Saturday, May 4, 2013

Unusual Historical Spotlight: Old School, WWI, Escaped Convict, Billiards And Outlaws

Remember when I used to do these?  Yeah, me too.  And then work started sucking out my brains.  Well you know what?  I miss doing these posts - and of late there seems to be more than few people bitching expressing opinions online that the historical romance is going the way of the dodo.  I personally don't think so - but to each his own.  Below are a few historicals I scrounged up, coming out in the next few months, that have, what I consider, unusual or unique attributes.  Happy browsing!

Band Of Gold by Zita Christian - Digital Only - Samhain - May 21, 2013

Originally published in 1993, this book is resurfacing as part of Samhain's totally kick-ass "Retro Romance" imprint.

Dreams of love, lost and found… 
When Aurelia Brighton leaves medical school for the Klondike, it isn’t to find fortune. It’s to find her little sister, who’s far too pampered and innocent to join the mob of desperate people looking for gold. Violet must have been abducted, enslaved by a peddler of the flesh. What other explanation could there be?  Stymied at the border by Canada’s strict entry requirements, she’s grateful when a kind, handsome gentleman steps forward to help.
Clay Guardian also has his sights set on the Klondike—and on tracking down Violet, the deceiving vixen who robbed his bank and ruined his reputation. He never expected to encounter his quarry’s sister at the Yukon border, but partnering with the beautiful, willful Aurelia will bring him that much closer to his goal: to see Violet hanged. 
It’s only when Aurelia agrees to share food and provisions for the long, dangerous journey, after the ship sails away, that she learns the truth. Yet the perils they encounter force them to trust each other with their lives—and an unexpected love.
What I think is "unusual" about it?:  A heroine in medical school, the Klondike, and a bank-robbin' sister.  This one has Old School Adventure written all over it!

Enticing the Spymaster by Julie Rowe - Digital Only - Carina - June 3, 2013

Book two in the "War Girls" series.

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium, April 1915 
Judith Goddard is hiding in plain sight. A dual citizen with family ties to Belgian royalty and the British military, she works as a Red Cross nurse in a German hospital, learning what she can, ever fearful her true allegiance will be discovered. 
British Expeditionary Force Captain Michael Lawrence is on a mission to rescue the daughter of his mentor. He doesn't expect to find a strong beautiful woman in place of the naïve girl whose love he rejected years earlier. 
Jude is shocked when Michael turns up in her hospital, wounded and in German uniform. Though he broke her heart, she agrees to flee Belgium with him—she has information about an imminent attack that she must deliver to the British War Office, before it's too late. 
Posing as a married couple, Jude and Michael journey to the border, in constant danger of discovery—and of giving in to their mutual passion…
What I think is "unusual" about it?:  You mean besides the whole World War I thing?  Isn't that enough?

Sweet Revenge by Zoe Archer - Print & Digital - St. Martin's - June 4, 2013

First book in new series.

When Jack Dalton escapes from Dunmoor Prison, he has only one thing in mind–finding the nobleman who murdered his sister and making him pay. But when he reaches the inn where the Lord Rockley is rumored to be staying, three well-dressed strangers are there to meet him instead. And the pretty blonde is aiming a pistol right at his head …  
Joining Nemesis, Unlimited has made Eva Warrick much more than the well-mannered lady she appears to be–one who can shoot, fight, and outsmart any man in the quest to right the injustices so often suffered by the innocent. She’s not afraid of the burly escaped convict, but she is startled by their shared attraction. She and her partners need Jack’s help to get to Rockley, but Eva finds she wants Jack for scandalous reasons all her own…
What I think is "unusual" about it?:  Escape convict as hero.  A crime-bustin' heroine.  Plus Archer tends to infuse a lot of action/adventure elements into her historicals - so this one should be great fun!

A Lady Risks All by Bronwyn Scott - Print & Digital - Harlequin Historical - June 18, 2013
Seducing the Captain 
It would be unwise to mistake me for an innocent debutante—for years I have graced the smoky gloom of many a billiards club and honed my skills at my father's side. 
But now he has a new protégé—Captain Greer Barrington—and while my father would see me attract the attentions of an eligible lord I, Mercedes Lockhart, have other ambitions.… Even if that means seducing the captain to earn back my father's favor! I know I must avoid falling for Greer's charming smile…but his sensual kisses could be worth the risk.…
What I think is "unusual" about it?:  A pool-playing heroine.

Paradise Valley by Rosanne Bittner - Print & Digital - Sourcebooks - July 2, 2013

Maggie Tucker's life is forever changed when outlaws murder her husband, leaving her alone and lost in the wilds of the Wyoming Territory. She vows to find the men who killed him and who tried to destroy her spirit. 
Sage Lightfoot, owner of a ranch called Paradise Valley, is hunting for three men who murdered his best ranch hand. When he finds Maggie collapsed beside an open grave, they embark on a life-changing journey along the famed Outlaw Trail. But a secret Maggie carries and a woman from Sage's past could destroy their fragile love...
What I think is "unusual" about it?:  Well, first things first, this is Bittner's first new book in about 10 years - so that's pretty awesome.  It's a western.  You've got a heroine bent on revenge, a hero whose name sounds vaguely Native American, and the whole Outlaw Trail thing going on.  I'm really excited about this book and hope it lives up to my expectations.

What, if any, historical romances are you looking forward to over the next couple of months?


Phyl said...

Well, I just got Carla Kelly's brand new western ready to read. And I pre-ordered Rebecca Hagan Lee's new book, due in August. It's her first book in years and is a western. The book's not listed on her website though, but is on Amazon.

Meanwhile a couple of the ones you listed were in my sights, but a few more I hadn't heard of. Thanks for the heads-up!

And finally, I'm not at all sure there's a dearth of historicals. I actually think there are too many Regency-set, and as much as I have loved the period, I'm very picky about who I read now.

Wendy said...

Phyl: The Kelly is on my wishlist - as is the upcoming Rebecca Hagan Lee. I am SO excited about that one! She does write westerns, but I believe the new one is set in San Francisco - which (I think) is a criminally underutilized setting in historicals. Well, CA cities in general (Oh man, Hollywood around 1920? Can you imagine?!)

The other book I'm looking forward to is the new Jeannie Lin coming out in June from Harlequin Historical. The Sword Dancer.

Jena Briars said...

You know - that WWI book... I think I just might give that one a shot.

SonomaLass said...

Kage Baker's MENDOZA IN HOLLYWOOD (Sf-fantasy) is a brilliant use of the place/period. Also Barbara Hambly's BRIDE OF THE RAT GOD, with bonus cute dogs. Neither of these is a new book, but I'm happy to read older books, and re-released books, to get my dose of non-Regency.

Elizabeth said...

Zoe Archer is awesome so I'm super excited for her new series. And I'm pretty pumped about the reissue of Band of Gold. I love a good Old Skool Adventure!

Wendy said...

Jena: I love the WWI time period because it was such an interesting, vibrant time for women - but it's SO hard to write about that era, especially from a European perspective. That war was so shockingly devastating. A whole generation of young men....just gone.

SonomaLass: Digital is finally taking off in the direction I hoped it would - which is authors making more of their backlist titles readily available. I've chosen to center these posts around "recent" releases - but when you start scouring for older books? It's a treasure trove!

Elizabeth: I love a good adventure story, and Archer usually delivers in that department - so that could be a really fun series!

With Old Skool I find I'm really western-centric. I can handle more Over-The-Top-Ness-Old-Skool in a western setting than I can, say, in a Regency drawing room :)