Show to Watch!

Downton Abbey

Being such huge fans of historical romance which most of you are, I thought I would let you know about a great new series that just recently started airing on itv1, in case you hadn’t heard.

Downton Abbey is a magnificent drama focusing on the lives of a upper class family and their servants, during 1912 in England.The heir of Downton Abbey has died, leaving the estate to a distant cousin (who is nothing like his glamorous relatives) who soon comes to live at the home, sparking all kinds of delicious drama 😛

The characters are well acted, the sets are grand, the costumes are gorgeous, the plot is thrilling-This is a first class period drama and no worries to the romantics out there-There are definitely some major romantic plotlines in this one 😉

I’m three episodes in and am well and truly hooked. The characters are all interesting and there isn’t a dull moment as you watch the servants scuttle to and fro doing their jobs, while the aristocrats are busy with dramas of their own. I find it intriguing, focusing on how the servants keep the house running. It seems behind all that lounging around on sofas and that languorous luxury is a lot of hard work and pairs of hands! And so many of them! Butler, lady’s maid, cook, upper housemaid, footman, butler, valet, lower housemaid, scullery maid to name some of the more prominent ones.

Everyone’s got their secrets and some of them are downright scandalous! I say that anyone with a taste for historical detail and slowly building tension/romance is sure to find this drama brilliant. I know I do 🙂

The Trailer-

Interested? Tons of information, including cast interviews and a gallery of pictures, are available at this site-

http://enchantedserenityperiodfilms.blogspot.com/2010/02/downton-abbey.html

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Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

Setting: 1822, Regency

Summary:

Sebastian Grey is in limbo. He is the heir presumptive to the Earl of Newbury, unless the current earl, a widower, can find a bride who will bear him a son. Newbury is in his sixties and somewhat portly, but as an earl he’s considered quite a catch. Sebastian, on the other hand, is twenty-nine and extremely handsome, but in no hurry to find a wife.

Annabel Winslow, a country girl through and through, has received an offer to go to London for the season. The eldest of a family of eight, she knows that a good marriage might be the only thing that will save her family from ruin. After a few weeks in town, Annabel attracts the attention of the Earl of Newbury. The thought of submitting to him makes her skin crawl, but she is practical and determined to do her duty. Even when Sebastian Grey comes on the scene.

*Note-The aforementioned blurb comes from the UK paperback edition

Click cover for more info

Review:

This is my first Julia Quinn novel, sadly way overdue. I’ve been meaning to read her since forever but was always distracted by other novels from authors I already knew and loved. It was only at last on the recommendation of a friend of mine who is a great reader that I decided to give her a try.

I’m so glad I did! I loved it! This is truly the definition of a Regency romantic comedy! This book made me remember why I love the Regency period and how I came to fall in love with it! I couldn’t help but laugh all the way through at the antics of the characters and the witty commentary and dialogue. I completely understand now why she is considered as one of the best Regency authors! Her writing flowed and kept me so well entertained, it did not matter that the plot was a relatively simple story of girl meets boy but is promised to somebody else. The ending was also a bit implausible but the story thrived on the writing alone, in my opinion.

Sebastian, the hero is wonderful all the way through. From the very start, you just love him for his charm, his easygoing nature, and his kindness. I also loved that he was secretly writing popular fiction for the masses-it just made him that more lovable.

Our heroine, Annabel, is adorable as well. She is a sensible, practical girl, but a girl who also knows how to laugh and have fun. Their romance is sweet and has the reader eagerly anticipating the happily ever after. The other characters were well-fleshed out and rounded and I particularly loved Annabel’s over-the-top grandmother! What a character! The ending was a bit implausible but that didn’t distract from the general loveliness of the novel!

I wish I could say more, but I might bore you with too many positive adjectives! Pick this lovely book up because you will not be disappointed-I’m putting Julia Quinn on my must-buy list!

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and not explicit)

Verdict: Simply a treasure that every romance reader needs to read!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley

Setting: 1815, Regency

Summary:

Sophie Blake’s grandfather willed his fortune to the first of his granddaughters to marry a duke.  Since her cousin, Deirdre, will seal the deal any day now, the quiet, bookish Sophie can sit back and enjoy her time with the only man she truly adores: Graham. No matter that the part charmer, part scoundrel has absolutely no designs on her! Sophie is content to engage Graham in lively conversation, beat him at cards. . .and probe at the darkness hiding behind his rakish smile.

Then Graham unexpectedly gains a title, an estate in near ruins and a mountain of debt.  If there is any chance of survival he must find a rich wife—quickly. As his hunt for a bride begins, Sophie realizes that she isn’t even in the running. Suddenly no longer content to be a wallflower, Sophie gets a stunning make-over and becomes the belle of the ball. Lots of heads are turning
including Graham’s. But this beauty has secrets of her own. Will she be his salvation or seal his fate?

