Review: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Reviewed by Jen

I really enjoyed this first installment in Caroline Linden’s new Wagers of Sin series, that features a stuffy duke and the independent pretend-widow that captures his interest. I’m always a sucker for a romance that features a hero and heroine of different social classes and the “forbidden” element that brings. Not only does this book have that, it also has a wonderfully stuffy hero who the heroine manages to unravel completely.

The story starts strong with a peek inside Sophie’s history. She is the granddaughter of nobility, but when her parents die, her beastly grandfather ships her off to school and cuts her off when she reaches 18… all because he never approved of her parents’ marriage. Thanks to her first 12 unconventional years, Sophie has a gift with cards and with gambling, and once she is on her own, she visits gaming hells to amass the money she needs to set herself up for marriage. She even invents a phony dead husband give her the kind of access a spinster would never enjoy. [Read more…]

Review: A Rake’s Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden

Reviewed by Jen

Generally I am a fan of all things Caroline Linden, but this re-issue from nine years ago is not one of my favorites from her. It’s sort of a second chance at love story, except the hero and heroine never really made it to the “love” stage the first time around.

Linden introduces us to Celia and Anthony four years prior to the main events of the story. She is a debutante in her first season and he is the disreputable friend of her older brother. Everyone knows that Anthony is a rake of the first order, and a gambler too. The gossip sheets report on him constantly, but Celia remembers the boy he was as she was growing up and isn’t so quick to judge him on his reputation. He is taken by the way she sees him, but he is too late when he asks her brother to court her. She has already accepted another man’s proposal. [Read more…]

Review: Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden

six degrees of scandalReviewed by Jen

Caroline Linden finally delivers answers to the questions she left us with at the end of Love in the Time of Scandal. This is Olivia’s story. She was the widow with a big secret and the super creepy stalker, Lord Clary.  She is also the woman who should have married Penelope’s brother, Jamie. This story is both a mystery and a reunited lovers story. And it finally unmasks the elusive Lady Constance, whose stories have titillated characters in every book of the series. [Read more…]

Review: What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

what a gentleman wantsReviewed by Jen

Caroline Linden books almost always work for me. So it was cool to look back on one of her earlier stories with this reissue from 10 years ago. While I’ll admit, the premise is a little far-fetched, I still enjoyed the book. In fact, I plan to pick up the other two parts of the trilogy.

Marcus, the Duke of Exeter, has been cleaning up his twin brother’s messes for as long as he can remember. But this takes the cake.  After his latest scrape, his brother David proposed marriage to a vicar’s widow, then signed Marcus’s name to the marriage certificate. To make matters worse, he put an ad in the paper and wrote to their family about the Duke’s so called romance. [Read more…]

Review: Love In The Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden

love in the time of scandalReviewed by Jen

Lord Atherton wasn’t a character painted with the kindest brush in Caroline Linden’s last book. When we met Benedict in It Takes a Scandal, we knew him as Sebastian’s former best friend; the man who turned his back on Sebastian and then tried to court Abigail, the woman his friend loved.  Ben is handsome, charming, and heir to an earldom, but Abigail’s sister Penelope refuses to ignore all the wrongs he has done.  Why didn’t he defend Sebastian all those years ago? Why did he pursue her sister, when he clearly never loved her? [Read more…]

Review: All’s Fair in Love and Scandal by Caroline Linden

alls fair in love and scandalReviewed by Jen

In every installment of Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, the naughty 50 Ways to Sin stories have captured the attention and imagination of the more daring ladies of the ton.  Everyone is talking about them and no one knows the identity of the woman behind the bold serial.  Now a wager has Douglas Bennet tasked with unmasking her.  His target: the aloof widow, Madeline Wilde.

Douglas didn’t even know Madeline existed until a friend threw down the gauntlet, daring him to turn her head. But despite his title and charm, she remains unmoved. That, of course, only serves to intrigue him more. And once he learns she could be the author of those salacious stories, he’s only drawn in deeper. [Read more…]

Review: It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden

it takes a scandalReviewed by Jen

This book reminded me how much I enjoy reading Caroline Linden books. It hit all my happy buttons, with minimal internal conflicts, a somewhat tortured hero, and a romance that kept me invested from beginning to end.

