As I have said in the past, I’m not a big fan of historical romances. I keep persevering in the hope that I will find the elusive HR that will make me a convert. In my quest I’ve read a few historical romances recently – a few that are outside the norm and had more of chance of sucking me in. So let’s see how I did!
These are just brief reviews – you can click on the link to get a more detailed description of each book from Amazon.
Nitpick: This is one of those books where no one says what they’re really thinking and there is misunderstanding after misunderstanding. It got kind of old and I wanted to slap both of them at times.
Verdict: Not a traditional HR but more fun and action. I did go in expecting a real knight in shining armor and all that, so I was little disappointed when it was just a mere mortal guy but it was a fun quick read.
Rating: 3 out 4
Buy the book! Knight of Passion (All the King's Men)
A Secret Affair by Mary Balough. This is the last book in Balough’s The Huxtable Quintet series and one of the few traditional HR authors that I enjoy. All her characters are smart and the women are sassy. This is very much about the ton and sipping tea – being seen by the right people. I think this is my main problem with historical romance. I HATE being told what to do (surprise!) and to have people have a fit because you show a little ankle or be forced into a marriage with an old wrinkly dude just because you’ve passed your shelf life and must marry so your families reputation isn’t sullied just makes me bristle. I know it happened – I just don’t like reading about it. Anyhoo….This one is about Constantine – a rake who enters a secret affair with Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton. I enjoyed all the previous books in this series and couldn’t wait to get to Constantine’s book.
Liked: I had always thought there was more to Constantine and in A Secret Affair we finally get to learn more about his past. I liked Hannah a lot, as with all of Balough’s heroines, she is in charge of her own life.
Nitpick: Although I liked both MC’s I didn’t really get into their romance. They had weird sort of detached encounters.
Verdict: It was OK – just not what I had hoped for.
Rating: 3 out 4
Buy the book! Mary Balogh (Author)A Secret Affair (Hardcover)(2010)
Nitpick: There is a storyline about Jack owing money to a few very dangerous men. This got dragged out way too long IMO, although it did help drive the plot.
Verdict: Very sweet story with enjoyable characters.
Rating 3.5 out of 4
Buy the book! Whistling in the Dark
Soulless by Gail Carringer. I promised to read this book for a friend. She recommended Outlander by Diana Gabaldon to me and I just could not finish it, so she wanted to redeem herself with this one. And she did! This book cracks me up! I was walking around for days saying “the hedgehog incident”. I loved all the bizarre names like Biffy and Ivy Hisselpenny, but my favorite is Alexia herself. Here she is describing her first sexual encounter with the yummy werewolf alpha Lord Maccon:
“ Alexia was scientifically intrigued. Had he gotten even larger down there? What was the maximum possible expansion ratio? She wondered”
Funny stuff. I could quote dozens of lines from this book! I loved the blend of supernatural, historical and steampunk.
Liked: The humor is what kept me reading Soulless. Very original concept. Alexia and Lord Maccon are great characters.
Nitpick: Thank god it was funny – because it was slow moving. It took forever for the Lord Maccon storyline to move forward. And without Alexia’s witty banter I would have been completely lost when it came to the historical references…again I just don’t care about waistcoats and corsets.
Verdict. Funny enough to keep me interested. I hear that the next two books move along at a better pace so I’ll keep going with the series.
Rating 3 out of 4.
Buy the book! Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
So have I been converted? No – not really. I found the two historical romances I liked best were the ones that pushed the envelope with the genre – "Whistling in the Dark" and "Soulless", they were different enough that I was intrigued in spite of the HR backdrop, not because of it. I’ll keep going though and try a few more! If you like historical romances I suggest you follow Carrie at In The Hammock Blog. This is her preferred genre and she writes excellent reviews and is the reason I started dabbling in the genre to begin with. I have found quite a few that I liked due to her recommendations.
So do you like historical romance? Or is there a genre you just can't seem to enjoy?