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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

From the publisher: A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

This book is bonkers. It contains every crazy thing you can imagine in an adventure story – pirates, flying houses, assassination attempts, gothic abbeys, kidnappings, tea parties. Somewhat like The Princess Bride on steroids.

As such, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels will not be to everyone’s taste. It is full of nonstop nonsense. The author is in love with her own cleverness, which doesn’t necessarily aid the story. People used to listen breathlessly while the latest installment of a new tale…

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The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

From the publisher: London, 1885. A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.

The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart is an entertaining clean historical romance. It has strong, interesting female characters and a sympathetic hero. The plot takes some unlikely twists, but nothing struck me as outlandish. The book pushes the edges of acceptable behavior for women in 1885 in a believable way and introduces societal issues like street urchins and the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities. The bad guy is stereotypical with no nuance, but I didn’t mind too much since the story flirts with being a gothic romance.

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Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Marie Buchanan

From the publisher: In a world of pagan traditions and deeply rooted love, a girl in jeopardy must save her family and community, in a transporting historical novel by nationally bestselling author Cathy Marie Buchanan.

It’s the season of Fallow, in the era of iron. In a northern misty bog surrounded by woodlands and wheat fields, a settlement lies far beyond the reach of the Romans invading hundreds of miles to the southeast. Here, life is simple–or so it seems to the tightly knit community. Sow. Reap. Honor Mother Earth, who will provide at harvest time. A girl named Devout comes of age, sweetly flirting with the young man she’s tilled alongside all her life, and envisions a future of love and abundance. Seventeen years later, though, the…

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