@Outlander_Starz and @TallShipProds [Maril Davis] on Twitter!

MARIL DAVIS
Here she is, answering Outlander fans’ questions!

Chat with brilliant Co-Executive Producer on Friday! Tweet questions with

Everyone ready for my live chat? Starting…..NOW!

Have you read all of the Outlander books/companion books? Has shared unpublished writings with you?

Yes and Yes.

Will you get a break before filming of season two starts or just go straight into it?

We will get a mini-break before we dive into Season two.

13 ep season 2? Thinking of splitting the book into 2 seasons?

No, Dragonfly will be one season, just like the first book.

Will you be returning to Doune for the next season?

Probably not, since we don’t go back to Castle Leoch in

Who among cast is most like the character they play?

Probably Stong, intelligent lady with a great sense of humor!

Even b4 being renewed were you planning on how to bring DIA to screen? Biggest challenges to this?

We definitely talked about it. Impossible not to talk about future books while breaking 1st season

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

Are the actors as excited for Season 2 as we are? Perhaps they’re a wee bit knackered right at this moment.

We’re all tired, but also INCREDIBLY excited about Season Two!

Does also do scouting for locations? Do you go location hunting? They have been spectacular!

Yes he does and I do too. All the writers/producers scout locations for their blockdo the fans help keep you guys going? we know we’re a handful!

Yes, they do. The support is amazing and keeps us going on tough days.

My man is watching w/me. Did cast and crew significant others know the series before filming?

I would say most of the cast and crew had never heard of the books before they started working on the show

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

Can you tell us if Sir Marcus MacRannoch was part of adaptation of book?

YES!We cast Frazer Hines in the role the man responsible for setting books in Scotland

how mini is a mini break?

Two weeks

Will you be joining Ron in a podcast during the season? love the podcasts.

I don’t know. He hasn’t asked! ;)

Are there different producers for each block? Though it was only the writers and directors.

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

All of our writers are also Producers. so, a different writer/producer covers each block

How do you decide on directors?

We look at their past work and also interview them and get references

Sam isn’t a heroic romantic?

But, of course! However, Sam can blink…. :)

Is anyone keeping costumes? They’re sooo good!

No, probably not. However Terry told me I could have Claire’s coat with the fur trim…..;)

Did T Menzies read bits of both Frank & Jack in casting or did you cast on basis of his general brilliance? :)

The amazingly talented read both a Frank scene and a Jack scene for his audition

What character do you look forward to the most to cast from Dragonfly in Amber?

Probably Lord John and FERGUS!!!

What character do you think will be the hardest to cast in Season 2?

Brianna and Roger

Since you’re already got a huge studio in Scotland, will you be filming DIA there?

Yes, we will continue to use our studio as our home base

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

*on bended knees* do any of you guys know why is not airing in the UK?!

No clue and it’s very sad. We feel HORRIBLE about it!

Have you given some thought into writing an ep?

Hahahahaha, NO.

Who makes you laugh the most?

They ALL make me laugh, but maybe a tie between and

Besides the coincidence of hair style, do you have other things in common with Claire?

LOL – Well some would accuse me of being ballsy and outspoken, so I guess there’s THAT coincidence as well! ;)

Were you a fan of the books before working on Outlander?

Um, YES! This was my passion project gave me books years ago. Loved them. Pitched them to Ron

Thanks for all the questions! Sorry I couldn’t answer them all.Will try go back to answer ones I missed! Until next time!

‘The Songbird’s Seduction’ by Connie Brockway

cb tssSTORY: Effervescent bon vivant Lucy Eastlake is a young operetta singer whose star is on the rise in Edwardian London. Though struggling to maintain her beloved great-aunts’ household, she holds fast to the belief that “things will work out.” Now, with the fiftieth anniversary of a siege her great-aunt Lavinia lived through approaching, it looks like Lucy is right, because a fortune is due to be divided among the survivors. All Lucy and her great-aunts have to do is travel to a small Pyrenees town to claim Lavinia’s share of a fabulous treasure in rubies. What could be more simple?

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant is the brilliant, straitlaced grandson of a British lord who also withstood the siege. When his grandfather asks him as a matter of honor to escort his old love on the journey, the about-to-be married professor agrees, not expecting Lucy to be part of the bargain. Losing the great-aunts en route, the handsome, buttoned-down professor finds himself caught up in Lucy’s quirky, bewildering, and probably illegal efforts to reunite with them, as he is drawn further and further into an inexplicable infatuation with the free-spirited singer. What could be more complicated?

