Firefighter's Doorstep Baby AND The Soldier's Untamed Heart
by Barbara McMahon AND Nikki Logan
Published by Mills & Boon
Firefighter's doorstep baby: Estranged from his feuding family, injured firefighter Cristiano Casali can't start living again - until he meets pretty, warm-hearted Mariella and baby Dante...As Mariella helps Cristiano recuperate and reunite with his family she realises that she wants a family too - with Cristiano!
The soldier's untamed heart: Brooding ex-soldier Clint McLeish is looking for a Security Co-ordinator for his game park and feisty Romy Carvell is just right! Romy sees that something is missing in her rugged new boss's life and the single mum may be the woman to finally open - and tame - this soldier's heart!
I picked this one up mainly for the Nikki Logan story, but found myself immersed in the joys of the Italian countryside in Cristiano and Mariella's story -- once I'd got over my initial reservations about Cristiano's backstory (for UK readers, this one comes a little close to transplanting real events from one European capital into another). The baby comes with a mystery: his mother was Mariella's best friend, but she has no idea who his father was. A sweet story, although I'm not sure I want to follow it up with any of the author's related stories.
Nikki Logan's novel on the other hand grabbed me from the start, even if it's not my favourite of hers. A multitude of intriguing subplots, and a cast of characters who aren't all as they seem on first impreshttp://www.livejournal.com/update.bmlsions. Plus lots of glimpses of Australian wildlife. One to reread for definite.
What You Will
by Charlie Cochrane
Published by MLR Press LLC
They say there's no fool like an old fool. Antonio didn't count himself as old but he was more fool than any man ought to be who'd flown around the world and back again so often he might as well have just been going from Deptford to Dartford. There was a lad involved. There's always a lad in the tale, for men like him.
And was there a happy ending? Now that depends on whether you believe what a certain playwright wrote, or whether you want the real story.
Twelfth Night is just about my favourite Shakespeare play, and everything's better with airships, so I was bound to love this, especially considering who the author was. Two very minor niggles: not enough airships (but lots of asides that related to them so I wasn't too unhappy), and no queering of the text where my other favourite couple in the play is concerned.
A Duty to the Dead
by Charles Todd
Published by HarperCollins
The daughter of a distinguished soldier' Bess Crawford follows in his footsteps and signs up to go overseas as a nurse during the Great War' helping to deal with the many wounded. There' serving on a hospital ship' she makes a promise to a dying young lieutenant to take a message to his brother' Jonathan Graham: "Tell Jonathan that I lied. I did it for Mother′s sake. But it has to be set right." Later' when her ship is sunk by a mine and she′s sidelined by a broken arm' Bess returns home to England' determined to fulfill her promise. It′s not so easy' however. She travels to the village in Kent where the Grahams live and passes on to Jonathan his brother′s plea. Oddly' neither Jonathan' his mother' nor his younger brother admit to knowing what the message means. Then Bess learns that there′s another brother' incarcerated in a lunatic asylum since the age of 14 when he was accused of brutally murdering a housemaid. Bess rightly guesses that the dying soldier′s last words had something to do with the fourth brother. Because the family seems unwilling to do anything' she decides that she will investigate. It′s her own duty to the dead.
I have so many mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand a female protagonist solving mysteries during WWI ought to be exactly what I want to read, and the mystery itself kept me guessing most of the time. Sadly, however, much of the story reads like a post-war or WWII novel, being packed with anachronisms and attitudes to class that just don't fit the era. I won't be reading any more of the series, and I'd be very dubious of the authors' other works, even if set in other eras or locations.
by Christine Rimmer
Published by Mills & Boon
Donovan McRae hasnothing to lose…Once upon a time he’d been the Man Who Had Everything, until an ice-climbing accident changed his life. Now the architect is beginning to give up on his future.
Until Abilene Bravo walks into his life – and he realises he was wrong. Because though he thought he’d lost his heart years ago, he finds himself losing it again as he falls, fast…for the feisty woman who won’t take no for an answer!
This was one of those books where the blurb doesn't match the title, and the text doesn't explain the title until almost halfway through. I wanted to like this book more, if only because there aren't enough heroes with disabilities. Sadly, though, it felt to me as if the wheelchair was mostly a plot device to give an extra reason for angst, and a lot of the problems it threw up could have been solved far more easily than the characters managed. Disappointing, and I would love to see more romances that do characters with disabilities better.
Next up, I'll compare two YA books with similar themes and get very cross with one of them.