Wish List for 2019

New Year 2019

Other years I’ve written a longish post about what I want to see in books in the new year.

This year? It’s simple:

  • More world issues in romantic suspense (though I suspect I’m in the minority on that one!). More books like Brynn Kelly’s which involve characters from all different countries.
  • More Regency romances in the style of Madeline Hunter and Mary Balogh, books where it feels like it’s the Regency era.
  • More Victorian romances like Lisa Kleypas’ and Mimi Matthews’.

That’s it!

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Recommended Christmas Read: A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

I reviewed Mimi Matthews’ A Holiday by Gaslight last month. Set in the Victorian era, it is a great little read for the Christmas season.

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

The Week: 12th – 18th November

cof

sdr

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Some pictures from the Great Wall near Beijing, Jinan, and the Zibo district in China last week.

These past few months have been crazy. From winter to like-winter weather in Europe, to warm weather, to a heatwave in Canberra, to freezing China, to another heatwave in Canberra. I’m so confused where I am and what season it is! Now I’ve done my Christmas shopping (just in case things didn’t arrive in time), I sort of feel like it’s time for the year to end!

My review of A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Another Book Community Gone?

A Jane Austen Christmas

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Silver Version 2

Poppies for Remembrance Day – 100 Years

Thousands of Poppies First world War One Sonya Heaney 11th November 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Long Tan Cross

mde

Armageddon Seventy Years On

A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion—or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.

A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Mimi Matthews is a fairly recent discovery, but a favourite historical romance author of mine. She writes historically accurate Victorian novels and novellas that are on the sweet side as far as steaminess goes, but usually also emotional stories with great characters.

I liked all of the mixed messages and class confusion in this one. The hero is completely out of his depth trying to navigate the society of the landed gentry (as is his friend), and this results in him nearly losing his chance with the heroine before the courtship even begins.

As you can probably tell by the title, Matthews has struggled to find a home in mainstream publishing because of the style of her books, but they are worth your time.

Much of A Holiday by Gaslight takes place in rural Derbyshire at Christmastime, and I actually read it while *I* was in rural Derbyshire, and so it felt that little bit extra special to read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 22nd – 28th January

Canberra Summer Sunset

This heatwave just keeps going. Canberra was the hottest capital city in the country for more than a week.

So, US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been jailed for 175 years. I stayed up into the early hours of Thursday morning (Wednesday US time) to watch him being sentenced. He will be sentenced on even MORE crimes in a few days.

I’ve had some involvement in gymnastics or another for over thirty years, having been a competitive gymnast before I had to give it up for ballet, having been a coach after that, and having a brother who was on the squad for the for the Athens Olympics until injury made him quit. So I’ve felt pretty invested in this case.

Here are a few bizarre stories from Russia this week:

Hunting Dog Shoots Owner in Southern Russia

A dog is suspected of shooting its owner to death during a hunting trip in southern Russia on Sunday.

A dog is suspected of shooting its owner to death during a hunting trip in southern Russia on Sunday.

And also:

Russian Carjacker Flees Snowball-Throwing Traffic Cops

A carjacker in Russia’s Far East has made a brief and unlikely getaway from traffic police who were filmed throwing snowballs in an attempt to stop his escape in a stolen car.

We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed

Sarah Mayberry Julie James Contemporary Romance Book Covers

My review of The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

Free (legal!) movie script downloads.

Cinemaaustralia Cinema 4 at HOYTS, Forest Hill Shopping Centre, Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia.

Serialised Historical Romance?

Mischance (Corsets and Carriages #1) by Carla Susan Smith

Cover Love

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill #2) by Julie Klassen

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

A WORLD-WEARY RAKE

After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.

A PRIM VICAR’S DAUGHTER

Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

After enjoying the author’s first Victorian romance so much, I snapped The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter up immediately. Mimi Matthews writes “proper” Victorian books, where the characters act era-appropriately, the conversations are entertaining, and there’s a focus on the *romance*.

The relationship in this one moves fast – it has to, as hero and heroine are caught together and forced into an engagement. Now, this is a plot device used a million times over in historical romance, but it is handled differently here and it felt different – refreshed.

There are few books I’ve read where I believe in an instant connection, “love at first sight” more or less. In fact, I can think of only three: this is one of them. The first meeting and the hurried arrangement between them was convincing to me, and it was helped by the two spending a lot of time together over the course of only a few days.

The characters – hero, his father, heroine, various relatives – come across as real, well-rounded people. Rakish aristocrats aren’t exactly what they seem, and prim vicar’s daughters have secrets, disappointments, hopes and dreams.

The Victorian setting is always special to me, and never more so than when written by an author who knows the era inside out. This is very much a *Victorian* book, and couldn’t be mistaken for a Regency romance. The fashions, the train travel etc. It’s an era of so much energy and change, which is why I love it.

I enjoyed The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter for heaps of reasons, but especially because it took well-used (almost over-used?) tropes and turned every single one of them around, making them new again.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Best of 2017

In no particular order: my favourite reads of 2017:

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten at least one book!)

Edge of Truth (The Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Lost Letter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society #1) by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess-herriard-3-by-louise-allen

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

(To be reviewed in a couple of weeks.)

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Marry in Haste (Convenient Marriage series #1) by Anne Gracie

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

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

And – to be released in early 2018:

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: a Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Goodreads review.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews