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Jessica Grogan | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019

December 19, 2019
Our Year in Review continues with one of our newest reviewers, Jessica Grogan, sharing her top historical romance reads of 2019!
2019 was a fantastic year for books, especially in my preferred genre of historical romance. There were so many great titles that it was often difficult to choose what to read next! With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of 4 of my favorite reads for 2019.
My most anticipated read of this year was easily Vivienne Lorret’s THE ROGUE TO RUIN. The third in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series, this title features Ainsley Bourne and Reed Sterling. Ainsley determines that Reed’s gaming hell is keeping her family’s matchmaking business from being respectable and therefore profitable and begins a war with Reed in an attempt to close him down. This was a fantastic enemies-to-lovers tale where the hero and heroine take their time getting to know each other rather than falling into insta-lust. The villain plot added just enough action to the story without being cheesy or ridiculous. This title helped solidify Vivienne Lorret as one of my favorite authors!!
A close second for my most anticipated title this year was Eva Leigh’s MY FAKE RAKE. The first in Leigh’s Union of the Rakes series, this title features Grace Wyatt and Sebastian Holloway. Grace is a bluestocking more interested in reptiles than society and Sebastian is an incredibly shy anthropologist. Sebastian agrees to pretend to be a rake courting Grace to help her attract someone else’s attention. All too soon their ruse begins to become real. There are few things I love more in romances than bluestocking heroines or heroes that are shy. I absolutely adore a title like this one that brings them together. And they were both just fabulous! Seb’s friend, Rotherby, was a delightful side character and I hope he gets his own book next! The makeover scenes made up most of the plot of this title, and I found them to be so much fun. Can’t wait for the next Eva Leigh title!!
Third on my favorites list this year is Karen Ranney’s TO WED AN HEIRESS. This was the second title in her All for Love series and features Mercy Rutherford and Lennox Caitheart. This title falls under the Beauty and the Beast trope (in my opinion, anyway) which is my absolute favorite!! Mercy has recently fled a possessive fiance and Lennox is considered by most to be a madman. When Mercy’s fiance arrives she offers Ross her fortune in exchange for marrying her she has no idea their marriage of convenience will grow to be more. As I said, this trope is my favorite and Lennox was just the type of hero I can’t resist: grouchy but secretly with a heart of gold.  Mercy really became her own person throughout this title as she had never been allowed to be herself until she met Lennox. I loved watching her learn who she is along with Lennox.
The final title among my favorites this year is Sophie Jordan’s THE DUKE’S STOLEN BRIDE. This title features Marian Langley and Nathaniel, Duke of Warrington. When financial woes force Marian to contemplate becoming a wealthy man’s mistress, she decides to enlist the local rakish Duke to help her become the best mistress she can. It was a pleasure to watch Marian’s confidence grow throughout the story. And I loved seeing Nate as he became a more caring person despite his efforts not to. This story kept me reading just one more chapter just to see what happened next. Can’t wait for the next title in this series!!
There were so many titles I enjoyed this year, and so many I’m looking forward to next year!  2019 was a great year for historical romance and 2020 looks to be another great year!

THE ROGUE TO RUIN by Vivienne Lorret

Misadventures in Matchmaking #3

The Rogue to Ruin

The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with a client, which shouldn’t be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .

Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way–Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hell across the street. His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.

Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiance.

Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.

Romance Historical [Avon, On Sale: July 30, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062685520 / eISBN: 9780062685520]

An Enemies to Lovers Tale That Doesn’t Disappoint!

A fantastic tale of warring and wooing!


MY FAKE RAKE by Eva Leigh

Union of the Rakes #1

My Fake Rake

In the first book in Eva Leigh’s new Union of the Rakes series, a bluestocking enlists a faux suitor to help her land an ideal husband only to be blindsided by real desire. . . 

Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to “build” the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.

To further his own research on English society, Sebastian agrees to let Grace transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing–albeit fake–rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t asked him to help her marry someone else. . .

Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future–and his heart.

Romance Historical [Avon, On Sale: November 26, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062932402 / eISBN: 9780062932419]

A fantastic friends to lovers tale!! I will be reading this again!!

An enchanting tale of friendship and true love!


TO WED AN HEIRESS by Karen Ranney

All for Love #2

To Wed an Heiress

New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney
returns to her royally seductive and heart-stirring series as a runaway heiress and an impetuous earl fight for love against scandal, ruin, and a shadowing danger.

Rebellion drove Mercy Rutherford to Scotland to escape the possessive grip of her fiancé. But it’s fate that lands her in the crumbling highlands castle of Ross Caithart. A dreamer with visions of inventing airships, he’s most certainly mad. Handsome beyond words, he’s also causing an irresistible flutter in her stomach beyond reason. When Gregory arrives to see their arranged marriage to its bitter end, Mercy desperately turns to Ross with an offer of her fortune–and her hand in marriage.

The Earl of Morton has a reputation for being a daredevil eccentric, but even he is hesitant to engage in such a rash proposition–no matter how utterly beguiled he is by the wildly independent American heiress. And yet, with so much at stake, how can he possibly say no? But when their unconventional union grows into a passionate and inseparable love, more than Gregory’s obsession threatens them. Now, Ross and Mercy will have to risk more than their hearts to save it.

Romance Historical [Avon, On Sale: March 26, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062841063 / eISBN: 9780062841070]



The Rogue Files

The Duke's Stolen Bride

From USA Today bestselling author Sophie Jordan comes a scandalously sensual romance in her beloved Rogue Files series.

An urgent dilemma. . .

To save her impoverished family, Marian Langley will become a mistress. But she will not be just any mistress. Marian intends to become so skilled, so coveted, that she can set her own terms, retaining control over her body and her fate. Only one problem remains: finding a tutor. . .

A scandalous solution. . . 

Other men deprive themselves of pleasure for propriety’s sake. Nathaniel, Duke of Warrington, would much rather be depraved. He slakes his desires with professionals who ask nothing of him but his coin. Marian’s proposal—that he train her without taking her virtue–is an intriguing diversion, until their lessons in seduction spin out of control.

And a most unlikely duchess. . . 

When Marian is blackmailed into engagement by a man she despises, Nate impulsively steals her away. Though he never intended to take a wife, he can’t tolerate the idea of Marian forfeiting her freedom to another. But can he bear to give her what she demands–a real marriage?

Romance Historical [Avon, On Sale: October 22, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062885432 / eISBN: 9780062885388]

A wonderfully seductive historical romance!

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