Tag Archive | Elizabeth Essex

GUEST SPOT AND GIVEAWAY: Historical Hellions Box Set

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From bluestockings to scandalous heiresses, these strong-willed, unconventional historical romance heroines don’t let anything stand in their way when it comes to love and happily ever after. Featuring seven novellas and novels from award-winning and bestselling authors.

The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex

Independent, politically-minded heiress Elizabeth Paxton has never wanted to marry, but longs for the freedom afforded to widows. The last thing she wants is dangerously attractive Captain Jameson Marlowe as a husband.

The Thief Steals Her Earl by Christina McKnight

The Earl of Cartwright is determined to find out who stole from his family. When he finds out the thief is the woman he’s fallen in love with, he must choose between duty and love.

Secrets in Scarlet by Erica Monroe

When a bluestocking with a scandalous past meets an idealistic sergeant, sparks fly as they work to solve a murder…but her secrets may lead to their undoing.

Sleeping Beau by Lila DiPasqua

Inspired by the tale of Sleeping Beauty–a scorching hot historical romance novella from the Fiery Tales series. One sleeping rake, one scorching kiss, one night of unforgettable passion…

The Art of Seduction by Eileen Richards

A spinster finds freedom as a theatre set painter until a chance meeting with the marquis who broke her heart has her questioning what she wants for her future.

The Madam’s Highlander by Madeline Martin

What’s the madam of a successful bawdy house in Edinburgh to do when she finds one of the English supported Black Watch soldiers needing to desert his post? She helps him, of course – but there’s a high price to pay.

Reckless Wager by Christy Carlyle

Victorian propriety and passions collide when a beautiful widow makes a wager with a wounded police detective bent on solving the Ripper mystery.


Heroines as Hellions: a Guest Post by Erica Monroe

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” – William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

erica monroeI have always been drawn to strong heroines. I am a child of the ‘90’s, growing up surrounded by American Girl dolls, highlighting women’s contribution to history, and stacks of Nancy Drew novels, teaching me that women could solve any problem with a bit of ingenuity and kindness. As I came of age, a plethora of television shows highlighting fierce women (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, Charmed, the X-Files all come to mind immediately) constantly reminded me that my value is not determined by the opinions of others, but by how I perceive myself. In college, I studied authors who changed the course of literature with their refusal to blindly follow society’s dictates that women could not possibly write as well as men. Jane Austen’s Emma, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and George Eliot’s Middlemarch solidified not just my love for nineteenth century Britain, but for determined and smart, yet still flawed, heroines.

As I write this, Lady Gaga is blasting in my office, and I am surrounded by signs that say things like “like a boss” and “write your own life story” (as well as a gigantic poster from Rogue One with “Rebel” in big letters), all reminders to remain true to myself and my creative strengths. And indeed, I have forged a career for myself in writing dark, suspenseful historical romance, where the women are just as dangerous and capable as the men whose heart they capture. I write women who are survivors, who, despite many difficulties and obstacles, have fought tooth and nail to eke out a small place of happiness in a cruel world. When I write—and when I read for my own enjoyment—a book, I want the hero and heroine to be equal partners.

So it should come as no surprise that when my critique partner, Christina McKnight, and I sat down to outline a new historical romance boxed set, we chose “strong women” as our theme. Like me, Christina writes unconventional women, and heroes that embrace their uniqueness. Historical Hellions  contains seven novels and novellas (two of which have never been before published: The Madam’s Highlander and The Art of Seduction), all featuring revolutionary women blazing their own path. We’ve got a thief desperately trying to save her family from debt (The Thief Steals Her Earl), a woman who agrees to a marriage of convenience with her best friend in hopes she’ll become a widow (The Pursuit of Pleasure), a mysterious seductress (Sleeping Beau), and a widow who drives a hard bargain (Reckless Wager).

In my book, Secrets in Scarlet, my heroine Poppy has been shunned by her small English town because she had a child outside of marriage. Poppy moves to London, and begins working in a factory in the Spitalfields rookery under an assumed name—pretending to be a war widow, so that no one will know her daughter is illegitimate. But when another girl is murdered at the factory, the H-District Metropolitan Police’s investigation puts Poppy right in the crosshairs of Sergeant Thaddeus Knight… who would love nothing more than to solve the puzzle Poppy presents.

