Thumbs up for The Proposition by Judith Ivory. Historical romance.
Gender-swapped Pygmalion with a genial ratcatcher as a hero and an anxious, not-traditionally-attractive spinster linguist as a heroine. Extremely well-written and unique; the characters are difficult and imperfect in ways that make them feel like real people. Five stars, with a three-fourths of a star docked for the eyeroll-inducing ending and the rest of the star gone for the (unfortunately necessary) pain of trying to convey dialect in text.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. Historical romance.
Let me lead with what’s not so great: the writing in this book is clunky. Bring commas, please, I beg you. Maybe a semi-colon or ten. And the (many) spicy scenes are written in, well, a very 90’s style: throbbing manhoods, firestorms of passion, all the rest. It is, nevertheless, a great book, and I can see why it’s so many people’s favorite.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Hen Fever by Olivia Waite. Historical romance.
A novella-length Victorian-era sapphic romance centered around a village fancy chicken contest. I very much liked the stuff about the chickens (droll, and all too believable) and the Crimean War (nicely brutal and sad). However, the actual romance fell a touch flat for me. What do they have together other than physical chemistry, and, I suppose, the limited options available to lonely lesbians in a small town?… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Masters in this Hall by K. J. Charles. Historical romance.
K. J. Charles doing her thing, which is to say, a vintage pulp plot involving stolen jewels, great Victorian-era detail, screwed-up heroes who have to figure out they don’t hate each other, sex, and lots of snarky dialogue. It always works.
The next day dawned bright and terrifying.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow by Mimi Matthews. Historical romance.
I have read Jane Eyre retellings before and none of them impressed me. This one flew by. It’s hard to tell you why it was original without some big spoilers, but I will suffice with saying: if you think you might like a nicely Gothicky Eyre retelling with a believable gender-swap of Rochester and Eyre, then you will like this book.… >> Read more