I absolutely loved this novel. The main character, Maggie Hope, is obviously incredibly intelligent, but also ambitious and quirky. What I really enjoyed about the novel is that all of the characters are multidimensional. MacNeal has made sure to make her characters both entertaining and believable. Most importantly Mr. Churchill's Secretary does best what historical fiction is supposed to do--it brings you fully into a different time and place. MacNeal does this effortlessly in that she has obviously done her homework, but she doesn't shove it down your throat. In essence, she's done her research so well that you don't notice it. Instead, you get lost in an excellent storyline with fascinating characters.
Aslo, McCaddon does a great job as narrator. Her imitation of Churchill is PERFECT. She makes clear differences between her voice as narrator, and the different voices of the characters.
So, I thought this book was okay, but just okay. The general idea behind the storyline was a novel concept, but the actual story was predictable. There weren't really any curve balls thrown in there. And although the writing was mostly decent, Janet Chapman seems to have an obsession with the word "canted" and it actually started to get annoying.
Overall I thought Allyson Ryan did a good job, but it sort of sounded like she had a stuffy nose, which in turn made the adult male voices sound a bit dorky. On the other hand, her rendition of the children's voices was spot-on.
In conclusion I would not recommend spending a whole credit on this book. But, if you can get it on sale, like I did, it can make for an interesting addition to your audio library.
This book is a fairly predictable romance novel. But, this certainly doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a chance. The premise is somewhat reminiscent of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." But Brenda Jackson definitely puts her own spin on the story. I love that the heroine of this book, Darcy Owens, is smart and successful. So when she finally finds the right guy, you feel like she finally has it all. Darcy is a bit of a smart mouth. But she has definitely found her match in York Ellis, who somehow manages to be both a possessive alpha male and a sensitive guy.
Jackson has chosen a plot that we all know and love: two people with a long-held sexual attraction are thrown together in a difficult/awkward situation, and find that they can no longer fight said attraction.
Shari Peele did a great job as narrator.
Fair warning, this is NOT your classic romance novel--which I somehow didn't realize when I purchased it :) As the title suggest, there is a lot of sex in this book, and it's not all flowers & champagne. This is a story about two people who are surprised to find that the person they married is not only a decent human being, but the man/woman of their fantasies. For Nicholas, this means a woman who is demure, witty, & intelligent in the drawing room, but both innocent & eager to learn in the bedroom. And, after accidentally witnessing some fairly scandalous behavior, Lady Helena finds that what she really wants is a man who can make no-holds-barred love to her. Callaway actually does a pretty good job of making this an integral part of their love story. It becomes a way for them to get to know each other in their marriage.
Erin Mallon did a great job as narrator.
I really enjoyed this book. It features love in all it's forms: new romantic love, old romantic love, lost love, sibling love/rivalry. The relationship between Amelia & Cam is charged from the very beginning. He needs something different from the over-experienced courtesans he usually spends time with, and even though she won't admit it to herself or anyone else, Amelia needs someone to help her herd the unruly siblings she's essentially been left in charge of. Its very easy to sympathize with all of these characters...even Amelia, who's stubbornness you would expect to find annoying, but actually seems understandable.
Rosalyn Landor is an excellent reader. She does a great job giving each character her/his own voice and in her narrator's voice.
If you're like me and are already a Molly Harper fan, rest assured that this book will not disappoint. If you're not familiar with her work, my guess is that this book will serve as an excellent introduction to her writing. This novel is full of laugh-out-loud humor and witty conversations between the various characters. It doesn't take long to see the rising chemistry between Bonnie and Will. And the interactions Bonnie has with Mud Creek's uniquely funny cast of characters certainly adds something special into the mix.
Amanda Ronconi serves as an excellent narrator. In my opinion, this type of book is what she does best. Her delivery of the characters' lines are always spot-on, and she does a great job in giving each character its own voice.
I really wanted to like this book. I would get an A for effort in trying to listen to it. But I couldn't. I don't even think I made it halfway through the book. The premise of the novel sounds interesting. And, based on its reviews on Good Reads, I imagine that if I was reading the book in paper form I would find it entertaining. But there's something about Julie Fain Lawrence's narration that just doesn't work. Her voice in monotone, and the rhythm is stilted. My mind kept wondering to other things. Therefore, I am unable to recommend this book at all.
