’t be inclined to try to fix or understand anything with a man who did what Mark did to her.

Enter a whole other plot line, drama, and – gasp! – Mark’s family. There is a murder, the question of the heir, and Mark and Nicole are in the thick of it. My heart broke again for Nicole after they solved the murder and she overhears a conversation where Mark will once again rid himself of her.

I did like the changes I started seeing in Mark, the breakthrough to the good of him. He was supportive of Nicole’s work – always had been – an infinitely proud of her. Now, a decade later working on this murder case together, despite their strained marriage and new intimacy, they worked well together. There was some reconnection and reconciliation like breadcrumbs, but overall it did feel rushed and tied up with a shiny bow.

I also found everything about Nicole’s ties to Bow Street and the War Office highly improbable because she was nobility. A woman of noble standing would not be able to fully act as she did for them without raising questions and drawing suspicion to her outings and goings-on. Not to mention, Mark seemed pretty daft at times, like in the beginning while in France. He could not take the big hints that Nicole’s friend was dropping that were obvious.

Review: Oppressed and Empowered: The Viscount’s Capable Wife

Title: Oppressed and Empowered: The Viscount’s Capable Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: December 2018
Length: 340 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Tales of Damsels and Knights #5
Genre: Historical, Romance

A woman with the desire to heal. A lord with a shameful secret. And a contract that binds them together.

Wishing to follow in her father’s footsteps, EVELYN PROCTEN has always tended to those in need. Despite social convention, the only future Evelyn can see for herself is that of a doctor…until she is called to Farnworth Manor to tend to the young viscount’s sister, who finds herself unmarried and with child.
Unfortunately, her stay at Farnworth Manor once again throws Evelyn into the path of Lord Ashwood, a man she has loved from a distance for many years. A man who has never looked at her twice. A man who disapproves of her professional ambition.

As far as society is concerned, RICHARD DAVENPORT, VISCOUNT ASHWOOD, is a cold-hearted and uncaring man. Although he does not overly care for society’s opinion of him, he cannot deny that there is truth in their assessment. Nevertheless, Richard knows his duty and would never act against propriety.
However, the whispers retreat into the background when his unmarried sister reveals to him that she is with child. Determined to maintain her secret, Richard keeps her locked away at Farnworth Manor. Still, in order to ensure his sister’s well-being, he is forced to call upon the one woman who has always been able to melt the ice from his heart.

Will he be able to resist her? Or will he succumb to her tender heart and share with her the one secret that has always determined his life?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This book in the series was prefaced with a note from the author about writing about a character with Asperger’s. I thought that was good to include, as well as the information included there. People with Asperger’s have difficulty reading facial and social cues as well as interpreting gestures. In the novel, this character is portrayed as significantly socially isolated, even from his own loving family. To everyone, he is just a hard man, cold, heartless.

In the novel, it contrasts the phenomenon we still see today in the difficulty and struggles women have to be viewed on the same plane as their male counterpart. Evelyn has worked alongside her father her whole life, learning doctoring from him. His new apprentice is far lesser experienced and lacking in the field, but sought out above and seen superior to Evelyn and her skillset. And she is a phenomenal doctor that no one will ever acknowledge. Not even the man who’s haunted her dreams since the last house call at the manor.

Richard Davenport is the Viscount Ashwood, and all see him as uncaring, unfeeling. He follows the rules to the T. Even if it means pain for those he loves. After his pregnant-with-no-husband sister faints, Richard calls for Dr. Procten, who in turn shows up with his new apprentice and daughter, Evelyn. He had seen her before when his father died and his mother took to her bed. She stayed for weeks and cared for the dowager viscountess. And she has been a woman he avoided while she was there. He…felt things. As it turns out, Dr. Procten and the late viscount had an arrangement for their children. Now that it is made known, they are set to choose to either honor it…or not. As much as Richard hates what he feels his father saw him as, he is honor-bound to uphold the contract.

Eventually Richard is able to overcome some of the barriers of his condition with Evelyn’s help. And even with a pregnant-with-no-husband sister who would be a pariah if it ever were to be known, Richard and Evelyn both do their best to find the right solution for Claudia, who is withering under Richard’s house arrest. She is a social butterfly; she thrives on people. There is clearly only one course of action here that will protect Claudia, and it is a cause of issue between them.

