Monday, January 23, 2023

New Year, New Unusual Historicals for January 2023

Welcome to 2023, where the first month of the new year has zipped by in a flash and I'm struggling to find some blogging mojo - which to be fair has been a problem for a while. I can't really blame that on 2023. And while I'm officially one book behind in my GoodReads Challenge, I'm feeling OK about my reading at the moment even if I've only read one book that's knocked my socks off so far this month. I have been engaged and entertained though, so really what more could a girl ask for?  Well, how about new Unusual Historicals? The final months of 2022 were pretty slim on this front but there's several new January 2023 releases catching my eye...
An Alliance With His Enemy Princess by Lissa Morgan 
A royal decree

That will change their lives…

Norman knight Rolant Guyarde has come to conquer a Welsh fort, but when he meets its mistress, he realizes she’s the sword-wielding “soldier” he fought en route! Despite their being enemies, he finds himself intrigued by the brave, beautiful Princess Gwennan. When they’re forced into an uneasy alliance, Rolant helps her petition the king for her parents’ release from prison. But in exchange for their freedom, the king demands a price neither Rolant nor Gwennan expects!

If you're a fan of enemies-to-lovers you truly need to be reading medievals, because they're ripe for that trope.  Like her debut, which I read and enjoyed last year, Morgan sets her sophomore effort in Wales - which is not a terribly common setting in historical romance.  It also gives readers a fresh historical perspective to chew on outside of the England/Scotland settings that seem to proliferate in the sub genre.

The Lady Takes It All by Terri Brisbin (Kindle Unlimited)
When lies of the past are exposed, can love find the truth?

The Explorer – Joshua Robertson, a minor diplomat with distant noble connections, traveled the world in service to the Crown until he made his name with the amazing discovery of a buried Roman town in Northern Africa. However, rumors and innuendo threatened both his reputation and his work until he unexpectedly inherits a title and some lands from a distant relative. Now, protected by the title, no honorable man would raise the questions that plagued him from his past—questions about a partner who was cheated and never shared in the glory of the discoveries. Rumors of thievery and scandal and worse. Certainly, no man would, but a woman might. And does.

The Adversary -- Arabella MacGibbon spent her childhood watching her father’s decline and death because he was shamed and shunned as an impostor. Embittered and certain that the now-Lord cheated her father and contributed to his death, Arabella is determined to find proof of his perfidy and to reclaim her family’s honor. To do that, she must get close to the man and get access to his papers and records. Disguising her identity and being hired as his housekeeper may be the perfect opportunity to do it.

But what happens if the truth is inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst? Can her plan succeed if Arabella discovers there’s so much more to the man and the myth than she dreamt possible?
I think I've mentioned a time or two on this blog that I find Brisbin a very solid writer and I one-clicked this after I finished reading the blub. Yes, it's a Regency - but the hero is an explorer shrouded in scandal who hopes his new title will quiet the rumors and the heroine is the one out to avenge her father (so often it's the hero on these missions in historical romances...). Oh, and she's going to pose as a new housekeeper so she can snoop?  Can't wait to dive into this one...

Enjoy a Regency-set reimagining of the classic tale of Snow White, featuring a strong, lovable heroine and a sexy, charming hero.

Lord Harry Lysander, an infamous rake known as The Huntsman, is desperately in need of money. He’ll do anything to save his earldom. Even accept a pile of gold in exchange for breaking the heart—and ruining the reputation—of the ton’s most terrifying dragon’s innocent stepdaughter. As long as the Huntsman doesn’t lose his own heart to her in the process…

The page count on Amazon lists this at category romance length (185 pages) and yes it's a Regency, but it's also a Snow White retelling - and quite frankly that's a fairy tale trope you don't see every day in the genre where Beauty & the Beast and Cinderella seem to reign supreme.

One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi
Her forbidden love

Is back to claim her!

Once, Lady Rebekah shared a life-changing night with stable hand Rædan, but he disappeared the morning after. Now she’s consort to a cruel Saxon lord, and when Northmen lay siege to Ryestone Keep, Rebekah’s shocked to see Rædan leading the charge! This Viking warrior is not the man she remembers…and yet she finds herself drawn to him again. Taken as his hostage, Rebekah must decide—can she trust him with her life…and her dangerous secret? 

So here's a neat spin on a Viking romance - the heroine is hooked up with the dude of the Keep the hero is laying siege to...oh, and the hero and heroine share a past. Captive romances are always a tricky business for me, but that shared past is (more than likely) going to make the proceedings all the more palpable for me. Oh, and the fact that the Saxon Lord in question is "cruel" won't hurt matters either.

To Lady Wilhelmina Bettesford, the “game” of finding a husband is a competitive sport she wants no part of…until her much-younger step mama forces her to play it. So when her stepmother asks sexy barrister Bram Townsend to pretend to woo the amateur astronomer to boost Wilhelmina’s popularity, it’s up to Wilhelmina to navigate a fake courtship that will keep the family from forcing her into a marriage—any marriage—before she finally receives the inheritance that will allow her to live as she wants.

The trouble is every time Bram takes her in his arms she has a most difficult time remembering theirs is an act…the make-believe passion feels very real indeed.

Bram Townsend is a man on the way up: living for his books and his beliefs. Squiring Lady Wilhelmina through London’s dusk-to-dawn social whirl is hardly an ordeal—she’s beautiful, bright, and bold, everything he finds tempting in a woman. Their deal means he can meet the “best” people while she keeps her family at bay. The challenge is he quickly finds himself wanting her to say “yes” when she’s so determined to say “no.” She persuaded him to make this impetuous bargain, but how can he convince her to make it real?
Amateur astronomer heroine? A barrister hero? And it's a Victorian! But my favorite part of this blurb has got to be the step-mother being the puppet master behind the fake relationship, a nice spin on the usual (where the hero and heroine cook up the idea on their own).  Oh, and it's the start of a new series.

(Note: I've known Megan for years and have a prior working relationship with her through the (sadly) defunct web site Heroes & Heartbreakers)

Her Irish Warrior by Michelle Willingham (Reprint)
Genevieve de Renalt will do anything to escape her betrothed—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Irish warrior Bevan MacEgan cannot leave a lady in danger, but keeping her safe means endangering his own family. The king orders him to wed Genevieve to avoid bloodshed, but Bevan has sworn never to love again.

He keeps Genevieve at a distance but, as she begins to melt his heart, a shocking secret forces Bevan to make a terrible choice—one that could mean losing her forever.

Originally published by Harlequin Historical in 2007 (same title), Willingham continues her self-published reprint run of the MacEgan Brothers series with this, the third book. I seem to have completely hop-scotched around this series, having books 2-4 languishing in my TBR. Maybe I need to see if any of them meet this year's TBR Challenge themes?

Whew! A lot that caught my eye this month. In fact, at the time of this posting I've already started reading the Ridley.  What Unusual Historicals have caught your eye this month?


Gail Dayton said...

I've been glomming onto the Chinese Tang Dynasty historical mystery-romances of Jeannie Lin this month. I liked her books from the beginning of her first publication, but lost track when there seemed to be a gap. So now I've found her again, I'm really enjoying them.

Wendy said...

Gail: I have enjoyed a number of Lin's historical romances but the mystery series is still languishing in my TBR. Ugh! I really need to dig them out this year.