Thumbs up for The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews. Historical romance.
The ostensible one-line description: A young lady with severe social anxiety and a military hero with a secret enter into a marriage of convenience. The thing is, though, this book is not just better than most other historical romances, it is better than most other books regardless of genre.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Matrix by Lauren Groff. Historical fiction.
A fictionalized biography of Marie de France—king’s bastard daughter, abbess, mystic, writer. (She may have been two different Maries in actuality, a fact which I think would amuse the character.) Marie is a badass. A physical giant among women, with an ambition to match. She loves, she fights, she builds, she prays, she outwits her enemies, she plots and plans and often succeeds.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Wisteria Society for Lady Scoundrels by India Holton. Historical fantasy romance.
This book is bananas, in the best way. From the description, I was expecting a Victorian romance with some derring-do, maybe some swashbuckling. On page two, a handsome pirate knocked on the door of the ladies’ genteel townhouse; by page four we had established that the ladies are also pirates; and on page eight it is made clear that said pirates use magical incantations to levitate and fly their houses for the purposes of looting and plundering and assassinating each other.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Flowers at Night by Lucy May Lennox. Historical romance.
This is historical romance with an emphasis on the historical. If you told me these characters were real people in mid-19th century Edo, I’d believe you; they are perfectly human but not modern. To me, that’s a plus; it makes this book intensely interesting. The love story here is between a good-hearted but slightly clueless samurai – in a time when a samurai was lucky if he could get a job as a bookkeeper for the Shogunate – and a handsome blind masseur (not a euphemism; he really does give massages).… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews. Historical romance.
Wait. Wait. A Victorian-era romance about an equestrienne and a tailor? Written by an author I can trust to do her research? Be still my beating heart! (Horses and historical dressmaking, two of my favorite things – but also so often gotten SO WRONG.) Some years back, I read a different Mimi Matthews book, and although her writing was excellent, I wanted to smack the characters for not communicating.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Think of England by KJ Charles. Historical romance.
When I am tired, the books of KJ Charles are always there to pick me up. This one is a standalone m/m historical romance set in 1904. I don’t know how she can consistently turn out books that mix believable romantic attraction, character development, explicit but not gratuitous sex, historical detail, and a page-turning suspense plot.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Legate’s Daughter by Wallace Breem. Historical fiction.
One thing to note is that this book is not at all about the legate’s daughter, so don’t be mislead by that. I waffled a lot over rating this a 3 or a 4 on Goodreads. Finally I settled on 3 stars, because I reserve 4 for books I can enthusiastically recommend (even if I don’t think they are Great Literature).… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Master and God by Lindsey Davis. Historical fiction.
The Emperor Domitian comes to power; then slowly falls into paranoia. Watching his rise and fall (and each other) are Imperial hairdresser, the freedwoman Flavia Lucilla, and soldier Gaius Vinius Clodianus. Davis’s other historical novel, The Course of Honour, is one of my favorite books, so I figured I would, by comparison, be disappointed by this one.… >> Read more