Before I get into this month's list, don't forget to hop over to the Brenda Novak Online Auction for Diabetes Research. My quilt is listed here and last I looked had already been bid up to $91. Very exciting. QBFF T. says she's going to win it. Make her pay through the nose!
I had plenty of strong reads last month and it was hard to pick just 5.
5. In for a Penny by Rose Lerner. This is, I believe, Lerner's debut novel. I had seen several positive reviews for this book, including this DIK review at AAR. The story involves a young man, Nev (short for Lord Nevinstoke), who inherits an earldom and an impoverished estate. When he learns the extent of the debts his father left, he proposes marriage to the only child of a wealthy brewer, a young woman named Penelope, or Penny. Penny is a "Cit" and thus looked down upon by most of aristocratic society. But Nev needs Penny's money and Penny is attracted to Nev and wants to help him. The purpose for their marriage is very straightforward. This book compares, I suppose, in some ways to Heyer's A Civil Contract but with a much more satisfying ending. This is a wonderful marriage of convenience story about a couple who have an awful lot to work through in order to get to their happy ending. And as a historical there's some good stuff here about the poor economy of post-war England, the huge gulf between the haves and have-nots, and worker unrest. This was an excellent book and it has me greatly looking forward to Lerner's next book due right after Christmas.
4. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts. Book 3 in the Bride Quartet was another winner. This time we have Laurel, the cake-baker, and Del, Parker's brother and life-long friend to Laurel. Laurel has always been in love with Del, but he's always treated her as a sister. One night Laurel gets tired of being a "sister" and changes their relationship by kissing him. As a romance, this book is pretty simple and probably wouldn't appeal if you want it to be about the romance. But I didn't really mind. Once again I loved the underlying story of 4 girlfriends who have such a solid relationship with one another. The book is full of great, witty dialogue and one obligatory wedding "disaster" story that made the book, for me, a very fun read. I was hooked from the start. And very hungry for cake.
3. Broken by Shiloh Walker. After having read Walker's Fragile last year, I was really looking forward to the sequel about Luke's brother Quinn. Broken did not disappoint. In fact I think I liked it even better. There was a very clever twist that I spoiled for myself by peeking at the end. Bad Phyl! Bad Phyl! KristieJ did the same thing. She, too regretted it. But even with that spoiler, this was a terrific read because the characters were both so strong and determined. Sara is a woman in trouble. She lives under the radar (using only cash and a false name) and is a boarder at the same house as Quinn. Quinn is out of the army now and works as a bounty hunter. Just as he gets close to Sara, Quinn is handed a new assignment--and Sara is his new target. Quinn has to decide between what his gut is telling him and what he sees in the folder from his boss. Very well done.
2. The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville. This is a book I liked so much that I ended up writing a full review of it here.
1. Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke. I wrote what was essentially a two word review for this a couple weeks ago. "Wonderful, engrossing." And that pretty well sums up this classic historical. Besides the very unusual setting (small town Georgia, turn of the 20th century), this book clearly shows two people who start out truly disliking and distrusting one another and slowly changing their minds as they get to know the other. But this book is so much more as it brings to life this small Georgia town and also explores the stigma of divorce. And it has the most lovely, romantic ending, too.