*** Please note that various posts will contain affiliate links for Amazon. Purchases from these links will make me a small percentage in store credit. ***

21 May 2017

Rambling About.. Elizabeth Essex's Highland Brides

I nabbed A Fine Madness off of NetGalley and then, of course, realized that it's the third in a series and went to grab the other two. I am so glad that I did!

1. Mad For Love
Publisher: ERB Publishing (March 26, 2016)
First Line: Marie Chantal Amelie du Blois never felt more French than when she was in London.

Marie (Mignon to friends and family) is the daughter of Charles du Blois who, much to her dismay, is a master art forger. It's 1790 and the two live in London, largely on the money he has earned selling his copies. One night when her father is out at an exhibit showcasing one of their family heirlooms (also a forgery created by her grandfather), Mignon catches a thief in their house. He happens to be gorgeous and he also happens to be Rory Cathcart -- an expert at detecting forgeries for Christie's. His friends tipped him off about du Blois and he was there to investigate more than steal. Of course, he couldn't tell Mignon that -- especially not when she later approaches him to have him help her steal her own statue from the exhibit before it can be studied for authenticity ... by Mr Cathcart.

A note at the beginning of the book indicates that it was written in homage to one of my all-time favorite movies, How To Steal A Million, starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.

This had me worried at first because retellings are so often horrid, but Essex did a beautiful job (and included some of my favorite bits of dialogue!). It's also just enough different to have held my interest and make me curious about Rory's friends -- the men who will be the leads in the rest of the series!

Stars: *****

2. Mad About the Marquess
Publisher: ERB Publishing (April 5, 2016)
First Line: Lady Quince Winthrop had always known she was the unfortunate sort of lass who could resist everything but temptation.

This time we're revisiting the Robin Hood legends in 1792 Scotland with Lady Quince Winthrop standing in for Robin and Rory's friend Alasdair taking the Sheriff of Nottingham role. The two have history together as Alasdair used to court her older sister. Now she's all grown up (after all, it's 1792 and 19 was considered grown up) and he's working as a Member of Parliament. He has been tasked with stopping the thefts happening in the area while home tending to the castle he has recently inherited from his grandfather. Of course, she's the thief he's looking for.

Alasdair had a bit of a scandalous time in his youth and has worked hard to over come it, but there's something about Quince that makes him feel that being so serious isn't necessarily a good thing. Of course, considering who Quince is and what she does, it isn't necessarily a good thing to have her be any sort of influence in his life. At least, it wouldn't be in real life, probably. Luckily for them, they live in a book where two wrongs may not make a right but several may ... and they each do several wrongs along the way.

It's a fun romp with snark galore from both parties. You know how much I love my snark! It felt a bit too long and dragged out at times -- I would have been pleased as punch with it being half the length like Mad for Love -- but all-in-all it was still an enjoyable read.

Stars: ***1/2 

Publisher: ERB Publishing (May 2, 2017)
First Line: Elspeth Otis had never particularly liked birthdays.

It's June of 1792 and, at the ripe old age of 24, Elspeth Otis is officially a spinster. She has even received a birthday present of a little cap like spinsters are so known to wear by the spinster aunts she lives with. She also, though, receives a great big trunk from an aunt she never knew existed -- her father's sister, Lady Augusta Ivers. Lady Ivers had been writing and sending gifts and invitations for Elspeth to visit her in Edingburgh for Elspeth's entire life. Her spinster aunts, however, thought it best to keep this from her. They would have continued to do so had the trunk not arrived when Elspeth was present. Her aunts did refuse the trunk and when the delivery driver said that he was told to take it back to Lady Ivers if that happened, Elspeth insisted that he take her as well. I fell in love with her instantly!

Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Rory's half-brother Hamish has been given an ultimatum by their father : find a wife in under five weeks time or be cut off financially. Hamish doesn't want an arranged marriage. He doesn't have any interest in marriage at all, really, but if he doesn't want to settle for anything less than marrying for love like Rory did. He also doesn't want to be destitute, though, so when Lady Ivers approaches him with a business proposition regarding the republication of her late brother's scandalous (and censored) novel, he more or less jumps at the chance.

While Hamish is tasked with cleaning up the published novel, Elspeth is urged to finish the partial manuscript that was left in the trunk. You can pretty much already see where this is headed, can't you? It heads there splendidly, too, with the right amount of angst and the right amount of romance to overcome it.

Stars: *****

No comments:

Post a Comment