Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Unusual Historical Spotlight: Woo-Woo, Edwardian, Retro France, Hero Of Color, San Francisco, Gambling Man, & China

The Guardian's Witch by Ruth A. Casie - Carina Press - July 1, 2013 - Digital Only

Description:

England, 1290
Lord Alex Stelton can't resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it's his. Desperate for land of his own, he'll do anything to win the estate--even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.

Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she'd never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.

Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can't get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they'll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.
What Makes It Unusual: It's a medieval!  Also looks like we have some paranormal woo-woo, so if you like your historicals straight-up that might be a deal-breaker.

In the Arms of an Heiress by Maggie Robinson - Berkley - July 2, 2013

Description:
Independent heiress Louisa Stratton is going home to Rosemont for the holidays, and at the family’s request, she’s bringing her new husband—Maximillian Norwich, art connoisseur and artful lover, the man she’s written of so glowingly. There’s one hitch—he doesn’t exist. Louisa needs a fake husband, and fast, to make the proper impression.

Charles Cooper, captain of the Boer War and far from silver spoons or gilded cages, is so hard up that even this crazy scheme appeals to him. It’s only thirty days, not till death do them part. What’s so difficult about impersonating a husband, even if he doesn’t know a Rembrandt from a Rousseau?

The true difficulty is keeping his hands off Louisa once there’s nobody around to see their ruse. And then there’s the small problem of someone at Rosemont trying to kill him. Keeping his wits about him and protecting Louisa brings out the honor he thought he’d left on the battlefield. But when Louisa tries to protect him, Charles knows he’s found a way to face his future—in the arms of his heiress.
What Makes It Unusual: It's an Edwardian!

Stolen Spring by Louisa Rawlings - Samhain Retro Romance - July 16, 2013 - Digital Only

Description:
Money makes the world go ’round, but love makes life worth living.

France, 1700

Forced into spying to save her father from debtor’s prison, Marie-Rouge runs away from her lecherous suitor at the glittering court of Versailles, and finds refuge in the simple cottage of a country miller, Pierre—a strong, seductive man who sets her heart to racing wildly.

Her stolen interlude, filled with laughter and warmth, ripens into intoxicating love. Pierre is everything she has ever wanted in a man—passionate, devoted, matching her desire with his own. But her need to save her father from his overwhelming debt means she can never have a future with her beloved Pierre.

The lies she has been forced to tell create a gulf between her and Pierre that seems all but impossible to bridge. And with mysterious suitors and a forced marriage in the offing, will learning the truth be enough to save their love?

This Retro Romance reprint was originally published in May 1988 by Warner Books.
What Makes It Unusual: Wowzers, France well before The Revolution!  Originally published in 1988, I suspect readers might be in for some ol'-fashioned bodice-rippin'.

A Dream Defiant by Susanna Fraser - Carina Press - July 29, 2013 - Digital Only

Description:
Spain, 1813
Elijah Cameron, the son of runaway slaves, has spent his whole life in the British army proving that a black man can be as good a soldier as a white man. After a victory over the French, Elijah promises one of his dying men that he will deliver a scavenged ruby necklace to his wife, Rose, a woman Elijah has admired for years.

Elijah feels bound to protect her and knows a widow with a fortune in jewels will be a target. Rose dreams of using the necklace to return to England, but after a violent attack, she realizes that she needs Elijah's help to make the journey safely.

Her appreciation for Elijah's strength and integrity soon turns into love, but he doubts she could want a life with him, knowing the challenges they'd face. As their relationship grows, she must convince Elijah that she wants him as more than a bodyguard. And she must prove that their love can overcome all obstacles, no matter the color of their skin.
What Makes It Unusual: An interracial romance!

A Wanted Man by Rebecca Hagan Lee - Berkley - August 6, 2013

Description:
A thoroughly English girl raised in Hong Kong, Julie Jane Parham has spent her entire life walking the line between two worlds. When her closest friend, Su Mi, becomes the victim of an arranged marriage gone horribly wrong, Julie travels to San Francisco in order to buy back her freedom and soon finds herself in over her head.

On a rescue mission of his own, Will Keegan uses his saloon, The Silken Angel, as a front to whisk Chinese prostitutes away from the city’s ruthless brothel owners to a life of freedom, risking his own hide in the process.

Sparring with a spirited British lady is the last thing Will Keegan needs, but he isn’t about to let lovely Julie throw herself headfirst into danger. And as the urge to protect her turns into something more, Will knows he must get Julie to trust him, or chance losing her forever…
What Makes It Unusual: 19th century San Francisco! 

The Ballad of Emma O'Toole by Elizabeth Lane - Harlequin Historical - August 20, 2013

Description:
High stakes marriage

After shooting a man, the stakes for gambler Logan Devereaux have never been higher. On trial for his life, he's offered a shocking alternate form of restitution…marriage to his victim's pregnant sweetheart!

Beautiful Emma O'Toole has sworn vengeance against him—and when a newspaper man puts her tragic story to song, the whole nation waits to see what she'll do. Their marriage is the riskiest gamble Logan's ever taken. But he'll put everything he's got on the line for a chance at winning Emma's heart.
What Makes It Unusual: A western!  And man oh man, just reading that description has the needle on my Angst Meter buried in the red.

The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin - HQN - August 27, 2013

Description: 
It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China... 

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress-until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine-will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?
It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China… 
Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she’s content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress-until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.
Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang’s position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine-will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?
- See more at: http://www.jeannielin.com/lotus-palace/#sthash.i1yGcebJ.dpuf
What Makes It Unusual:  More Tang Dantasy from Lin!  This is her first single title, and the first in a new series for HQN.

So, any of these landing on your shopping list?  Any good unusual historicals you've read recently?  Suggestions and recommendations are always welcome in the comments!

7 comments:

Virginia Kelly said...

Maybe not "unusual" but an amazingly well written historical romance series is the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long. I haven't read the newest, just released, but all the others were fabulous.

little alys said...

Ahhhh, The Lotus Palace was already on my list...I blame you for addicting me to awesome books/authors. ;)

FD said...

In The Arms Of The Heiress was ok. Came a little close to farce at times for my taste though. Reasonably well set in time and place. I suspect some people will love it, but just didn't quite work for me.

Ana T. said...

I love this "unusual" posts although it means adding more books to the TBR pile. Btw I'm really curious about which books do you recommend for readers who love their angst meter in the red ;-)

vacuousminx said...

The Lin and the Fraser are at the top of my lists. I loved Lin's Sword Dancer and I can't wait to see what she does with a single title. And Fraser is an autobuy for me; even when she's writing in an over-tilled era like the Regency, she does something fresh and interesting with it. And an interracial Regency! I am so curious to see how she pulls it off.

Sunita AKA VacuousMinx

nath said...

I might add the Rebecca Hagen Lee to my radar :) Actually sounds interesting, 19th century San Francisco :P

Wendy said...

I am so late acknowledging these comments! I blame getting ready for RWA :)

The Robinson is in my immediate TBR - and I am looking forward to it, if only for the fact that it's an Edwardian. Thanks for the heads-up FD! I'm not a big farce reader, so it's nice to have that little warning.

I just picked up the Fraser actually! She was signing CD's at the Literacy Signing last night. I'm also very interested in the Lin, Lee, and Lane. Lane has always been a hit or miss author for me - so I'm curious to see where this one will land.