Romance Roundup: liars, blackmailers, and the one who got away

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianna Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (2013)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 stars

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read

Blackmoore was a beautifully written romance that also managed to stick to romance structures in a way that was heartfelt and not in any way explicit. The main character wants to move to India and experience the world for herself, but her mother requires her to turn down three marriage proposals before she’s allowed to go. Blackmoore could so easily have turned into the kind of romance where the character’s dream is tossed in the garbage the moment the hero appears, but Kate stuck to her guns in a way that made her so likable and enviable. I loved this novel! Be prepared for tears if you pick it up.

Title: How to Win a Duke’s Heart
Author: Caroline Linden
Publisher: Avon (2012)
Pages: 384
Rating: 3 stars

Charles de Lacey is being blackmailed about his father’s mysterious past. Tessa Neville needs money to go to America, so she’s wrapped up in some shady business. When that business brings her to Charles all bets are off. Read a better summary from

Tessa was such a great heroine. She’s sassy, quick witted, and independent. Charles is a little tortured and a little scandalous, which equals a lot sexy. Their adventures in trying to discover the blackmailer are very entertaining. This novel had me turning pages in spite of rolling my eyes at the typical romance cliches.

Title: Hard to Handle
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publisher: Forever (2013)
Pages: 260
Rating: 3 stars

Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body…

These two crazy kids fall back in love after fate/poor decisions tear them apart. Sadie is cute (petite, blonde) and Aiden is rough around the edges but sweet at heart. What I liked about Aiden was that he wasn’t a rake/slut. His desire to have the next woman he sleep with be the one he marries was refreshing for a male character. Maybe I read too many romances in a row and was burnt out on “but will he still like me if…” kind of rhetoric, but Sadie struck me as annoying and high maintenance. I also didn’t think their conflict was that intense. They needed some other obstacle to make the story more interesting.

About Natalie Ramm

I read a lot, y'all.
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