Phyl's 5 Phaves from January

I somehow managed to get quite a bit of reading done last month and I included some books in a variety of sub-genres. Yet it should come as no surprise that all my favorites were historicals. I guess I have been, and always will be, a lover of historicals above all else. You've been warned.

5. A Convenient Wife by Carolyn Davidson. This 2001 western historical was my January TBR read. I was enchanted by this story of a naive young woman who comes into her own when she becomes the wife of the local town doctor.

4. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. I read a review of this on Hilcia's blog back in December. I was intrigued, in part because I liked the last Gist book I'd read, but in part because of the plot that was about bringing brides to Seattle in the 1860s. See, as a pre-teen I enjoyed a brief, but intense crush on those strapping young loggers in Seattle thanks to a short-lived TV series, Here Come the Brides. (Those of you of a certain age might remember the show that catapulted David Soul & Bobby Sherman to stardom as well as let us see Mark Lenard without his Vulcan ears.) Anyhow, Anna Ivey, destitute after her family has been destroyed by the Civil War, agrees to become a Mercer girl and go to Seattle. She expects to be hired on as a cook. Instead, Joe Denton, the man who'd contracted for her, expects her to agree to be his wife. Joe tries to woo her so that she'll agree to the marriage. The unusual setting, an interesting piece of history, and very likable characters made this a very enjoyable read.

3. One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick. I blogged about this one here last week. This Regency historical went against many of the normal tropes of most Regencies. A French army officer and a disgraced, divorced courtesan come together in what turns out to be a lovely story of learning to trust and to love. Well done with lots of fascinating history you don't normally see in a Regency.

2. Rebel by Zoe Archer. This is book 3 in Archer's Blades of the Rose series and probably my favorite so far. I loved the setting in the Canadian wilderness with Nathan, a Native hero who discovers the magic he was born with, and Astrid, frozen in her grief who comes back to life as she and Nathan work together to defeat the Heirs. This is an imaginative series with well-drawn characters, interesting settings, and page-turning adventure.

1. The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne. I first read this 3 years ago and decided to read it again. This time I knew the plot twist involving Annique was coming, yet the book was just as enjoyable as before. I love the way Bourne writes. The dialog is witty and the conflict that Annique faces is realistic. Robert is a great hero who is single-minded in his pursuit of Annique, yet he gives her the freedom to make her own choices. This is an intelligent, emotional book that no doubt will be read by me many more times to come.


  1. Oooh, yippee! Someone else who felt Rebel was, "my favorite so far." For me I think it had a lot to do with the frontier-style setting and the wounded heroine. Oh how I love me a good wounded heroine :)

    I still need to buy the Cornick trilogy. She became an autobuy after two great HH reads in a row. (For the record: The Last Rake in London (Edwardian!!!) and Kidnapped: His Innocent Mistress).

  2. Like Wendy, I need to get the COrnick. I was totally sold on your review.

    I'm one of the few for whom Bourne doesn't work well. I wish I knew why.

  3. Phyl, I'm so glad you also enjoyed A Bride in the Bargain. I loved the wonderful historical details in that book. :)

    I've read a couple of Nicola Cornick books and enjoyed, but haven't followed up with her. I also need to do so. And hmm... Bourne? I most be the only person left that hasn't read The Spymaster's Lady -- it didn't appeal to me at the time? I should pick it up and give it a shot, I might just love it!

    I STILL have the Archer books in my TBR, lol!

  4. Wendy, I read those Cornicks too. I love the way she writes "outside the box."

    LOL, Lori. I also read The Iron Duke in Jan. and I'm just not feeling the love. I totally get that what works for me might not work for you. I sure hope you like the Cornick, though.

    And Hils, I'm grateful for your review of the Gist. I want to track down more of her backlist. And see Lori's comment. Not everyone likes Bourne, but I'm a fan.

  5. Wow, you read a lot in January! Very productive.

    I should pick up the Cornick book. I read the trilogy she wrote last year and enjoyed it.

    I have Archer's trilogy on my iPad. I gotta get to it.

  6. Yes, it was a good month, Christine. I hope you get to try some of these!

  7. Hi Phyl, I've just seen that you mentioned Castle of the Wolf on Jessica's blog (thank you!) and wondered whether I've got a new book out. The answer to your question is that, unfortunately, I haven't. Life hit me over the head in 2007 and 2008, and in 2009 I was busy trying to finish my dratted PhD project in a rush. After *that* the sight of a computer was enough to reduce me to tears. But last year I tentatively started on a new book project, and I hope that it'll soon progress into a presentable state.

    I hope that, should it be published eventually, you'll enjoy it just as much as my earlier books!

    Best wishes from Germany,

  8. Sandra, Thank you SO much for that update. I'm sorry you had a rough few years; I'm glad that all appears to be behind you now. I really do hope you get published again. I look forward to it!


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