‘He’s No Prince Charming’ by Elle Daniels

hnpc edSTORY: A wounded beast . . .

It took Marcus Bradley forever to find a suitable bride. And then he lost her—all because some meddling matchmaker with a crazy notion about “true love” helped her elope with another man. Now, to save his sister from a terrible marriage alliance, he needs a replacement—an heiress, to be exact . . . and he knows just the woman to help him find one.

A spirited beauty . . .

Danielle Strafford believes everyone deserves a fairytale ending—even the monstrously scarred and notoriously brooding Marquis of Fleetwood. Not that he’s left her a choice. If she doesn’t help him secure a wife—by any means necessary—he’ll reveal her scandalous secrets.

A passion that will consume them both

The more time Marcus spends with Danielle, the less interested he is in any other woman. But the Beast must do the impossible: keep from losing his heart to a Beauty he is destined to lose.

REVIEW: At age 31, Marcus Bradley, Marquis of Fleetwood and also known as “The Beast” is a deeply depressed man who drowns himself in drink.  His father had been a very evil man who abused and beat him all of his life leaving him scarred both physically and mentally.  Many of his beatings were endured to protect his younger sister from sharing the same fate.  Their mother ran away and left the children with their father in an effort to protect her own self.  Now that his father is dead, his next concern is to try and protect his sister, Caroline, from having to marry The Duke of Harwood.  Their evil father had contracted a marriage between Caroline and Harwood many years before. Sadly, the Duke of Harwood is a man like their father – evil and in possession of a foul temper.

Miss Danni Green, age 24, is from a wealthy family but as she is also very intelligent, she is too restless to occupy herself in the usual manner.  Instead, she runs Gretna Green Bookings, an illicit elopement agency.  It is privately housed in the back of the Gretna Green Bookstore.  As she enjoys seeing people marry for love, she assists couples by helping them to run off to Gretna Green to get married.

One night, Marcus happens upon Danni assisting a couple ready to elope only to find that the bride-to-be is the woman to whom he has been affianced for a marriage of convenience.  Angry at the whole scenario, Marcus blackmailed Danni into helping him kidnap a very wealthy young woman with a large dowry and take her to Gretna Green to marry him.

Their journey soon becomes a comedy of errors.  The following days are filled with events that will have the reader laughing, chewing their nails and generally falling in love with both Marcus and Danni.

This is a very sweet novel.  The author’s ability to dig down in the damaged soul of Marcus and allow Danni to enter his heart was very well written.  The story is loosely based on the tale, Beauty and the Beast.

This is a début novel for the author and I look forward to reading more from her.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy from the publisher

‘Madeleine’s Christmas Wish’ by Ella Quinn

mcw eqSTORY: The bachelors in Ella Quinns Marriage Game series make a habit of resisting the irresistible.

But during the season for giving, surrendering to temptation may be the greatest gift of all.

A French spy, Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le-Chatel, has lived in England for years, sacrificing his life for his country but not his heart. For he’s never been able to forget his childhood friend, Madeleine.

And now, in her hour of need, he is there to rescue her.

The victim of a ruthless statesman, Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, has been abducted and sent to England to work in a brothel. Her greatest wish is to return home for Christmas, and her only hope of it is to marry Georges though she will be his wife in name alone. Yet as they steal across the snowy countryside, Georges decides to woo her with kisses that melt the winters frost and leave her longing for a holiday miracle.

REVIEW: November 1814, Beaune France

Madeleine, Comtesse de Beaune, is an intelligent woman who has been responsible for keeping her family together since her father died.  Her twin brother, Armand, is feared to have been killed in the war.  During that time period, a family title could be inherited by a daughter if there were no more living males.  However, the government won’t completely let her take over the responsibilities so they have assigned a Monsieur Coupe to oversee her work.  Madeleine is well-educated and very well versed in the family winery and this man is not.  Coupe is an odious little man who wants to offer for her hand to her total disgust.  At this time, King Louis is in power and the family fears that he may seize their holdings.  In addition, the men of Fouche have been seizing young women to work in brothels in Paris.  So, when they arrive at her house to take her little sister, Genevieve, age 13, Madeleine steps in and offers herself instead to save her sister.  Her hope is that once in Paris she may be able to find friends of her father’s to help them.

Dover England

Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le Chatel was betrothed to Madeleine 10 years ago when they were children by their families but he has not seen her since that time.  So, when Georges learns of Madeleine’s capture, he is determined to find her and rescue her.  In addition, he has learned that property that was once taken from him now has been returned.

It is on a lucky hunch that Georges finds Madeleine and takes her to his mother’s home to protect her. His plan is to marry her and thus save her from the brothels and finally return to France.  Will they be able to deal with all of the political factions in France and return to a life they once knew?

I wanted to like this book and had to take some notes so I could try to keep up with the plot.  However, the story left me cold as it seemed to not have any real substance to it.  Therefore, I am sorry to say that it is not a book I really cared for.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary Copy provided by the publisher

‘In Bed with a Rogue’ by Samantha Grace

sg ibwarSTORY: He’s the Talk of the Town

The whole town is tittering about Baron Sebastian Thorne having been jilted at the altar. Every move he makes ends up in the gossip columns. Tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Sebastian vows to restore his family’s reputation no matter what it takes.

She’s the Toast of the Ton

Feted by the crème of society, the beautiful widow Lady Prestwick is a vision of all that is proper. But Helena is no angel, and when Sebastian uncovers her dark secret, he’s quick to press his advantage. In order to keep her hard-won good name, Helen will have to make a deal with the devil. But she’s got some tricks up her sleeves to keep this notorious rogue on his toes…

REVIEW: May 1819.

Baron Sebastian Thorne is not a happy man.  The woman he planned to marry has been “stolen” by his best friend, the Earl of Ellis.  In order to drown his sorrows, he is deep in his cups from drinking.  Having sent his driver home earlier, he decides to walk home.  Bad decision!  He is immediately attacked, beaten and robbed in the streets of Whitechapel by footpads and left unconscious.

Lady Helena Prestwick a widow from Aldmist Fell in Scotland, is in London searching for her four sisters, Cora, Pearl, Gracie and Lavinia.  Helena and her sisters were very young when their mother died and their father turned to drink.  As the oldest, Helena did all she could to care for her sisters until the day her father literally sold her to her husband so her father could get money for his needs.  Now, that Helena is a widow, she is determined to find her sisters and get the family back together.  She fears that they are working in a brothel.  So, she and her trusted friend, Fergus, are out most nights searching the brothels.

Lucky for Sebastian, Helena happens upon him the night he is beaten and takes him home to nurse his wounds.  Grateful for her help and attracted to her as well, he agrees to aid her in her search for her sisters.

She soon finds her sister, Lavinia, who lives as the courtesan of a wealthy and kind man who loves her and wants to marry her.  Her youngest sister, Gracie, is living with Lavinia.  Cora is married to a butcher and the mother of several children.  Pearl has not been found.

As Sebastian and Helena become more enmeshed into one another’s lives, their attraction grows and romance blossoms.

The family members and other characters in the story are all so very well written.  I could just picture each of them perfectly.  I think readers will truly enjoy this story of strength, love and determination.

Connie for b2b

Book provided by the publisher

‘Season for Desire’ by Theresa Romain

tr sfdSTORY: Properly Wicked

Like her four sisters, Lady Audrina Bradleigh is expected to marry a duke, lead fashion, and behave with propriety. Consequently, Audrina pursues mischief with gusto, attending scandalous parties and indulging in illicit affairs. But when an erstwhile lover threatens to ruin her reputation, Audrina has no choice but to find a respectable husband at once.

Who would guess that her search would lead her to Giles Rutherford, a blunt-spoken American on a treasure hunt of his own? When a Christmas snowstorm strands the pair at a country inn, more secrets are traded than gifts—along with kisses that require no mistletoe—and Audrina discovers even proper gentlemen have their wicked side…

REVIEW: December 1820, Northern England

David Llewelyn has kidnapped and drugged Lady Audrina Bradleigh to take her to Gretna Green where he plans to force her to marry him so he can gain access to her dowry to cover his debts.  When they are forced to stop at an inn, the Goat and Gauntlet, due to a snowstorm, she is rescued by Giles Rutherford.  Giles and his widowed father, Richard, are Americans from Philadelphia.  They have traveled to England in search of a puzzle box supposed to contain a fortune in diamonds that was left behind by Lady Beatrix Rutherford, Richard’s late wife, when she left England.

Lady Audrina’s sister, Charissa, is set to marry the very wealthy Duke of Walpole.  The scandal of Audrina having been “tainted” by David Llewelyn is a possible threat to having Walpole call off the wedding to Charissa.

It is rumored that Castle Parr houses the puzzle box the Rutherford’s are seeking.  The group travels to the Castle where they are welcomed by the rather eccentric owners, Viscount and Viscountess of Dudley and their widowed daughter-in-law, Sophy.

When a heavy snowstorm keeps them at the Castle, trying to solve the puzzle and its history occupies them.  In addition, romance begins to blossom as well.

This novel had some interesting characters but I found myself drawn more to the puzzle and the obvious in-depth research that the author put into writing its story.  It was very well written and captivating.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Highwayman’ by Judith James is here!

jj thBOOK BLURB: How Easily One’s Heart Can Be Stolen…Depends Upon the Thief

England, 1680
Known to some as Gentleman Jack and others as Swift Nick, Jack Nevison preys on the wealthy, stealing coin (and the occasional kiss) on England’s darkest roads. Jack’s dangerous deeds are legend but the thrill of a highwayman’s life is growing cold–until he meets the intrepid travel writer and spinster, Arabella Hamilton.

Beautiful and bold, Arabella may come from the world Jack despises but she’s a kindred spirit at heart. When circumstances bring them together the sparks ignite–yet they remain on opposite sides of society and the law and with each encounter they risk more. To be together, will one of them have to give up their world forever?

The adventures and exploits of real-life highwayman Swift Nick and the observations of 17th century travel writer Celia Fiennes are woven throughout this tale–which takes the reader from the privileged world of London’s aristocracy to the highways and byways, inns and hunting grounds of some of England’s most celebrated rogues. I hope you will enjoy it, and think it worth the wait.

PRE-ORDER: Amazon

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

I can find my own way home from here, Jack. I don’t need to be fetched and escorted about,” Arabella said as he took her by the arm and pulled her into a stairwell in the courtyard. She didn’t know why she should feel so out of sorts when home and safety were at last so close at hand, but there was a queer panic in her heart, and she was unaccountably close to tears at the thought of saying goodbye.

“Yes, you do, Arabella. It is safe inside the inn, but you mustn’t travel alone or even walk alone outside it. Trust no one but Nate and Mary. This is a dangerous area. A harbor for thieves and highway­men, most of whom don’t share my scruples about using violence.” He straightened her collar with his free hand. “They gather here to prey on travelers. The wiser customers meet at the bottom of St. John Street and make their way to the inn in groups under armed guard. Pray put my mind at ease. Stay here for tonight and in the light of day, Nate will find you men you can trust, and see you safely home.”

“Yes of course. You make them sound like fishermen lining the banks when the salmon are ready to run—all of them hoping to snatch a fine fish. You needn’t worry. I shall do as you recommend. It’s rather odd though. Most of my life I’ve felt safe and protected in my father’s halls, but I was often bored and lonely. I’ve never felt as frightened as I have in these past few days, but nor have I ever felt so gloriously alive. No sky has ever been so beautiful. No evening air has smelled as sweet. No ride has been so thrilling.” She looked at him with luminous eyes.

He smiled, and brushed his knuckles gently across her swollen cheek. “Those are dangerous thoughts, Bella.”

