Love is in the air this January as two American queens of romantic fiction dish up some winter-warming passion and drama.
North Carolina author Erin Knightley makes a welcome return with the second book in her devilishly clever and deliciously love-filled series Prelude to a Kiss, while Colorado writer Julia Quinn serves up the last book in her witty and addictive Smythe-Smith Quartet.
The Earl I Adore
Prepare to be swept away as Erin Knightley uses her trademark mix of humour, love and high drama in a seductive tale set amongst Regency England’s most sophisticated haunts.
This is the second book in the enchanting Prelude to a Kiss series, which began with The Baron Next Door and now brings us the stormy relationship between capricious Sophie Wembley and the dashing Earl of Evansleigh.
Sophie is about to discover two hard truths… when planning a rushed betrothal, one must not be choosy, and when the perfect earl happens by, one must not be shy.
After receiving word that her sister has eloped to Gretna Green, even ever-optimistic Sophie has trouble staying positive. She needs to secure her future before the scandal destroys her prospects, although she doesn’t relish the idea of a hasty marriage.
But her long-time crush has just shown up for the summer festival in Bath. He may be the key to avoiding disgrace and getting the ‘happily ever after’ she dreams of, but only if she can bring herself to pursue him.
John ‘Evan’ Fairfax, Earl of Evansleigh, is one of the most popular bachelors in smart society. However, his easy-going manner hides a dark past that he is determined to keep secret. Evan has always kept acquaintances at arm’s length for self-preservation, but there is something irresistible about Sophie… and her seductive charms may well sway the confirmed bachelor to seize a chance at love.
Moving between Regency London and the grand salons of Bath, Knightley weaves a gorgeous story featuring a feisty and lovable heroine and a handsome but mysterious hero.
The perfect companions for long winter nights…
(Piatkus, paperback, £8.99)
The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
Prolific author Julia Quinn certainly knows how to tug at our heartstrings and the final instalment of her beautifully written Smythe-Smith Quartet is brimming with passion, wit and pathos.
Smiles are never far away in Quinn’s warm and compassionate romance novels which have won her an army of fans and an array of awards.
Here we meet Sir Richard Kenworthy who has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too fussy, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s musical concert, he thinks he might have struck gold.
She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second or third look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows that she’s the one for him.
Iris, meanwhile, is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit, she tends to blend into the background and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love but she can’t quite believe it is all real.
And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he is hiding something... even as her heart tells her to say yes.
Quinn works her magic again in this sparkling final chapter of what has been an enjoyable and entertaining series. Romantic fiction for ‘girls’ of every age…
(Piatkus, paperback, £8.99)