The Marriage Wager – Book Review


Finished reading

The Marriage Wager

by Jane Ashford




First of all I have to adress the state of a cover picture. The book was published over twenty years ago. This first cover with a ambiguous dark haired character holding a hand of cards at the gambling table is much more accurate to the story than the pinkish disaster where two fair headed people show much skin while they are embracing. While the main female character of the story is indeed fair headed, the male character is not. I don’t know why I get so agitated by these visual details but I do.



When I started this book I wanted some romantic historical story with quite possible some steamy parts in between. What I got had me surprised more times trough the book. The book opens with intrigue that leaves the author with plethora of plot twist options. Both characters seem to have a murky past. While the actual marriage wager of the book is settled quite fast there was another aspect of this book that caught me by surprise.

Trough most of the book characters are put into a position where care and understanding are the only thing that can lead them to prosperity. Both characters are scared by their pasts and get caught up in the healing power of love. I kept getting surprised from the constant sacrificing acts they do for each other but without each other actually knowing about it.

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There were parts of this book when I thought that the author has made a story for couples who need marriage counseling. At times this book felt like a step by step example what happens with good intentions and not enough communication. The themes were strangely universal and easy to understand.


I expected a nice romantic historical drama. I got more drama than I expected but it was worth it. The amount of times I wanted to scream at something the main characters did was surprisingly low. I enjoyed this book even though it had way more intrigue than steamy moments.


That Scandalous Summer – Book Review


Finished reading:

That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran


I got this book in paperback as a gift. For a while now I was looking for a good historical romance book. It is a regency romance – the kind with English noblemen and ladies, dukes and heiresses. I read the back cover intro to the story and thought it was passable. I love historical romances and they do wonders for me as a stress relief.

“And truly happy people…they were willing to try to understand anything. But as a result of their own comfortable lives, they so rarely could understand.”


The main female character Lady Elizabeth Chudderley is a merry widow who behinds her smiles and composure hides some human fears and past mistakes. She also appears to have a bit of a drinking problem due to the fact that her parents have shown her what true love looks like. She has one dead former husband and freshly ex-lover who turned out to be a total jackass. She is loved by her tennants and subordinates despite her frivolous lifestyle. Since her mother was from a much lover standing than her father was she is charmingly devoid of snobbism.

“Never did a woman have cause to doubt her judgement than when confronted with the pathetic evidence of what she had once somehow found appealing.”


Main hero of this story – Lord Michael de Grey is a second son of the duke. He has found that being a doctor and being very good at it, can make up for certain childhood dramas he suffered while his parents were the topic of every newspsaper gossip. After his brother threatens to destroy everything he holds dear he assumes a cover of a simple country doctor.



What I loved about this story are characters background and motivation. I like characters with flaws but determination. There were some intriguing supporting characters – and that is what makes a good story great for me!

“”Here’s the thing,” he said. “You’re a decent sort, which is more than I could say for myself before I met Lyd. And I suppose Lizzie might also have a taste for pastries one day. Would you know where to look for them?” This conversation was rapidly approaching the surreal. “I suppose I’d try the larder first,” Michael said. Sanburne nodded. “And if she only wanted the strawberry kind?” For God’s sake. “I suppose I’d take all of them, and let he pick out the ones she wanted.” Sanburne laughet. “I like that.” Stepping forward, he delivered a solid clap to Michael’s shoulder. “Remember this ambition. All the pastries. She wouldn’t settle for less, you know. Nor should she. And now…I believe I’ll pretend I didn’t see you here.” With a tip of an invisible hat, he walked onward. Michael stood in the darkness, listening to viscount’s footsteps fade. He felt oddly disoriented – as though he truly had been entranced, and only now had he come awake. All the pastries. He smiled a little. While Sandburne was slightly deranged, he was also right: Elizabeth deserved everything.”

The Spinster and the Earl – Book review


Finished reading:
The Spinster and the Earl (Gentlemen of Honor: Book 1) by Beverly Adam

I got it as a Kindle freebie while searching for some regency romance read to lighten up my reading. In the last year Lisa Kleypas and Eloisa James have become my favorite authors and I was looking for something simillar. I was lucky with Kindle freebies so far and I like trying out new authors for free. Some of the freebies I tried out this way turned into favorites!


This was a historical romance set in Ireland. The Spinster of the story is an interesting character. The story was filed with characters and themes one would expect in a historical romance novel – sometimes I had a feeling that the author wanted to use so many cliched references in her story that her characters suffered. I had some difficulty getting into the story and the characters were a bit fluttery (they were all over the place and predictable).Maybe the story would have worked better if the characters had been better presented. The Earl of the story had a background story that was only hinted at and that’s a real shame.

“As for Beatrice, by the holy rood, the lass needed a husband! Brushing aside the fact that both his daughter and the earl were of hot, unruly dispositions, the old lord spat into his hand and held it out to seal the match.
“My lord, ’tis a match made in heaven,”James said. a faint sardonic smile lit his rugged face as he heartily spat into his own palm and slapped his future father-in-law’s hand. They shook forcefully. The couple was now as good as promised to eachother.”
The Spinster and the Earl (Gentlemen of Honor: Book 1) by Beverly Adam

I am no expert for Irish brogue and English accents but something just felt a bit off in that department.


There were few “laugh out loud” moments trough the book an that is a big plus. I liked the story setting but think that the author could have done better by her characters.

“..a low rumble of manly mirth was heard warming the air.”