Recently Reread: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published on the 28th of January 1813. Here is the front page from a first edition copy of the book.

I reread Pride and Prejudice (and Persuasion) every so often, because why not?!

Unlike many people, who seem to have studied Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters at school or university, I never did. Even though I majored in English in college (the finally two years of high school) and in literature at university, I’ve had to discover some of these classics on my own.

I think I develop a greater appreciation for Austen every time I read her work. However, one thing I noticed in this reread is that Elizabeth Bennet considers herself an “I’m not like other women!” lady. She actually makes several statements to that effect, including directly to Mr Darcy near the end. Funny, that in 2019 we still can’t get authors to stop writing characters who think like that!

Anyway, other than that little discovery, I still liked it. 🙂

The Week: 29th April – 5th May

Autumn Colours Autumn Leaves Canberra Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 29th April 2019 Warm Sunny Day Blue Sky Garden Nature

Autumn colours in Canberra.

Argh! It’s May. What is going on?!

I voted on Wednesday. The Australian election is not for another fortnight, but I’m going to be at the ballet in Sydney on that day (voting is compulsory here). I also met my candidate at the polling station. Now, could I please be spared all the trashy political ads for the next two weeks?!

I’m on HarperCollins.com!

hc-logo HarperCollins Publisher

New Book from Madeline Hunter

and

My review of Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes #3) by Madeline Hunter

Never Deny a Duke (2019) (The third book in the Decadent Dukes Society #3 series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Coming up for Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (2019) (The first book in the Uptown Girls series #1) A novel by Joanna Shupe

My review of The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

Coming up for Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (2019) (The first book in the Uptown Girls series #1) A novel by Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue the first book in Joanna Shupe‘s the Uptown Girls series is due out later this month. Here’s what it’s about:

He can solve any problem . . .

In serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society, Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There’s no issue he cannot fix . . . except for one: the beautiful and reckless daughter of an important client who doesn’t seem to understand the word danger.

She’s not looking for a hero . . .

Excitement lies just below Forty-Second Street and Mamie Greene is determined to explore all of it – while playing a modern-day Robin Hood along the way. What she doesn’t need is her father’s lawyer dogging her every step and threatening her efforts to help struggling families in the tenements.

However, she doesn’t count on Frank’s persistence . . . or the sparks that fly between them. When fate upends all her plans, Mamie must decide if she’s willing to risk it all on a rogue . . .

Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes #3) by Madeline Hunter

Never Deny a Duke (2019) (The third book in the Decadent Dukes Society #3 series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

He is the last duke standing

. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.
 
The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . . .

Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes #3) by Madeline Hunter

‘If you do not flirt, how will you manage this marriage you anticipate making next season?’

‘I expect I will dance with her at balls a few times, call on her a few times, then propose.’

‘How dreadful you make it sound. Poor girl.’

‘Dreadful? Poor girl? She will be a duchess. Her family will be delirious with joy.’

 

I love everything Madeline Hunter writes, and Never Deny a Duke is no exception. While – in the hands of another author – the hero and heroine’s battle over the ownership of an estate, and a rushed trip up north to Scotland to debate it, would result in a mildly ridiculous romp, Hunter gives the story the perfect amount of weight – while occasionally adding her drier, more mature version of humour.

I really appreciated the tiny, funny touches here and there in this one, as this hero is the most serious of the three in the trilogy. And – as ever – I deeply appreciated the efforts to give both male and female characters friends; there’s more to their lives than the pursuit of the romance.

This is another unconventional heroine, but one who fits into her time period. She aspires to things she knows she cannot have, being a woman, but because she also knows the rules of the society she lives in she has to find other ways to reach those dreams. It’s a good balance of the historical themes designed for the modern reader.

Other than the occasional slip into modern American English (e.g. gotten and ass), Hunter’s Regency world is one I believe in. She never forgets to show the power held by the aristocrats, even as this current series features heroines who marry “up”.

There’s a slower burn to this book than some, but it gave the characters a chance to fall in love realistically, and therefore I enjoyed it all the more.

A solid conclusion to an enjoyable series.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

A Gentleman of Means

One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.

A Woman of Character

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.

An Unstoppable Duo

But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

I really appreciate a well-researched Victorian era book, and there’s no doubt Stephanie Laurens knows her stuff. I did find that The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh took a while to get going, and the pacing (slow at the start) is something I’ve noticed in a lot of Harlequin historicals, which leads me to believe it’s the style the publisher prefers.

This is the second book in a series – a series I’ve not read the first book of. I get the impression both hero and heroine were featured in the earlier book, and I think I might have enjoyed watching the evolution of their relationship over both instalments.

My issue with the beginning of this one is that the first quarter is about only one incident. For the first 25%(ish) of the story, all we see are hero and heroine moving a boys’ school from one building to another. We see every step of the boys moving chalk, and desks, and books, and… It was beautifully written, and SO well-researched, but it was still 20 000+ words of people moving furniture.

