Saturday, September 18, 2021

Redemption Road: Unusual Historical Picks for September 2021

I'm currently mired in a slump, which always makes browsing for unusual historicals a bit fraught. A reminder that as I cull my way through the dumpster fire that is Amazon's algorithm (I also check individual publisher web sites) I'm looking for the unusual that catches my (personal) eye. Not all titles make the cut for that reason, and when I'm in a slump? I have to go through the "is it me or is it the blurb?" song and dance.  Still, September does offer plenty to intrigue, even a grumpy gus like myself.  
 
A Blues Singer to Redeem Him by Elle Jackson 
Nights at the speakeasy… 

Spark a dangerous romance 

Evelyn Laroque’s performances at Lorenzo De Luca’s Kansas City blues club draw even bigger crowds than his bootleg whiskey. And every time he hears her voice, Lorenzo falls a little harder for the achingly beautiful blues singer. When Evelyn becomes a target for the KKK, Lorenzo faces an impossible choice. Will this son of a gangster turn to the mob if it’s the only way to protect the woman he loves?


So I've been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it some months back, and I really need to read my ARC soon - which has gotten pushed due to other commitments.  Now I want to make sure I'm in the right mindset for it (see current slump).  It opens with the heroine living through the Tulsa Race Massacre and then moves to 1926 Kansas City.  I mean, if you're going for villains in a historical romance, it doesn't get much more villainous than the KKK and hopefully the mobster hero will work OK for yours truly (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't).  Sigh. Also, love this cover. Think that dress is appropriate librarian office attire? Asking for a friend.


A Yuletide Kiss by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries and Mary Jo Putney
The reigning queens of Regency Romance return with another delightful Christmas collection of three sparkling holiday romances, as stranded travelers find merriment, mistletoe, and holiday romance awaiting at a quaint country inn . . . 

THE UNEXPECTED GIFT by Madeline Hunter 
Jenna Waverly has closed her inn, anticipating a blissfully quiet Christmas, until a snowstorm brings the first of several strangers to her property. Lucas Avonwood, as charming as he is secretive, is on a mission to track down a scoundrel, but the inn’s lovely owner is giving him a more compelling reason to stay . . . 

WHEN WE FINALLY KISS GOOD NIGHT by Sabrina Jeffries 
When Flora Younger first met Konrad Juncker, she thought she’d found her match, only to have her hopes dashed. Konrad is now a famous playwright whose plays Flora has secretly panned in reviews. But a chance meeting in a secluded inn may help them rewrite this star-crossed romance . . . 

WHEN STRANGERS MEET by Mary Jo Putney 
Kate Mcleod is shocked to find that her fellow guest in the snowbound inn is the dashing soldier who may or may not be her husband. Daniel Faringdon barely remembers that long-ago night when he rescued her from disaster, but the desire they discover now will be impossible to forget, or to ignore . . .
I love to read short, so I'm a sucker for anthologies, even though they're traditionally uneven affairs.  But we've got three well-known historical romance pros here and the stories all center around a country inn at Christmastime.  If there is a boardinghouse, inn or country house party within 50 yards of a historical romance I am HERE for it. Plus there's a bunch of unusual here: an innkeeper heroine, a famous playwright and critic, and a "dashing soldier."


Her Honorable Mercenary by Nicole Locke
An innocent maiden 

And a legendary warrior 

When captured and held prisoner in an enemy castle, Margery of Lyon is guarded by brooding mercenary Evrart, who’s been commanded to watch her—day and night. Margery’s determination to escape brings her closer to Evrart and the kind heart hidden beneath his granite-hard body. Now Margery is torn… 

Fleeing under the portcullis will mean leaving behind the man she’s falling for…
A kidnapped heroine falls for the mercenary hired to guard her.  That distinction is significant for me, as I find it a bit more palatable than the ol' captive/captor combo.  But hey, it wouldn't be a medieval romance without some moral ambiguity and tested loyalties.


A mean girl reformed . . . 
Once the reigning beauty of her social set, Celia—whom the newspapers dubbed Lady Infamous—has fallen on hard times and is practically destitute, her reputation in shreds. When Celia is forced to attend a society wedding as a companion to an elderly guest, she must confront the clique she once commanded; the gentleman she'd once hoped to marry—who is now wed to a girl Celia relentlessly taunted; and the powerful man who ruined her life a decade before—and is threatening to do so again. . . . 

 A hero transformed . . . 
Then there is Richard, the studious boy Celia used to ridicule, who is now gorgeous, wealthy, and more-than-a-little famous. As a youth, Richard was infatuated with Celia. He still seems intrigued, but Celia has acquired a shocking secret along with her hard-won humility. Will it put an end to the love blossoming between them? Does she have the courage to find out?
This is book 3 in a series (when I haven't read the first two) and ask me if I care? I do not. I am HERE for bad girls in historical romance and a former mean girl who has fallen (yikes pretty far), is all sorts of Wendy Catnip.  Digging deeper into reviews, turns out our "studious boy" the heroine used to ridicule is now an entomologist and the twin of "the gentleman she'd once hoped to marry."  I need this in my eyeballs right now.


Restless Heart by Beth Williamson 
Angels don’t always have halos...

Angeline Hunter ran from a horrific marriage, to start her life again in a small town in Wyoming, away from the Mormon life she had escaped in Utah. She didn’t want to fall in love, or even fall in like, with a man like Samuel Carver. He was too nice, too normal, and far out of the reach for a woman who lived each day in a lie.

Sam Carver had hair the color of midnight and eyes darker than pitch—the eyes of a man who’d seen too much. But he couldn’t get enough of the mysterious, ethereal beauty who had turned up in his little Wyoming town, working at the Blue Plate, keeping to herself. He knew Angeline Hunter was running scared, pursued by a fanatic who threatened her life. But no matter what it took, Sam would convince his angel to put her trust in him, to put the painful past behind her and learn just how pleasurable the present could be.
Originally published by Kensington Brava in 2011 (so there will be sexy times!) under the Emma Lang name, this is a self-published reprint and book 2 in a series.  The heroine is the third wife of a Mormon Elder who runs away and straight into the arms of our half-Native hero and a welcoming small town. This has rescue fantasy and angst written all over it.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to?

7 comments:

azteclady said...

::gets busy looking up Infamous::

Jazzlet said...

That dress is absolutely summer library wear, but chilly for winter, so next year?

Wendy said...

AL: When I looked yesterday the digital price was kinda stupid - so I put myself on the long wait list at work. It'll get to me eventually....

Jazz: I'd have to pair it with a cape during the winter LOL

Dorine said...

I love it when you're in a slump because you crack me up and you find my catnip. That dress! As long as we're dreaming, can I have the body that goes with it? Also love a house party, so that one is on my list. An entomologist? That's beyond creative. Going shopping 😀

Jen Twimom said...

I have YULETIDE to read, but I'm going to wait until it gets closer to the Christmas season. I enjoyed the Jeffries series and I'm very excited to find out Konrad Juncker's match. The whole anthology sounds fun.

Wendy said...

Dorine: I might be coming out of my slump - thank the Lord! I've been slowly working through the Marcia Muller Sharon McCone mystery series and am on Book 21. Just what I needed - it's like visiting old friends.

Jen: I had originally tripped past the ARC on NetGalley and recently downloaded it once I took the time to read the blurb. I'm so behind on my holiday reads, I honestly should probably start reading them now LOL

Dorine said...

Oh that's good on the mystery series. I'm heartbroken when I can't read. I'm reading, but extremely slow, so not quite slump-relieved, yet.