Firstly, this book is part of a series. Due to how the series is written, you will need to start at book 1 and work your way through. Although "This Duchess of Mine" is (mostly) about Jemma & Elijah, EJ actually starts their story at book 1. So instead of telling each story independently, she weaves her stories together and merely finishes a couple's love story in a certain book.
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I can't get into too many details without giving away the storyline; but there was one portion of the story--when Jemma comes up with a far-fetched plan to win her husband's affections--that I thought was ridiculous. However, other than that, I thought this was a charming love story. In these novels, you know the two main characters will eventually make their way to each other. But, EJ does a really good job of throwing in enough curve balls to keep the story intriguing and unpredictable.
EJ & Susan Duerden may be one of the best author-narrator matches on Audible. Sometimes SD's male voices sound very similar to one another. But b/c of how EJ has written the story, differentiating one character from another is rarely a problem. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
We first see Lady Isadore finally meet her duke at the end of the previous novel, "Duchess by Night." In "When the Duke Returns" we learn more about that first encounter and at last discover why Simeon stayed away from London, indeed all of Europe, for so many years. Neither Simeon or Isador is what the other expects, but they're immensely attracted to each other. More importantly, their relationship teaches them more about themselves and eventually they're able to see that their differences can make for a good partnership.
Initially, Simean was a difficult hero to fall in love with. He seemed like one of those people with a lot of "book smarts" (in his case gained from extensive travel) but limited real-life experience. One of the things I love about this book is that their first few weeks of marriage reveals that despite her gender, and societal constraints on women, Isador's beauty hides an interesting combination of business acumen and empathy.
EJ continues to tease us on the triangular relationship between Jemma, Elijah, and Villiers. Ironically, as Jemma & Elijah's marriage grows stronger, so does the friendship between Elijah and Villiers. I look forward to seeing the repair of this marriage, and this friendship. And I can't wait to finally see Villiers finally fall victim to love :)
P.S. Susan Duerden continues to be a wonderful narrator.
There were some good and bad things about this book. I thought the storyline was compelling, if a bit predictable. The cast of characters and the ordeals they go through will certainly pull at your emotions. And Tanya Eby's narration was superb.
However, I also found the cast of characters a bit irritating, especially the male protagonist, Angel DeMarco. I think KH tried to explain his irritating behavior, but instead of coming across as complicated and broken, he just seemed arrogant, annoying, and a little stupid. Perhaps part of the issue has to do with when this book was originally published (1996) but some of the problems/questions he has before & after a life-saving medical procedure seem like common knowledge. Therefore, his reactions seem way over the top.
Angel's medical situation forces all the characters to come to terms with their personal issues. The teen daughter, Lina, often acts like a spoiled brat. But I actually found Lina and the forgotten brother, Francis, to be the most fascinating parts of the story. It's easy to understand why a confused teenaged girl would act out. And, it was very easy to sympathize w/ Francis b/c he's an innately good but flawed person.
Fortunately, I purchased this book when it was on sale and advise that others do the same. It wasn't a complete waste of money, but I would have been disappointed if I'd used a whole credit on it.
After reading the previous book in this series, "An Affair Before Christmas, I was a bit wary. But in my opinion, EJ is at her best in this novel. At the center of the storyline is the burgeoning relationship between Harriet, Duchess of Berrow & Lord Strange (Jem). Harriet and her friend Jemma go to the home of the scandalously disreputable Lord Strange on a lark, with the rakish Duke of Villers as their escort. Since Strange would never allow someone as respectable as the Duchess of Berrow to stay in his home, Harriet (Harry) decides to masquerade as a young--if overly pretty--man. What she doesn't expect is be attracted to Jem. Jem finds himself equally attracted to her--a prospect he initially finds disconcerting since he's never been attracted to men. Eventually, Jem finds her out and has a good time teasing the truth out of her.
What I found most interesting about this novel is that Harriet truly finds herself and is able to bury old ghost during her time pretending to be a man. In fact, it's her time as a man that makes her finally realize how much she has to offer.
EJ does an excellent job threading additional love stories throughout the novel. And, like any good novelist, she makes sure you have to read the rest of the series to know what happens with all of them :) I am eager to find out what happens with the other characters: Isidore, Jemma, and Leopold.
P.S. Susan Duerden continues to serve as an excellent narrator.
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