Secrets in Scarlet holds a special place in my heart because Poppy is somewhat of an unwilling rebel—her main concern is protecting her daughter. She thinks she’s cost herself her own happily ever after, because surely, no man would want a fallen woman. While Thaddeus’s love certainly strengthens Poppy’s sense of self-worth, she must learn for herself that her past does not weaken her. I think that’s one of the most important lessons I learned from growing up with so many excellent examples of strong women: strength manifests itself in many ways. Poppy is a quieter heroine, a bluestocking who’d rather spend her days at home surrounded by books. She struggles, and she has doubts and fears, but when it comes to seeking justice, she fights hard. In the end, she realizes that her past experiences have made her who she is today, able to empathize and love with great depth.

That’s what we hope to present to readers with the Historical Hellions set: women who are their own champions, who love passionately, who battle nearly impossible odds and still triumph. None of our heroines are perfect– just as none of us are—and it is their imperfections often that end up making them shine. We want readers to know that like these heroines, their uniqueness is wonderful, and they too can change the world.

Giveaway

Erica and her fellow authors are offering THREE (3) eCopies of the boxed set of Historical Hellions novels and novellas to three lucky winners. Enter at Rafflecopter below (no purchase is necessary). The giveaway is open for one week, and the winners will be notified shortly after the closing date.

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About the Authors

USA Today Bestselling Author Christina McKnight writes emotional and intricate Regency Romance with strong women and maverick heroes.
USA Today Bestselling Author Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance with an emphasis on women’s rights and social issues.
USA Today Bestselling Author Lila DiPasqua writes historical romances with heat, and her Fiery Tales features fairy tale reworkings.
USA Today Bestselling Author Madeline Martin heats up the Highlands with her historical romances.
USA Today Bestselling Author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era.
RITA Award Nominee Elizabeth Essex writes award-winning historical romance full of adventurous heroines and their sea captain heroes.
Bestselling Author Eileen Richards writes lighthearted Regency romps.

Mad for Love (Highland Brides #0.5) by Elizabeth Essex

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Set a thief…

Rory Cathcart’s appreciation of the exquisite makes him the perfect man to expose forgeries and root out fraud in London’s tempestuous art world. But when his latest investigation into forged paintings puts him squarely in Mignon du Blois’ shaky sights, he finds himself deep in trouble, and captured by something more powerful than mere beauty.

To catch a thief…

The moment Mignon stops a rakish thief from making off with one of her father’s brilliant forgeries, she knows she’s found the perfect man to help her steal back a priceless statue, and save her family from unspeakable scandal. She has no intention of falling for Rory’s Caledonian charms, nor his seductive Scottish persuasions. From the drawing rooms of the ton to the auction rooms of the art world, the pair embarks on a madcap adventure to save them both from ruin. But will the love they uncover be most priceless treasure of all?

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Publisher and Release Date: ERB Publishing, March 2016

RHR Classifications:
Time and setting: London, 1790
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1.5
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Jill

Marie (Mignon) du Blois and her father, Charles have fled Paris and the upheavals of the French Revolution to settle in London. In order to support themselves, her father, a forger of fine art, fobs replicas off on to unsuspecting and clueless English buyers. Mignon, afraid he will be caught and jailed, continually tries to talk him into giving it up, but her pleas fall on deaf ears.

Rory Cathcart works for Christie’s auction house and is a specialist in spotting art forgeries. When he hears of Charles du Blois’ latest forgery, he sets out to expose him and in so doing hopes to further his own career. While Mignon and her father are out one evening, Rory breaks in to their house, but unbeknown to him, Mignon has stayed at home. When she catches Rory in the act of stealing one of her father’s forgeries, he introduces himself to Mignon as Rory Andrews.

When Charles is caught in a difficult situation of having one of his forged sculptures authenticated for insurance purposes by none other than Rory Cathcart, Mignon hires Rory Andrews, her gentleman thief, to steal the sculpture where it’s on public display in the gallery at Somerset House.

