Amazon has discontinued the ability to create images using their SiteStripe feature and in their infinite wisdom will break all previously created images on 12/31/23. Many blogs use this feature, including this one. Expect my archives to be a hot mess of broken book cover images starting in 2024 until I can slowly comb through 20 years of archives to make corrections.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Coming Back Around Again: Unusual Historical Highlights for October 2022

Seriously y'all, can you believe it's October already?! So many of my Romancelandia friends are embracing Spooky Season and hauling out their sweaters from storage and I'm here in Southern California bracing for triple digit temperatures and everything catching on fire. I don't miss snow, but I sure do miss autumn. But I'll get a taste of it next week when I'm heading back to the Midwest for a visit home. Apple cider, donuts, sweatshirts, visiting my favorite used bookstore ever - I got plans y'all, which will hopefully entail reading. What better way to start thinking about "airplane reading" than looking at October's crop of Unusual Historicals? Here's what's catching my eye landing in October.
The Boxing Baroness by Minerva Spencer
Magnetic and educated, Marianne Simpson has the manner of a lady and the looks of a lover, not a fighter. Neither of which explains her occupation as a boxer in her uncle’s circus, Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre. Nonetheless, when St. John Powell, the exquisitely handsome Duke of Staunton, begins turning up at her shows, she finds herself dangerously distracted by the powerful peer’s mysterious presence. With her safety at stake, Marianne’s days in the ring are numbered. But how long can she fight her attraction to the man the ton calls Lord Flawless? 

St. John Powell doesn’t just want Marianne Simpson, he needs her … to rescue his brother, who is being held for ransom by a treasonous English baron—the man all of Britain knows as the Rake of Rakes. No matter how little Marianne wants to see her duplicitous ex-lover, the man responsible for the humiliating nickname the Boxing Baroness, St. John must convince her. Even if it means climbing into the ring with the beautiful boxer and taking everything she’s got...
I won't disclose how long I've had an ARC of this (it's embarrassing) but how could I not have one-clicked a book featuring a Regency-era boxing heroine?!  Even better? This is the first book in a series.  Really looking forward to this.

Tempted by the warrior… 

But she’ll never wed! 

Brynhild had once been close to Erik—until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner, they reach a mutually beneficial deal: help her and, in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife—by teaching him how to please a woman in bed! 

Speaking of books I'm looking forward to, this would be #1 with a bullet this month, Morris' second book in her Shieldmaiden Sisters series. I enjoyed the first book in this series when I read it this summer, and Brynhild is my kind of catnip heroine, the "fearsome one" who undoubtedly is masking her hidden vulnerabilities.  Oh, and the hero she falls in a love with? A bastard sold into slavery by his vile father. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

An arranged betrothal… 
By royal approval! 

As the servant girl who discovered she was the long-lost daughter of a comte, Lilas Moreau is no stranger to scandal. Now, more famous for her art, she won’t have her independence threatened by the return of her betrothed, Bastien, Duc de Languedoc. As a new attraction sizzles between them, Lilas is relieved he wants to end their secret marriage contract. But a summons from the queen means they’re forced to continue their charade!

Now this is exciting! And intriguing! Set in 18th century France a heroine determined to remain independent finds that independence threatened by a betrothed she was hoping was gone and...Marie Antoinette. This tale is set in 1775 so I'm not expecting any French Revolution shenanigans, but plenty of scandal and excess - which I am here for.

Father Goose by Jodi Thomas (novella, reprint)


Dispirited by war, Trapper Hawkins accepts a job hauling five little rich girls to Dallas. All he cares about is the money. He doesn’t expect the girls will awaken his spirit—much less that their intriguing nursemaid, Emery Adams, will awaken his heart. And when danger strikes as Christmas Eve nears, he definitely doesn’t expect Emery and the girls to risk their lives - for him...

A haunted hero who agrees to escort a woman and her five young charges to Dallas and gets more than he bargained for. This novella was originally published in The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas anthology, which at the time of this posting was available via Kindle Unlimited.  As someone who loves Christmas romances, just out here performing a public service....

