Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top 4 Unusual Historicals for May 2018

Is there anything worse than a reading slump? Because, that, my friends is exactly where I’m living these days. If it weren’t for revisiting some old favorites on audio I’d literally be getting nothing read. But one thing sure to cheer me up? Browsing for books. Even if, you know, I’m not reading them. May is kind of quiet when it comes to not-your-usual historicals, but there’s potential all the same.

Kept by the Viking by Gina Conkle 
Loyalty to the Brotherhood comes before all. Including women.  
Formidable Viking leader Rurik knows the law. His loyalty to the Forgotten Sons is his bond, and no woman will threaten what he’s built from the ground up. But the Sons are a roving band of Vikings, and Rurik is growing restless—so when Normandy’s chieftain offers land, the proposal intrigues him. And the sultry Parisian thrall he finds in his tent intrigues him even more…  
Safira is cunning and clever and full of secrets. Rurik’s men have no interest in securing her safe passage home, but, piqued with lust, Rurik views Safira’s wiles as a captivating challenge—one he’s determined to conquer, even if lying with her is as defiant as it is inevitable.  
Traveling with Safira has been a fantasy come true—what started as lust is quickly turning to the kind of partnership Rurik could never have dreamed. But their arrival in foreign lands marks a new chapter, one that demands a Viking wife. With impossible decisions to be made, Rurik’s alliances are fraying, and past promises may not be enough to save him from having to betray those he’s sworn loyalty to—including Safira. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a literal unicorn. A historical romance published by Carina Press. How momentous is this? Let me put it this way - if you go to the Carina website, click on the Historical Romance link, and sort by publication date? This is the first historical they’ve published since September 2016. Two years ago. I’m one-clicking this on principle.

Love’s Sweet Melody by Kianna Alexander 
Autumn, 1946

Warner Hughes returns home from war with the lingering effects of battle. Abandoned by his sweetheart and ostracized by his community, he feels he has no real home. 
Elizabeth “Betty” Daniels has one love: music. Betty’s family wants to see her married, busy with affairs of the home, leaving no time to pursue her art.

Warner’s only solace is in the sweet melody of Betty’s music. To Betty’s mind, marriage means giving up the freedom to pursue her art. Can Warner let love in, and can Betty make room for love? 
The latest in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series chugs along with Alexander’s entry set post-World War II. This sounds incredibly promising, with a returning veteran with, from the sounds of it, PTSD and a musically-inclined heroine. Alexander is no stranger to historicals, having written contributions for the Daughters of a Nation and The Brightest Day anthologies.

The Bashful Bride by Vanessa Riley 
A friend's newspaper advertisement for a groom nets the most famous actor in London, Arthur Bex. Shy heiress Ester Croome proposes to elope with the handsome man, who she's secretly loved for two years, in order to escape an impending engagement arranged by her overbearing family.
Trying to outlive the shadow of his villainous uncle, Bex needs to marry quickly—to a woman of good character. And smart, beautiful Ester fits the bill. But a harrowing trip to Gretna Green and dangerous abolition rallies prove to be a more treacherous stage than either imagined. Infatuation and a mutual love for Shakespeare might not be enough to bind a couple looking to outrun the chains and secrets of family and the past. 
The second, and final, book in the author’s Advertisements for Love duology, features that most tempting of reader catnip - a road romance! I also love that we’re getting an actor hero looking to outrun his family’s reputation and a heroine who has secretly been in love with him for years.

Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue
Alexandra Barratt has found the perfect man--it's a shame he thinks she's a boy... 
Fleeing from the murderous Grady brothers, Alexandra disguises herself as a boy and joins a frontier party heading West, with her brother and sister in tow. The wagon train is captained by the irresistible Luke Slater, who's never met a woman he couldn't charm. 
At first, Alex can't believe the way every woman in town falls at Luke's feet, including her suddenly flirtatious sister. But when she sees him naked in the bathtub, she finds herself swooning over him too. If only she could wash the muck of her face and show him who she really is. Unfortunately she has more pressing concerns... 
The Gradys aren't about to let Alex, nor the small fortune she stole from them, slip through their fingers. Only by maintaining her ruse does she have a chance of protecting her family. But fate, it seems, is conspiring against her. 
This debut has Old School written all over it - I mean, hello? We’ve got a chick-in-pants story, and she spies the hero naked in the bathtub. I’m...well, I’m reserving judgement on this one. But I love historical westerns, and we have a debut author. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and give this one a whirl. Plus, you know, another road romance and a heroine on the run. I’m only human.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to this month?


cleo reader said...

I really enjoyed The Henchmen of Zenda by KJ Charles - it came out last week (I think). It’s not genre romance - KJC calls it pulp adventure with strong romantic elements, with a non-heteronormative hfn.

It’s so much fun - sword fights and intrigue and plotting and lots of sexual tension. It’s a reimagining of the Victorian pulp novel The Prisoner of Zenda. I hadn’t read the original but it didn’t seem to matter - and it turns out that the movie Dave is loosely based on it, and I saw that.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I've been slumping too. I have not. finished. a. single. book.

Kristie (J) said...

I’m still not really into historicals. Unless they are historical Westerns that is :-).

Wendy said...

Cleo: Thank you for the mini-review! I saw the new title but Charles but wasn't quite sure if it was romance or fantasy or an adventure novel :)

PK: I'm just so...tired. It's easier to come home, veg out in front of the TV and play Candy Crush. I go through spells like this every so often. I just need to plant my butt in the chair and READ.

cleo reader said...

Wendy - judging by the reviews on GR and some discussion on SBTB, I think some romance readers were disappointed by this book. I'm not sure if it's just because it's not genre romance or if there were other issues too. I enjoyed it, but then I spent my youth reading epic fantasies and watching the Princess Bride, so I may have a higher tolerance of plot-heavy, sword fight-y novels than some.

Wendy said...

Kristie: I'm not ignoring you! Your comment was stuck in Comment Moderation Hell!

I'm going to read this western, eventually. I've got it on my Kindle. The description isn't exactly lighting my world on fire, but it's a debut author and it's a western so...yeah. I'm going to try it.