With New Years being a time of reflection, a number of our reviewers have taken the time to list some of their personal favorites books of 2012. Review links are included as provided. (Click image gallery for slideshow)
CAZ’S PICKS (with and review links below)
1. A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley :Romantic Historical Fiction at its best, this tells the true story of the siege of Banbury Castle during the English Civil War alongside a wonderfully written fictional romance between a Cavalier and a local Puritan girl.
2. A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick : A prequel to her William Marshal books, this tells the story of William’s father, John who was a truly extraordinary man.
3. A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant :Grant is already “up there” as a superb writer of historical romances, even though she has only published two books so far. This début novel was beautifully written and had a very unusual premise – one I don’t think I’ve come across before – and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
4. The Lady of Secrets by Susan Carroll : A thoroughly engaging tale of witchcraft, treachery and love in Stuart England. One of a series which has made me want to check out the others.
5. An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser :One of the best Historical Romances I’ve read, this is a wonderful story of two people whose marriage took place under less than auspicious circumstances, but who work at it to find a lasting love.
6. The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley : I know Ms Riley has already appeared on this list, but I had to include this as one of my favourite romances of 2012, if not ever! Originally published in the 1980s, it was revised and reissued in 2012 and this was the first time I’d read it. It’s beautifully written, the romance is just perfect and the hero is to die for.
7. In for a Penny by Rose Lerner: An above average HR that uses one of my favourite tropes – the marriage of convenience. There’s plenty of warmth and humour and the author has an excellent eye for social detail.
8. Wedded Bliss by Barbara Metzger : Another “oldie”, but oh, what a find this was. I loved it from start to finish and spent most of the time I was reading with a grin on my face. Funny, sweet and tender – what’s not to love?
9. Before Versailles by Karleen Koen: Before Louis XVI became known to the world as “The Sun King”, he was a young monarch, somewhat impulsive and not quite ready for the responsibility that lay on his shoulders. The story is full of court intrigue and nefarious dealings as we see Louis begin to shoulder the burden of kingship.
10. The Emperor’s Conspiracy by Michelle Diener : A page-turner of a Romantic Mystery based on the true story of Napoleon’s plot to undermine the British financial system. Not without its flaws, but very hard to put down, nonetheless.
1) Defiant by Pamela Clare, 2) The Duchess War by Courtney Milan, 3) Beautiful Bad Man by Ellen O’Connell, 4) The Devil DeVere Series by Victoria Vane, 5) Keowee Valley by Katherine Scott Crawford, 6) The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman, 7) The Duke’s Tattoo by Miranda Davis, 8) A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan, 9) The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan, 10) An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser, 11) The Road Back by Liz Harris
LEE ANNE’S PICKS
I Am The Chosen King by Helen Hollick (Saxon England), Secrets of an Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore (Regency England), Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot (Medieval France & England), Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick (Medieval England – Empress Matilda), Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn (Ancient Rome – Emperor Trajan), The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Phillipa Gregory (Medieval England), The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges (1880s Russia), The Heretic Queen by Michelle Morgan (Ancient Egypt – Queen Nefertari), The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (World War II – Germany), A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (Medieval England – King Stephen)
LADY BLUE’S PICKS (with commentary)
The Ugly Duchess / Eloisa James – wonderfully written, but heartbreaking story of love, pain, separation, and reconciliation
No Longer a Gentleman / Mary Jo Putney – a youthful mistake takes 10 years of a young man’s life until he is rescued
A Scandalous Scot / Karen Ranney – two people mired in scandal find an unlikely love
A Week to be Wicked / Tessa Dare – a lovely read with a scholarly heroine
Heart of Brass / Katy Cross – outstanding steampunk romance where even mind control can’t make our hero forget his wife
Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke / Suzanne Enoch – our hero is not quite so devilish, and falls for a most unsuitable lady
The Art of Duke Hunting / Sophia Nash – delightful installment in the “Duke” series, an arranged marriage that works
The Duke’s Perfect Wife / Jennifer Ashley – the MacKenzie family saga continues with the duke and his love reunited
Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight / Grace Burrowes – two people with secrets, and out-of-sync with the world are perfectly in sync with each other
Firelight / Kristen Callihan – outstanding paranormal romance, he made a bad decision when young which is now changing him, body and soul, unless her love and fire can save him
Defiant by Pamela Clare, Firelight by Kristen Callihan, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, The Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant, A Lady’s Pleasure by Robin Schone, Findley’s Lass by Suzan Tisdale, The Courtship by Grace Burrowes, The Sometime Bride by Blair Bancroft, and Honorable Mention goes to: A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction by Barabra Monajem and The Wild Heart by Gina Rossi
The Second Empress by Michelle Moran, The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, The Queen’s Secret by Victoria Lamb, Still Life With Murder by P B Ryan, The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadder, House of Women by Anne Brear, The King’s Spy by Andrew Swanston, Legacy of Blood by Alex Connor, Ruby Red by Kerstin Gear [YA],An Older Evil by Lindsay Townsend
1. Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koem, 2. The Many Lives & Secrete Sorrows of Josephine B. (Josephine Bonaparte, #1) by Sandra Gulland , 3. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran, 4. Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati, 5. The Scarlet Lion, 6. Tale of Passion, Tales of Woe (Josephine Bonaparte, #2 by Sandra Gulland), 7. Wintercombe by Pamela Belle (no image avail.), 8. The Last Great Dance on Earth (Josephine Bonaparte, #3) by Sandra Gulland, 9. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor , 10. An Honourable Estate by Elizabeth Ashworth
GENEVIEVE’S PICKS (with review links)
1 The Virgin Cure By Ami Mckay