There is drama of all sorts. Family drama. Personal drama. Relationship drama. An almost mad-man semi-fiance. A mysterious attempted murder. A fight for life. Intrigue! But little romance or steam. I did like the playful way Evelyn and Richard are able to build in their marriage. 

Review: Condemned & Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife

Title: Condemned & Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: August 2018
Length: 310 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Tales of Damsels and Knights #3
Genre: Historical, Romance

A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son. And a chance encounter on the high seas.

Twelve years ago, Lady Silcox fled England with her six-year-old daughter Violet to spare her the life she herself had been forced into: an arranged marriage to an older man.

Today, VIOLET WINTERS is a grown woman sailing the seas on her French stepfather’s privateer, dreaming of commandeering a ship of her own. However, when she stumbles upon a betrothal announcement of the man she was set to marry, Violet cannot help but feel honour-bound to protect the woman who had been forced to take her place. Fortune smiles on Violet and delivers an English lord into her hands – and with him the chance to return to England unrecognised.

OLIVER CORNELL, EARL OF CULLINGWOOD, is trapped in a life he abhors. Not seen as a son, but merely an heir, he dreams of sailing the seas, the epitome of freedom. By sheer happenstance, Oliver ends up on a merchant vessel, which is promptly boarded by a French privateer. On board the Chevalier Noir, Oliver meets the captain’s daughter, a woman unlike any other he has ever met. Utterly fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, he does not hesitate to offer his assistance when Violet finds herself in need of a guide to London’s upper society.

Reveling in his first taste of adventure, Oliver poses as her husband…only to realise before long that posing as her husband will not be good enough. Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after? Or is their love doomed to fail?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Fleeing a loveless, almost abusive marriage, Lady Silcox sets to protect her daughter, Violet. How could her own husband bethrow their six year old to his elderly best friend? He would be ancient once Violet came of age!

That was a dozen years ago and everyone believes the note left behind claiming Lady Silcox drown her daughter and herself at sea.

Now, Lady Silcox is happily installed in France, the wife of a notorious pirate privateer. The man who leads the infamous Chevalier Noir.

Now an adult, Violet sails with her stepfather as part of the crew, dreaming of being captain of her own ship one day soon. But she is shaken when she reads an announcement in the paper – the man she was betrothed to as a child is now marrying another (presumably) young woman. Violet is dead-set on mending this mistake caused by her and her mother’s disappearance. Violet’s life creed is family above all else. She must do this.

How to sneak into England undetected and unknown? Turns out, an English earl falls into their hands at sea. While not practical or pragmatic, a plan is hatched to return Oliver Cornell to England and Violet will use that as her cover to “sneak” into England, gather intel, and save this doomed lady.

Oliver hates his life. He has never been seen as a child, loved, by his father. He is only an heir with responsibilities and duties to uphold. He longs for his own path. When he sees this adventurous determination in Violet, and he wants his own adventure. So he decides to involve himself in this plan. He offers Violet the way “in” to society: he will pose as her husband and also save his family the embarrassment of being ransomed – and his father’s ultimate ire and hate.

I enjoyed this installment in the series quite a bit. I think ever since reading Bloody Jack as a pre-teen I have fallen in love with pirates, ships, and the open sea. So I look forward to Henri’s book!

But there were some things that were extremely improbable: I don’t think Violet’s father would have allowed her to traipse off to England and and pretend to be married…to a stranger. I also don’t find it probable that he would support this crazy venture of hers at all – sending her to England to “save” some strange woman they knew literally nothing about. How? How was she supposed to “save” this woman from this impending marriage? He knows the rules of society. What would she do? Murder the man? Kidnap the woman? You don’t just run into a country you are at war with and not have a solution that will work.

There was definitely adventure and honor rolled up in this story. There was quite a bit to the plot, which I think will carry over into Henri’s book.

