Posts Tagged ‘historical romance’

Why Austria? By Carrie Lofty

It started out so simply. For my historical romance titled SONG OF SEDUCTION ( http://www.carrielofty.com/Song.html ), available on June 7 from Carina Press, I began with two musicians. He was a renowned composer and piano player with a dark secret. She was a violin virtuosos whose scandalous birth compelled her to hide her talent.

Where in the world should such a story be set?

I’ve been a fan of the 1984 masterpiece Amadeus for such a long time. Greed, jealousy, brilliance–all there. Tom Hulce’s unmistakable laugh. F. Murray Abraham’s painful-to-watch despair. Throw in costumes and gorgeous sets and Mozart’s incredible, undeniable music, and you have one of my favorite movies of all time.

Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that I chose Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, Austria, for SONG OF SEDUCTION’s setting.

Part of the appeal had to be how completely unknown Salzburg was to me at the time. Beyond that tidbit about Mozart, I knew nothing else. I’d just come off about 15 years studying the American Old West, which had culminated in my master’s thesis on Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok. To say I needed a change of pace is an understatement.

The more I learned, the more I became enamored of this faraway city. Its customs and people were so very different from the rough-n-ready frontier towns I’d studied for years. Salzburg had history going back to Roman times. It had culture and art and war and a tremendous sense of independence. And of course it remains a simply gorgeous city.

But to find the right publisher to take a chance on Austria…that took a little while. While many editors agreed that the story was worth publishing, they didn’t necessarily share my faith in the idea that readers would grow to love Salzburg too. Some suggested that they’d take a second look if I changed the book’s setting to England, a suggestion that made my heart sick. To my thinking, such a drastic change would’ve sucked all the personality out of it.

Hmmm…so what’s a girl to do?

I trunked SONG OF SEDUCTION and moved on to other projects, such as my medieval adventure romances from Kensington. But then came Carina Press, “where no great story goes untold.” The rest, as I frequently think, is history!

Knowing what I know now, I might think twice about setting a romance in Austria. But then I’d proceed along on my merry way and write it how anyhow. I’m stubborn, maybe, but I’m also having a great time indulging in the whims of my imagination.

If you could read a romance novel set in any time or place–someplace daring and unconventional–where and when would it be?


Read Full Post »

Promise Me Tonight

Sara Lindsey

Signet Eclipse-February, 2010

Pre-order Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-Tonight-Weston-Novel/dp/0451229371/

This Holiday season has been an incredibly busy one for me and has left me precious little time to enjoy the pleasure of reading, so it took me a bit longer to finish Sara Lindsey’s Promise Me Tonight than it might have if I’d waited until after the New Year to delve into its pages. But the Christmas season, a season of love and giving, seemed the perfect time to give myself the gift of reading a lovely romance, if only for a few stolen moments each day. 

For Isabella Weston, there has never been any doubt about what she wants in life — to become the wife of her older brother’s best friend, James. She spends her childhood adoring him in secret, cherishing her girlish fantasies of love and romance. On the night of her coming out ball, she decides the time is right to make her feelings known at last. But…

Tormented by the deaths of his mother and infant sister and his father’s subsequent suicide, James Sheffield vowed as a young boy never to give his heart away. Loving, he has learned, only leads to pain. His affection for “Izzie” is purely platonic, until the night of her coming out ball when he is forced to see her not as the adorable scamp he has known for years, but as the lovely and alluring young woman she has become. When stolen kisses in the library confirm his worst fears — that she is capable of stealing his heart, James flees the country, far from the temptation of Izzy’s kisses. But though they are separated by distance, he discovers Isabella is ever present in his thoughts.

When James returns home for the reading of his uncle’s will, Izzie puts a new plan in motion, a daring seduction that earns her his wedding ring, but seems to have cost her his love…

Though I found Isabella to be bright, headstrong and delightfully daring, her character seemed a bit shallow in the story’s early chapters, not fully developed apart from her obsession with James. She didn’t fully come alive for me until midway through the book, when a few well-placed and very touching scenes brought out her vulnerability. Much like James, I fell in love with her slowly, but once I did, there was no going back. The heartbreakingly handsome James was much more substantial and complex from the get go. Ms. Lindsey’s dialogue was spot on and she did a spectacular job of getting into the male psyche. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and particularly liked the relationship between Isabella and her younger sister, Olivia.

