I’ve gotten a bit behind in my reviews again, oops, but I am excited to share with you my thoughts today on three recent releases that you can get your hands on! First up, we have A Daring Pursuit by Kate Bateman, out from St. Martin’s Press. This is the second book in a series with a sort of Hatfield and McCoy’s type family feud situation that has delivered on the hate to love aspect. I am still very much looking forward to book 3 in the series, which is the couple I’ve wanted since I read the first book last year. Then we have A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall, which is out from Forever, and it’s a book that will speak to anyone who is in the mood for some sad characters trying to pull themselves back to a full and happy life. And finally, we have The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian, which is out from Avon, which is a fun romp of a romance that perfectly delivers in a a whole host of ways. It was a delight to read. I was lucky enough to received ARCs of all three from Netgalley (and an ALC of A Lady for a Duke), but I listened to all three and would recommend you sample the audiobooks as narrators are always tricky and personal taste plays a large role.
A Daring Pursuit by Kate Bateman
You know those books where there’s a plot device that sort of makes you want to run for the hills? For me, one of those plot devices is apparently blackmail over the fact that Carys isn’t a virgin anymore and Tristan is sort of a jerk about it until he realizes the real facts. I am generally conscious of the concept of ruination in all historical romances, but it was really rough in this book to have it thrown in Carys’s face so much. This idea that historically women were valued more or less exclusively for their virginity is just a really hard pill to swallow and I’m unconcerned at present that it’s historically accurate. It’s hard to read.
Anyway, setting that part of the plot aside. Eventually this book turns into sex lessons and that is a favorite trope so once we got to that part, this book mostly took a turn for the better. The romance after the misunderstanding was cleared up was really engaging, although I never really understood why Tristan felt like Carys was too much for him to have. He didn’t ever articulate some reason he needed a perfectly non-scandalous society wife so it just never really made a ton of sense to deprive himself of pursuing who he really wanted.
Bateman also, as usual, included a bit of a romantic suspense plot toward the end and I don’t think it was fully incorporated into the plot as well as it could have been. I don’t have a sense of resolution about that part and I’m fairly certain I was supposed to have one. All in all, this wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t a new favorite.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
The short version of this review is that this book is entirely too long. Well-written, certainly, and I appreciated what this romance did, but there was honestly no reason for it to be as long as it was.
Additionally, I was lucky enough to receive an ALC from Netgalley and I really enjoyed the narration, but I might not have minded how long the book was if I could have sped the book up to my preferred 2.5x speed. It’s unlikely though. It really was just… so long.
Anyway, I’ll come back for the longer version soon, but for now, these short thoughts should do it.
So, it’s been a bit since I wrote the tl;dr version you see above and if I’m honest, I’m still having trouble setting the length of this book aside to focus on what I actually liked about it. However, it is time. I mentioned that this book is well-written and I really think it is. I love the way Hall is able to portray the emotions of his characters. There’s loneliness to go around in this book and I think it is really well shown. Actually, I really like the way all of the emotions are done in this book. But there are times where I think the focus turns to the plot, where I still hadn’t recovered from the emotions, if that makes sense. There’s a lot about personal freedom and being able to be truly oneself in here because of Viola choosing herself and becoming who she really is rather than continuing to live her life as a Lord. And I get why she didn’t want to apologize for choosing herself because she shouldn’t have to. But I think there should be a way to not apologize for choosing yourself and still apologize to your best friend for letting him think you were dead for two years. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just because I can’t put myself in the same position as Viola, but personally, I would be DEVASTATED and so hurt if my best friend was allegedly dead and then it turned out they weren’t, they just didn’t want to tell me about this fundamental piece of who they were. If that makes sense?
Anyway, a good book, especially if you’d like a book with sad characters dealing with loneliness and trying to fight their way back to living a real and full life. But, a very long book.
The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian
If you’re in the mood for a fast paced, antic filled, wild ride, I would definitely recommend this book. I think it was very different than a lot of books I’ve read from Cat Sebastian and I had a truly enjoyable time with it. There are fun and witty, banter filled letters at the beginning that sets up the story really well and then we’re off to the races. There was certainly enough traumatic backstory that this book could have gotten really weighed down, but somehow Sebastian neatly dances around the edge of those topics and never dives too deeply into them. The few slow moments in the book are well done, but so brief. It’s one of those books that I’m glad to have read, but I really don’t know how to articulate my thoughts! I listened to it in one-sitting though if that tells you anything. Definitely a good book if you just want to get swept up in a whirlwind of a story!
I hope these reviews are still helpful for you as you decide what books are worth your time/a library hold/your money! Please share your thoughts with me if you’ve read any of these or if you’re interested in them. I’d love to hear.
4 responses to “Historical Romance ARC Reviews: A Daring Pursuit, A Lady for a Duke, and The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes”
I want to find a Kate Bateman book I love but so far I haven’t found that yet. I’m not sure how I’ll enjoy the MMC after his treatment of the heroine but I do love sex lessons in books.
I want to read the Alexis Hall histrom because it sounds exactly my kind of angsty story but it does sound extremely long and I have no patience for too long books now. It sounds like tighter editing was needed. I swear I feel like editors are not really doing their jobs as they normally do lately because I’ve been leaving too many books feeling like the editing was poor.
I’m going to pick up the Cat Sebastian series soon! It’s been too long!
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