But when unwilling attraction gives way to sizzling passion, both will be forced to confront the ages-old question of whether love trumps honor…or the other way around.

REVIEW: It’s 1908 and Lucille (Lucy) Eastlake is living with her two spinster great-aunts at their family home, Robin’s Hall, outside London.  Sisters Lavinia and Bernice Litton have never married and have always lived at Robin’s Hall which is in need of work both on the home and gardens.  However, the sisters do not have the money to undertake these expenses.  Lucy was orphaned at the age of 7 and after being shuffled from one distant family member to another, she finally found a loving home with her great-aunts.  Lucy is a happy, easy-going young woman with a lovely voice.  As such, she has found employment as a singer in the theater.
Many years ago, Lavinia Litton went on a tour to India where she met and fell in love with Lord John Barton.  Their group had been besieged while they were staying at a military hill station.  For months they remained there waiting for rescue.  One of the people being held decided to run for it but decided to leave behind a bag of rubies worth a fortune.  The group agreed to keep them for him.  However, he never returned and the number of people with claim to the rubies being held by a solicitor had dwindled to only a few.  Now, each of them must travel to a designated place by a certain date to claim their share of the rubies. Since Lavinia is one of the claimants, she and Bernice prepare to go with Lucy to accompany them.
Just before departing, Lucy met Ptolemy Grant, stuffy, but gorgeously handsome Professor of Archeology.  In addition, he just happens to be the grandson of Lord Barton who is one of the people with a claim for the rubies.  As it happens, Ptolemy, whom Lucy nicknames Archie, has been asked by his grandfather to travel in his place to make the claim.
As the great-aunts have decided to make a little vacation out of the trip, they plan to make stops in certain places along the way.  This is where the story begins to remind me of the zaniness of the 1965 movie, “The Great Escape.”  There is never a dull moment.
The reader will meet with a lot of laughs along the way and a lot of adventure.  Don’t miss out.  I’m thinking readers will truly enjoy this book.
I’ve attempted to set the stage for the book without giving out any spoilers as this book is not due for publication until September 16, 2014.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

Fan2Author Interview with Jane Lark!

jl tlloas

b2bMelanie: I’m so happy to welcome this author! Just love her books! Without further adieu, here she is! Jane Lark! Jane, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career?

Jane Lark: Well so far my writing ‘career’ has been very brief… my first book was published in May 2013, and then republished by Harper Collins in October 2015 as The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, but I have been writing since 2006 so since October 2015 Harper Collins have been pouring out my backlog, and I now have seven books released and three more are due out in the autumn. But I have always loved writing and wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember.

b2b: Can you tell us more about ‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ and why you chose to write this prequel to ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’?

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJL: To be honest the only reason I wrote this was because readers asked for it. When I published the first edition of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan I immediately afterwards self-published a short story ‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ (which was then taken off the market as Harper Collins contracted that too but it was not re-released until May this year). The short story shares the stories of two of the sub characters from the first book but at the time people kept thinking this would be the prequel and were looking for a prequel. 

b2b: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

JL: My characters generally come to me from elements of real people who lived out true stories at some point in history. From these true stories my imagination picks out elements and builds a patchwork of fictional Regency life. Initially I was not sure about writing the prequel, because obviously The Illicit Love of a Courtesan is about Ellen and Edward, and Edward would have no part in the prequel, and yet at the time people began talking about a prequel I was working on The Scandalous Love of a Duke, the story of Ellen’s son, John. The more I worked on that I felt Paul, who appears as a past character in two books, developing a personality of his own, and then because John was having such a difficult time accepting the fact he had never known his father, I felt as though I needed to write him, because then John could have access to him. I know crazy writers…

b2b: Which book you wrote might we be surprised to learn that you had the hardest TPLOAR JLtime writing?

