Friday, 22 March 2019

Review: A Duke in Need of a Wife by Annie Burrows

I love reading historical romances, they are perfect escapism, and I always find myself turning to Annie Burrows when I'm in need of a comfort read - in this case I was in bed with the flu! 

Sofia is an unlikely heiress and has had an unconventional upbringing. She spent the first ten years of her life with her father, a serving soldier (and the second son of an Earl), who had sole responsibility for her after her mother (the daughter of a Portuguese wine merchant) died. When Sofia goes to live with her aunt and uncle after her father's death, they are horrified at the way she has been brought up and work hard to turn her into a proper lady.  

It is sad the way Sofia tries so hard to fit in with the stuffy English, only to keep being rejected. She even hears the man she loves admit he only wants her for her money. So when the Duke of Theakstone invites her to a bride-finding house party, she knows he's never going to want to marry her, no matter how desperate he is to find a wife, because she feels she's just not good enough and never will be.

A Duke in Need of a Wife is a sweet story that's a lot of fun. The antics of the back-stabbing would-be brides are hilarious and I loved the scene where poor Sofia ends up in the lake. Much of the humour comes from Sofia's thoughts and what she really thinks about these awful people. I don't know how she manages to keep quiet! And I adored Snowball the dog.

Recommended to fans of light-hearted historical romances and authors such as Georgette Heyer. This was a five-star read for me.

Related Posts:

The Marquess Tames His Bride (Brides for Bachelors #2) by Annie Burrows
The Major Meets His Match (Brides for Bachelors #1) by Annie Burrows
The Debutante's Daring Proposal by Annie Burrows
Once Upon a Regency Christmas (anthology) by Louise Allen, Sophia James and Annie Burrows

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Review: The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

I've not read anything by Harriet Evans before but I was attracted to this book by the cover and the title (I love gardens!). I also really enjoy stories featuring old houses and family mysteries.

The story has two timelines. One takes place from 1891 to 1919, and the other over the period of a year in the present day. In the past, renowned artist Sir Edward Horner has almost bankrupted his family by buying back his most famous work, The Garden of Lost and Found, which shows his children playing in the garden of his wife's ancestral home. In the present his great-granddaughter, Juliet, unexpectedly inherits the house - and tries to solve the mystery of why her great-grandfather destroyed the painting he loved.

The chapters set in the past, about Edward and his wife Libby, were enthralling but very sad. My favourites were those set in the present, about Juliet's new life as she separated from her husband and attempted to bring up her children in a very dilapidated old house. Her children, Bea and Isla, were complete monsters, very resentful of their move from London to a house in the middle of nowhere; I loved them! Isla, in particular, was very funny. I also enjoyed the notes written to Juliet from her grandmother, explaining how to care for the house and garden, and the various jobs that needed doing at different times of the year. The story has some clever twists; one near the end took me completely by surprise! 

The Garden of Lost and Found is a lovely, heart-warming story about the importance of family, and the consequences of keeping secrets and how they can affect the following generations. I would recommend it to fans of authors such as Kate Morton, Eve Chase and Lulu Taylor. One of my favourite reads this year! 

Thank you to Harriet Evans and Headline Review for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

I'm a huge fan of Harlan Coben, especially his stand-alone novels, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of Run Away.

Simon Greene and his wife Ingrid seem to have the perfect life - until their eldest daughter becomes addicted to drugs and under the control of her abusive boyfriend. When she disappears, following a suspicious death, Simon has a race against time to track her down. This is one of those books where the less you know, the more you will enjoy it, so I'll stop there! Harlan Coben excels at the kind of story where it takes time for the reader to work out what is going on; I don't want to spoil it for you!

Run Away has a slightly different hero to the author's more recent books (more subdued, less wisecracks), mainly because Simon has had to face the nightmare every parent dreads: that his beloved child is in trouble and won't let him help. The story races along, with Simon venturing further into a dangerous and thoroughly seedy world he barely knew existed, making some unlikely allies along the way. And there are some excellent twists, which I only guessed because I have an interest in the subject.

My favourite characters were the very ruthless Ash and Dee Dee, who reminded me of Pumpkin and Honey Bunny from Pulp Fiction, and Simon's smart-talking lawyer, Hester. And I loved that Nap from the author's earlier novel, Don't Let Go, also made a brief appearance.

I loved Run Away and I'm sure Harlan Coben's regular readers will too. It should also appeal to fans of authors such as Lee Child and Linwood Barclay, and anyone who enjoys a cracking good thriller with emotionally engaging characters and jaw-dropping twists.

Thank you to Harlan Coben and Cornerstone (Random House UK) for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.

Related Posts:

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben