Friday, October 14, 2011

Blog Tour & Giveaway of Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer

Welcome to the blog tour of Eileen Dreyer's Always a Temptress. It's the third novel in the series with Drake's Rakes, courageous soldiers and women that fought off Napoleon and French spies to keep England safe.

The blurb:
Sir Harry Lidge has done his duty.  After losing too many good men in battle he's ready to live a life free of care.  But first he has one last mission: kidnap the most outrageous woman in London--the same woman who betrayed him nearly a decade earlier--and find out what she's concealing before her secrets take down the crown.

Surrounded by ardent admirers and a few loyal friends, Lady Kate Seaton glides through the ton armed with nothing but couture gowns and bon mots.  No one suspects that beneath her lighthearted facade lies a sorrow so scandalous she'll do anything to keep it hidden.  But only when she trusts Harry with the truth can she begin to heal.  And only when Harry trusts her with his heart can he protect both his country and the woman he loves.

I've thoroughly enjoyed Eileen Dreyer's earlier novels with the Drake's Rakes (Barely a Lady and Never a Gentleman).   In Always a Temptress, Dreyer tells us the story behind the beautiful, double Duchess Kate Seaton.  Kate's the daughter of a duke and the widow of a duke. She's beautiful, high spirited, independent, outspoken, always on the edge of danger.

Harry'd met her when she was fifteen.  She'd been his closest friend and he'd fallen for her deeply. His life had been turned upside down when he learned of her betrayal -- he escaped to the army and the ten years of fighting had taught him a great deal, made him careful.  Seeing Kate now she stood out "her attire was just shy of being too bright, too bold, too revealing"  and it was generally agreed that her behavior bordered on scandalous.  More lovers than anyone could count and a painting of her naked body hung in one of London's private clubs.  A woman who thinks only of herself and while Harry hadn't expected her to betray her country, he can believe it of her.

Harry's assigned the distasteful task of kidnapping and interrogating Kate and in the process discovers that she's not as tough as she seemed. He uncovers proof in Kate's favor and before he begins to wonder how much of what he's believed about her is true, he finds himself rescuing her.  The rescue binds Kate and Harry together.  Although much has happened in their ten years apart, they both discover the person that they'd left behind.

Always a Temptress is a fun escape. Double duchess Kate is a standout character -- brilliant, beautiful and brave.  Sir Harry Lidge is admirable, loyal and tenacious.  Dreyer gives us two likable characters who deserve to be together and enough of the intrigues, plot twists and bad luck that we savor the ups and downs of their romance.  If you enjoy historical romance, I highly recommend Always a Temptress.

ISBN-10: 0446542059 - Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Forever (October 1, 2011), 432 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Eileen Dreyer lives in her native St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Rick and their two children. Eileen's historical romance Barely a Lady was listed as a Best Book of 2010 by Publishers Weekly and a Best Romance of the Year by Library Journal and Booklist, which called Dreyer "a rising new historical star." Her contemporary romances published under the name of Kathleen Korbel, have earned her six Romantic Times writing awards and five RITA Awards, which secured her a Pioneer Award from the RT Booklover's Club and a place in the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Hall of Fame.

Forever Romance and the Hatchette Book Group is generously sponsoring a giveaway of 3 copies of Always a Temptress.  To enter the giveaway, please share your favorite romantic couple in fiction and tell us why you like them so much.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.
3.  One winner per household.

The contest is limited to US only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on Nov. 1, 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Burial at Sea (a Charles Lenox Mystery) by Charles Finch

 A Burial at Sea by Charles FinchA Burial at Sea

The blurb:
Charles Lenox, Member of Parliament, sets sail on a clandestine mission for the government.  When an officer is savagely murdered, however, Lenox is drawn toward his old profession, determined to capture another killer.
1873 is a perilous time in the relationship between France and England.  When a string of English spies is found dead on French soil, the threat of all-out war prompts government officials to ask Charles Lenox to visit the newly-dug Suez Canal on a secret mission.

Once he is on board the Lucy, however, Lenox finds himself using not his new skills of diplomacy but his old ones: the ship’s second lieutenant is found dead on the voyage’s first night, his body cruelly abused. The ship’s captain begs the temporarily retired detective to join in the hunt for a criminal.  Lenox finds the trail, but in the claustrophobic atmosphere on board, where nobody can come or go and everyone is a suspect, he has to race against the next crime—and also hope he won’t be the victim.
At once a compulsive murder mystery, a spy story, and an intimate and joyful journey with the Victorian navy, this book shows that no matter how far Lenox strays from his old life, it will always come back to find him.

I am new to the Charles Lenox mysteries and very much enjoyed A Burial at Sea.  Other reviewers recommend reading the books in order, but I found it easy to like and follow the story of Charles Lenox, the forty-two year old former investigator now member of the House of Commons.  Lenox is three years into his political career and misses his old vocation.  But he's married to his childhood friend and a soon-to-be-father and a rising star in Parliment.

It is 1873 and British-French relations are at a delicate point again.  Lenox is asked to sail to Egypt  to undertake a secret diplomatic mission on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. His cover story is that he has been tasked to enter into a relationship with the Egyptian government that will allow the English access to the Suez Canal and to facilitate trade in between Europe and Asia.

This is Lenox's first sea voyage and he's on Lucy, one of the best regarded ships in Her Majesty's Navy.  Early into the voyage, an officer is found murdered.  There are few clues and the Captain calls on Lenox's aid to find the killer and to restore peace on the ship.  Lenox's investigative skills are a little rusty, but he soon picks up his old habits.  In a ship of over two hundred strangers, in an environment and culture new to him, Lenox must find the killer before he strikes again, before unrest leads to a mutiny.

For those who enjoy historical detective novels, Charles Lenox and A Burial at Sea deliver a captivating mystery full of historical and nautical details, complicated relationships and unexpected twists.  A fun read!

ISBN-10: 0312625081 -Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011), 320 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.

About the Author:
Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Fleet Street Murders, The September Society and A Stranger in Mayfair. His first novel, A Beautiful Blue Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2007, one of only five mystery novels on the list. He lives in Oxford, England.