Sunday, March 21, 2021

March Madness: Unusual Historical Highlights for March 2021

Don't mind me. Just sittin' over here waiting for my turn in the vaccine queue - which I'm convinced won't be until July 2061 at this rate. I'm so ready. Like, beyond ready. So to distract myself from my growing impatience I've been plowing my way through "obligation reading" and looking for new, unusual historical romances.  Here's what caught my eye being published in March:
Although Celeste Montgomery was forced into a marriage a year ago, her husband is more often gone than home and she is living a quiet life. Until investigator Owen Gregory shows up at her home to tell her some outrageous news: Her husband has been murdered…and he was also a bigamist, making her the third of three wives. 

Owen Gregory was hired to investigate Celeste’s husband, but he never thought it would lead him here, to this beautiful woman whose life he just shattered. Once he determines she couldn’t be the murderer, he asks her to join him in London, in the hopes she can help him solve the crime. 

Now they must navigate two other wives, a broken-hearted brother and a duke who keeps poking his nose in as they work to determine who killed Erasmus Montgomery. Not to mention the intense feelings and passionate desires growing between them. But will secrets long held endanger them in ways they never imagined? And will they find a way to save each other before it’s too late?
Once upon a time there was a Maggie Osborne western with a similar plot (1 husband, 3 wives) albeit minus the murder and the private investigator hero.  I'm intrigued by the mystery angle here, and also the private investigator hero who starts to take a very personal interest in the heroine.  This is the first book in the trilogy - so now's the time to get in on the ground floor y'all!

A wounded Viking warrior 

Must keep his enemies close… 

 Left for dead by a mysterious attacker, Viking warlord Kal Randrson comes around with a deep head wound and a hazy memory, yet he instantly recognizes his rescuer—captivating Lady Cynehild, whose life he turned upside down years before. Although she’s his enemy, they agree to a fake betrothal to expose his attacker. But is the capable, intriguing Cynehild’s mission to help him, or has she another intention entirely?

A heroine with secrets who rescues the hero PLUS a fake engagement?! Could my life get any better?  Styles writes consistently good books and this is the 2nd in her latest Vows and Vikings series for Harlequin.

Bath, 1852. 
As a girl, Nancy Bloom would go to Bath's Theatre Royal, sit on the hard wooden benches and stare in awe at the actresses playing men as much as the women dressed in finery. She longed to be a part of it all and when a man promised her parents he could find a role for Nancy in the theatre, they believed him. 

His lie and betrayal led to her ruin. 

 Francis Carlyle is a theatre manager, an ambitious man always looking for the next big thing to take the country by storm. A self-made man, Francis has finally shed the skin of his painful past and is now rich, successful and in need of a new female star. Never in a million years did he think he'd find her standing on a table in one of Bath's bawdiest pubs. 

 Nancy vowed never to trust a man again. Francis will do anything to make her his star. As they engage in a battle of wits and wills, can either survive with their hearts intact? 

Brimble is a name I recognize from the now (sadly) defunct Harlequin SuperRomance line and this second book in her Ladies of Carson Street sounds right up my alley. A disgraced heroine with a shot at redemption, all she has to do is a trust a man - which doesn't come easy.  This one is available via Kindle Unlimited, and also Hoopla (check to see if your local library offers this service!)

The Shipwrecked Earl's Bride by Renee Dahlia (novella)
LORD RUPERT STANMORE was banished to the continent for a grand tour after being caught kissing his best friend, Lord Benburgh. Two years later and life back in England has caught up to him. His father died recently and now he’s the latest Earl of Stanmore. On the way home, his ship is wrecked in a storm, and he washes up on a beach in Spain, only to be rescued by a beautiful woman. As the Earl, he has an obligation to marry. He’d rather be hung for sodomy than allow his mother to choose his bride, and who better to annoy his proper and distant mother than a poor foreigner as a bride? He plots for Sofia to fall in love with him, not expecting to fall for her.

SOFIA LUCIANA RIAL is the only daughter of a fisherman in Spain. She taught herself to read English from books washed up on their beach, a skill her widowed Father sees as pointless. In his opinions, she should spend all, not most, of her time doing domestic work. When a man washes up on the beach near their cottage, she realises he might be her ticket out of poverty. She sets about to make him fall in love with her so he can take her to England where she will never again have to worry about where her next meal will come from. Only her plan fails when she falls in love with him. But how can she convince him that her love is real?

Now see, some of you probably read this blurb and think the heroine mercenary. I'm thinking the gal is a realist - bless her heart.  Bisexual hero on his way home to claim an inheritance he's likely conflicted about and a heroine desperate to climb her way out of the poverty cycle.  I'm here for this.  Check your digital TBRs before one-clicking - this was originally published in the Twelve Rogues of Christmas anthology.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to reading?


Jen Twimom said...

Huh, I just looked at my reading list for March, and I don't have any historicals! The Unexpected Wife by Jess Michaels Sounds good - I look forward to your review if you do pick it up.

azteclady said...

I am ALL for a heroine doing what she needs to do! And I already bought the Jess Michaels.

Now, for the ability to read more than a chapter at a time...

Wendy said...

Jen: March seemed slimmer than usual to me on the historical front. I wondered for a while if I only was going to have 2 or 3 titles this month!

AL: My new thing seems to be binge-reading. So swamped at work that I don't pick up a book during the week, and then I read like 2 over the course of the weekend.