Set in 1790, Mad for Love is a prequel novella to Elizabeth Essex’s new Highland Brides series. This is certainly different to anything I’ve read previously by Ms Essex, and in fact, I wasn’t prepared for the fun, light tone of the story. She writes that it was a homage to one of her favourite caper movies, and a more apt description would be hard to find for this delightful novella.

The first full novel in this series, Mad about the Marquess is due out in April 2016. Rory has a number of friends who I’m guessing will feature in the upcoming novels.

Mad for Love is a very enjoyable start to this new series by Elizabeth Essex, and would suit readers who enjoy romantic comedies and lighter historical romance.

A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth Essex

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The rules of courtship are swept out to sea when a shipwreck offers a Reckless Bride a true taste of paradise…

CAN A WHIRLWIND ROMANCE

In Elizabeth Essex’s A Scandal to Remember, for too long, Miss Jane Burke’s father has taken advantage of her painstaking research. Heading to the South Seas to make her own name as a scientist despite the crew’s insistence that a woman aboard is bad luck, she isn’t prepared to be championed by a handsome ship’s officer who rouses longings inside her as wild as any storm…

LEAD TO A PROPER PROPOSAL?

For Lieutenant Charles Dance, a post on His Majesty’s survey ship Tenacious is just one more dutiful rung on the ladder of his career. Even a headstrong bluestocking on board is less troubling than the ship’s drunken captain—and the ferocious gales that drive the ship off course. Stranded on a remote island, passion blazes between them as hot as the sun, but it’s Jane’s love that Charles wants forever…

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Publisher and Release Date: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, August 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1815, England and on board ship
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Jill

At twenty-six years of age, J.E. Burke, conchologist is ready to make her mark on the scientific world, and for once get the credit for her work. Keen to continue and advance her study of mollusc shells, she signs on for an expedition with the Royal Society to the South Seas aboard His Majesty’s Ship, Tenacious.

Lieutenant Charles Dance, veteran of sea battles and the Royal Navy, has his hands full with his new posting aboard HMS Tenacious. With a drunken captain, a slovenly, ill-disciplined crew, a filthy, poorly-maintained ship, he now has a female to contend with, trying all at once to protect her from the eyes of his leering crew and from their potentially dangerous and superstitious views of a female on board ship.

What a completely wonderful story! I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series. Although I did read Ms Essex’s debut years ago, this is the first book of hers I’ve read since then. With so many excellent authors in the historical romance genre, it’s very difficult to find time to read them all. However, from reading A Scandal to Remember, Elizabeth Essex is going on my list of must-read HR authors.

Set in 1815, and mainly on board ship, A Scandal to Remember is a must for readers who enjoy well-written, well-researched historical naval romances. I’ve read a number of stories set on a ship or in the Royal Navy, but none that read as authentically as this. I’m guessing that Ms Essex may be a fan of C. S. Forester (Horatio Hornblower) – and who isn’t? – and Patrick O’Brian (Master & Commander).

There were however, a couple of minor quibbles that I can overlook, and one major one, that I can’t. Firstly, the minor stuff. There was a bit of repetition. For example, it was mentioned a number of times that the heroine was small, little, tiny, petite. Got it the first time. It’s also somewhat implausible that a young, single woman in 1815 would have got herself to the ship and on board in the first place, let alone unaccompanied. The ship was not provisioned for the trip halfway across the world – not in its captain, crew, foodstuffs or its seaworthiness – and I wasn’t convinced that the diligent Dance would have allowed it to sail. After a very detailed story, the ending was wrapped up just a bit too quickly. Minor things.

And the one hiccup, in an otherwise excellent read?

Dance was running short of creative curses. Truer words…

The overuse of a certain swear word here – its use 25+ times in this book – is way more than any historical romance I’ve ever read, especially from one of the big publishers. But I’m not complaining about its use – rather about its overuse. A well-placed exclamation or expletive at the right time, every now and then can be very effective, and really highlight a scene or phrase, a character’s emotional state, stress or fear. But its overuse here is both anachronistic and unnecessary and took me completely taken out of the story. Its use in contemporary romance may be de rigueur nowadays. But in historical romance, it is particularly egregious. That I spent any time wondering why the author overused this word means that its context here distracted and detracted from what is a memorable and quite brilliant story.

But that aside, I’m still giving A Scandal to Remember a hearty recommendation.