Sebastian is a pariah in his small country town.  He came back from war with a broken body, only to find that his father had lost his mind.  If that weren’t bad enough, his dad sold off almost all of their land for a small fraction of its worth, so they are now destitute.  [Read more…]

Review: Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

love and other scandalsReviewed by Jen

Joan isn’t very good at being fashionable.  She’s too tall, too curvy, yet she tries to wear the clothes, the hats, and the hairstyles popular for her more dainty peers. As a result, she isn’t very popular with gentlemen. Her frankness and independent spirit don’t help either.  She yearns for some freedom and a chance at romance, but neither looks especially forthcoming.

Tristan is her brother’s best friend. He is also a notorious rake and hellraiser who has no intention of being shackled by marriage. [Read more…]

Favorites From… Caroline Linden

Caroline Linden

One of my favorite books of recent years is a post-apocalypse trans-Siberian trucker story, DRIVEN. It came out a few years ago under the name Eve Kenin, but the author recently republished it under her real name, Eve Silver.

I read this book when it first came out and even though I would never have thought to write a romance that a) is set in an Arctic wasteland; b) involves gene manipulation; and c) involves big rig trucking….well, I am still consumed with jealousy that I didn’t write this book. It’s got everything: a truly kick-ass heroine who fends for herself and saves both herself (and others) more than once, a hero who is tough, sexy, and so endearingly charming it makes me laugh out loud, and a plot filled with taut intrigue and adventure.

When I read it again (in reissued form) recently, it was even better than the first time, and it still made me cry. There’s a sequel, HIDDEN, which will hopefully be made available soon because it’s just as good as DRIVEN. And then you can all join my campaign to lobby the author for another sequel…

I think you should be able to find it at most ebook retailers.

Thank you to Caroline Linden for sharing her recommendation with me! I asked Caroline to be a part of this feature because I really enjoy her Historical Romance books. She skips so many of the standard and ridiculous tropes of the genre and she leaves me satisfied every time I read one of her books.  Her novella, I love the Earl, won the RITA this year for Best Romance Novella!

Here is your chance to try out Caroline’s recommendation. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win an ebook of Driven. You can also enter to win one of three copies of I Love the Earl. Both giveaways are international.

Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.
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*”Favorites from…” photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos  

Review: The Way to a Duke’s Heart

Reviewed by Jen

Caroline Linden has never let me down.  She has great love stories that never make me angry. I never hate her heroes. I’m never tempted to toss the nook against the wall.  Somehow she manages to create couples whose obstacles are not self-imposed.  The characters are all generally likable and the romance, easy to root for. And this third book in the Truth About the Duke series may be my favorite of the bunch.

When we first met the hero, Charlie, back in One Night in London, he was difficult to like. He was a playboy of the highest order, leaving the family responsibilities to his brothers. But as we get to know him here, we learn there are reasons for the way he is.  He made a break with his father after the man sabotaged his betrothal. He lost the woman he loved and he never forgave his father for it.

The overall arc of the series has been focused on the three de Lacey brothers as they try to prove their legitimacy and unmask the man who was blackmailing their father in the days before his death.  Now that his younger brothers are wrapped up with their new wives, the duty falls to Charlie.  All he has to go on is an old ledger kept by the man who married his father to his first wife… and a possible name for the blackmailer: Hiram Scott.  When Charlie hears Scott’s name linked to an impertinent widow staying at his hotel, he grabs on to the lead with both hands.

Tessa is woman completely uninterested in gossip or climbing social station. She is utterly oblivious to the so-called Durham Dilemma surrounding Charlie’s family. She is in Bath to guide her brother in an investment opportunity with Mr Scott –an unusual task for a woman, but she is no ordinary woman. She is plain-spoken and independent.  And a failed engagement has left her with no desire to find a husband.  But once Charlie begins to cozy up to her and her companion, it’s hard to remember why she has cut herself off from the opposite sex.

It was interesting to see how the whole blackmailing storyline finally came together. It was unpredictable and satisfying.  But where the story really shined was in the romance.  It was sweet, but still managed to pull off the sexy times.  Charlie is a rake, but a good man.  I think one of the reasons I ended up liking him so much was because he could see what a treasure Tessa really was.  He treated her well. He was honest with her.  And she was never coy. She didn’t scheme. She said what was on her mind. They were each exactly what the other needed.

You don’t have to read the earlier installments to enjoy this book, but I think it’s even better after the events of the first two books.  It’s not overly angsty or tumultuous, but it’s a pleasant read and a solid romance.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Way to a Duke’s Heart
by Caroline Linden
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon