‘The Scoundrel’s Honor’ by Christi Caldwell

tsh-ccSTORY: London, 1822.

Thanks to her older siblings, Lady Penelope Tidemore is no stranger to scandal. In order for her to make a good match, her secret longings for intrigue and romance must be quelled. Yet it is through terrible mischance that Penelope is caught in a compromising position—however innocent—with the darkly enigmatic viscount Ryker Black.

Mr. Black is no gentleman. Raised from the streets and proprietor of the most notorious gaming hell in London, Black lives in a world filled with debauchery and danger. Taking a Society wife from the very ton he despises is not part of his plan, even if the innocent Penelope turns his blood hot with desire.

But Penelope isn’t afraid of Mr. Black, and she soon discovers that his reputation as a scoundrel may be designed to hide a surprising vulnerability. As this unlikely husband and wife grow closer, they learn that what started as chance could end up sealing their fates.

REVIEW: London – 1823

Lady Penelope Tidemore, age 18, is making her Come Out. With her are her widowed mother, the Dowager Countess of Sinclair, and her brother, Jonathan, the Earl of Sinclair. They keep reminding Penelope that she may encounter resistance from some people due to the scandals from the family’s past and they are worried that she may cause yet another scandal. The Dowager and the Earl have been reluctant to let her attend many functions, especially a ball.

When they decide to attend a ball hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Somerset, Penelope is ecstatic. One of the attendees is Ryker Black, Viscount Chatham, brother to the Duchess of Somerset, and the bastard son of a Duke. Ryker and his bastard brothers grew up on the streets of London doing whatever it took to care for themselves. Ryker was awarded his title from the King for having saved the life of the Duke of Somerset. Ryker’s sister, Helena, used to be the bookkeeper of his gambling hell before she married the Duke. Evidently, it is reputed that there is bad blood between Ryker and the Duke of Somerset. So, Helena has come to ask Ryker to attend the ball she is throwing to prove to the ton that there is no bad blood between the two men.

At the ball, Penelope is not enjoying herself. People are obviously gossiping about her, she has torn her hem, and the only men asking her to dance are relatives. She heads for the balcony for some fresh air where she ends up tearing her dress even more. On top of that, someone comes into the dark garden forcing her to hide. It’s Ryker. He realizes that someone else is in the garden and thinking it could be one of his enemies, he grabs Penelope and throws her to the ground. That’s when they are discovered. Uh-oh! Another Tidemore sister has caused a scandal and is ruined. Earl Sinclair tells Ryker he must marry Penelope. Reluctantly, Ryker and Penelope marry.

Penelope moves into Ryker’s rooms at the gambling hell which is not appealing to her. She wants a home but Ryker wants to be close to his business. There is always trouble brewing and he needs to be nearby to take care of it.

The story follows the two of them as they try to adjust to marriage and the fact that they are two very different personalities.

I simply did not like Ryker. He comes across as an angry bully. Penelope tries to placate him but it’s an uphill battle.

I have enjoyed this author’s books in the past, but I found this story to be too rough and violent and not at all what I would expect from her. However, I’m sure that others will find it very good.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for bb

‘Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love’ by Christi Caldwell

oawalhl ccSTORY: Responsible, practical Miss Hermione Rogers, has been crafting stories as the notorious Mr. Michael Michaelmas and selling them for a meager wage to support her siblings. The only real way to ensure her family’s ruinous debts are paid, however, is to marry. Tall, thin, and plain, she has no expectation of success. In London for her first Season she seizes the chance to write the tale of a brooding duke. In her research, she finds Sebastian Fitzhugh, the 5th Duke of Mallen, who unfortunately is perfectly affable, charming, and so nicely… configured… he takes her breath away. He lacks all the character traits she needs for her story, but alas, any duke will have to do.

Sebastian Fitzhugh, the 5th Duke of Mallen has been deceived so many times during the high-stakes game of courtship, he’s lost faith in society women. Yet, after a chance encounter with Hermione, he finds himself intrigued. Not a woman he’d normally consider beautiful, the young lady’s practical bent, her forthright nature and her tendency to turn up in the oddest places has his interests… roused. He’d like to trust her, he’d like to do a whole lot more with her too, but should he?

REVIEW: Surrey England

Hermione Rogers is a strong young woman.  Her mother passed away several years ago leaving her father in a state of deep depression.  As such, their family finances are dwindling and Hermione is doing her best to keep things going.  Her older sister, Elizabeth, had a fever some years back which affected her mind leaving her mentally as that of a child.  She also has two younger twin siblings, Addie and Hugh both of whom look to her for guidance.
Hermione’s aunt has provided funds for Hermione to go to London for a season in hopes of her making a match and, thus saving the family from financial ruin.  While Hermione is agreeable to this, her first true love is her writing.  She has penned several stories under the nom de plume of Mr. Michael Michaelmas.
Sebastian Fitzhugh, the fifth Duke of Mallen, was taught to accept his responsibilities and has done a good job of it.  He’s quite content as his life is now.  However, his mother is pushing him to attend more soirees in hopes of finding his perfect duchess.
When Sebastian eyes Hermione at a dance, he is intrigued by her being absorbed with sitting and jotting things down on her dance card.  Thinking it strange that she is not simply watching the other dancers, he follows her as she heads down a hallway only to discover her sitting at their host’s desk writing away.  Thinking he is trying to accost her, she pushes to get away from him when he is only interested in what she is writing.   He becomes quite charmed by her and the feeling is mutual for her.  He just cannot figure her out but is afraid to become too involved with her because he might find himself ensnared by the parson’s mousetrap.
Ms. Caldwell has once again perfected her characters and expressed their emotions so well  which grabs the reader.  There is so much more to the story but I don’t want to give too much away.  Suffice to say, you will love this novel.  Christi Caldwell has nailed it again!
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author