JL: The Lost Love of a Soldier is definitely the hardest, initially it was only intended to be 15,000 to 30,000 words and just a fleeting visit to Ellen eloping, then following Paul into battle, like Capturing the Earl’s Love, which has gathered interest like a snowball on Amazon, but is really a very fleeting storyline, just to give people a bit of light historical entertainment. BUT then––I had to make The Lost Love of a Soldier far more true to fact than the other books because a) it had to follow what really happened in the build up to battle of Waterloo b) I had chosen an actual regiment for Paul to serve under in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and so I had to find out where they were when, to ensure the story was realistic. AND then––while I was working on those things, and discovering what the real soldiers and those that travelled with them experienced I knew the story had to be more than a shallow visit with a young Ellen.

2015 is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, in the summer of 2014 the real 52nd Oxfordshire Regiment of Foot were in England, taking a break from war, before they were due to sail to America. I have worked with the military for about ten years of my life. I know what soldiers endure. I could not then write this book without respect for the real people who made the journey back to the battlefields of Europe which they had only left the summer before and where they had endured many incidents that would have left them with nightmares, and I could not make it a hurried tale, because by hurrying it, it would have become unrealistic and a bit bizarre to just dive into them in Brussels, the battle… and then..

jl ctelPlus it was also hard, because Paul is not the love of Ellen’s life. So the book could not center on the intense Romantic relationships I prefer to write. I have been married twice myself, and my second marriage is very different to my first. Ellen loves Paul, she is a seventeen year old girl in the 18th century who has never left her father’s estate, and never even been to a ball. She is entirely innocent, as many young women were in her day… And I wanted to honor all of that…

b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

JL: Katherine by Anya Seton. I just love that story. It also really moves me whenever I go anywhere the real John and Katherine lived…  Even though I know that Katherine is 95% fiction.

b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

JL: I like having classics on my bookshelf ;) I read them very rarely and general in short doses, the language in them is generally not all that flowing, let’s remember they were written for a very different generation of people. So while the stories are still great, the writing styles––not necessarily. But I did reread Vanity Fair while writing The Lost Love of a Soldier. There isn’t anything I would be embarrassed to say I have not read but youjl tsload may think it is a sin to say I prefer Vanity Fair, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mill on the Floss to Pride and Prejudice.

b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

JL: Probably the wrong answer, but no. I enjoy the things I write, I always want to write for pleasure. Especially as I still have to work and writing is an escape for me. Even The Lost Love of a Soldier was awesome being able to connect with people who took part in Waterloo through imagination.

b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

JL: There are two movie adaptations of books that I’ve read that I think are good ‘Troy’ is one. I bet that is not what you were expecting. LOL. But I love the film Troy! The other one was the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, it is the only time I have seen Rochester portrayed in a way that makes you actually believe he could have caught Jane’s interest.

b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Just YouJL: Historical… Sigh… I love writing love stories, but I love being in historical settings and discovering things about the people who lived in the past.

b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

JL: I don’t tend to buy books that make me laugh, I can’t remember one that ever has, and cry… I think One Day was the last book that made me cry.

b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?

JL: LOL Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series…. But by eleven I was reading Mill on the Floss and the Iliad. I was a strange child. I think I first read Katherine at the age of twelve.

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

JL: My favorite TV show… ever… Time Team – covered so much. My favorite TV series, would be a toss of a coin between the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and the 1998 version of Vanity Fair, neither stories make good films because too much has to be left out. My favorite film currently Tangled, by Disney ;) Random!

b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

JL: Sit on a porch 100% I swam in an outside swimming pool in a thunderstorm once,jl ify my mum didn’t know at the time, and I was only 8. I loved it! (P.S. don’t do it, bad idea for health and safety you’d fry if it hit).

b2b: Flannels or Silk?

JL: Oh my goodness SILK!

b2b: Sports car or SUV?

JL: Sports car all the way.

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

JL: DOGS!

b2b: Champagne or Beer?

JL: Beer, I am not a champagne girl. A good hearty locally brewed beer for me. Or even better a pale ale…

b2b: Movies or TV?

JL: Movies!!!!!!!!! <3 But like I say to my daughter reading a book is even better it’s like watching a movie for hours…. :D and while writing I get to be in the movie for weeks!

jl tdloal

‘The Desperate Love of a Lord’

FREE for PRE ORDER on AMAZON

Jane! I am so happy you had the time to visit with us! It was a blast to get to know you a bit better!

Bookworms, have any questions for our guest author? One of you will end up with a signed print copy of the gorgeous soldier on this cover!