Once Upon a Time . . . 

Beauty Became the Bounty Hunter 

Cathleen Chase was an unassuming farmer’s wife until her husband was gunned down in front of her. Desperate for revenge, she offered con artist Alexi Romanov anything if he would school her in the art of the dodge. 

Alexi didn’t realize he’d turned Cathleen Chase into Cat O’Banyon, a ruthless bounty hunter who would stop at nothing to catch the man who murdered her husband, until she was gone. That she took the heart he didn’t know he had along with her surprised him even more. 

Now Cat has a bounty on her head. Hunted by every gunslinger from Abilene to St. Louis to Denver, she won’t last long without an ally. With little choice, she turns to Alexi for help. But, again, he has his price. Again, she will pay any cost. 

To survive, they must trust each other, but in a relationship forged from deception and lust, is trust even possible? 

And if they can’t learn to trust, can they ever learn to love?
Sometimes y'all I could just kick myself in the teeth. Just READ this back cover blurb. I want to read the hell out of this and I'm pretty sure I have a print copy of this languishing in my TBR somewhere. Because I am THE. WORST.  Anyway, this was originally published by Berkley under Handeland's Lori Austin pseudonym and rights have obviously reverted.

When Julia advertises for a husband, a bad-boy-turned-Mountie from her past shows up in town. 

Julia O’Shea could use a rugged man by her side as she’s running her busy newspaper and raising her young son alone. The young widow’s unique solution is to advertise for a gentleman husband. She’s dismayed when Ryan Reid arrives. 

Ryan loved and left her ten years ago. To everyone’s surprise, the black sheep of the Reid family has returned as an upstanding Mountie surgeon and commander. It doesn’t change how badly Ryan treated Julia. For her, there’s no such thing as second chances. But in all these years, Ryan has never forgotten Julia. She’s still as intelligent, beautiful and passionate. Now in his effort to save the town from a dangerous unfolding disaster, Ryan wonders if he and Julia were ever meant to be together… 
Bridges' has been reissuing her Harlequin Historical backlist as rights have reverted, and this one was originally published as The Commander back in 2006 - and yes, it's another book I've got buried in my print TBR because I am truly THE. WORST. This is another of Bridges' Canadian-set westerns (Calgary in this instance) and the third book to feature the Reid brothers.

The Hostage by Susan Wiggs (reprint)
Chicago, 1871 

Deep within the quiet of the night, a city erupts into flames, and a spoiled heiress is soon whisked away. 

Deborah Sinclair is a beautiful, accomplished young heiress with a staggering dowry. But her fortune does her no good when, one horrible night, Chicago is engulfed in flames. 

Tom Silver will walk through fire to avenge a terrible injustice—and he may have to. But when he makes Deborah a pawn in his revenge, the heat of the inferno fades next to the attraction he feels for his captive. And the further he takes her from everything she's known, the stronger their passion grows, until it threatens to consume them both.
I believe this is the second reprint (and third cover art iteration) for The Hostage, which was originally published back in 2000. It was my first read by Wiggs and I reviewed it for The Romance Reader, which just goes to show how old I am. Anyway, the book opens with the Great Chicago Fire and our kidnapped heroine ends up on isolated Isle Royale in Lake Superior, Michigan - and naturally she's hiding a Big Secret. Wiggs has moved on to women's fiction but she wrote some really great historical romance of which this was just one.

What Unusual Historicals are you looking forward to?


azteclady said...

I don't care that three are reprints, I want them all!

Jen Twimom said...

The Lucy Morris book looks interesting. I went back and read your review of the first book - I am adding it to my wish list. Thanks!

Susan Chapek said...

I'm ready to dive into The Myrtle Wand (Margaret Porter), the retelling and elaboration of the story of Giselle set in my favorite *unusual* era--the earlier reign of Louis XIV (latter half of the 1600s). It launched October 11, and I hope it will prove to be the perfect moody, mysterious read for Halloween.