Promise Me Tonight is extremely well crafted, with a tightly woven plot that takes very few side trips from the romance at its heart. The story has a nice flow with just the right balance of ups and downs and plenty of sexual tension. Though the sex was a bit overdone for my taste, I enjoyed journeying with these characters as they overcame their fears and doubts and eventually found their “happily ever after.”

I feel privileged to have been given an early glimpse at this not yet released, first-in-a-series romance. I recommend Promise Me Tonight to any fan of sensual historical romance.

— Honeybee



Read Full Post »

theperfectpoisonThe Perfect Poison

By Amanda Quick

Putnam, April 21, 2009

Historical Romantic Suspense

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Poison-Arcane-Society-Book/dp/0399155805/

Scandal—the stuff Victorian society thrives on. Botanist and member of the Arcane Society, Lucinda Bromley found herself embroiled in the juiciest kind of scandal when she was suspected in her fiancé’s death by poisoning, followed by her father’s suicide. Since then she has been ostracized by society. But Lucinda is no ordinary botanist. She has the paranormal ability to detect poison and volunteers her services to the police in suspected poisoning cases. When called in to inspect the body of a member of society, Lucinda is shocked to detect that the man was indeed poisoned and by a poison concocted using a very rare fern. The very fern that was stolen from her conservatory earlier. Fearing she may be arrested and convicted of the man’s murder, Lucinda only tells the police that he was poisoned, but doesn’t mention the fern. She calls on psychical investigator, Caleb Jones, to find the thief who stole her fern.

 Caleb, also a member of the Arcane Society founded by his ancestor, has the psychic ability to work percentages and solve problems by connecting seemingly unconnected facts. Believing Lucinda’s case may lead him to the man he’s been searching for, he agrees to take the case. As the two paranormal sleuths work together to solve the crime and save Lucinda from prison, passion ignites and leads to a romantic relationship. Because of his relationship to the founder who went mad, Caleb believes he too is slowly descending into madness, which prevents him from offering marriage.

I’m a huge fan of the Jayne Ann Krentz books written under her pseudonym, Amanda Quick. I fell in love with the Quick stories years ago when I picked up a copy of Ravished in a used bookstore. After that I searched for her books everywhere, now I preorder them. Although I love paranormal, I found the Arcane Society series a little lacking when compared to the author’s previous works. So, when I received her newest, The Perfect Poison, I didn’t start reading it immediately as I’d always done before. Now that I’ve had a chance to read Quick’s newest, I’m happy to see the author’s writing is returning somewhat to the older style. I found the suspense in this one a little weak, but the romance was lovely and the mystery interesting.

We met Caleb in a previous book and I was thrilled to finally get his story. I adored both Lucinda and Caleb. The way their romance develops is both delightful and refreshing. I like it when the hero and heroine know what they want and go about getting it without so much dillydallying and wishy washy excuses to keep them apart. The internal conflict was there because of Caleb’s possible decent to madness, but although this keeps him from offering marriage, it doesn’t keep him from passionately pursuing an intimate and professional relationship with Lucinda. I can take or leave sex scenes in a story, but the love scene in the drying shed between Lucinda and Caleb was one of the best and most romantic I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Ms. Quick is a master of words and a phenomenal storyteller. I especially love her unique use of verbs that bring a sentence immediately to life.

So, although I still found the book not quite up to the standards of the earlier Amanda Quick stories, it was close and I highly recommend it to any reader who loves Victorian romance with light suspense.