Jane

AUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Social Media:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

‘Crazy For Her’ by Sandra Owens

Crazy For Her CoverSTORY: When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: I was here once before. I remember the apprehension of reaching for the book of an author I greatly admire and love her historical novels, but was sweating bullets before I gave in and read her latest contemporary story. I find myself in the same situation again and while I’ve read and adored every historical romance this author has written, this contemporary story left me wishing she’d write more of historicals.

First, I am a sucker for a broken hero story and reading the blurb I was drawn to this one, but the blurb only scratches the surface of his tale. There is so much more happening and fast, that my emotions were scattered to the four corners of the world and they had a hard time catching up and connecting to either the hero or the heroine.

No matter how well the story is written, and Ms. Owens is a good writer, she never managed to fully convince me of Logan’s long carried torch for Dani, nor his long held secret about his childhood.

I wanted to believe that these two people really loved each other and I didn’t. I wanted to connect and admire both of these people as they triumph over their respective pasts, but something about them was off and left me cold and not caring. If I had one word to describe this story it would be ‘over the top’. I felt that the action, plot, suspense and mystery were all a bit over the top.

If you’re into military romance with a fast pace, some suspense, couple of ‘curve balls’ thrown in and plenty of sex, I’m sure you’ll like it. I wanted more than that.

For my reviews of this author’s historical romances go here and here.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY <<<<<<

Sandra Owens PicAUTHOR BIO: A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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Outlander Ep. 103 – ‘The Way Out’

o e 103 two

The third episode opens up with a flashback of Frank bidding farewell to Claire as she boards a train for the frontlines. I loved that scene in which we get another glimpse into their relationship and add another layer to their characters.  Besides foreshadowing, this scene solidifies Claire as a modern woman as she’s the one heading into action while her husband stays behind, which he’s none too happy about and asks her to promise him that she will return to him.

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

Fast forward to 1743 and Mrs. Fitz as she’s admiring Claire’s skin as she’s drying her off after a cold bath, and while Claire is imagining what would have happened if she confided in the woman [calling her a witch would have been the least of her worries, she concludes] but decides it may not be such a good idea.

Most of her days are spent in the bowls of surgery trying to acclimate herself to her new role of a healer. She seems to enjoy finding which things work and which don’t while trying to apply the 18th century remedies and reconcile them to her 20th century 103 o5knowledge of healing. Her body guards, Rupert and Angus, seem to trust her more and their guarding duty is for the most part boring to both, as well as tiresome since the woman “never sits doon”!

Claire slowly but surely has the folks in and around the castle trust her skills as a healer, but they are still a bit weary of her.  Colum however trusts her fully as he gives himself over to her healing touch and asks her to massage his legs. In the same scene prior to him asking her, we get to know the Laird a bit more as he shows his mettle as a Laird and master as he is having a confrontation with his tailor who assumed that Colum would cover his infirmity by a long frock coat. Poor tailor will never make that mistake again as the Laird schools him!

jamie claire lereeAnd while Claire is somewhat accepting Colum, she is definitely not a fan of Dougal. His remark to her [“It seems that the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws.”] at the hall didn’t go so well with her!

At the hall she formally introduces herself to young Laoghaire MacKenzie, the chick that was accused by her father of ‘loose behavior’ and had Jamie step in her place to receive the punishment. Claire watches as “Leery” [that’s how you pronounce it, I think] eyes him across the hall and offers herself as a ‘go between’ these two young people. She waives the young Highlander over to join them and makes room for him between herself and Leery, hoping that he’ll get a clue. I was cracking myself up as I recognized the typical male obliviousness! He obviously has eyes only for Claire and is more concentrated on her than on the little blonde to his left, making a remark that he doesn’t even remember her when he was there last. Poor Leery!

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

Jamie notices that she’s a bit in her cups and asks if she would look at his gunshot wound since it had bothered him for awhile now, so she agrees and they leave in the middle of the entertainments, leaving sunned and baffled Leery holding an empty glass Jamie just finished, asking her to put it away [I'm still shaking my head].

In her surgery now, he admits to have used his discomfort as an excuse thinking to see her safe as she is three sheets to the wind. She admits to have indulged a bit too much. Both feel somewhat awkward but as Claire hits upon a reason why he didn’t ask her to change his bandages in the stables the other day, Jamie admits that even though Old Alec knows he’d been flogged, seeing it would be another thing altogether. He didn’t want to see the pity in the man’s eyes. He doesn’t mind Claire seeing the scars because she even though she is sorry for them, she doesn’t feel pity for him.

Photo credit STARZ

Photo credit STARZ

The next few days see our heroine traipsing around this time with Angus in tow, herb picking with Geillis; trying to convince Mrs. Fitz and her sister to let her tend to Mrs. Fitz’s nephew who it seems is being possessed by the Devil; butting heads with Father Bain as he is performing an exorcism on the boy; witnessing Jamie kiss Leery while making eye contact with her then grinning while continuing on kissing the wee loon [again, men are oblivious creatures and I'm left shaking my head and fist at the dude]!

Photo Credit STARZ

Photo Credit STARZ

That evening while sitting across each other at the Hall table, Claire just had to tease him with: “Your lips look a little swollen, Jamie. Did you get thumped by a horse?” He knew exactly what she was referring to and tried to play it cool and warn her with a look and his foot over hers, but she kicks him and makes him spill his drink all over Murtagh, excusing himself from the table after that. Murtagh reads the whole situation aright and warns Claire to be careful and not have the boy inadvertently chained to Leery. He believes that Jamie needs a woman and not a child for a wife. Later on she muses that she was jealous of their intimacy because she misses Frank.

jamie leree kissThe next day she’s off with Dougal to visit Geillis at her house and restock her herbs and medicinal stuff for the big event coming up at the castle. They are soon drawn to the noise from the street finding the priest bringing the tanner’s a boy to be judged by the fiscal, Geillis’ husband. He has been caught stealing food and the priest recommends that his hand be cut off. Well, Geillis sees that Claire isn’t so happy about it and convinces her flatulent husband to give the boy a lighter sentence, which he does. One hour and one ear nailed to the pillory.

As the girls are drinking port and talking, young Jamie walks in to fetch Claire as her 103 o7escort, Dougal had to go about his business. Geillis wasn’t a happy camper to be interrupted just about as Claire was going to elaborate on her unusual upbringing. Exiting the fiscal’s house Claire asked him about the poor boy sitting in the cold still nailed to the pillory. Jamie told her that the boy’s hour has been up awhile ago and that he is working up his courage to rip himself free. As soon as Claire asks Jamie if his fingers are strong, he’s on to her and they’re off helping the poor bugger get free. Claire supposedly faints, distracting the crowd while Jamie rips the nail out.

Feeling she may trust Jamie, she asks him for one more favor. Can he take her to The Black Kirk, the place that everyone says is possessed by the demons. Jamie takes her there and reminisces about his own childhood and tells her more about his upbringing, his education, saying that despite it, he still is a born and bred Highlander who does not like to tempt fate or demons.

“I smell the vapors of hell on you,” -Father Bain ["HA! That's only Fiscal's farting fumes" is what she should have told him!]

“I smell the vapors of hell on you,” -Father Bain
["HA! That's only Fiscal's farting fumes" is what she should have told him!]

He also mentions a plant boys used to eat, wood garlic, which when shown, Claire deduces that it’s not wood garlic but a Lily of the Valley and was brought over to Scotland by the Prussian monks [which she mistakenly calls german!] but people obviously didn’t know that this plant was poisonous and that young Thomas had probably ingested it. Claire makes a concoction of belladonna, an antidote and goes to visit the boy one more time. She finds the boy on a death’s door with a priest over him praying but convinces Mrs. Fitz to let her administer the concoction, and as the boy is revived and saved, Father Bain promises her that God will have the last word and leaves.

jamie

Later on while she keeps company with Jamie at the stables, he tells her that Mrs. Fitz called her a miracle worker and Colum is taking all the credit for keeping her on as a healer. Claire’s plan of doing her job well has backfired and she feels stuck at the castle with no way out.103 o3

She feels that people are now watching her even more and is lured out of her quarters only by Colum’s wine that would promise oblivion, and is drawn in by Jamie to join him at the hall as he translates for her a Gaelic folk song. The lyrics and the sound is haunting as she listens of a woman who touched the highest stone on the hill and was taken to another land, bided there awhile, made friends and lovers, then went back to the stones, touched them again and went back to the man who she left behind. Claire’s sadness was replaced by hope as she saw herself in her eye’s mind doing the same, watching Frank greets her at the stones. With renewed hope, she tells us and herself: “I must escape Castle Leoch and get back to the stones or die trying.”

103 o2

‘A Winter Wedding’ by Amanda Forester

af awwSTORY: Miss Penelope Rose, exclusive matchmaker to London’s elite, successfully creates love for everyone but herself. Her toughest client yet, the sexy Duke of Marchford, has commissioned her to find him a bride. But he’s more interested in tracking down a spy, and she’s in no hurry to speed up the process…

When the fate of England falls in the Duke’s hands, he enlists Penelope for a new plan—they announce a sham engagement in order to flush out the traitor. But as the stakes get more deadly, and their feelings more real, will they discover that love is the most dangerous plot of them all?

REVIEW: It’s December 1810 and French smuggling is booming in London.

James Lockton, Duke of Marchford, is working for the government to uncover smuggling operations.  A handsome and eligible man, he has decided that it is time that he gets married.  But weeding through all the young ladies looking for a husband is not what he wants to do.
Penelope Rose, companion to James’s grandmother, is the infamous Madame X who helps to arrange marriages.  However, in actuality, Penelope and James’s grandmother together are Madame X.  Having figured this out, James approaches Penelope to find the perfect wife for him.  As they also live in the same house, this puts them together a lot.  In addition, Penelope has helped James with some of his spy work.
When James ventures into Penelope’s room and sees her dressed for bed, he becomes enamored by her and decides that she would be the perfect bride for him.  Penelope feels the same way toward James but his inability to say he loves her is the roadblock to Penelope agreeing to marry him.
As they continue to work close together to uncover the perpetrators of a large theft, their attraction only grows stronger.  While Penelope wants to marry James, she feels she must first find out the reason for his reluctance to express his love for her.  As she learns more about his childhood, the puzzle begins to fall into place.
This was a great story with passion, humor and some edge-of-the-seat moments as well.  I enjoyed it and look forward to more novels from Amanda Forester.
This is Book Three of Ms. Forester’s Marriage Mart series.  Do come and get to know these characters.  I think they are guaranteed to entertain you.
Note:  This book is due to be published September 2, 2014.  I have strived to not include any spoilers in this review.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘An American Duchess’ by Sharon Page

sp aadSTORY: Set on a crumbling English manor estate during the height of the Roaring Twenties, an American duchess must decide how much she’s willing to risk for the life she truly desires…

It’s 1922, and New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father’s will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.

Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian’s older brother, is as austere and imposing as the family’s ancestral estate. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he’s fighting against.

When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, their heated quarrelling begets passion of another sort. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, will Zoe be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams?

REVIEW: It is 1920 and wealthy Zoe Gifford has arrived in England with her mother in search of a husband.  In order to collect her inheritance, she has been directed to marry.  As she is young, vibrant, intelligent and having fun as a single woman, she is not anxious to get married.  Zoe had met Sebastian Hazelton, the younger brother of Nigel Hazelton, Duke and cash-strapped heir to the estate of Brideswell Abbey in Hertfordshire.  Together, Sebastian and Zoe concoct a plan to marry so Zoe can gain her money, then divorce, with Sebastian receiving a fee, and then both can go on with their lives.

The straight-laced members of the Hazelton family are shocked at Zoe.  She wears short skirts, sports a bobbed haircut, drives a motorcar, flies an aeroplane and even smokes! Scandalous!
When Zoe meets Nigel, she finds a cold man who is scarred and remains haunted by his experiences in the war.  His feelings of guilt keep him in a somber mood.  Zoe’s exuberant personality and Nigel’s depressed personality make for some clashes that only intrigue Zoe more to find out about his past.
After spending some time at Brideswell planning her wedding to Sebastian, Zoe learns something quite unsavory about Sebastian that causes her to break off their planned wedding.  However, not all is lost because Zoe and Nigel have begun to spend time together which sparks a fiery passion.
Where will this lead?  Is there hope for happiness and contentment in Nigel’s life and will Zoe settle into the English way of life?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and have waited for quite awhile to do so.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  This is a novel that is beautiful, touching, informative and fun.  I know I shall remember this plot for sometime to come.
“An American Duchess” is due for publication on September 30, 2014.
I have tried to give some teasers about this wonderful story without releasing any spoilers.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher