The best part about reading these three historical romances is that they all felt distinctly different in style and place. Perhaps that seems silly to say because of course they’re different, but there’s something really special about seeing the breadth of the genre in three books I essentially read back to back to back, you know? A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin is, I believe, Irwin’s debut and it reads like such a wild ride, very different from what I’m used to. The amount of time our love interests spends on page together is wildly inadequate and yet, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for more. Compromised into a Scandalous Marriage is a stunning love story born out of a really crappy set of circumstances involving Antonio (Paulina’s brother) being horrible and was really well done. Then there is my highly anticipated (and yet one I was so slow to pick up) The Return of the Duke, which finally delivered Marcus’ book and it was exactly what I wanted from Heath. I was lucky enough to receive ARCs for each of these books from Netgalley, though I purchased my own audiobook copy of A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting and a physical copy of The Return of the Duke. (I would have purchased physical copies of both of Compromised into a Scandalous Marriage but neither bookstore I went to had a copy. Rude.)
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin
This is one of those books that will either really work for you because you like Kitty or it will really not work for you because this doesn’t read like most modern-written historical romances. This is very much a Regency romp with a lot of ridiculous-ness and a slow, slow build between the ultimate love interest and Kitty. For me, this book definitely worked for me, though I think it’s because I went in having read Aarya’s review and had that in mind. Kitty is just such an excellent character and I delighted in reading a book where the character who would so often be considered a villainess is the star of the show. Because, the truth is, most people who need to marry for money probably have good reason for that. I will also add that I really enjoyed the audiobook, which is how I consumed this book, despite the e-ARC.
I wasn’t really expecting the dastardly behavior of Paulina’s brother, Antonio, but the combination of his antics and the internal angst of Sebastian being convinced he couldn’t have love meant that this book was a genuine delight. I haven’t read a ton of historical categories, but this one was definitely a great one.
This is set on a Caribbean island and in the early 1900s. I loved how well San Andres incorporated the world-building and really set the stage for both the where and when of the story. I really enjoyed the way Paulina and Sebastian had some push and pulls between them. Sebastian works so hard to take care of everyone who works for him and since he owns a sugar mill, that is a lot of people. I really love the way we see Sebastian’s work life balance situation evolve like his relationship. It felt very realistic and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
All in all, I look forward to reading San Andres again in the future and I would really love for more historical categories from her!!
The Return of the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Heath really delivered on more of an adventure/spy novel than anything I’ve read from her previously, in my opinion, and balanced the intense plot out quite well with the romance pacing. Unfortunately, the late in the game separation of the romantic interests really irked me, but otherwise, I think The Return of the Duke brought about a successful close of the Once Upon a Dukedom series and wrapped up plot threads begun at the end of the last series with aplomb. It was lovely how everything came together and I look forward to where Heath is taking us in the future!
Specifically, this book somehow manages to take a really aggressive meet disaster that I wasn’t sure HOW a romance could recover from to mutual pining while thinking the other person could NEVER be interested (and based on the meet disaster, that was definitely believable) to fake marriage to, well, you get the idea. And it was quite the ride. I had a good time with this book, though it was a bit more plot heavy than I prefer. And honestly, the meet disaster being based on the fact that Esme was believed to be Marcus’ father’s mistress had me distinctly uncomfy. But then I was uncomfortable with how it was resolved too. Sometimes historical shenanigans are just rough for me, you know? Also, for all who are on the look out for childfree historical romances, this book delivers!
I am still not sure how to imbed a spoiler type situation onto the blog, so I’m just going to link to my Goodreads review here, where you can choose to click on a content warning/note that I would advise people checking if you have any concerns about a plot line regarding a uterus having person being stigmatized for something that may or may not be happening and ultimately requiring a procedure (not an abortion/pregnancy). I hope that’s vague enough to not be a spoiler for any who want to avoid those, but specific enough to direct you to the right place if you need more information. Feel free to let me know if I missed the mark!
And there you have it! Three historical romances I’ve read after receiving e-ARCs! Have you read any of these yet? They’re all available if you haven’t and think you might enjoy some of them! If you have read one or more, what did you think? Let me know!