Review: Fooled & Enlightened: The Englishman’s Scottish Wife

Title: Fooled & Enlightened: The Englishman’s Scottish Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: May 2020
Length: 316 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Highland Tales #5
Genre: Historical, Romance

Scotland 1812: Returning to England after ten years, Maggie MacDrummond finds herself confronted by a man of her past. Long ago, she lost her heart to her childhood friend, only to have it crushed upon the first test of devotion. While Maggie spent the summer in Scotland with her family, the man she loved married another…without a word. Without warning. Without any thought for how his decision would crush her.

Ten years later, Maggie still cannot forget the man who’d once stolen her heart…and possesses it still. She is haunted by the moments they shared together, her heart foolishly longing for someone who treated it without care. Determined to finally rid herself of his influence over her, Maggie travels to London to face him.

Nathan Penhale, Earl of Townsend, lives from day to day, from one distraction to another. His life holds no meaning, no depth, no substance. He is but a shadow of the man he’s once been. 

Until the day Nathan glimpses the woman with the fiery-red hair who captured his heart long ago at a ball. It takes no more than a look into her soulful blue eyes, and his dead, shrivelled, dysfunctional heart once more begins to beat in his chest.

Shocked, Nathan can do little else but stand and stare at the ghost from his past, returned to torment him after ten years of agony. 
Nathan knows he ought to turn and leave, ignore her siren’s call, for it will only lead him to his doom. But his foolish heart urges him down a different path

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Margaret Brandley is the daughter of an earl, the Earl of Tynham. At eighteen she travels to Seann Dachaigh Tower in Scotland, her mother’s clan, where she still thinks of her childhood ally and friend, Nathan Penhale, Earl of Townsend. How could she not? She loves him.

But there are others who strictly do not want them to be together. Ever. So a lie is manufactured: Nathan is engaged. A date set. Perfect way to keep her sequestered in Scotland, away from learning the truth. And pushing her into a loveless marriage with Ian MacDrummond.

More than two years had passed since Ian had died in a tragic accident, freeing them both from a vow they’d come to regret.

Ten years later, Maggie must return to England. Now she is a widow with two young children. She follows her new clanswoman Claire back to England, seeking out her brother and his family, as well as a way to either break from Nathan or break her heart again.

Except Nathan has broken several hearts in England, including his own sister’s upon learning of a young boy named Collin. In fact, he acts heartless as well.

“I know she broke your heart,” she told him once again as though he could ever forget it, “but that doesn’t give you the right to treat others as though they’re worthless.”

And that’s exactly how Nathan lives. There is nothing that has meaning for him any longer. He survives in a world only to numb himself to everything around him. He is not the man he was ten years ago. Until he sees her again and that cold, dead thing in his chest beats once more. Now he must backtrack down the trail of broken hearts and painful memories he’s left in Maggie’s wake the last ten years to right the wrongs he’s done.

Throughout the book, we’re shown that young Blair has a special gift, which again featured in the epilogue, hinting at another book to come. Blair also pushes her mother to open and bare her heart once again. She is a healer of sorts as well. My heart broke learning the true story of Maggie’s “capture” in Scotland, and I’m glad she didn’t repeat that same process.

I think this has been my favorite of the series so far. I’ve read at least half a dozen, and I think the family element of Maggie and her two children, as well as the romance rekindling, secondary family, and other tidbits of Nathan’s past was just the right amount of everything.

Review: Once Upon a Devilishly Enchanting Kiss

Title: Once Upon a Devilishly Enchanting Kiss
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: January 2021
Length: 294 pages
Series?: The Whickertons in Love #1
Genre: Historical, Romance

England 1801: Lady Louisa, daughter to the Earl of Whickerton, never thought she would ever have reason enough to hate anyone; especially not Phineas Hawke, Viscount Barrington, the man with the most wickedly dark eyes she has ever seen.

Yet, at an innocent ball, Louisa is suddenly forced to realize that the man she could easily have lost her heart to has discovered her most shameful secret.

And that is not all.

Lord Barrington makes it a habit to tease her endlessly about it, his devilish grin and knowing eyes mocking her, testing her resolve time and time again. Struggling to maintain her composure, Louisa vows to never surrender, to never allow him to see how deeply his flippant words wound her. Anger settles in her heart, burying all tender emotions, as she tries her utmost to ignore him.

