A Change of Heart (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Although it took me longer to really “get into” A Change of Heart than it did Candice Hern’s other novels, once I did, it was definitely worth it. I enjoyed it quite a bit and recommend this book. I feel the backstories of Jack Raeburn, Marquess of Pemerton, and Lady Mary Haviland are more well developed than those of Hern’s other novels, and I have to admit that I love it when detailed backstories are revealed slowly, always keeping me guessing! The characters are definitely not perfect, their flaws so realistic that I couldn’t help but love them, and I was squirming in my seat through their mistakes. Don’t you love it when you find yourself talking to the characters, telling them, “Don’t do it!” 😉 The “Happily Ever After” doesn’t always seem possible, but of course, it comes in the end.

The official blurb is a perfect description, so here it is:

Jack Raeburn, a longtime pleasure-seeking rakehell, is now unexpectedly the Marquess of Pemerton, a title inherited after the tragic deaths of his father and older brothers. Unfortunately, he inherited a mountain of debts along with the title, and believes his only option is to marry an heiress. He finds a surprising champion in Lady Mary Haviland, a spinster of unremarkable looks and a charming personality, who has decided to help him find a bride. When Jack discovers that Mary has a large fortune, their comfortable friendship takes an unexpected new direction. By turns witty and emotional, A CHANGE OF HEART follows the path of two wounded souls from friendship to betrayal to redemption. The ballrooms of London and the rugged cliffs and coves of the South Devon coast come alive in this poignant tale of the healing power of love.

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This review is part of the Regency Romance Reading Challenge

hosted by Austenprose.com

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A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

First in Candice Hern’s Regency Rakes Trilogy

Here is another highly enjoyable, light romance by Candice Hern!  Hern’s delightful style of writing makes me never want to stop reading her books.

The novel opens with a prologue—I know some readers skip prologues, so I’m hinting that you should read this one since it explains how our heroine’s parents became estranged from her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Pentwick.

Emily Townsend is a beautiful, intelligent, modest, and proper lady of twenty-six, who is also very much aware of her place in the world as a penniless orphan. Emily is employed as a companion to the Dowager Countess, Lady Bradleigh—a feisty, eccentric older lady who loves deeply, and has great affection for Emily (I loved Lady Bradleigh!) Escaping her employer’s early attempts at matchmaking was not difficult while they lived in Bath, where year-round residents are mostly of an older generation, but that is about to change.

The story begins with Lady Bradleigh upset after reading an announcement in the newspaper stating that her beloved grandson, Lord Robert Cameron, Earl of Bradleigh, has become engaged to marry a woman his grandmother does not like.

Having traveled from London to inform his beloved grandmother of his news in person, Lord Bradleigh comes upon the ladies just after his grandmother reads the article. Since he had never felt affection toward any woman he’s met, and since he knew it was high time that he provide an heir to his title, Lord Bradleigh admits that he has now sworn off his disreputable, rakish ways and arranged a marriage of convenience.

His grandmother is miserable knowing that her grandson has taken such a business-like approach to marriage when she had hoped  he would follow her example by marrying for love. Eventually resigning herself to accept his choice, Lady Bradleigh decides to make the journey to the earl’s house in town so that she may prepare a grand engagement ball in celebration of her grandson’s betrothal.

Upon first meeting him, Emily is wary of Lord Bradleigh due to his notorious reputation with the ladies, but she finds she can’t help but like him since he is very much like his grandmother. The attraction between Emily and Lord Bradleigh is immediate, although they keep to themselves. After living in the same household in Bath, and then in London, knowing it is impossible to become more, the two become good friends.

Once in London, the fun really begins. With gentlemen of an appropriate age available, Lady Bradleigh recruits her grandson to assist with her matchmaking efforts for Emily. Emily’s nasty, estranged relatives also come into the picture. Meanwhile, Lord Bradleigh can’t seem to keep his mind on his engagement to the coldhearted Miss Windhurst. Although he regrets the betrothal, he feels a responsibility to follow through with the marriage.

Can Emily and Robert find happiness elsewhere while denying the love they feel for each other?

Since I can’t seem to get enough of Candice Hern’s stories, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more reviews here as part of the Regency Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Austenprose.com

The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

It was a pleasure to become reacquainted with a minor character, Miles Prescott, from A Garden Folly, and get to know him better as a main character in this delightfully light and witty romance.

The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance)

by Candice Hern

Miles Prescott, Earl of Strickland, of Epping Hall in Northamptonshire, is reserved, conservative, and fastidious. His wife Amelia died two years ago, leaving him with two young daughters who he feels desperately need a mother. Having had a love-match with Amelia, Miles doesn’t believe he can fall in love again and wants a marriage of convenience the second time around.

Winifred also believes it is time for her brother to remarry. When she and her family travel to Epping for their annual, Winifred asks two of her husband’s cousins to join them, intending the widowed Lady Charlotte Abingdon for Miles.

Charlotte is a beautiful young widow, elegant and sophisticated—exactly what Miles wanted for his second wife as long as she gets along with his daughters.

Charlotte’s half-sister, Miss Hannah Fairbanks, is nineteen years old and so backward that she has not yet come out. Quite intelligent, she is more interested in architecture than putting herself forward on the marriage mart. In fact, Hanna has no interest in marriage at all and repeatedly tells herself that she doesn’t care that people think she’s still a child.

Almost immediately after their arrival, everyone in attendance assumes Miles and Charlotte will marry, but of course, all does not go as everyone expects 😉

I’m enjoying Candice Hern’s books so much that I’m sure I’ll be adding many more to my list for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com) before 2013 is done!

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Writer’s block has me reading at light speed!

Next up for review is another for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com.) I read a sample chapter of the following at the end of Desperate Measures, and I couldn’t resist adding it to my list:

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Catherine Forsythe lives with her sister and sweet aunt. Penniless, the ladies depend on the kindheartedness and, erhm, resourcefulness of their manservant, MacDougal. Having already sold most of their belongings to put food on the table, they are never sure whether they’ll be able to continue doing so.

All are thrilled when Aunt Hetty’s old friend, the Duchess of Carlisle, invites them to her annual summer house party at her estate in the country. Always the most sensible of the three, Catherine sees the invitation as the chance of a lifetime—surely either her beautiful sister or she will find a rich husband and save them from living in poverty!

Stephen, the eccentric Duke of Carlisle, is unhappy about his mother’s plans to hold her house party this year. Although he usually left Chissingworth during her August gathering, this year he could not accept an interruption to his project – the addition of a glass conservatory to the estate, where he does much of the work personally. Stephen insists that his mother tell her guests that he is not in residence so that he will be spared the need to socialize and can continue his work.

When Stephen literally runs into Catherine while she admires his plantings, he finds there is indeed one guest he’d actually enjoy spending time with, especially since she does not recognize him as the duke and assumes he is the estate’s gardener instead. In order to continue hiding from the other guests, he uses his first two names when introducing himself, leaving off the rest which would identify him as the duke—and the charade begins!

A Garden Folly is an engaging and amusing tale of mistaken identity and romance that I highly recommend to all! I’m very glad I decided to add this to my list.

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story)

My first read for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com), my choice is:

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story) by Candice Hern

Lydia Bettridge is in love, but the gentleman couldn’t possibly think of her that way. Lydia, her brother, and his friend come up with a plan to catch the unnamed gentleman’s attention. When the scheme goes awry, will she still be able to cause her heart’s desire to become jealous, or will she fail, leaving her miserable for all time?

If I had to choose one word to describe this short story, it would have to be “delicious.”  If you enjoy unrequited love stories, this short story is one you should not miss!

Regency Romance Reading Challenge 2013

I accept the challenge. Join me!

Since this is my first reading challenge, I’m not going to promise too much.  I’m entering at the Disciple level, which means I will read 3 – 5 novels & short stories by Candice Hern.

I will probably end up reading more, but at the very least, I plan on reading:

  1. Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story) – Review 1/20/13
  2. A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) Review 1/22/13
  3. The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance)Review 2/23/13
  4. A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance) Review 3/2/13
  5. A Change of Heart (A Regency Romance) – Review 4/20/13