London's Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch (MF)
Saint is a rake with a bad attitude. He doesn't care about anyone or anything other than himself. Meanwhile, Evelyn is a beautiful and kind-hearted woman who dedicates her free time to working at an orphanage. When Saint threatens to shut down the orphanage Evelyn does what any woman would do under those circumstances... she kidnaps him and chains him in the basement until he changes his mind. It's not the best idea, especially once she starts uncovering the real man behind the façade of indifference. (Author note: this is one of my all-time rereads of any romance subgenre. I think the idea of chaining a hot man in my basement just really appeals to me.)
England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch (MF)
Lucinda's friends have all ended up married to the men that they've given love lessons to, so Lucinda picks the perfect man to enlighten. And that man is certainly not the surly, unsociable Robert who has returned from war with a limp, PTSD, and an inability to function in every day society. The ton regards him with suspicion, convinced he must have betrayed the crown to escape his imprisonment, but Lucinda sees a man in need of gentle understanding. The two work together to help her woo the man she thinks she could love, all the while falling in love themselves. (Author note: Robert is *chef's kiss* utter perfection. Screw rakes. I want the guy who hates everyone and everything. And Lucinda is such a wonderful human being to take such care with him when everyone else disregards him entirely).
The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian (MM)
Someone's been writing salacious novels based on Lord Courtney's rakish reputation...and ruining him, leaving him shunned from society and unable to see his beloved nephew. Desperate to turn things around, he's willing to spend time with his complete opposite, the most proper man in society, Medlock. Medlock couldn't dislike, or lust after, Courtney more. As their relationship grows and develops, a secret is uncovered that rocks their very foundation and threatens everything they've worked for. (Blogger note: Medlock suffers from reoccurring bouts of Malaria, which made for an interesting, emotional, and somewhat informative read... Sebastian does her research on everything she writes).
Deception by Amanda Quick (MF)
In typical Amanda Quick fashion we get a brilliant heroine (who is far too "obviously smart" for a woman of her time) and a hero who society considers dark, and boring, and cold. Olympia wants nothing more than to simply dedicate her time to her research, but she suddenly finds herself the guardian of three unruly boys that no one else in the family wants. Enter Jared, a future Earl masquerading as a lowly tutor. Together they embark on an adventure of lost treasures and hidden fortunes. (Blogger note: I will never, ever tire of men who hide their passionate and loving natures behind grumpy facades. Never!)
Third Son's a Charm by Shana Galen (MF)
Ewan is the third son, and therefore basically useless by historical standards. He's not your typical historical romance hero. He has a learning disability, a stutter, and low self-esteem from a lifetime of people looking down on him for his lack of intelligence. When he's hired as the heroine's body guard, Lorraine wants nothing more than to make him go away. But when real trouble hits she soon finds herself relying on Ewan to keep her safe...and appreciating him more. (Blogger note: Jesus, just typing this blurb made me want to go reread this book...Ewan is delicious).
Lady in Waiting by Marie Treymane (MF)
When Clara does the decent thing of helping her sister elope, she never expects to find herself being forced to marry a horrible man as a means of salvaging her family's reputation. With nothing to lose she escapes into the countryside and poses as a (very outspoken and somewhat disrespectful) maid at Lord Ashworth's house. William is mourning the sudden loss of most of his family and is incredibly impatient, grumpy, and unsuitable for any sort of company. But he can't stop himself from falling for the beautiful and enigmatic maid...even though he knows he can never have her. (Blogger note: just a fabulous hidden identity reading with yet another grumpy hero...I'm seeing a pattern of my favorites now.)
The Gunslinger's Vow by Amy Sandas (MF)
Malcom is a brooding, surly man bent on a revenge that no one can dissuade him from pursuing. When he stumbles across the stranded Alexandra he writes her off as nothing more than a spoiled socialite, but he doesn't realize that Alexandra's still that wild girl that grew up on the frontier all those years ago and as they travel through the plains he's stunned to discover that there's way more to her than he first assumed. But trouble's afoot and soon Malcolm will have to choose between the revenge he's been working towards and the woman who's stolen his heart. (Blogger note: I'm not one for Westerns, but this was a lot of fun to read. Love a bad ass heroine.)
Runaway Heiress by Syrie James (MF)
She's a nerd looking to avoid being forced to marry. He's an earl masquerading around London as an artist. She needs a new identity and he's hiring a governess. It's a classic. Runaway Heiress has drama. So, if that’s your thing: perfect! There’s attempted kidnappings, there’s—obviously—mistake identities, there’s making out in dark hallways, there’s beautiful paintings, and there’s big, decrepit manors. Big bad Earl brought down by yet another kind-hearted woman.
Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran (MF)
Oh my god, another hidden identity romance. If you'd asked me if I enjoyed the hidden identity trope my answer probably would have been "eh" but apparently I'm a huge fucking fan, so... color me surprised. This book features a heroine who disguises herself as a housekeeper in a brooding weirdos house. That brooding weirdo is a Duke who is also a temperamental dick hellbent on revenge. Alas, the new member of his staff keeps distracting him with her attitude. Real beauty and the beast vibes here which, as we all know, is always a winner.
The Lady Traveler's Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl by Victoria Alexander (MF)
When Sidney wrote her book about traveling through Egypt she never expected anyone to believe it was anything more than a story. But they did and now she's got the fame and the money while poor Harry, an actual expert on Egyptian history, can't get even an iota of the attention she's getting. He challenges her: travel to Egypt with him and prove her expertise firsthand and he'll back down, refuse and he'll expose her as the fraud she is. Obviously, she's not going down without a good fight.
Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian (M/Enby)
Robert Selby is working hard to help his sister make an advantageous match. But she's not really his sister. And Robert Selby is really a housemaid named Charity Church who has been masquerading as a man for the last 6 years (Note: Robert/Charity use she/her pronouns in the book). She knows she can't live forever as Robert, so she plans to see her friend married and the Robert will disappear forever. Alastair has spent years rebuilding his reputation and fortune and he will let nothing take it from him again. But when he starts falling for the young man who shows up on his doorstep he soon discovers that Robert isn't exactly what he seems. Charity has no intention of donning a dress and playing lady for society and the two will have to figure out if there's a way they can be together without sacrificing their dreams. (Charity uses female pronouns for herself in the book which is why I use them for my review).
The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian (MM)
Lawrence is a brilliant scientist who, convinced he is going to go mad like so many men in his family have, hides himself away in the countryside, letting his house and his life fall into disrepair around him. Georgie is a con-man on a mission. A mission to pretend to be a secretary, rob Lawrence of his latest invention, and save his ass from the most dangerous man in London. Georgie doesn't expect to fall for the sweet, misunderstood Lawrence, a man who has never allowed himself to have what he really wants: a man to love. And soon Georgie has to choose between the man he loves and his own life. Lawrence has what could be autism (though it's never explicitly said given the time period) and Georgie is so amazing understanding and accepting of Lawrence's struggles.
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