Click cover for more info

Review:

This is the final book in The Heiress Brides trilogy, and was the best of the three for me. After the first two disappointed me, I was surprised when this one did manage to live up to expectations. Though it wasn’t as good as her  latest, the plot was much more interesting and both hero and heroine were likable and their story was much interesting. There was even a surprising twist at the end.

Sophie Blake isn’t beautiful and this was refreshing. She was strong and independent and easy to relate to. I rooted for her the whole way through.

Graham was also a great hero. He was charming and the playful chatting between the two was sweet and I could really feel a connection between them. Though she does have an eventual makeover and turns into the most beautiful woman, it was nice to see that Graham did feel something for her before. I found them to be a great couple and they really suited each other.

The writing was great and this time I could really appreciate it as I loved the two main characters and rooted for them. There was even a short secondary romance which was sweet and intriguing.

This book really made me remember why I loved Celeste Bradley in the first place and was worth the read. If I had known earlier, I would have skipped the first two books just to read this one.

Sensuality Level: Hot-Explicit, detailed

Verdict: The only one worth reading in the series. Recommended.

Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5

To Sin With A Scoundrel by Cara Elliott

Setting: Regency

Summary:

A reclusive widow known for her scientific scholarship, Lady Ciara Sheffield is shadowed by rumors that she poisoned her husband . . . A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham, the Earl of Hadley is not accused of murdering anything—save for the rules of Polite Society. The only thing they have in common is seeing their names featured in the lurid gossip columns of London’s newspapers.

Until an ancient manuscript draws them together.

Ciara needs a titled fiancĂ© to quell the slanderous speculations which may send her to the gallows. Lucas needs brilliant scholar to help his elderly uncle decipher the secrets of the mysterious manuscript. So when her friends urge her to accept the earl’s proposal of a temporary alliance, Ciara decides that she had no choice but to make a deal with the Devil.

And so begins a seductive dance of sinful pleasures and hidden desires as the two of them waltz through the mansions of Mayfair. Lies, intrigue, treachery, sex. They find themselves facing slanderous whispers, unscrupulous relatives—not to speak of their own simmering passions, which quickly ignite into dangerous flames. It’s a potent mix and the result may be explosive—and perhaps deadly—if they don’t watch their step.

Review:

Sexy, sweet, romantic, witty and hilarious, this is one book not to be missed! It was a great and refreshing change from all the usual sex-obsessed romance novels. I appreciated the fact that the hero and the heroine didn’t feel the need to jump into bed right away which afforded the reader (me!) to enjoy great witty banter and hot sexual tension. 😛

Both the hero and heroine were awesome lovable characters. I liked Ciara right away, mainly because she was so easy to relate to, dealing with horrible rumors. She was also a strong character, who was willing to do whatever it took to protect her son. I liked how she didn’t succumb right away to the charms of the devilish Lord Hadley, like other heroines seemed to do. It fit well with her rational, serious, focused-on-her-work persona and was a nice change. Sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at how quickly heroines who say they will never fall for the charms of Mr so-and-so end up in bed with him not too long after.

I knew Lord Hadley, despite all the rumors to the contrary, was a an good man almost right away. We hear about his exploits in the paper Ciara reads at the beginning of the book but later when we first meet him, we see that Hadley is a man who is already wondering at his shallow existence, proving that there is more to him than meets the eye. I loved how the author gradually revealed the deeper layers of the man until I along with the heroine was totally in love with him!

This story was also the perfect opposites attract story. Being a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, the whole we’re-opposites-and-that-means-we-can-teach-each other-things is completely up my alley. Relationships are about learning new things from your partner while staying true to yourself.

The charcters were complete opposites at first but then gradually we can see how perfect they are for each other.

The pacing of the romance was perfect and I loved watching them fall in love before anything too scandalous happened 😉

Another great thing about this book was the conversations. I loved how witty they were and laughed more than once at the cleverness of the dialogue. Very Austen-esque.

The extra characters were wonderful and really fleshed out. I could completely imagine them saying what they said and acting how they did. The scenes were touching and realistic and I absolutely loved the scenes with Ciara’s son and Lord Hadley.

The only thing that may have kept it a bit down for me was that it wasn’t very adventurous in terms of plot. It was a great fresh telling of the opposites attract story and I suppose this is my veteran romance reader self talking but I would have preferred if the story had happened on more of a larger scale.

I still can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Sensuality Level: Warm (Few love scenes but GREAT tension and chemistry)

Verdict: Very witty and romantic-This is one for the hopeless romantic in all of us! Buy it for a great, feel-good read 🙂

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

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