I was actually setting out to work on this post when I got word that Heroes & Heartbreakers would be phasing out the blog. The editorial staff is choosing to focus on posts with firm deadlines in their final couple of weeks and since this post wasn't actually done - well, I'm opting to post it over here. These posts originated on this blog before H&H asked if I would be interested in taking them over there - so it's a bit like coming home for Unusual Historicals. Here's what is catching my eye for November:
A Texas Christmas Past by Julia Justiss (Tule Publishing)
Death denied Felicity a future with the man she loved, but her spirit lingers in the the Harwood House Hotel hoping to heal broken hearts and help them to find love again...
Widowed World War I nurse Audra Donaldson returns from France planning to devote her life to helping those suffering the lingering effects of war—effects she knows all too well, as she suffers from them herself. When, staying at the Harwood House Inn on a Christmas visit to her brother, she hears a man in the throes of a violent nightmare, she goes to him without question—and is stunned by a physical attraction as strong as her desire to help.
About to embrace the beautiful angel come to save him from the horrors of the battlefield, former soldier Drew Harwood recoils when he realizes Audra is real—and has seen his “weakness.” Brusquely rejecting her offer of help, he intends to avoid her. But more than just her beauty continues to draw him back. Though this compassionate, kind, and giving soul has seen more of war than he has, somehow, talking with her brings him peace--and seems to comfort her, too. If he can just resist acting on the desire she's ignited in him since his first glimpse of her...
But someone else was watching, too. After tragedy denied Felicity a future with Drew, her dying wish was that he live his life and be happy for them both. To her sorrow, a year later, her former fiancé is still struggling. Deciding Audra is the perfect lady to heal the wounds of her beloved, this determined ghost resolves to bring Drew and Audra together. Who can resist a love that lasts beyond time?OK, to be honest the whole "ghost thing" is giving me pause. But, this is Julia Justiss, it's post World War I, and I liked her debut western for Tule. So of course I one-clicked the hell out of this.
A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole (Kensington)
The Civil War has turned neighbor against neighbor—but for one scientist spy and her philosopher soldier, war could bind them together . . .
For all of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother’s traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her—until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie’s home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.
Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.
When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie’s freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love—and freedom—before they ever cross state lines.Good Lord, I'm on the edge of my seat just reading the plot description! Also, one of the best historical covers I've seen in ages.
The Hired Man by Lynna Banning (Harlequin Historical)
A home for the drifter
Cordell Winterman is haunted by his mistakes—and the years spent paying for them. Broke and hungry, he takes a job as a hired man on Eleanor Malloy's farm.
Eleanor needs help. Desperately. Her kids are running wild and the place is held up by spit and rust. But as Cord helps her set her home to rights, Eleanor realizes she doesn't just need this enigmatic drifter with hunger in his eyes…she wants him, too!I know, we're heavy on American-set historicals this month but I couldn't not post this one. The whole hired man showing up to help out a heroine neck deep is about the only way I can take the Rescue Fantasy trope these days. Sign me up!
Her Christmas Knight by Nicole Locke (Harlequin Historical)
A knight to protect her—this Yuletide
By order of the English king, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she'd lost forever…
If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight to keep not only his dark secrets—and Alice—safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!Oh look - something that isn't an American-set historical! See, I haven't forgotten the medieval fans out there. Locke rolls on with her Lovers and Legends series for Harlequin. Danger and intrigue all wrapped up in a Christmas romance? Oh Harlequin, you totally "get" me!
The Drifter by Susan Wiggs (Harlequin / MIRA)
Leah Mundy has spent her life dashing from town to town, one step ahead of her father’s dreadful reputation. Now, she wants to create a home for herself and build a medical practice in Coupeville, a cozy village nestled amid the majestic isles and mountains of Washington Territory. But her neighbors are loath to trust a newcomer, especially a woman doing a man’s work.
On the run for a crime he didn’t commit but can’t deny, Jackson Underhill is desperate when he holds Leah at gunpoint. He needs her doctoring to mend his wounds, but he soon realizes that she is also capable of healing his soul. But Jackson has been hardened by life as an outlaw, and Leah knows that a future together is impossible…unless they confront his past and learn to trust the redeeming power of love.Yes, I'm aware that this is a reprint but LOOK AT THAT COVER! I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw it. It's worth a look, as I said when I reviewed it as part of the 2013 TBR Challenge.
What Historicals are you looking forward to this month?