Best Selling Romance

Victorian Romance

Daring the Detective by Riley Cole

Daring the Detective*

Mismatched Pair Seeks Answers

Zadie, the heroine, is immediately uneasy when she comes to the Restitution League to ask them to take her case. She was expecting to find fellow thieves and other reformed criminals, not a police detective. Not quite sure whether to trust sharing the full story with the Sweets and the detective, she ultimately decides that her aunt’s life is more important than the possibility of arrest. Her aunt has gone missing under suspicious circumstances, and she fears that her business of retrieving stolen objects has led one of her victims to strike. Detective Caleb, the hero, believes he knows her type and suspects she is keeping details from them. The League does take up her case, but will everything change when other law enforcement believe that Zadie is not only involved in her aunt’s disappearance but also in her murder? Will romantic sparks fly between this honorable detective and a tarnished lady?

For those who read the two previous books in the Restitution League series, it will come as a surprise that this book is not about one of the Sweets. After all, Briar still hasn’t met found her mate. The writing in this book is not quite as snarky and humorous as the first two books, but this read about a very mismatched pair who have a hard time trusting each other in the face of danger is a compelling one. Detective Caleb puts his career in jeopardy, and Zadie’s very life may hang in the balance.

Seducing the Scientist by Riley Cole

Seducing the Scientist*

Edison Meets His Match in Female Scientist

If you’re familiar with the first book of series about the Restitution League, you know about the cousins who are the core of it. This is Edison’s story, and has he ever met his match! The league investigates a case brought to them by a man who is clearly lying about it and find themselves embroiled in a need to protect a female scientist on the brink of sharing her world-changing discovery. Will the League be able to keep her safe? Will her invention fall into the wrong hands? Will others take credit for what she has done?

Just like the first book, I found this story to be delightfully well-written. In the parts narrated by Edison, he comes across as cocky, slightly jaded, and on the prowl for his next adventure or female. His commentary is often quite amusing, like when he said the heroine had “the delicacy of a stevedore,” which made me laugh out loud. Other sections are narrated by Philomena and Ada; the former is Edison’s sister who was the heroine of Book 1, and the latter is this book’s heroine. I love Ada. She’s a strong, smart woman who has taken care of herself and her grandmother while pursuing her interest in science. Ada is a smart cookie but vulnerable, too, especially in her dealings with men about whom she might have a romantic interest as well as those who would belittle her mind and discoveries.

Those who enjoyed Philomena’s and Spencer’s story in Book 1 will be happy to hear that we continue to see their relationship grow and flourish in this book.

This delightful series about the Restitution League is for readers who appreciate strong women, good-hearted rogues, witty internal monologue and external dialogue, and stories where good–even if in the guise of reformed criminals–triumphs over evil. Personally, I can’t wait for the next installment!

For whatever reason, this book is listed as Saving the Scientist on Goodreads.

Rejecting the Rogue by Riley Cole

Rejecting the Rogue*

Delicious Victorian Romantic Suspense

We’re in a slightly fantastical Victorian England. The heroine, Philomena Sweet, has done numerous despicable deeds with her cousins at the insistence of her father. She is now determined to make restitution, one case at a time. Renowned for her safe-cracking skills, she now uses them for good and not for evil.

A client comes to the group, asking for help to retrieve a journal that contains many secrets that could be damaging and is now being held for potential future use as blackmail. This is precisely the type of work that the Restitution League does.

Unbeknownst to the group, another one of London’s underbelly is being asked to steal this journal. None other than Spencer Crane, master jewel thief and Philomena’s former betrothed whom she caught in flagrante delicto, has also been charged to retrieve this by a former associate who threatens both Philomena and Spencer’s sister if he refuses to do the job.

What happens when these two cross paths? Will sparks other than those caused by anger result? Will Philomena and her group be able to help the client?

This book was well written. While there is more than one narrator, I love the section from Philomena’s perspective. She comes across as a lady with a jaded but hopeful, slightly snarky attitude, and it is delicious to read. The book has an edgy yet humorous, not-quite-real vibe to it.

Tempting His Mistress by Samantha Holt

Tempting His Mistress*

Delightfully Written Victorian Romance

What a delightful romp through Victorian England at the hands of an author who knows how to hit all the right marks that we expect in this subgenre.

Lilly is recently orphaned, the daughter of a businessman and his mistress. At a house party, she deliberately sets out to find out if her cousin’s supposition about Lord Hawksley is true–that he murdered her father after losing money in a business deal. Of course, they both feel an attraction (though it is done with style!). She attempts to learn more about the man and is coming to believe he may not be responsible for her father’s murder–and then he blindsides her by asking to be his mistress! Then the fun really begins…

I found Lilly to be smart and just a little bit sassy, the same attributes that attract Lord Hawksley. She desperately wants to find out the truth…and she desperately wants to despise the marquess for what she believes he did. But she has a hard time doing either; their conversations are a delight as they are often at cross purposes. Lord Hawksley (Evan) can’t quite understand his fascination with her, and he tries to rid himself of it. But he finds he cannot. After his younger brother suggests HE might make her his mistress, Evan decides that if she is to be anyone’s mistress, she will be his. Of course, Lilly is shocked and hurt by such an offer. You’ll have to read the book to find out how that turns out.

I’m a big fan of Victorian romance, and it has been a while since I’ve read a straight-up one. Within a few pages, I felt like a capable captain was steering the boat writer and just wanted to enjoy the journey.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout, but this did not affect my review.

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The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I’ve purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

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