Handcuffed in Housewares (Tulle and Tulips, #3)
by Nikki Duncan
Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Monday mornings have a reputation for sucking, and today is no different for Burton Anderson. One year ago, his “perfect” life full of prestige, money, success and travel crumbled in the glaring light of betrayal.
This morning? This close to making his new construction business a success, a date gone awry has left him handcuffed to a toilet in a housewares store. Naked. And the first customer of the day is coming down his aisle.
Planning and shopping for other couples’ Big Day is about as wild and crazy as buttoned-up Leigh Schyuler gets. Until she gets an eyeful of Hearth and Home’s daily special. He’s definitely a “designer” temptation while she’s “off the rack”.
But there are risks, and then there are risks. Burton isn’t sure he can once again trust his heart to a woman who holds the power to ruin him. And Leigh discovers too late that indulging in a little no-strings sex is tying her dream of Devoted Love into hopeless knots…
I like this series more for the overall concept and story arc than for the individual couples at the moment, and if all the new characters introduced in this one are anything to go by, the series may have a longer run than I was expecting. It's interesting to see just how many different sub-ventures can be supported by what started off as quite a small wedding planning business and I'm going to keep going for now because the concept keeps drawing me in for some odd reason.
Revenge of the Parson’s Daughter Or The Lass that Loved a Pirate
by Jo Victor
Published by Bold Strokes Books
What’s a poor pirate to do? Stevie has never met anyone quite like Kate, her not-so-helpless captive. Too bad the bold buccaneer swore an oath to preserve the virtue of the lovely parson’s daughter—an oath Kate has no intention of letting Stevie keep. But Kate has a problem of her own: the gorgeous Lady Isabella, a wealthy aristocrat who is happy to use kidnapping and blackmail to get what she wants—and what she wants is Kate.
To be reviewed on The Good the Bad and the Unread.
The Qualities of Wood
by Mary Vensel White
Published by Harper Collins Authonomy
A haunting and beautifully written debut novel by an exciting new talent. When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house. Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can't forget the girl, can't ignore the strange behaviour of her neighbours, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart.
Reviewed on The Good the Bad and the Unread.
Captain Ingram's Inheritance (Rothschild Trilogy #3)
by Carola Dunn
Published by Robinson Publishing
When love takes command...hearts must obey! Lady Constantia Roworth has no fortune and doesn't give a fig about rank. But her father, the Earl of Westwood, expects his offspring to make matches that benefit their station - or enrich the family coffers. Alas, Captain Frank Ingram has neither blue blood or money - only dashing good looks. The wounded soldier has accepted a kind invitation to recover at the Westwood estate...and it takes only the meeting of eyes, the touch of hands and the mingling of sighs before the handsome war hero and Lady Connie begin to lose their hearts!
The final part of this enchanting trilogy and my favourite out of the bunch. The story starts towards the end of the previous book, retelling the events through the eyes of the brother and sister of that novel's hero and heroine. Frank Ingram has survived the war on the continent and is recuperating back in England, but believes that the scars on his chest will scare away any bride who has been able to look beyond his lack of connections and fortune. Then the family lawyer who has pursued him and his sister across France and Belgium finally catches up with them to reveal that they have been left a small fortune and two rundown estates by their mother's grandfather (a crotchety duke who had fallen out with all the relatives he'd seen in the past 20 years).
Frank and Fanny set off to visit their new properties, accompanied by Lord Rowarth (now engaged to Fanny) and his sisters, the elder of who would fall in love with Frank but fears that the scar she acquired falling from a tree when young will scare off all potential husbands. At their new properties, the pair and their friends encounter the new duke, who is determined to disprove their claim to the inheritance and his various relatives and other hangers-on. There's an entertaining mystery plot, the solution of which is fairly obvious to readers if not the characters, and everything gets wrapped up neatly at the end. Much fun.
by Sheila Hancock
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
'Well now, prove it, Sheila. As John would say, "Put your money where your mouth is." Be a depressed widow boring the arse off everyone, or get on with life. Your choice.' In The Two of Us Sheila relived her life with John Thaw -- years packed with love and family, delight and despair. And then she looked ahead. What next? Gardening, grannying and grumbling, while they all had their pleasures, weren't going to fill the aching void that John had left. 'Live adventurously', a Quaker advice, was hovering around her brain. Putting her and John's much loved house in France on the market she embarked on a series of journeys. She tried holidaying alone, contending with invisibility and budget flights. She tried travelling in a group, but the questions she wanted to ask were never the ones the guide wanted to answer. She tried relaxing - harder than you might think. Finally, heading out of her comfort zone, she found her travels, and the things she discovered, led her back to her past; to consider her generation -- the last to experience the Second World War - and the kind of person it made her. Just Me is a book about moving on, but it is also about looking back, and looking anew. Sheila, whether facing down burglars and Easyjet staff or making friends with waiters and taxi drivers, whether unearthing secrets in Budapest, getting arrested in Thailand, exulting in the art of Venice or searching for a decent cup of coffee in Dorset, is never less than stimulating company. Honest -- because if you can't say what you think at seventy-three, when can you? -- insightful and wonderfully down to earth, she is a woman seizing the future with wit, gusto and curiosity, on her own.
Sheila Hancock makes an excellent travelling companion if this audio book is anything to go by. I want to have adventures like hers now, never mind when I reach her age. I definitely want to be plucky enough to see off a burglar on my balcony, and I agree with her that elephants are the transport of the future. Well worth a listen, preferably in its unabridged form, as her voice adds a certain something to the stories.
1970s Britain: 1970-1979
by John and Janet Shepherd
Published by SHIRE PUBLICATIONS LTD
The 1970s is remembered as a decade of punk rock, the Winter of Discontent, Bloody Sunday and The Female Eunuch. The iconic images of the 70s, from the break-up of the Beatles to the striking Merseyside graveyard diggers and mountains of municipal rubbish in Leicester Square, provide a glimpse into the extraordinary contrasts of the decade. Britain in the 1970s has been painted as a country in crisis, but despite the strikes, power cuts, and stagflation, recent research has proclaimed that 1976 was the best time in Britain since 1950. The country underwent huge social and cultural shifts, with the blossoming of modern feminism, the Gay Liberation Front, and the establishment of the Commission for Racial Equality. The high street enjoyed the impact of new technology and new brands, and global travel was brought within the reach of many. In 1970s Britain, Janet Shepherd and John Shepherd will reassess a decade rich in continuities and contrasts, from different national and local perspectives.
A lovely colourful guide to a colourful decade. Some of the localised stories were entertaining, although I would have loved a wider geographical spread of them. Not many new facts for me in this one, but some good reminders of stuff I ought to know.