Saturday, November 29, 2014

November Minis: Darling Beast & A Place Called Harmony

Historical romances have been sorely missing from my reading menu this year and I miss them. In November I picked up two books by favorite authors.

I began by reading Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7), by Elizabeth Hoyt. This has been one of my favorite historical romance series for a few years now.


Darling Beast covers the reasons Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne, ended up temporarily mute after spending time in Bedlam, and solves the crime mystery that placed him there. In the process, Apollo finds the love of his life in actress and playwright Lily Stump (stage name Robin Goodfellow), as well as happiness her child Indio and his dog Daff. Of course it's all more complicated than that, but that's the simple summary.

In Darling Beast, Hoyt combines and balances the developing romance, heat, and crime mystery. With two exceptions, secondary characters do not interfere with the main thrust of this romance. The child Indio and his dog Daff take a bit too much page time and, although cute and adorable, their contribution often comes off over the top cute. I enjoyed the light, humorous beginning to the romance combined with danger from unknown sources. Later it was the passion that develops between Apollo and Lily, and the small clues and red herrings that Hoyt uses to throw off the reader from the finding the real culprit that kept me reading. Surprisingly, of the secondary characters I was most intrigued by the Duke of Montgomery (what makes this guy tick anyway?), instead of the slightly revolting Ira Makepeace. What?

Darling Beast does not stand above other more intensely gratifying books in this series. It is, however, a solid installment with an enjoyable romance, likable characters, and an overall good story.

Maiden Lane Series Reviews: Books #1 through #6

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The second historical romance I picked up in November was A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas.

For true fans of the contemporary Harmony series, A Place Called Harmony is a 'must' read. For readers who do not follow the series, this is a wonderful western historical romance that stands well on its own.

This book is a prequel that basically gives an accounting of how the town of Harmony, Texas was founded by weaving in the dangers plaguing the original trading post, as well as the romances of the three original couples who helped build the town.

The main characters are Captain Gillian and Daisy Matheson, a married couple with four little boys. There is true love but also uncertainty in this relationship between two people who feel they've made the wrong choices for themselves and their boys in the past. Patrick and Annie McAllen are a very sweet, naive young couple running away from abusive lives with their parents. They provide much of the humor, in and out of the sheets, and contribute to the overall sense of community and warmth. The romance between Clint and Karrisa Truman is the slowest to build and therefore has the most tension and biggest payoff at the end. Clint's hard shell and Karrisa's mysterious stint in jail add interest, but the trust-building and tenderness between them become the clincher. Rounding off the cast of characters we have the fiercely loyal, silent and highly intelligent Shelly McAllen, Patrick's brother, Momma Roma and her sons, and old Harmon Ely, the man who started it all with a trading post, land, and a dream.

Jodi Thomas's signature writing style is all over this book. You will find family warmth, kindness, loving, loyalty, honesty, and passion, as well as danger and a community that comes together to fight in order to survive. A truly satisfying read.

Contemporary Harmony Series Reviews & Minis 

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