Book review: Winter-warming romance and history with Piatkus Books

Love is guaranteed to heat up the cold nights with a red-hot collection of romantic reads from Piatkus which boasts some of the biggest names in popular fiction.

By Pam Norfolk
Wednesday, 22nd October 2014, 10:00 am
Winter-warming romance and history with Piatkus Books
Winter-warming romance and history with Piatkus Books

Regency romance tops the bill in a new season of historical novels while best-selling US author Emily Purdy returns with another slant on those tempestuous Tudors and Nora Roberts brings us the first book in a magical trilogy.

The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightley

Enjoy the first in a honey sweet and deliciously love-filled new series – aptly titled Prelude to a Kiss – from one of the reigning queens of romance Erin Knightley.

The Baron Next Door features her trademark mix of humour, passion and drama, all set in the seductive landscape of Regency London and the grand salons of Bath.

Charity Effington’s first betrothal taught her two things. Firstly, when one loses the attention of an earl, one gains the attention of every gossip in London. Secondly, and more importantly, despite the scandal, she is not prepared to marry for anything less than love.

And after an exhausting Season spent at the mercy of the whispering Ton, Bath’s first annual music festival offers her the perfect escape and the freedom to indulge her true passion and play the pianoforte to her heart’s content.

But only until her insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbour tells her to keep the ‘infernal racket’ to a minimum. Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, is in Bath to heal hidden wounds, both mental and physical. He may think he has finally put an end to the noise next door, but he has no idea what he’s begun.

The more he discovers about Charity, the more he finds her bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

Prepare to be swept away…

(Piatkus, paperback, £7.99)

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh, a former teacher who grew up in Wales and now lives in Canada, has earned herself a place in the hearts of Regency romance lovers the world over.

And passions are running high in Only Enchanting, the latest mesmerising book in her poignant and immensely popular Survivors’ Club series.

The novels feature a group of six men and one woman, all wounded in the 19th century Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall.

One of them Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has now left this refuge but is devastated by the discovery that his fiancée has deserted him. Now the woman who broke his heart is back and everyone is eager to revive their engagement.

However, Flavian is not so keen and, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of the nearest young woman. Agnes Keeping has never been in love and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian and suddenly falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she is determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love …

A gorgeously romantic story to warm the winter nights…

(Piatkus, paperback, £8.99)

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt dishes up the seventh thrilling tale of danger, desire and dark passions in her sizzling Georgian ‘Maiden Lane’ series.

Peril and true love collide in this steamy, sensual journey into the slums of mid-18th century London where a young actress is struggling to make ends meet.

Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne, has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener.

But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he is quickly driven to distraction. London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she is forced to move into a burnt-out theatre with her maid and small son.

She soon discovers that they are not the only inhabitants… a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realises there is more to this man than meets the eye.

Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. And when his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice – his love for Lily or the explosive truth that will set him free.

Fast paced and brimming with emotion, Darling Beast is a tasty treat for all true romantics.

(Piatkus, paperback, £8.99)

The Boleyn Bride by Emily Purdy

The Tudors take centre stage again in a fascinating new story from popular historical novelist Emily Purdy.

Here she puts the spotlight on Elizabeth Howard, the disillusioned bride who became mother and grandmother to two of England’s most famous queens.

Aged just sixteen, of noble birth and stunningly beautiful, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon.

But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises her three children… golden girl Mary, moody George and the family’s ugly duckling Anne.

Elizabeth staves off boredom with a string of admirers until Henry VIII takes the throne and her fortunes change. Thomas finally brings his high-born wife to London where Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances, and catches the lusty king’s eye.

But those who enjoy Henry’s fickle favours must also guard against his wrath. For while her ambitious husband’s machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one, and the Boleyn family’s fortune may be turning yet again…

A thrilling new chapter in the enthralling story of the powerful, perilous Tudors.

(Piatkus, paperback, £7.99)

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

The first book in Nora Roberts’ captivating Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy is guaranteed to set hearts racing and spines tingling.

Roberts, recently revealed as the third bestselling author of the 21st century, adds a touch of paranormal magic to a captivating story of love, family and destiny.

Iona Sheehan has just taken the biggest gamble of her life. Leaving her job, her home and her family in Baltimore, she has moved to Ireland in search of adventure, and answers.

She had always felt a powerful connection to Ireland so when her beloved grandmother confessed an extraordinary family secret, she just could not resist travelling to County Mayo to discover the truth for herself.

Not far from the atmospheric Castle Ashford where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, and they welcome her with open arms into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the charismatic, fiercely independent owner Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he is three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.

Iona soon realises that here she can make a home for herself and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle.

But Iona’s arrival is no accident. The three cousins have each inherited a dangerous gift from an ancestor known as the Dark Witch. And they are about to discover that some old legends can return to haunt the present…

An exciting and intriguing story of desire, danger and dark secrets.

(Piatkus, paperback, £7.99)