A Bride by Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

a bride by moonlight

  • Title:  A Bride by Moonlight (Series: Fraternitas Aureae Crucis #4)
  • Author:  Liz Carlyle
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  February 2013 – Avon – 432 pages
  • Source:  Review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis (publisher):  Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . .

On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard’s most relentless police commissioner. He’s vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?

My take:  A Bride by Moonlight is the 4th book in the Fraternitas Aureae Crucis series. We met Napier and Lisette in the third book, The Bride Wore PearlsTheir book starts where TBWP left off – a murder has taken place and now Lisette is a prime suspect in Napier’s investigation.

I enjoyed Napier and Lisette’s reluctant relationship. Reluctant until it wasn’t, that is. They are incredibly strong characters who’ve lived their lives with purpose and a sense of honor and duty. Sometimes it was misguided honor and duty but admirable none the less. I would love to see this pair in their own series as a crime-solving couple who have a passionate love for each other.

Liz Carlyle’s attention to detail is appreciated – wow, this author does her research! I was thankful for the list of characters and their relevance to each other and the story. It would be easy to be confused by such a large cast especially when many are related by blood or marriage.

If you enjoy intricate detail and strong characters in your historical romances, I think you’ll like  A Bride by Moonlight.

Treadmill Reads: In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

in the bleak midwinter

Synopsis (Publisher): Clare Fergusson, St. Alban’s new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Miller’s Kill, New York. She is not just a “lady”; she’s a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody’s fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town’s police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who’s also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby’s mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Miller’s Kill like the ever-present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other – and murder….

My take:  In the Bleak Midwinter is an absorbing mystery filled with interesting characters – some who may or may not be suspects in the murder of a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Other crimes follow that are connected to the abandoned baby and further involve Rev. Clare and Chief Russ in their search to solve the crimes.

Clare is an interesting primary character. She’s the new Episcopal priest in a small town where everyone knows everyone – and they talk. She needs to prove herself capable of leading St. Alban’s and, at the same time, remain true to herself. As far as her relationship with the Chief goes, he’s married but seems to genuinely like Clare. They “get” each other so it’s not surprising when they become confidants. It will be interesting to see where their friendship goes over the course of the series.

I live in the North and found that reading this book in February (there’s a lot of snow on the ground and temps have been frigid) it was easy to sympathize with Clare as she acclimates to the cold, wintery weather of New York. Having grown up in the South she has inadequate clothes but hasn’t had time to shop. My feet were cold when hers were and I wished I could loan her my down duffle coat and insulated boots. I guess my point is that the author’s detailed setting and character descriptions greatly enhanced my reading experience. The pace of the novel was good and I loved how the denouement played out.

I see there are seven books in the series (so far) with another due out near the end of 2013. I look forward to reading the second book. If you enjoy small town mysteries with interesting characters you might want to try the Rev. Clare & Russ Van Alstyne mysteries. I’m glad I did!

  • Title:  In the Bleak Midwinter – Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries series, #1
  • Author:  Julia Spencer-Fleming
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Published:  April 2010 – Minotaur Books
  • Source:  I bought it

Audiobook: The Good House by Ann Leary

the good house

Synopsis (Publisher):  The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston’s North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She’s also a raging alcoholic. Hildy’s family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place – “if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday,” she advises “run for your life” – and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key to her drinking problem.

As if battling her demons wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Hildy soon finds herself embroiled in the underbelly of her New England town, a craggy little place that harbors secrets. There’s a scandal, some mysticism, babies, old houses, drinking, and desire – and a love story between two craggy 60-somethings that’s as real and sexy as you get. An exceptional novel that is at turns hilarious and sobering, The Good House asks the question: What will it take to keep Hildy Good from drinking? For good.

My take:  Hildy Good is like that neighbor lady who knows everybody and will tell you everything about them. She’s lived in the quaint New England village of Wendover her entire life and knows all the secrets of the town’s major players. She has a big chip on her shoulder due in part to her family’s intervention which made her feel betrayed and downright angry. Also, the real estate market has suffered in recent years and Hildy needs to sell some houses.

Now, as crusty or salty as Hildy may seem she does have a softer side. She will quietly help people in need without making a big deal out of it. BUT pity the person who crosses Hildy or suggests she might want to stop drinking because she will turn on the poor soul and lay him or her out in no uncertain terms. Hildy sometimes feels as persecuted for her drinking as she might imagine her ancestor felt when she was tried for being a witch in Salem!

As the novel progresses, drama unfolds in Wendover that involves people who are close to Hildy. I began to wonder if certain characters were who I originally thought they were. This is Hildy telling the story so how reliable can she be given she’s still drinking. Ann Leary kept me guessing in the second half of the book.

I enjoyed The Good House and look forward to reading more of Ann Leary’s books. Hildy Good is a character that will stay with me and will undoubtedly bring a smile when I think about the book. I love it when that happens. Recommended.

Narrator:  I adored Mary Beth Hurt’s performance. The voice she gave to Hildy Good was perfect. I also liked how she voiced Frank, the man who was Hildy’s boyfriend when she was a teen. I’m so glad I decided to listen to this book!

  • TItle:  The Good House: A novel
  • Author:  Ann Leary
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Narrator:  Mary Beth Hurt
  • Published:  January 2013 – Macmillan Audio
  • Source:  I bought it

Friday Freebies (Kindle)

Here are some free Kindle* books I picked up this week. As of this morning they were still free:

a wild goose chase christmas  out on a limb  armed and outrageous  lucky bang  the sisters montclair

I’m not sure how long they will remain free so if they sound good to you grab them quick 🙂 

UPDATE: (Saturday, Feb. 16) only LUCKY BANG remains free this morning. A couple of the others are free loans to Amazon Prime members. 

* I’m not an Amazon affiliate

Treadmill Reads: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

somebody to love

Synopsis (Publisher):  After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon’s Cove, Maine to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father’s wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she’s not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.
Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist’s assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn’t the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn’t the only thing that needs a little TLC…

My take:  Kristan Higgins did it again. She managed to make me laugh out loud one minute and the next minute was pulling the old heartstrings.  I loved the story of Parker and James and how they learned that sometimes you have to ask for a second chance and sometimes you have to give one. A sweet story that has me checking my shelves for another Kristan Higgins novel. Reading Somebody to Love made my treadmill time a breeze!

  • Title:  Somebody to Love
  • Author:  Kristan Higgins
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  April 2012 – HQN Books
  • Source:  I bought it