The Week: 26th November – 2nd December

This has been a dramatic week both personally and for the world, and so I’ve run out of time to even take a picture of my Christmas decorations! Maybe next week…

Darth Putin is a parody account the Russians periodically try to get banned.

This week Russia’s war in Ukraine finally made it back into the news.

Tomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

Tomi-AdeyemiTomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

My review of The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

Helene Young: ‘I chose a career as a pilot over motherhood. I don’t regret a thing’

Shattered-Sky-Front-Cover1-190x300

Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot

Go Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot Falling for the Wrong Brother,

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Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust, the fifth book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott family series, is out now.

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband’s passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love…

The Week: 16th – 22nd July

What a week for the world! Everyone is insane. Huge pride for Pussy Riot, for being almost the only people at the entire World Cup willing to protest instead of pretending everything was wonderful. We need more people like them.

R.I.P. Denis Ten

My review of Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Am I the only one who thinks this might not be a good idea?

WelcomebacktoDownton!We_rethrilledtoannouncethat_DowntonAbbeyiscomingtothebigscreen_Filmproductionbeginsthissummer_The folks

Four Years

298-mh17-candles

Twenty Years

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

You’ve got to love the timing of Dictionary.com!

Quisling Dictionary.com 17th July 2018 Trymp Putin russia Treason

Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

Canberra woman Cate Shortland is set to smash records and become Marvel's first solo female director.

 

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh sweeps us back in time to an age of scandal and glittering society—and brings to life an extraordinary family: the daring, passionate Huxtables. Katherine, the youngest sister—and society’s most ravishing innocent—is about to turn the tables on the irresistible rakehell sworn to seduce her, body and soul….

In a night of drunken revelry, Jasper Finley, Baron Montford, gambles his reputation as London’s most notorious lover on one woman. His challenge? To seduce the exquisite, virtuous Katherine Huxtable within a fortnight. But when his best-laid plans go awry, Jasper devises a wager of his own. For Katherine, already wildly attracted to him, Jasper’s offer is irresistible: to make London’s most dangerous rake fall in love with her. Then Jasper suddenly ups the ante. Katherine knows she should refuse. But with scandal brewing and her reputation in jeopardy, she reluctantly agrees to become his wife. Now, as passion ignites, the seduction really begins. And this time the prize is nothing less than both their hearts.…

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

I did myself a terrible disservice with Then Comes Seduction, because I started it about six months ago, loved it, and then I had to travel and catch up on some other things, and never finished it. I have read about three-quarters of the book, but decided to review it anyway. What I really need to do is go back and start it again – and I don’t have time at the moment!

Then Comes Seduction surprised me at first because the relationship between hero and heroine escalates quickly. In my experience, this is really unusual for a Mary Balogh book. I had no idea where it was going to go from there.

What happens after that is Balogh expertly using the strict (for women!) social rules of the time to force the heroine into a terrible situation. She’s found out, and then pretty much forced into a marriage.

Yes, this is a popular historical romance trope, but the difference here is that Balogh recreates the Regency era in a way very few other authors can. I was hooked on the drama.

I read up until the point where hero and heroine are at his estate… and I can’t say what happens from there!

I do think the story slowed a little at this point, but one day I’ll have to find out for certain.

The Week: 25th June – 1st July

Australian Parliament on Saturday afternoon.

Winter Evening Light Eucalyptus Tree Gum Tree Sonya Oksana Heaney 28th June 2018 Canberra Australia Nature

Winter Sky Sunset 2 Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 28th June 2018 Nature

Winter in Canberra

Yesterday we finally made it to the National Gallery for the Cartier exhibition. I’ll do a post about it next week, but – WOW. This wasn’t just random stuff; it was Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara, and some of the Queen’s favourite jewellery, and Grace Kelly’s tiara, and Elizabeth Taylor’s necklace, and tiaras belonging to Queen Victoria’s daughters, and a clock belonging to a US president…

Followed up with lunch at Canberra’s oldest Italian restaurant – good start to the weekend.

My review of Someone to Care (Westcott family #4) by Mary Balogh

To China

Chinese Embassy Australia Canberra

The next trademark drama.

Cockybot cockygate trademark for Secret Garden

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I_ve Loved Before by Jenny Han Movie Tie-In Cover

What is this?!

Hidden Truths (My One-Night Stand #3) by Giovanna Reaves

Someone to Care (Westcott family #4) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Care (Westcott Family #4) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Care (Westcott family #4) by Mary Balogh UK Australian Cover

(Pick your cover. I prefer the top one! It even includes a building that plays a big part in the story.)

Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune—except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness—until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.

Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womaniser since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.

When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it.

Someone to Care (Westcott family #4) by Mary Balogh

Readers have had a lot of different reactions to this book, as I would expect seeing as the two lead characters are so unconventional for the historical romance genre. That said, I loved Someone to Care a lot, and will go back to some parts of it again and again. It made me feel things.

The first half of the book is particularly strong. It’s an emotional story about a woman in her forties who has never been able to make a choice for herself in life until now, and when she does it all goes horribly wrong.

Viola is a mother and a grandmother, but nobody sees her beyond that. She was a countess until her marriage was declared void because of her husband’s bigamy, and now she has no standing in society and no idea what is ahead of her.

One thing that makes Mary Balogh one of the best authors in the genre is that she refuses to modernise her Regency world. She writes HISTORICAL romance, and it’s so much better for it. We get the society and the societal restrictions. Balogh doesn’t present us with her feminism by putting her heroines in breeches and sending them stumbling through ballrooms like bulls in china shops; instead she shows us the constraints women lived under and how they got around those strict rules to find happiness.

Because of this, we get to see the hypocrisy surrounding Viola’s situation, and feel the full effect of the oppression she lives under. Marcel has spent seventeen or so years running around England and indulging in any and all vices, and not once has he been forced into a situation he doesn’t want.

And yet Viola – at forty-two – finally takes a chance to do something for herself, and that one decision has massive consequences.

I read historical fiction to read about another world, and Balogh, Madeline Hunter, and a few others (but not nearly enough of them) take me there.

I think this could just about be called a reunion romance, as the characters loved each other in the past, but could do nothing about it. I felt connected to this pair (even when Marcel was disguising his hurt behind cruel words), and invested in them finding a way back to each other by the end.

For readers new to the series, I think you could very much enjoy the first half of the book. However, then the other characters arrive, and you’re going to be overwhelmed. There are several dozen characters to keep track of, and I don’t think that’s going to work for someone who hasn’t come into the Westcott family in book one.

The overpopulation in the second half is my only complaint about Someone to Care, but because of how much it made me feel at the start, I’m forgiving it.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

 

One thing that’s driving me mad: we no longer seem to be getting UK/Australian English versions of books here. I’m tired of reading US versions with the US spelling when I buy a book *in Australia*. I’m not sure what publishers are doing, but we’re going to lose our language entirely soon.