Romance Reviews, December 2011

Fresh Start, New Challenges We’ve all been there, needing to pick up the pieces and put our lives back in order or getting out of ruts and setting our sights on something new. Whether she’s forced to carve out a new life after a major loss, rising to the challenge of overcoming or changing a previous lifestyle or averting a disastrous new one, or determined to try something unexpected‚ and these situations are different‚ these romance heroines have one thing in common: a willingness to act. In most cases, that makes all the difference.

Brockway, Connie. The Other Guy’s Bride. Montlake Romance: Amazon. Dec. 2011. c.256p. ISBN 9781612181448. pap. $11.95. HISTORICAL
Born into a family of notable Egyptologists but determined to achieve success on her own, headstrong Ginesse Braxton evades her family and gains a guide by borrowing a fellow traveler’s identity while en route to Cairo and heads into the desert in search of a lost city in the company of a rugged, sexy rogue. But there’s deception on both sides, and while Ginny isn’t an officer’s fiancée, James Owens is hiding secrets that are far more startling. Bandits, scorpions, sandstorms, and scorching heat plague the pair as they struggle with both the desert and their growing attraction in this well-paced tale that follows As You Desire and launches Amazon’s Montlake imprint. VERDICT Romancing the Stone meets Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody in this funny, adventurous, and infinitely romantic turn-of-the-century romp that throws social propriety (think Victorian) to the winds. A surefire winner from a stellar author who never fails to deliver. Brockway (The Golden Season) lives in Minnesota. [First released as an EPUB this November for $9.99.‚ Ed.]

James, Eloisa. The Duke Is Mine. Avon. Jan. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780062021281. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL
Engaged for family reasons to a sweet but mentally challenged ducal heir who is off fighting Napoléon, unconventional Olivia Lytton is sent with her lovely but deplorably duchified twin sister, Georgiana, to the home of the Duke of Sconce. Georgie will there be scrutinized and tested by the Dowager Duchess for her suitability to become her son’s bride. The duke himself is more than willing to let his mother take care of such mundane details‚ until a storm-soaked, bedraggled Olivia arrives on his doorstep and assumes he’s a servant. Hilarious references to the dowager’s much-vaunted tome on proper aristocratic behavior and a cast of insightfully developed characters are highlights of this clever re imagining of The Princess and the Pea. From proper palatial English estates to wild adventure on the shores of France, this is a satisfying romantic charmer. VERDICT With rapier wit, bawdy wordplay, and a stinging sense of fun, James targets social rigidity, explores the meaning of perfection (and heroism), and catches readers off guard with any number of unexpected twists. A brilliant new spin on another classic tale; readers will never again look at peas, mattresses, or even heroes in the same way. James (When Beauty Tamed the Beast) lives in New York City. [Find the review of James’s original e-novella Winning the Wallflower at]

Linz, Cathie. Tempted Again. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780425244548. pap. $7.99. CONTEMPORARY
There’s nothing like inadvertently joining a local parade on your first day back in town to attract the attention of the sexy sheriff. Librarian Marissa Bennett Johnson does just that‚ and then realizes that Sheriff Connor Doyle is the college freshman who took her virginity when she was a high school senior and then dumped her. Thrown together by a joint program for troubled teens, as well as their apartments being next door to each other, Marissa and Connor have little choice but to get along‚ a task that becomes more difficult as the unwanted attraction between them begins to flare. VERDICT A divorced, disillusioned heroine determined to get her life back on track and a hero haunted by his own demons reconnect with sizzle in this spirited, sometimes prickly, yet touching escapade that overflows with hilarious dialog, an abundance of small-town charm, and quirky characters. With links to Luck Be a Lady. Linz lives in the Chicago area.

About Kristin Ramsdell

Kristin Ramsdell is Librarian Emerita, California State University, East Bay. She is the author of the romance section of What Do I Read Next? A Reader's Guide to Current Genre Fiction (Gale, annual) and Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (Libraries Unlimited)