From the Reference Desk, reader's advisory

From the Reference Desk

With February approaching, please enjoy some reviews of romantic fiction…

lauren reviews

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The description sounded fabulous – two devoted older siblings, each determined to do their best for beloved younger siblings, match wits and fall in love. Which was accurate…to a point. Alas, the Duke has a serious issue with thinking he ought to behave and then promptly giving in to his desire to kiss the heroine. In fairness, the heroine is equally inclined to be kissed; as a reader it got irksome for them to be forever going ‘I shouldn’t’ and then doing exactly that. For those seeking a heroine who takes her responsibilities and promises seriously, this is recommended, as long as one doesn’t mind frequent, steamy scenes.

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Lisa Kleypas gives us a dissolute hero whose turn to self-control makes a marked difference in his appearance and a heroine who is happy to call his nonsense exactly what it is. Be aware that the hero has some serious issues stretching back to his childhood, and blackmail is conducted by multiple characters.
Lorraine Heath’s story centers around a man with a misplaced sense of responsibility, a love that never faded, and the woman whose heart he broke. There is, of course, a happy ending.
Megan Frampton has a grand time with a faux engagement turning real, a heroine who delights in coming up with plausible definitions for words, and a house party. The commitment-phobic hero, his mama who just wants him to travel less often, and Lady Sophronia (and the prospect of chickens hanging before her) all prove charming.
Vivienne Lorret offers up a scientific Duke, his Marriage Formula, a lady who is (theoretically) only at his house party to support her friend, and a definite zing when the two meet. Bonus points for discussion of actual innovations of the time.
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This book was on my To Be Read list for a long time, and I really thought I’d love it. I was half-right: Dimple and Rishi are both brilliant, awkward, and determined to do things their own way. While Rishi starts off making a terrible impression on Dimple, he does eventually manage to win her over – not exactly surprising, since he very much wants to make her happy. The eventual plot twist is delightful. Now, for my major issues: Dimple frequently hits Rishi, hard enough to hurt him, and completely disregards his wishes in order to do what she thinks is best for him. Both of these are major relationship issues, and took the book from a fun read to a disappointment. Though it was good to see an #OwnVoices book and I am still glad that it’s available to our patrons who might wish to see themselves in the hero and heroine, I can only hope that Dimple stops these behaviors as she matures so that they could have an actual happy ending.
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From the Reference Desk

From the Reference Desk

Occasionally one of our counterparts in non-fiction will come across a fiction book they can’t wait to tell everyone about.  This happened recently, and we decided to start a new series of blog posts.  Please enjoy this collaboration…

lauren reviews

Jacket

The back cover promises a heroine possessed of strong opinions and intelligence, as well as a hero who needs to work to win her over, and for once it wasn’t exaggerating. Though they share a past together (presumably mentioned in another book), and the hero is no slouch himself in intellectual matters, they start off the book on the wrong foot. Seeing them gain a deeper appreciation of each other is the main attraction here, though the hero’s dog is definitely a major player.
Note that the heroine is involved in providing a safe place for street children and suffers from some trauma due to one of them ensuring she could not interfere with the murder of the nightmare figure who abused a number of them. The living antagonist in the story is also a man to whom others are there to be used, and he does attempt to kidnap and rape the heroine in revenge for the hero and heroine making sure he could no longer easily cheat at cards and fleece people of substantial sums. She manages to successfully fight back and humiliate the villain, so it is ultimately a triumph, but not something all readers are able to read.

Jacket (1)

Available through MyMediaMall, this set of three novellas linked by a shared beginning and ending offer a lighter romance overall than Ashford’s most recent book. All three of the sisters are tossed into situations rife with potential problems and instead find comfortable, pampered lives for two of them – and even the middle sister’s theoretically disastrous heartbreak and departure from her job is salvaged by the loving interference of her sisters and their unlikely fairy godmothers (no magic, here – just wealthy, kindhearted women who use their privilege to do good). Some readers may find the final hero’s exasperated comment to his fiancee to cross a line of ungentlemanly behavior; others may be fine.

Jacket (2)

Technically a juvenile book (you’ll find it in our Youth Department), this Newberry winner is nevertheless an excellent crossover read for those who enjoy fairy tales, villains who get their comeuppances, and happy endings. There’s plenty of magic and foreboding, along with multiple points of view, but kindness and caring win the day in the end against a most insidious and selfish evil-doer.