“Is danger always so exciting?”

“Yes…to some.” He wrapped his finger around a glistening tendril of her hair and drew it out its full length. “Will you allow me a keepsake of my adventure with the daring Belle de nuit?”

Breathless, she gulped and nodded. A wicked looking dagger appeared, and with a soft snick he cut one long lock, and put it in his pocket. It was a romantic gesture, but it filled her heart with sorrow. Soon he would be lost to the night, and something wonderful would come to a close. She didn’t want him to remember her. You remembered what was gone. She wanted this night to never end. She wanted him to stay.

“I suppose I should give you back your coat.” It was all she could think to say.

“That’s not necessary, Bella. Keep it. Let it keep you warm.”

But she was already struggling out of it. The coat was far too big for her and her arm caught in her sleeve as she tried to shrug it off.

“Here. Let me help,” he said with a low chuckle. The struggle to free her arm drew her closer, and his low laugh cut off abruptly as their eyes caught and held.

I thought his eyes dark and shadowed, but now they are amber in the torch light. At times, it almost seems like they’re aflame. Arabella was intensely aware of his parted lips, the feel of his fingers wrapped around her upper arm, and the rise and fall of his chest, just inches from hers. She watched, mesmerized, as he lowered his head toward her, holding her breath as he nuzzled the curve of her shoulder and neck. His breath was warm against her ear, sending shivers through her body, and she turned into him. His eyes gleamed and she made no protest as he lowered his mouth to hers. His kiss was careful, gentle, mindful of her bruises, but it thrilled her to her toes.

Heedless of all the lessons she’d been taught, she stood up on her toes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and hesitant, curious…she kissed him back. He groaned and hugged her tight against him, backing her into the wall, the fingers of one hand threading through her hair as his mouth claimed hers in a heated caress. Her lips, already swollen and tender, ached with pain and pleasure. The feel of him pressed against her, his arms around her…made her forget all else. She didn’t want it to stop, she didn’t want him to leave, and she sighed when he finally pulled away.

“My apologies, Lady Hamilton,” he said with a shaky laugh.

“Please don’t do that.”

“Do what? Kiss you?”

“Please don’t apologize. That was my first kiss, Jack. Do you regret it?”

His lips curled in a slight smile and he caught her chin between thumb and forefinger. “A starry night, a lady brave and bold, a first kiss. You have been an adventure well worth the risk, Bella, and I don’t regret a thing.”

The way he said her name warmed her like a caress. “I owe you so much. How can I ever repay you?”

“Come and find me if they ever catch me, and give me a kiss to warm my soul before I hang.” He brushed her bruised lips with a kiss as soft as a whisper, and she stepped fully into his embrace.

His fingers traced her neckline with a delicate touch, leaving shivers of sensation that rippled through her body and made her nipples ache and harden as if from the cold. He caressed her collarbone, and then spread his hand wide and slipped it under the cool rope of her necklace, to lie warm against her skin. Her heart thrummed beneath his palm. He deepened his kiss as his fingers toyed with the faintly glowing moonlit strand encircling her throat. Traveling its length, his knuckles brushing the tender skin peeping from her modest décolletage to linger a moment, barely touching, just below her ear.

He felt her tremble. He felt a moment of knee-weakening lust, surprising tenderness, and unexpected regret, and then he plucked her necklace from her neck, and dropped it in his pocket.

“Jack?” She stared at him in stunned surprise, clutching her throat. “What are you doing? That was my mother’s!”

“I warned you, Bella. I am a highwayman.” He let out a piercing whistle and Bess came galloping, with Nate not far behind. “Keep her safe, Nate,” he called as he caught the swift moving mare by the mane and swung easily onto her back. Wheeling about to face Arabella, he bowed from the waist and tipped his hat with a flourish. “Adieu, Bella! Until we meet again.” The black horse reared up, taking several steps backwards, and then leapt forward. A moment later horse and rider were swallowed by the night.

Arabella stood there, staring into the dark. She could hear the bustle from the inn behind her. Someone was playing a fiddle. An argument was growing heated on an upper floor. A carriage rumbled by on the road behind her and somebody slammed a door. They were ordinary sounds on an ordinary night. She felt for her necklace, but both it and her highwayman were gone. I have just awoken from a dream. Her overwhelming feeling was one of loss.

jjAUTHOR BIO: Judith James, award-winning author of IPPY gold medalist BROKEN WING, Historical Novels Reviews Top Choice and Barnes and Nobles best of the year HIGHLAND REBEL, and Booklist starred reviewed and Romantic Times 2010 best book nominee LIBERTINE’S KISS, is an avid reader and history buff who grew up in Montreal Quebec. She is a bit of an adventure junkie and has travelled, worked and lived in many places, including the Arctic, Ireland, London and France.

Variously employed as a trail guide, horse trainer, and clinical psychologist, she’s had the opportunity to live out many of her dreams. She has found the perfect place to write on the East Coast, with a view of the ocean from her window. Judith’s writing combines her love of history, romance and adventure with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature, and the heart’s capacity to heal.

She is currently getting ready to publish her Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration series. If you haven’t met them yet, catch up with the libertine, William de Veres and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth Walters in Libertine’s Kiss. Meet the soldier and the courtesan in Soldiers of Fortune, previously known as The King’s Courtesan and prepare to be swept away by The Highwayman, a story based on the real highwayman Swift Nick and inspired by the intrepid 17th century traveler and journalist Celia Fiennes.

Ms James is always pleased to hear from fellow readers and writers and invites you to visit her on Facebook, her webpage or on twitter.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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

‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ by Jane Lark

jl tlloasSTORY: The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living…

Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.

In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her – something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.

Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…

REVIEW: Let me preface this review with letting you all know how much I love reading this author’s work. I was left an emotional wreck each time I finished one of her books, and this one more so than the others and that is because this one is a prequel to Ellen’s romance with Edward in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

My advice, to all that have not read this author, is to read this story before you go on to ‘TILOAC’. Take my word for it. It will help you understand the heroine Ellen much better.

Having read ‘TILOAC’ first, I knew the outcome of this story and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m one of those that do not read the ending before I start the book. I can deal with the spoilers, but I can’t deal with someone letting me know what the ending is. It just ruins the story, don’t you think? Well, at least that’s what I think …thought, I should say. Because, in the end, my knowledge of this authors wonderful storytelling won me over and I went for it.

By the time the story was done, I felt sorrow, anger and a relief. That last one was only because I knew that Ellen’s story does not end with this book.

Ms. Jane Lark did an outstanding job at writing a heartbreaking ‘first love’ story of two young and disillusioned people. Both characters were well developed and the emotional turmoil and internal struggle they went through as they slowly came to terms with the choices they made in order to be together. The steady pace of the story helps a reader connect with and understand these two as they embark on the journey of discovery of each other and their environment. Especially the historical part and the era this takes place in. If you loved ‘War and Peace’ than you’ll appreciate the reality Ms. Lark gives to this story and its locations from Brussels at Lady Richmond’s ball, the Battle of Quatre-Bras and on to Waterloo. We are in awe as much as our teenaged bride is, of the life a soldier and his wife are forced to endure, from slow and muddy marches to making silent love in the cot among sleeping soldiers.

Even though I thought the story well written and plotted, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been better off not knowing Paul at all. I found myself questioning his choices and accusing him of selfishness while at the same time making allowances for them because of his age. He was so very young and all he wanted to do is love and be loved.

In the end I have concluded that if I’ve read this story before book one, my appreciation and understanding of what Ellen went through would have been ten times of what it really was.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes. The prose alone is worth the read, not to mention the historical detail included. Be warned though. The emotional rollercoaster of this story is ever present and doesn’t let go until the very end, or the next book, I should say.
If you’d like to read of Ellen’s son John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, his story is in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author