RECOMMENDED – Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean is $1.99 right now, and if you like historical romance that's smart and funny, buy this right now. This book was nominated for the RITA in 2011, and our RITA Reader Challenge reviewer Diana was effusive – and justifiably so:
Quite possibly one of the hottest, most delicious story of love I have ever read. (And trust me, I have not stopped devouring romance novels since I discovered it at the beginning of this year, and this is definitely listed in my top five.) There is this Something Special about this book that had me laughing and gasping and fanning myself and sighing and crying and everything in between. Sure, the wallflower spinster heroine has been featured many times before, and so has the rakish hero that is sure to win her heart, but in the hands of Sarah Maclean, their personalities and their stories transcends the archetypes and they simply become …. real.
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.
Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale is $2.99. Kinsale is best known for writing emotionally wrenching historicals, and while this book is lyrically written, it's not going to rip your heart and hand it to your sobbing self. It's lighter and more comedic than her darker novels (which are also extraordinary).
Trevelyan and Callie are childhood sweethearts with a taste for adventure, until the fateful day her father discovers them embracing in the carriage house and, in a furious frenzy, drives Trevelyan away in disgrace.
Nine long, lonely years later, Trevelyan returns. Callie discovers that he can still make her blood race and fill her life with excitement, but he can't give her the one thing she wants more than anything–himself.
For Trevelyan, Callie is a spark of light in a world of darkness and deceit.
Before he can bear to say his last goodbyes, he's determined to sweep her into one last, fateful adventure, just for the two of them.
The other “lighter historical romance” from Kinsale is Midsummer Moon, which is $2.99, but I believe that may be the regular price. This book was originally published in 1987. Carrie S reviewed this book earlier this year and gave it a B+: I believe that the best word to describe Midsummer Moon is “adorable”, and I mean that as a compliment. It dances right on the edge of being hopelessly twee, but there's a grounding element of emotional truth that makes the stakes real and powerful.
All the king's men could not surpass the intellect, nor all the king's ladies the beauty of Merlin Lambourne. As the infamous Napoleon's deadly army grows ever closer, Lord Ransom Falconer frantically searches for an inventor who can create a new way to defeat the advancing forces.
He unexpectedly finds that only the lovely Merlin is adequate for the challenge. Drunk from her intoxicating beauty, Falconer whisks Merlin backto his home on a trail of tender kisses, oblivious to mounting whispers ofscandal. His quickly falls under the spell of her magical touch. But as Napoleon draws nearer, Falconer must use Merlin's own inventions to protect her from danger.
The magic of love surrounds them as they fall under the spell of undeniable passion.
A Bloom in Winter is $1.99 digitally. This is book 2 in the Summerset Abbey series. The note at the GoodReads series page reads, “This is a series where a continual storyline is present through the books in the series and later books are dependent on earlier books.”
Book 1, Summerset Abbey ( A | BN | K | S | ARe | iB ), is currently $9-10 digitally, so if you're curious, the first two books would total about $12-14US. This series is set in Edwardian England, and is targeted towards fans of Downton Abbey.
After Prudence’s desperate marriage and move to Devonshire, sisters Rowena and Victoria fear they have lost their beloved friend forever.
Guilt-ridden and remorseful, Rowena seeks comfort from a daring flyboy and embraces the most dangerous activity the world has ever seen, and Victoria defies her family and her illness to make her own dream occupation as a botanist come true.
As England and the world step closer to conflict, the two young women flout their family, their upbringing, and their heritage to seize a modern future of their own making.