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Rose Through Time

Rose Through Time: A Magical Bookshop Novel by [Harmke Buursma]

Readers fond of time-travel novels in the vein of books like Outlander, will enjoy this “Magical Bookshop Novel” Rose Through Time by Harmke Buursma. We begin our story in modern times with a woman named Rose who is grieving not only the loss of her maternal grandmother but also the loss of her recent relationship. In an effort to ease the pressure of responsibility off of her mother and perhaps to take her mind off her own recent break-up, Rose offers to take on the burden of organizing her late grandmother’s belongings after the funeral. While going through her grandmother’s things, Rose comes across a book that transports her through time.

This is a charming and straightforward romance novel ideal for readers looking for a light beach read. The book is an exceptional reflection of a real life love story, although in the regency era, where the melodrama is set aside and we instead focus on the characters and their lives. There are major decisions to be made throughout the story, and readers will be able to relate to them as well. Though this is a romance novel, the blossoming friendship between our protagonist, Rose, and the lead man’s sister, Beth, is an engaging relationship that I enjoyed reading. Following Beth and Rose’s activities was one of the highlights of this book, at least for me. I liked how this novel provides readers with the opportunity to explore both a romance and a friendship.

The story is entertaining in its ability to convey a simple premise with a passion and a sense of drama that will keep readers engaged. The characters are easy to understand and are endearing. As a reader, we move through the motions of a straight-forward but sentimental romance, encountering many of the usual plot devices and familiar tropes that fans of love stories have come to expect. This book is ideal for die-hard fans of light, simple romances who only want to be taken along for the ride without having to untangle a mess of relationships and angsty drama.

Rose Through Time is an endearing historical romance that will send readers back in time and provide them with a feel-good story that is easy to follow and fun to consume.

Pages: 260 | ASIN: B097RBS4QW

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King of Wands

King of Wands (Kings of the Tarot Book 2) by [Anna Durbin]

The King of Wands by Anna Durbin is a Regency romance novel set in England, which tells the story of Lady Julia and her town’s new vicar, Charles Rodman. Both have suffered through awful first marriages and have vowed to never marry again. The story follows all the beats fans of romance novels have come to expect, intriguing characters, tense circumstances, and dramatic situations. The story is well-written and flows smoothly  enough to deliver a quick and simple romance story.

The two characters have vastly different outlooks on life. Lady Julia is progressive, open-minded and experimental, being a deft tarot card reader and a fan of India and Eastern theology, whereas Charles is a devout Christian, serving as the town’s vicar and thus, very rigid and singularly focused on his Christian beliefs. This is the main conflict between the two for the first half of the book and it sets up an compelling dynamic between them.

The story itself is straightforward, though I don’t see this as a negative if you’re a fan of romance novels because this does check all the boxes you might look for in one. The novel serves up stirring melodrama that keeps the story moving along quickly in some areas, but then slows to dive deeper into various situations. This allows the reader to just relax and take it in. This made it enjoyable in that it was a great distraction at the end of the day to just sit back and take in a fun story.

Each of the main characters has a sort of “sidekick” character—Charles has his sister Caroline, and Lady Julia has her cousin Arthur—who both either help nudge the characters together or interfere. Both of these characters were fairly amusing on their own. However, I didn’t feel much chemistry existed between the two.

The King of Wands will appeal to avid romance readers who enjoy a cat-and-mouse style relationship and who might be searching for something like an uncomplicated version of Downton Abbey. The book is well written and the author clearly has done a lot of research into the details of the time period, which I thoroughly appreciate as a reader. The King of Wands is an impassioned historical romance novel that is easily entertaining.

Pages: 398 | ASIN: B08HQ9V5ZH

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Against All Odds

Against All Odds by [Luis Ammerman]

Luis Ammerman’s Against All Odds is an interesting remake of the Cinderella fairy tale. It follows the life of Hazel, an orphan who is continuously mistreated by her stepmother and two stepsisters. Set in England in the regency era, it is full of colorful language, characters, and events.

Hazel seems to be primarily concerned about getting a well-off husband to whisk her away from her troubles. Even her stepsisters Anna and Mary seem to be obsessed with attending soirees and getting betrothed. And like in every regency romantic piece, the honorable knight, Stephen, does eventually come for the helpless princess.

Stephen is described as tall, dark, handsome, reputable, and wealthy -exactly what you expect from the male romantic interest. Once he enters the plot the story follows their love and all its dramatic ups and downs. The plot will appeal to anyone looking for romantic regency era melodrama in the same vein as the show Bridgerton.

While the plot line is well know, it is still filled with interesting moments that test our main characters in different ways and places them in intriguing situations, but I would have appreciated some unexpected twists.

This book is written for ardent fans of the historical romance genre. It is very easy to read and is quite emotionally charged. It draws you into Hazel’s circumstances and makes it easy to relate with her. It is hard not to root for her, especially after all she has gone through.

Apart from love, the book clearly depicts the themes of family, belonging, friendship, loyalty, and resilience. At the heart of it, it is a story of a girl who refuses to give up on life, love, and hope amid painful circumstances.

If there is one thing the author does a good job of though, it is highlighting the cruelty of Hazel’s stepmother and stepsisters – they are literally the worst people in the book. And while that does paint them in a unidimensional way, it stays true to the Cinderella narrative.

Against All Odds is a well-written Victorian era love story that sets riveting characters against an exquisite backdrop where the drama is high and so is the entertainment value.

Pages: 359 | ASIN: B094RK1DKT

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Dual Duplicity (1832 Regency Series Book 2)

Dual Duplicity (1832 Regency Series Book 2) by [Patricia Catacalos]

Dual Duplicity by Patricia Catacalos is an enchanting story of Julie Maxwell, a young eligible bachelor who becomes involved with Lord Wesley, a doctor working during the cholera crisis. While she becomes quickly intrigued with her new love interest, she quickly realizes the complexities within their developing relationship, adding some conflict and challenges to their acquaintanceship. As close family and the relationship’s intentions are called into question, Julia must explore much more than she initially expected.

The story progresses quickly, giving the reader a clear picture of each character, their place within Julia’s life, and where they stand in greater society. Julia quickly learns how integrated her life becomes with Lord Wesley, even from a respectable distance. As her brother works with the doctor as an intern, these developments wield incredible attention within an ever-expanding circle of associates and connections.

As the characters develop, a few unexpected plot twists emerge, changing the storyline’s trajectory and building the reader’s anticipation to discover more. The book’s pace moves quickly and steady enough to keep the reader engaged without missing any details or diminishing any events. You discover that every description is key to the characters, their goals, and the story’s direction.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story’s development and how one layer of plot twist unravels carefully to unveil another. Each chapter paves the way for another exciting shift in events that keeps the reader turning one page after another. Lady Maxwell is a spectacle that doesn’t disappoint, and she’ll keep you and the other characters on your toes with her unparalleled sense of wit and intelligence.

Good storytelling is what gives readers incentive to enjoy a page-turner from beginning to end. Dual Duplicity is an exceptional example of fantastic narration, offering readers a bird’s eye view of every move and twist without revealing too much at once. The characters are exciting and fun to follow from one scene to the next. I highly recommend treating yourself to a thrilling story with captivating characters with nostalgic visuals of a decadent era.

Pages: 228 | ASIN: B07GWX74HJ

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