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Daily Deals: Historicals from epics to romance

At the Mercy of the QueenAt the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Clinard Barnhill. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

A sweeping tale of sexual seduction and intrigue at the court of Henry VIII, At the Mercy of the Queen is a rich and dramatic debut historical about Madge Shelton, cousin and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn.
At the innocent age of fifteen, Lady Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and quickly becomes the confidante of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. But she soon finds herself drawn into the perilous web of Anne’s ambition.
Desperate to hold onto the king’s waning affection, Anne schemes to have him take her guileless young cousin as mistress, ensuring her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. But Margaret has fallen deeply in love with a handsome young courtier. She is faced with a terrible dilemma: give herself to the king and betray the love of her life or refuse to become his mistress and jeopardize the life of the her cousin, Queen Anne.
“A stunningly engrossing and fast read; historical fiction readers will snatch it up and shout, ‘Thank you!’”— (starred review)Library Journal

The three star reviews said that while the POV was fresh the story was not and that it lacked a meaningful drama.

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Almost a Scandal (The Reckless Brides)Almost a Scandal (The Reckless Brides) by Elizabeth Essex. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Bold, brazen, and beautiful, the Reckless Brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But—come hell or high water—they always get their man…

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

For some reason BN has given up on price matching today so this deal is at Amazon and Google Play. The three star review says it is part sailing manual and part romance. This is a chick in pants book.

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What a Wicked Earl Wants Vicky DreilingWhat a Wicked Earl Wants by Vicky Dreiling. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Andrew Carrington, Earl of Bellingham, believes in being a gentleman, whether it’s fishing a soggy stranger out of the Thames or assisting a fetching lady into his bed. If the stranger becomes a friend and the lady a mistress, all the better. He certainly welcomes the opportunity to help Laura Davenport, a dazzling young widow with a rebellious stepson. Her gratitude, he hopes, will take an amorous form. But from the moment he sets foot in her drawing room, he gets far more than he bargained for …


It was a moment of desperation. On the brink of losing her stepson, Laura turned to the notorious Lord Bellingham for help. Suddenly she, a vicar’s daughter, is in the precarious position of resisting his tantalizing advances. How Bell earned his wicked reputation is clear; the surprise is how much more there is to him than the gossip sheets could possibly reveal. Now every moment with this dangerously desirable man puts Laura’s good name at risk-and promises pleasure unlike any she has ever known …

(90,000 words)

Lots of folks loved the supporting characters more than the main ones.

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The Crimson Petal and the White Michel FaberThe Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. $ 2.51 | 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

At the heart of this panoramic, multidimensional narrative is the compelling struggle of a young woman to lift her body and soul out of the gutter. Faber leads us back to 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old whore in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape to a better life. Her ascent through the strata of Victorian society offers us intimacy with a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters.

They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose ambition is fueled by his lust for Sugar, and whose patronage brings her into proximity to his extended family and milieu: his unhinged, childlike wife, Agnes, who manages to overcome her chronic hysteria to make her appearances during “the Season”; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie, left to the care of minions; his pious brother, Henry, foiled in his devotional calling by a persistently less-than-chaste love for the Widow Fox, whose efforts on behalf of The Rescue Society lead Henry into ever-more disturbing confrontations with flesh; all this overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions.

Twenty years in its conception, research, and writing, The Crimson Petal and the White is teeming with life, rich in texture and incident, with characters breathtakingly real. In a class by itself, it’s a big, juicy, must-read of a novel that will delight, enthrall, provoke, and entertain young and old, male and female.

Google Play categorized this as a historical romance but I’m guessing it is not. It’s a really loooooong book. The reports vary between 780 and 895 so expect to invest some time in this story.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. mari
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 19:59:34

    Read the Faber a long time ago. Not at all a romance, but very good historical fiction. The relationships are interesting. Says something that I can still remember this story years after I read it when so many others have faded away.

  2. RevMelinda
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 21:48:15

    Almost a Scandal is one of my favorite books of all time and has a place on my desert island keeper shelf. I love masquerades, “chick in pants,” whatever you want to call it–“chick in pants on board ship” is even better. Usually my inner English major/history critic gets in the way of really enjoying historicals, but this one completely satisfied and delighted me. Excellent writing, great romance, shipboard adventure–you should read it!

  3. EGS
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 08:29:43

    Heh, chick-in-pants. I must admit when the men around the chick-in-pants just have NO IDEA she is a chick makes me roll my eyes. As long as it doesn’t take long for them to figure it out, I’m good.

  4. Ainsley Wynter
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 08:43:31

    Ooh, I love a good “chick-in-pants.” I’ll be adding that to my TBR. Thx!

  5. Little Red
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 10:28:40

    BN is now price-matching on the Essex book.

  6. leftcoaster
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 11:42:18

    I loved the Essex book. I learned so much about sailing large ships during this time period, and it’s not even something I really care about, but it was presented in a compelling way. I also loved how our heroine’s actions (the “chick in pants” during a war) was not without consequences. I can’t remember how long it takes the hero to figure it out, but that really isn’t the main focal point, at least in my reading.

  7. wkw
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 15:18:57

    Re: “chicks in pants” Amazing but true…there are plenty of real life stories of women who served on ships, and/or in the military for lengths of time that ranged from a few months to many years, and whose gender went either undiscovered or unremarked for a long time. Some references, these from just one website (there are many other sites), Sorry to go off track here, but I find these real life stories fascinating.
    “Hannah Snell dressed as a man and called herself James Gray. She served in a regiment of the Royal Marines and fought at the siege of Pondicherry. In 1750 she revealed her secret to her comrades and was granted a lifetime pension. She died in 1791.
    (source Matthew Stephens – [email protected]
    “Hannah Snell, The Secret Life of a Female Marine” – Matthew Stephens – Ship Street Press – 0-9530565-0-3)

    From January to May 1757 a woman, described as being about 5′ tall and aged 19 served on board the ship “Resolution” under the name of Arthur Douglas.
    (source “Female Tars” – Suzanne Stark – Pimlico – 0-7126-660-5)

    Hannah Whitney served for five years as a marine. She revealed that she was a woman in 1761 after she had been locked in a cell and became claustrophobic.
    (source “Female Tars” – Suzanne Stark – Pimlico – 0-7126-660-5)

    Mary Lacy served as a carpenter and shipwright on board navy vessels from 1759 to 1771 under the name of William Chandler.
    (source “Female Tars” – Suzanne Stark – Pimlico – 0-7126-660-5)

    The Captains log for the 32 gun ship Amazon records that on 20th April 1761 “One of the marines going by the name of William Prothero was discovered to be a woman. She had done her duty on board nine months.”
    (source “Female Tars” – Suzanne Stark – Pimlico – 0-7126-660-5)”

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