That, however, is easier said than done.

Phineas Hawke has known the lovely Lady Louisa almost all his life; not well, but at least from afar, they have always been acquainted. Her face is a familiar sight, and although he cannot deny that she possesses certain appealing charms, Phineas has never looked at her and seen someone other than simply one of Lord Whickerton’s daughters.

At least, not until another gentleman rather unexpectedly voices his partiality toward her.

Suddenly, Phineas realizes that the woman he has known all his life is one he has ignored for far too long, and to his utter dismay, she has come to loathe the very sight of him. Why? He does not know; however, he will not yield easily.

As it seems, neither will she.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This is the first book in the Whickerton series about the family of said name. It is heavy on the enemy to lovers trope.

Louisa has kept a secret hidden from her family all these years. It causes her a lot of anguish and embarrassment, but she can’t seek help because then it will be revealed: she can’t read. She has avoided anything that could expose her.

Until one night at a ball when she overhears the man she pines for make a comment that displays her lack of intelligence. He knows!! Words he thoughtlessly said set Louisa on a different course. Now, she doesn’t adore him. She despises him.

And Phineas has no idea why. They were just words he said in front of the guys, and he doesn’t even remember them. They were inconsequential…but have drastic consequences for him!

Phineas is like the life of the party and he can’t reconcile this drastic change in Louisa. Then it becomes almost like a baiting game. If he cannot bring her around to enjoy his company, he will rile her. Quite a bit of the book has him almost mercilessly seeking her out, cornering her, exchanging heated and hurtful words, and even passionate kisses. Sometimes this was hard to read because Phineas continually sought Louisa, knowing the outcome would be the same over and over again.

Overall, unlike many historical romances that take place during the short time of the Season, this book is set over a longer course of time, allowing things to build in a meaningful way. The ensemble cast of family and friends help make the story – and you do see them reappear throughout the series. Grandma Edie is a gem! However, there is a subplot in the story that takes place and while not unheard of during the time, it is painful to read. I wish Wolf could have written the series without this event happening.

And Louisa’s illiteracy? That is probably my favorite part. How everyone in her life comes to support and help her.

Review: Disregarded & Adored: The Widower’s Perfect Match

Title: Disregarded & Adored: The Widower’s Perfect Match
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: November 2021
Length: 110 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Tales of Damsels and Knights #7
Genre: Historical, Romance

England 1812: Twice in her life, ELAINE WINTERS, VISCOUNTESS SILCOX, found herself in front of the altar; however, twice for reasons not of the heart. Now, with a grown daughter and a grandchild on the horizon, Elaine has given up hope of ever experiencing the most mysterious of emotions herself. However, everything changes when she is swept up north for the holidays and finds herself all but snowed in at Errington Hall.

GILBERT STIRLING, EARL OF ERRINGTON, wants to marry again. And not any woman, but one in particular. Unfortunately, the lady who conquered his heart has always rebuffed every attempt at a closer connection. Surprised to find her on his doorstep this Christmas, Gilbert knows he cannot allow this opportunity to slip through his fingers.
He cannot allow her to slip through his fingers.

As their sons search the ancient castle for secret passageways, Elaine and Gilbert slowly come to realize that it is never too late for love…and that they might have found it when least expecting it.

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This is a later-in-life, Regency second-chance romance. I’m not sure I’ve found anything like it. It is also a novella, so the plot line is rather simple and streamlined.

Both Elaine and Gilbert are older. Elaine has married twice, not for love, not uncommon for the times. Gilbert has been widowed twelve years and while he has an heir, he wants to marry again. They are mature characters with some degree of contentment of their lives. Until their two sons play matchmaker.

The story is sweet from all aspects. The two boys, good friends, hatch this plan to throw their parents together in order to get them together. Which is how the Viscountess of Silcox and her son wind up spending the holidays at the Earl of Errington’s country estate. For most of the time, the boys are off running about the estate, playing, giving enough time for the two adults to be engaged in conversations and allow things to develop.

Review: The Christmas Mail Order Bride

Title: The Christmas Mail Order Bride
Author: Kit Morgan
Publisher: Angel Creek Press
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 228 pages
Series?: Holiday Mail Order Brides #1
Genre: Historical, Romance

Sheriff Clayton Riley asked for a pair of boots for Christmas, not a mail order bride! Unfortunately for Clayton, his brother and mother figured a bride would look better on him than a new pair of boots! After all, he’d been sulking around long enough after the death of his wife, and his family decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and see to it Clayton had a very merry Christmas!

Summer James was young, she was beautiful and, an impoverished orphan. Who would want such a woman? Obviously no one. For here she was, eighteen and now of age to set out on her own. But New Orleans was full of men with evil intent for one such as herself, and she saw no other choice but to take the only offer for survival she could find and become a mail order bride. What she didn’t count on was becoming Sheriff Clayton Riley’s Christmas present!

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

This is supposed to be comical and a Western, set post-Civil War in Washington Territory. It is a novella, so fairly short with an uncomplicated plot line.

Summer James grew up in a New Orleans orphanage, but now she is of age and must leave. She has two choices: find respectable work, but that isn’t easy. She is sent off to be a mail-order bride for Sheriff Clayton Riley, a widower. Except he didn’t order her. His scheming brother and mother did. Clayton cannot get past his grief for his late wife. He doesn’t need or want a bride. Not only is Clayton aggravated, he starts their meeting off … on the wrong foot!

There were some drawbacks to this comical story, though. There wasn’t really much romance. There wasn’t much relationship development. I enjoyed his brother when he would pop up in scenes. He was definitely comic relief. The mother was really pushy and I felt a lot of the book was Summer and her. And Summer cried all the time. All the time! There was no strength or resilience to her.

This is a quick and easy read, but not too terrible substantive or involved. It didn’t feel much like Christmas either.

Review: The Christmas Secret

Title: The Christmas Secret
Author: Jeannie Watt
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: November 2015
Length: 165 pages
Series?: Marvels of Montana #2
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Trapped in a cabin in a raging blizzard with the one man on earth who could turn her world upside down…this Christmas holiday was not playing out at all the way Lil Reynolds had planned. Not even close.

When Lil’s former fiancé chose to marry on Christmas Eve—the day he and Lil had planned to marry one year ago—she knew she had to get out of town for the holidays. Heading to the isolated family cabin seemed like the perfect solution, until the blizzard came…and a man showed up at her door in the heart of the storm. Casey Lanigan. Her ex-fiancé’s brother. A man with whom she shared a secret summer romance many years ago. A man who’d betrayed her trust. A man who, despite everything, still made her heart beat a little harder…

So much for a Lanigan-free holiday.

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This is a short and quick read. It is perfect for the holidays and a second-chance romance.

Lil has decided to take off to the cabin during the holidays. Her ex-fiancé is getting married on Christmas – the same day they were going to marry the year prior. She can’t stand the pitying looks of the townspeople and their attempts at comforting her, which is just salt in an open wound.

She thought she’d spend the holidays alone, cozied in the cabin, but that’s not how things go. Someone else also winds up near the cabin during the storm. Turns out it is Casey Lanigan. Her young love crush.

Being sequestered inside for a while, they can’t simply ignore one another entirely. Eventually, things get said. Lil has experienced the emotional roller coaster of abuse, living her whole life with an alcoholic father – except during the holidays. But it was always false hope. Casey’s father, on the other hand, could find only his faults, never being good enough. After hearing it for so long, he started doing things for his father to indeed blame him for.

They met when Lil took a job working at Casey’s family business, Lanigan Greenhouses. They were put to work together. They were opposites and they attracted. But Lil set some boundaries, given what her father was like. All of his stints that landed him in juvie – over. She could not withstand the pain and humiliation if he were to be arrested.

And that’s exactly what happened. Lil cut him off. Lil felt betrayed; Casey felt betrayed. He left town and went off to prove himself and she went back to school. He came back once before to prove himself to her…to find her dating his younger brother.

Back again to work for the family business following his father’s heart attack, he is roped in to being the best man. There is more family fighting, and that’s how he wound up at the cabins to retrieve his gear one final time.

There’s more family drama that is revealed and unravels throughout the rest of the book. One that threw me for a loop!