By Eloisa James
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Once upon a time, Lizzie Troutt was a young woman filled with hopes and dreams. Those dreams were dashed when the man her father forced her to marry deposited her at his mother's home an hour after their wedding, informing her that her duty would be to care for his mother while he lived in another home with his mistress, Shady Sadie Sprinkle. Five years later, to put an exclamation point on the whole sordid affair, he had the audacity to die in the woman's bed, leaving Lizzie a humiliated, disillusioned, virgin widow determined to never marry again. Eighteen months later, Lizzie's happily married sister convinces her to visit them in the country where she hopes to lure Lizzie away from the books she hides behind and back into the world. Where, hopefully, she can meet a man who will convince her that not all males are cut from the same cloth as Lizzie's despicable husband.
Eighteen years ago, the Honorable Oliver Berwick was not the most considerate of young men, running with a group whose leader considered it fashionable to affix unflattering labels to young women who were not the Ton's beauties. In the intervening years, Oliver has matured and now deeply regrets his part in hurting the feelings of those young woman who were the butt of their jokes. If fact, according to his 15-year-old niece Hattie, who is living with Oliver while her missionary parents are abroad, he's become a "stodgy old twig." When Hattie finagles an invitation to a house party being hosted by the parents of her good friend and Oliver realizes that the hostess is one of the girls he and his friends ridiculed all those years ago, he sees a chance to finally offer his long overdue apology. He had long ago decided to never marry so meeting a woman he could love while at the party was so far out of the realm of possibility that it never crossed his mind...until his first glimpse of Lizzie. But does he have what it takes to draw Lizzie out of her self-imposed exile and teach her to once again laugh, smile, and give love a chance?
What a sweet, witty, and heartwarming story! Oliver is a terrific hero. I so enjoyed his dedicated courtship of Lizzie. He's one of the good guys and, heaven knows, after what Lizzie endured at the hands of her late, unlamented husband, she certainly deserves a good guy. The secondary cast forms an engaging, caring, and humorous backdrop for our main couple that moves the story along. Also, it's clear while reading Hattie's scenes that Ms. James knows the roller-coaster daily drama of living with a teen-age girl and is able to find the heart and humor in it. As an added bonus, there's a lovely scene with Josie and Mayne, the much-loved heroine and hero from James' Pleasure for Pleasure, the final book in her Essex Sisters series and an indoor croquet match that is not to be missed.
This feel-good novella goes into my keeper collection. I've already read it twice and no doubt will revisit it again in the future.
Stranded With the Scottish Earl
By Anna Campbell
Publisher: Anna Campbell
Release Date: June 30, 2016
Ewan Macrae, Earl of Lyle never expected to fall in love with a portrait but that's exactly what happened when his new friend, Charlotte's father, showed him the miniature of his daughter. Wanting to get to know her on his own, Ewan impulsively leaves London and arrives unannounced, in the pouring rain, on her doorstep. Knowing exactly who he is, Charlotte introduces herself as the housemaid, Flora whereby Ewan, knowing full well Flora is really Charlotte, introduces himself as Mr. Ebenezer Smith. Charlotte doesn't want him there but before he can leave, the rain washes out the bridge, trapping the household staff in the village and Charlotte/Flora and Ewan/Ebenezer on the estate. And then the fun begins...
I've enjoyed all of Anna Campbell's novellas but this one just might be my favorite. I couldn't possibly resist a charming, sexy, Scotsman who falls in love with a portrait; an independent, stubborn, English spinster who has vowed never to marry; and the overflowing river that traps the two of them together. I adore "trapped by the elements" stories! Add to that, Campbell's witty banter, sexual tension, humor, and charm, and you have a story that tickled my funny bone and captured my heart. Oh, and as a bonus, there's an epilogue that is an absolute delight. I'll be reading this one again!
Once Upon a Moonlit Night
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Forever Yours
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Matthew and Hippolyta are worthy, bantering adversaries from the moment she flags down his carriage. Dressed in ill-fitting clothes and wearing mud from head to toe, it's no wonder Matthew doubts her story of being an heiress...although she does seem to have a vast array of knowledge for the actress (or worse) that he thinks she is.
Matthew, who has been in India mapping and collecting scientific samples, has reluctantly returned home to accept a bankrupt title he never wanted. He's exhausted, grumpy and, at times, downright rude. He agrees to give Hippolyta a ride to the next town but that's it.
When an incident at their first stop convinces Matthew to take Hippolyta all the way to London, the fun really begins. Rapid-fire banter, unwanted attraction, and sizzling sexual frustration all combine to make this road romance from Hoyt a real treat. I liked both Matthew and Hippolyta and enjoyed watching them traverse the pitfalls of their relationship as well as learn to take ownership of who they are...both individually and as a couple. The secondary cast - on the road and in London - all add to the fun, especially Matthew's pet, a clever little mongoose named Tommy Teapot. Like many of Hoyt's stories, the sex scenes - and accompanying language - are explicit although, in this story, they don't occur until almost the end of the novella. I have to say, I really enjoyed the build up of sexual tension throughout the first eight chapters.
For fans of Hoyt's Maiden Lane books, Once Upon a Moonlit Night will be a welcome addition to the series. Readers new to the series, however, need not fear. This engaging novella stands very well on its own.
Are you a fan of novellas? Have you read any of the above?
Tell me about recent novellas you've read and enjoyed.
One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment will receive a Kindle copy of all three novellas.
Deadline to be entered in the giveaway is 11:00 PM (EST), Sunday, July 10, 2016.
I've just finished my first novella - The Duke for Midwinter by Anthea Lawson and although I enjoyed it very much, it was over way too soon. I much prefer a longer story.ReplyDelete
I love the longer stories too, catslady but sometimes I don't have the time to devote to one. I love that I can enjoy a shorter, satisfying read in the middle of a busy day!Delete
I do enjoy novellas. A couple of my favorites have been Anna Campbell's A PIRATE FOR CHRISTMAS and Eloisa James' WINNING THE WALLFLOWER. Eloisa and Anna have a gift for packing a lot into a small package.ReplyDelete
Cheryl, thanks so much for the mention of Pirate! That one was a hoot to write. Eloisa writes a great novella, doesn't she?Delete
I just finished Midnight at Tiffany's by Sarah Morgan. I'll read novellas when they're free, but I've only purchased a few. I find most novellas are too short, so I would rather save my money for longer books.ReplyDelete
Janga highly recommends Sarah Morgan's books. I have several on my tbr but haven't started reading them yet. Maybe I'll start with Midnight at Tiffany's! :)Delete
In general I'm not keen on novellas .... If I like the story they finish too soon and if I don't finish them then it might as well have been a full novel.ReplyDelete
I do like all of the authors listed here though so maybe I need to rethink my views.
I just finished Nora Roberts superb Western 'Lawless'. I listened to the audio and thought it was on the short side for a novel. I definitely wished it lasted longer though and highly recommend it to western romance fans!
Full-length books are my first choice but I enjoy novellas - especially those crafted by accomplished authors such as James, Campbell, and Hoyt - for quick romance fixes!Delete
PJ, thanks so much for that gorgeous review - wow, it's novella bonanza this month, isn't it? I've got both the others - who could resist them? But I'm busy writing my Christmas story so I'm saving them as my treat for when I finish. Tickled pink you had fun with my earl (although not quite as much fun as Charlotte has, snerk!).ReplyDelete
I adored your earl! Thanks for stopping by, Anna. I'm looking forward to that Christmas story!Delete
PJ, I'm a great fan of novellas. When I'm busy, it's a way of getting that delicious romance without having to stay up until 2am to find out what happened. Three of my all-time faves are Courtney Milan's This Wicked Gift, Something about a Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson, and Annie West's Bought by the Italian (that one's so sexy!).ReplyDelete
I haven't read Sarah M. Anderson but I do love a cowboy. I need to investigate this one further.Delete
PJ, I cried - which is a pretty great achievement in only 60-odd pages! Beautifully done.Delete
I do like novellas. The last one I read was Eloisa's A Gentleman Never Tells. I think it takes a particularly talented author to be able to draw readers into a story like this, complete with interesting characters and a satisfying resolution, in such a short work. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of these. Thanks for the post and giveaway.ReplyDelete
I think it takes a particularly talented author to be able to draw readers into a story like this, complete with interesting characters and a satisfying resolutionDelete
I agree! In fact, I think that sometimes it's even more difficult than writing a full-length novel.
I really enjoy anthologies which are comprised of several novellas - those shorter reads get me to the HEA that much sooner. They are a wonderful addition to a series to give a character their own storyline.ReplyDelete
I enjoy anthologies too, Di. I've discovered some of my favorite authors through anthologies.Delete
enjoy them on occasion, they can be a nice change up or when time is limited. read and enjoyed Hoyt's book neither of the other two ywtReplyDelete
I highly recommend the other two for fun summer reading!Delete
I love a good Novella. Last one I read was Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting. I love the short in between stories with the characters or even introducing new ones. I have not read any novellas by these ladies but love their books.ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh, I love that title! Had to go to Amazon immediately to check it out.Delete
OMG this is really a great month with so many wonderful books coming out. I already read Anna Campbell's which was another great story by one of my favorite authors and right now I am reading Eloisa James' which I am also enjoying very much. I have to get Hoyt's though. Thank you ladies for what you do :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for picking up Stranded, Tona! So happy you enjoyed it.Delete
Glad you're enjoying them, Tona! Thanks for stopping by!Delete
I don't read a lot of novellas. For me the longer the story is the better.ReplyDelete
I love full-length books too, Mary but quick novellas are delicious space fillers for me between the longer books.Delete
I love getting lost in the long pages of a romance novel, especially in a different time period from the present, but sometimes the shorter world of a novella is just what I need to restore my heart. When a day has been overwhelmingly sad, or hard, a novella (or two!) can give me back a little joy.ReplyDelete
sometimes the shorter world of a novella is just what I need to restore my heart.Delete
Exactly! Thank you for stating it so eloquently!
I don't often read Novellas, but I just might be tempted to after reading all these excerpts.ReplyDelete
They are all very good, Diane!Delete
I love novellas, especially if I don't have time for a novel. I really like reading Christmas novellas.ReplyDelete
I really like reading Christmas novellas.Delete
Oh, me too! December is so busy. Reading holiday novellas is like a quick, delicious snack when I don't have time for a full meal.
I usually don't read novellas since I prefer a more fleshed out story but I do like they are a quick read. And I find prequel novellas are really helpful in setting up a new series of books.ReplyDelete
I've noticed that a lot of authors have recently begun writing prequel novellas. I agree, they are a great way to set up a new series.Delete
By the way, PJ, don't enter my name in this giveaway. I already have Eloisa's and Anna's novellas on my kindle.ReplyDelete
Thanks for letting me know, Cheryl!Delete