The Week: 17th – 23rd April

Yesterday in Canberra

It is so gorgeous here at the moment. I have no idea why it’s still so warm, when we’re about two-thirds of the way through autumn. The autumn colours are really late this year. I can only find a handful of trees with autumn leaves – this is just a photograph from a set of steps on my street!

So, this happened this week. My mother was in the middle of it. Bizarrely, neither the police nor the media reported it for 2.5 days after it happened. Then they were “seeking witnesses”? It’s a bit late after all the witnesses have #1 – stopped checking the news, and #2 – forgotten all the important facts!

The-Christmas-Cowboy-Hero-by-Donna-Grant-300

When there are Christmas books already being advertised – and you’re still getting over Christmas!

I have something to say about trust in writers, bizarre attitudes to politics, and an author I respected watching a propaganda film and then calling a Putin ally “a hero of our generation”, but I need a day or two to get over my anger and incredulity first!

My review of The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

Not-So-Contemporary Romance: The Paradox of Disenfranchised Heroines

Coming Up for Anne Gracie

Because enough time has passed…??

Because enough time has passed…??

Two Lifetimes, One Love A Novel of Reincarnation. by Thea Thaxton

There have been a few books with a romance at the centre of them out recently that have been troubling me – books that involve a woman falling in love with a Nazi.

More than that, most of the books I’ve come across with this theme involve a romance between a Nazi and a JEWISH woman.

I’m… not really okay with this.

I’ve been getting the sense recently that people are viewing the Second World War as something that was so long ago it’s now okay to romanticise it. From the under-twenty-fives blogging on Tumblr who frequently mention that Hitler actually had some good ideas and was just a little misguided, to movies that focus on the Average Joe just trying to make ends meet in Nazi Germany – to the likes of Trump and Putin, I’m getting the sense people have started softening their attitudes towards the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s.

True, nobody ever holds Soviet Russia up for the scrutiny it deserves, a regime that killed million-for-million the same numbers as the Nazis. They’ve always got away with it, and there’s no shortage of books romanticising it.

However, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Perhaps I should read some of these books, and give them a chance before dismissing them straight off.

It’s just that I never thought I’d see romances and romantic women’s fiction with swastikas on the covers. I guess it’s a sign of our times it is so normalised now nobody asks any questions.

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

All were shocked at the announcement of the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, especially since she is already engaged to another unfortunate Lord. Perhaps she will make it to the altar this time with one of these fine gentlemen! Could her run of bad luck finally be at an end? It’s highly doubtful in this writer’s humble opinion. —Midnight Cryer

No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse…especially once she realises that Lord Pembrooke makes her want to believe she’s not a bad luck bride anymore…

Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper. The beguiling lady has no business laying claim to his heart. But as a mission of revenge turns into fiery passion, Alexander wants nothing more than to break Claire’s curse…and lead them both to their hearts’ desire.

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

Even though this cover is about as historically inaccurate as most historical romance covers, something about it caught my attention. That, combined with the fact this book is by a debut author, and the start of a new series, had me intrigued.

The Bad Luck Bride starts off with an interesting scene, with the hero fighting a duel. It immediately drew me in.

However, the chapters following this were a little confusing, with both hero and heroine seeming to have conflicting interests, and with the introduction of an array of characters I couldn’t quite get straight in my mind.

There is a good book in here, but I found it to be a little messy. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and was confused by why the characters acted the way they did. The author clearly has some talent, but an editor should have worked a little harder to shave away the unnecessary side characters and conversations and drawn out the focus of the plot.

I was also pretty annoyed by the blatant Americanisms that started immediately and didn’t end – it’s AUTUMN, not “the fall”, and it is completely reasonable to expect authors and editors to know this. Also, “snuck” is not just a hideous word that is out of place in the Regency setting (I have a personal hatred of the term!), but there is nothing British about it. The made-up Pembrooke was also distractingly similar to the real Pembroke.

I think that author Janna MacGregor is going to develop nicely as an author, but this book isn’t quite where I wanted it to be.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Not-So-Contemporary Romance: The Paradox of Disenfranchised Heroines

Snapdragon-by-Kilby-Blades-225

Great article over at Heroes and Heartbreakers the other day:

Not-So-Contemporary Romance: The Paradox of Disenfranchised Heroines

‘But it’s not just about me—there’s a darker side to this. We need to come to terms with what we’re feeding into when we celebrate weaker heroines. When we surrender to fictional worlds in which the women are “less than” the men in all aspects of their lives, we are feeding ourselves a damaging lie with each conforming romance we read.’

Coming Up for Anne Gracie

marry-in-haste-marriage-of-convenience-by-anne-gracie

Regency romance author Anne Gracie has a new series beginning very soon.

Marry in Haste can be pre-ordered:

The Book Depository

Also Here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Amazon Canada

Blurb:

Major Calborne Montgomery returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest of men, but his wild half-sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.

When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ease, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.

Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere façade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?

The Week: 10th – 16th April

Happy Easter! We are being very Ukrainian. That bowl of pysanky (Ukrainian hand-painted Easter eggs)? All of them were all made by us in the 1980s – I was VERY young then! They take forever to make, but they are so badly faded now. We need to make some more, but these days it’s illegal to import a lot of the important stuff needed to make them to Australia (customs regulations are very strict here). Also, these days all eggs in the shops are murky brown and stamped with ink numbers. You need white eggs to paint.

The blue embroidery is from the Lviv region of Ukraine, where my grandmother and her family comes from. The black embroidery is from central Ukraine.

The candle holders are also from there; my aunt just bought them for us as a present – the floral design is so typical of Ukraine.

Autumn in Canberra is generally gorgeous! This was Good Friday at the Kingston Foreshore.

Autumn sunshine:

King Parrots everywhere around here in autumn.

The world has been so crazy this week, I can’t even be bothered discussing it!

 Rules of the Road for the Regency Language

Behind the Scenes at Harlequin

My review of A Sense of Sin (Dartmouth Brides #2) by Elizabeth Essex

My review of Distracting the Duke (Wayward in Wessex #1) by Elizabeth Keysian

Surely I’m not the only one…