Read Full Post »

sarahsjourney1Sarah’s Journey

By Ginger Simpson

Historical Romance

Eternal Press, March 2009

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sarahs-Journey-Ginger-Simpson/dp/1926647084



With the death of her parents, Sarah is faced with the loss of her home unless she gives in to the banker’s demand of marriage to prevent repossession. Marrying a man she finds repulsive not being an option, Sarah joins a wagon train heading west to California. When Indians attack the train, Sarah and her friend Molly are the only survivors. Molly is wounded and although Sarah does all she can, Molly doesn’t make it. Alone and terrified, Sarah decides going back to one of the towns they’d traveled through is the wisest course and after gathering what few supplies the war party had overlooked, she heads out on foot.


When Sarah first meets Wolf, he’s injured and thinking he’s part of the war party who attacked the train, she leaves him to die and steals his horse. Unfortunately without a saddle, she can’t mount the horse and leads him until finding a rock to aid her. Not seeing the rattlesnake sunning itself on the rock, Sarah is bitten. Wolf regains consciousness and goes looking for his horse. He finds Sarah and nurses her back to health. After hearing her story, he agrees to take her back to Independence where he’s purchased land in hopes of starting a cattle ranch.


Sarah and Wolf are deeply attracted to one another, but being the son of a white man and an Indian woman, Wolf has faced prejudice and hatred his entire life. Regardless of his feelings for Sarah, he can’t see a future for them.


This story begins right after the wagon train is attacked, so it immediately grabbed my attention and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. There are some pretty graphic descriptions of the aftermath of the attack, so if you’re squeamish about such things, you may not like that part. The author does a wonderful job portraying the hardships of the time period, and both Wolf and Sarah are likable characters. Their romance is beautifully told and I was sympathetic to their plight. I wanted badly for things to work out for them. I did find some of the dialogue a tiny bit too modern at times, but Ms. Simpson is a great storyteller and I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical love stories. The ending was surprising and I’m not sure how I feel about it…I didn’t take anything from the review rating for this because other readers will have to decide for themselves.






Read Full Post »

blackrock_small_smallBlack Rock: A Time for Love

By E. G. Parsons

The Wild Rose Press, January 2008

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-E-G-Parsons/dp/1601541716

Author website: http://egparsons.com  




This book has been on my TBR (To Be Read) pile for quite awhile. I was waiting until I was in the mood for a good historical romance to read it. What a mistake that was! If I had known just how good Black Rock: A Time for Love was going to be I would have read it weeks ago.


The author sets the stage for this wonderfully intriguing story with a brief prologue. The year is 1846. On a small ranch in the town of Wild Rose, Texas, two ranch hands have mysteriously disappeared inside the magnificent black rock from which Black Rock Ranch takes its name.


As the story opens, more than fifty years later, twenty-year-old Roxanne Ingram is looking forward to returning home to Black Rock Ranch after ten years in a Boston girls’ school. Shortly before her departure, Roxanne gets word that her beloved father has passed away, and she will be retuning as sole heir to the family ranch. Confusion is added to grief, when, attempting to settle the estate, Roxanne discovers the date of birth recorded for her in the family Bible does not match the one she has always known to be her true birth date. Touring the ranch, which she now owns, Roxanne has an unexpected encounter with Collin, who has come to study the giant black rock on the edge of her property. She is outraged by his rudeness, but can’t help being attracted to the irresistibly handsome Colin. Shortly after her encounter with Colin, Roxanne meets charming Brad Wellman, the wealthy rancher whose property adjoins her own. As both men vie for her affections, it becomes a race against time for the two men — one a deadly villain, and the other a prince charming who holds the key to the shocking secrets of Roxanne’s origin.


If you’re looking for a beautiful historical romance you need look no further than Black Rock: A Time For Love. The author is so in tune with the late 1800s that it almost seems as though she must have lived them in a former life. The clothing, customs, and dialogue are written to perfection as the story moves seamlessly from one breathtaking scene to the next. The paranormal twist to this story is a most intriguing and welcome bonus. Roxanne is a thoroughly likeable heroine, and Colin will steal your breath away! I highly recommend this book to any lover of paranormal and/or historical fiction, or to anyone who just plain loves a good story.






Read Full Post »