Both of these books are at least partially set in/near Victorian England, but the vibes are wildly different. A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong has spooky and atmospheric vibes galore and is a perfect book to read right now! Love is a Rogue by Lenora Bell is much more lighthearted and fun with some interesting antagonists to lovers vibes. Both books are out now if you would like to pick them up! Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the advanced review copies.
A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
I picked this book up because Aarya kept telling me she thought I would like it. I’ve never read from Kelley Armstrong before and I’m not really much for spooky vibes because I’m a scaredy cat. But I trust Aarya and I am always intrigued by time travel so when I was approved for an advanced copy on Netgalley, I was pretty excited. And then I read it and I was blown away. I loved this book so much.
Bronwyn is back in Thorne Manor after like twenty years away or something because she has inherited the house. When she was younger there was a time slip back to Victorian England but now that she’s an adult, she’s convinced herself that actually she had just hallucinated her first love, William. (Related, content warnings for mental health, including institutionalization) However, now that she’s back in Thorne Manor, she’s discovering that whoops, she can actually still see ghosts and also whoops, she can still time slip back to Victorian England. Essentially this is a gothic romance where rumors surrounding the house, specifically regarding mysterious disappearances of young women abound and Bronwyn has a mystery to solve and she’s also, maybe falling in love again with her first love.
So, what did I fall in love with? The vibes of this book are top notch. They’re spooky without being overwhelming and the angst is real. There’s a cat who is beyond precious. There are fun side characters, though I do wish we’d gotten to spend more time with the villagers. And the way the book ends had me extremely content, but also I have millions of questions. If you’re looking for something slightly spooky, but not overwhelming because it’s Fall, I highly, highly recommend.
Love is a Rogue by Lenora Bell
I’m not 100% why this book never clicked for me because honestly, it has so many elements I really like. Love is a Rogue follows a bookish lead paired with a roguish carpenter. The two don’t get along until suddenly they’re falling in love. You know, all of the things I normally really like. But something felt like it was missing and I can’t seem to put my finger on what. That is not to say this is a bad book, because in all honesty, I can’t pinpoint anything I didn’t like (well, aside from the fact that Beatrice never keeps her glasses on while kissing. That aggravated me a little bit. Don’t you want to see?). I just didn’t find myself swept up in the story and really getting invested in these characters.
The basic premise is that Beatrice is writing an etymological dictionary in Cornwall for the summer and her brother’s carpenter is doing a lot of banging around so she can’t focus. Ford (the carpenter) and Beatrice eventually have a conversation in the library after Beatrice leans so far out the window her spectacles fall off and hit Ford in the head while he’s flirting with a kitchen maid and there’s some TENSION. Then we’re back in London and Beatrice has inherited a bookstore! But it’s in disrepair. Re-enter Ford.
I really don’t even know how to discuss this book because I just feel so average about it. The book was fine and very readable, but I just never felt fully engaged. I’d say there’s a good chance this was a me problem and not a universal one. Regardless, thanks to Avon and Netgalley for the advanced copy!
If you’ve read these, please let me know what your thoughts were! If you’re in the United States, eligible to vote, but haven’t already, please make a plan so you can do that! If you’re in the U.S. and already voted, thank you!