The Week: 29th January – 4th February

Wednesday summer sunset in Canberra

One of our (still fluffy!) young magpies hanging out on Friday afternoon.

Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018?

jemima-khan-impersonates-melania-trump-for-halloween-2016

My review of His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

My review of Honor-Bound Lawman by Danica Favorite

Honor-Bound Lawman (Love Inspired Historical) by Danica Favorite

Rereading Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber

Formula One (finally!) gets rid of “grid girls”

Formula One Race Podium Melbourne Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 20th March 2016 Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Sebastian Vettel F1

For Chinese New Year

Chinese-themed Book Sculpture

 

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

A lost identity. A dangerous mystery. And a deep love that can conquer it all.

When a mysterious gentleman arrives on his doorstep, Alexander Moreland is astonished to discover that the stranger is not a gentleman at all, but a beautiful young woman disguised as a man, and in great need of assistance. The woman remembers nothing except her own name, Sabrina, and has only the contents of her pockets as clues to her identity: a handkerchief, a pocket watch, a leather pouch, a torn scrap of paper and a gold ring.

Sabrina is certain that she is on the run from someone, or something—how else to explain the bruises on her face and the pervasive sense of dread she feels? She’s also certain that she trusts Alex to help her, and she can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. As they race through the English countryside, Sabrina and Alex must solve the mystery of Sabrina’s past—before whatever she’s running from catches up to them.

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

While no date is ever mentioned, this is very much a *Victorian*, not a Regency romance, with trains, other Victorian technology, Victorian fashions, and – yes – Queen Victoria. An era I love because everything was developing and changing so fast.

Dealing with that old favourite trope – “Romance Novel Amnesia” – your tolerance for a romanticised view of the condition will determine how much you enjoy this book. I was willing to overlook the unrealistic aspects of it to enjoy the characters etc.

This series is based around an eccentric aristocratic family. Again, your enjoyment will depend on how much tolerance you have for eccentricity and slightly non-historical leads and secondary characters.

There is a lot to enjoy here, and it’s nice to have more going on than the romance itself. I enjoyed the atmosphere the author created, and always enjoy a Victorian setting.

This wasn’t my favourite book I’ve ever read, but it made for a slightly different historical romance read. Candace Camp is well-established author for a reason.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 3rd – 9th April

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Driving from Queanbeyan to Canberra on Thursday afternoon. A few hours later there was a terror attack in Queanbeyan, and this road was the one the attackers used to escape interstate (the state border is at the rise up ahead on the road). Now I’ll always think of that when I see this gorgeous picture.

More of that lower in this post.

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Visiting the Treasures of Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery yesterday. Canberra has had an exclusive exhibition from Versailles for a few months now (including stuff like Marie Antoinette’s harp and Madame de Pompadour’s furniture), but because I was overseas I didn’t get there until this weekend. We actually tried to visit last week, but it was so busy everywhere we couldn’t even find a place to park! Yesterday the queue to get into the exhibition was so long it ran the entire length of the building, but we were determined to visit! It ends next week.

Dropping my brother home in the city yesterday afternoon.

Gorgeous, sunny autumn afternoon.

Parrots everywhere in Canberra now the autumn berries are coming out.

There was an Islamic State-inspired terror attack here overnight from Thursday to Friday this week. Of course – because nothing makes the news unless it happens in Sydney or Melbourne – it was barely reported.

The details of it are appalling, and I won’t go into them, but two teenaged boys went on a fourteen-hour rampage. The final stabbing happened on my aunt’s street, a few metres from her front door – it could have been her.

The house one of the attackers lived in and that was raided by police is a few doors from the house my grandmother lived in until she died in 2015. The murder at the service station happened close to where I’d met people for lunch a few hours earlier, and near our Ukrainian hall. The two guys were caught across the border here in Canberra, a few streets from my house, on a road I’d been down twice that day.

Literally every location a crime was committed during the rampage was somewhere I’d been on Thursday, and also somewhere I had a personal connection to.

While Canberra is the capital city, Queanbeyan is basically a country town, a small community just over the state border, and it is so shocking that now terrorism can literally happen anywhere.

I’m so angry that it barely made the news, because things only get reported if they happen in “known” cities.

A Visit to Dr Johnson’s House

Meet the ‘Grammar Vigilante’ of Bristol

My review of A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

My review of Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World (Jane Austen Regency Life #2) by Maria Grace

Make a Date with Harlequin – Viking!

Make a Date with Harlequin – Cowboy!

A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

Forced to marry an American heiress to save his family, Graeme Parr, Earl of Montclair, vowed their marriage would be in name only. Abigail Price thought handsome, aristocratic Graeme was her knight in shining armor, rescuing her from her overbearing father. But when she was spurned by her husband on their wedding night, Abigail fled home to New York.

Now, years later, Abigail has returned. But this sophisticated, alluring woman is not the drab girl Graeme remembers. Appalled by her bold American ways but drawn to her beauty, Graeme follows her on a merry chase through London’s elegant ballrooms to its dockside taverns—why is his wife back? What could she want of him now?

Torn between desire and suspicion, Graeme fears that Abby, like her unscrupulous father, has a devious plan to ruin him. But is Abigail’s true desire Graeme’s destruction… or winning his love at last?

A Perfect Gentleman by Candace Camp

This book has a lot going for it. Despite the generic “historical romance” fashions on the cover, it is set in the second half of the Victorian era (ignore everyone labelling it as “Regency”; it’s set seventy years later!) – that means trains and telegrams and cool new technology. It also means great fashions.

Then there are the angst-filled themes. A hopeful, naïve heroine who is excited about getting married, only to discover her husband despises her and is in love with another woman. There’s a separation and a reconciliation.

There is a mystery element to this story, but the problem is that it was the part that interested me the least. I’d have preferred it to take longer for hero and heroine to reconcile, and for them to work over those issues, than to basically hook up and play investigators together.

I don’t remember reading anything by Candace Camp before, and she is a very good, solid author. I especially love her obvious love for the gorgeous Worth fashions of the era.

I think she also did a good job making the distinction between the American heroine and English hero, but ICING, not “frosting” goes on a cake!

I enjoyed this book, but – as I said – I’d have preferred more relationship development and less running around London trying to solve a mystery together.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.