I also get the historically accurate situation of only boys getting an education, but I wasn’t that enamoured reading about male privilege in a romance novel…

On the other hand, the author seems to be well familiar with her setting, and it made a big difference to have all the personal, realistic touches, and that’s what kept me reading.

Laurens is a prominent author in the genre, and you know you’re going to get a quality story. In the case of THIS book, I’d recommend persisting beyond the slowish start.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

 

On a side note: Kavanaugh/Cavanaugh is a pretty unfortunate surname for this moment, considering the news!

New Book from Madeline Hunter

Never Deny a Duke, the third book in Madeline Hunter‘s Decadent Dukes series is out tomorrow.

Here’s what it’s about:

He is the last duke standing

. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.
 
The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . . .

And here’s the cover:

Never Deny a Duke (2019) (The third book in the Decadent Dukes Society #3 series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

The Week 22nd – 28th April

Happy Easter – again! (I know – those aren’t pysanky in the bowl, but at least the embroidery is from Ukraine!)

The way the calendar works this year, it’s all too much in one go. Four days of Easter a week ago, and then Anzac Day here in Australia on Thursday, and now four more days of old-calendar/Ukrainian Easter – and then it’s Mother’s Day here a few days after that!

Winter just refuses to arrive in Canberra. Nearly two-thirds of the way through autumn, and the temperatures are still in the mid-twenties. No rain, either – which I’d be really happy to see at the moment…

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cof

^^^^

At the Australian War Memorial (which is here in Canberra), after the national Anzac Day service. That’s my Vietnam veteran father, and in the second picture you can see me looking at a Vietnam War display inside the museum with him. (I need to brush up on this stuff; I’m currently editing another veteran’s book!)

It was shocking this year to see all extra security and all the concrete barricades along the length of Anzac Parade (the giant boulevard that connects the War Memorial to the rest of the city, and the place the service happens). Terrorism is changing the world very fast.

Autumn Colours Autumn Leaves in the Garden Tuggeranong Canberra Australia April 2019 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 3

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Some autumn colours in Canberra.

New Book for Mary Balogh

and

Another Cover for Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh's next book Someone to Honour the sixth book in the Westcott family series UKAustralian Cover.

Nora Roberts sues Brazilian author, cites ‘multi-plagiarism’.

Cristiane Serruya has plagiarism scandal 1

Anzac Day Reads: Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement by Karina Bliss

Anzac Day Reads: Helene Young

Wings of Fear (Border Watch #1) by Helene Young

Anzac Day Reads: Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Out Now: A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

New Book for Mary Balogh

There is information out – if no cover yet – for the seventh book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott family series (even though the sixth book is not out yet), and I am SO excited about it.

I’ve said numerous times how great it is that Balogh’s curent series has such an amazing lot of leading characters, ranging in age from just out of girlhood to grandparents. I thought the fourth book – Someone to Care – was pretty revolutionary, but I think #7 – Someone to Remember – will be even more so.

The heroine of this one is an older spinster character who has been a bit of a family joke throughout the series so far. It was only in book #5 that we got a glimpse of a woman who missed her chance at happiness, and I actually commented on it in my review.

 

Here’s the description for Someone to Remember:

 

It’s never too late to fall in love in this enchanting new novella in the Westcott series from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.

Matilda Westcott has spent her life tending to the needs of her mother, the Dowager Countess of Riverdale, never questioning the life of solitude she has spun for herself. To Matilda, who considers herself the ageing spinster daughter, marriage is laughable–love is a game for the young, after all. But her modest, quiet life of order unravels when a dashing gentleman from her past reappears, threatening to charm his way into her heart yet again.

Charles Sawyer, Viscount Dirkson, does not expect to see Matilda Westcott thirty-six years after their failed romance. Moreover, he does not expect decades-old feelings to emerge at the very sight of her. When encountering Matilda at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Riverdale, he finds himself as fascinated by her as he was the first day they met, and wonders if, after all these years, they have a chance at happiness together. Charles is determined to crack the hard exterior Matilda has built for over three decades or risk losing her once again…

Another Cover for Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh's next book Someone to Honour the sixth book in the Westcott family series UKAustralian Cover.

Here is the UK/Australian cover for Mary Balogh’s next book: Someone to Honour, the sixth book in the Westcott family series. (They keep using the same model!). It is due out in July.

The US cover is below, and the book’s description is below it.

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

First appearances deceive in the newest charming and heartwarming Regency romance in the Westcott series from beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh . . .

Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He’s come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to – secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honor means, and how only with it can one find love.

Out Now: A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews, an author who writes excellent Victorian romances, is out now.

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

He Needed Peace…

Attorney Tom Finchley has spent his life using his devious intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life. If only he could find an equally uncomplicated woman.

She Wanted Adventure…

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest—and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…