Monday, February 15, 2021

Candy Hearts: Unusual Historicals That Intrigue February 2021

Ah, February. That annoying time of year when residents of Romancelandia brace themselves for steaming piles of hot takes on the genre we love. But hey, at least there's candy. Lots and lots of candy.  There's also more of the books we love and this month's crop of unusual historicals are particularly tempting.  Here's what debuted this month that caught my eye:
A reporter has come to Wyoming to do a story on doctors for his Black newspaper back east. He thinks Colton Lee will be an interesting subject…until he meets Colton’s sister Spring. She runs her own ranch, wears denim pants instead of dresses, and is the most fascinating woman he’s ever met. 
But Spring, who has overcome a raucous and scandalous past, isn’t looking for, nor does she want, love. As their attraction grows, will their differences come between them or unite them for an everlasting love?


A new Beverly Jenkins western and the second book in her Women Who Dare series - which might be the most perfect name for a Jenkins series ever since I'm always drawn to her heroines.  Spring, with her "raucous and scandalous past" sounds like my kinda gal!

Robin Loxleigh and his sister Marianne are the hit of the Season, so attractive and delightful that nobody looks behind their pretty faces. 
Until Robin sets his sights on Sir John Hartlebury’s heiress niece. The notoriously graceless baronet isn’t impressed by good looks, or fooled by false charm. He’s sure Robin is a liar—a fortune hunter, a card sharp, and a heartless, greedy fraud—and he’ll protect his niece, whatever it takes. 
Then, just when Hart thinks he has Robin at his mercy, things take a sharp left turn. And as the grumpy baronet and the glib fortune hunter start to understand each other, they also find themselves starting to care—more than either of them thought possible. 
But Robin's cheated and lied and let people down for money. Can a professional rogue earn an honest happy ever after?
A scoundrel hero who sets his sights on an heiress only to become entangled with her suspicious uncle.  I'll be honest, I groaned at the character names of "Robin Loxleigh" and his sister "Marianne" - but I'm going to trust Charles' writing chops to not beat me over the head with Robin Hood references now that we've gotten the names out of the way....

Rose Gardner's Florist by Bonnie Dee (Kindle Unlimited)
Romance blooms between a common flower girl and a cultivated gentleman. 
Rose Gardener is a common flower girl from Covent Garden, whose grandest wish has come true in the opening of her own florist shop. Despite years of belittling by an unsupportive family, she is proud of her achievement, yet self-doubt lingers under the surface when she is faced with a chance at romance. Surely the quiet, bookish gentleman who buys posies from her could not possibly be interested in a working class girl. 
Struck by the lovely proprietress of a local florist, Will Carmody finds one pretext after another to purchase flowers so he might exchange pleasantries with her. A shy, awkward fellow dedicated to scholarly pursuits has no business fostering lovelorn dreams about a vivacious young lady with a bright future. Will thinks he has little of interest to offer her. 
When a young woman threatened by her guardian unburdens herself to Rose, the florist becomes her ally in solving the predicament. But it will take Will’s steady presence and support to face down a dastardly scoundrel.

A flower girl and a bookish hero - I've never read this. Hell, I'm pretty sure I've never seen it done before.  It's also the second book in Dee's Providence Street Shops series.  Heroine shopkeepers getting their own series?  Yes please! 

A lady’s need for protection 
A knight’s chance for redemption 
Exiled Knight William Geraint answers only to himself. Yet, a mission to reunite lost heiress Lady Isabel de Clancey with her family is Will’s chance to finally atone for the torment of his past. With every rushed mile, their intense attraction becomes dangerously thrilling. He swore to protect Isabel not seduce her, but their desire for each other could threaten the redemption he’s worked so hard to achieve…
The second book in Oliver's Notorious Knights series is also her second published book for Harlequin Historical. I enjoyed the first book in the series and am looking forward to this one.

Nicknamed Humdrum Tun by society, Bennett Innsworth, Duke of Tunbury is stuffy, awkward, and alas, still a virgin. The festive season is looking bleak—until he loses a wager and must spend an evening at London’s most hedonistic pleasure club. 
Delilah Forbes has long reigned as the city’s Mistress of Sin, and when the infamous duke visits her club, she’s soon eager to introduce him to sizzling passion. But even as lust becomes more for two lonely souls, they know a duke and a madam can’t have forever after. Or can they? 
This story was previously published in the historical Christmas anthology Have Yourself a Merry Little Scandal. Please note it contains explicit language and sexual content.
I started reading romance back when virgin heroines were the norm (even in contemporaries, and yes I'm Gen-X) and I think that's part of the reason why I can't say no to Romancelandia virgin heroes.  It's the inversion of the trope that appeals.  And then when an author pairs our guy with a heroine of "dubious reputation?"  OMG, Get. In. My. Eyeballs.  This novella was previous released in anthology format (it seems it's no longer available...), so check your digital TBRs before one-clicking.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to reading?


Amber Elise said...

I've only read one book by Beverly Jenkins and it didn't work for me but Im excited for this next release!

Jen Twimom said...

I am still new to Ms. Bev, having only read the Women Who Dare books (all two of them now). I loved WILD RAIN... I know what you mean about being drawn to her heroines. Spring is so wonderful, with a complicated backstory and no-nonsense outlook on life. She's very much "ahead of her time," and I love her all the more for it. After finishing this one, I want to go back and read the others in the Old West series, because I loved the setting as well.

I've not yet read a K.J. Charles book, but have several on my wish list. Which do you recommend for a first time read?

Kristie (J) said...

I already have Wild Rain, I preordered it and the other one calling to me is Her Banished Knight. Then again I’ve also read some geat books by Bonnie Dee......

Wendy said...

Amber: Confession time - Jenkins is hit or miss for me. Pretty typical for authors with big backlists. The books I've liked, I've REALLY liked (Topaz and Indigo) but there's a "It was OK" (Something Like Love) and a DNF (Always and Forever) in there too. And I'm still working through her backlist.

Jen: I always come back to Jenkins because of her heroines. As for Charles - I had quibbles with the first book but her Sins of the Cities series is a good place to start if you like atmospheric Victorians with a bit of mystery.

Kristie: Harlequin Historical has really up'ed their output of medievals recently - so if you're craving that time period, that's a good imprint to check out. I liked Melissa Oliver's debut - The Rebel Heiress and the Knight.