Author: Jennifer Haymore
Genre: Historical Romance
With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate facade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess...
It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn't resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he'd fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart. [via GoodReads]
Olivia Donovan has been brought up sheltered and protected by her family. While living on a small island in the West Indies she contracted Malaria as a child and has since been plagued by a recurrence of the fevers. Now at twenty-one, she knows that no man would fall for a frail woman and has therefore resigned herself to the fact that she will be the “spinster aunt”. But when Max Buchanan promises a no-strings attached romance, becoming the “disgraced spinster aunt” might not be so bad after all.
As with all of Ms. Haymore’s novels (and yes, I’ve read them all) you cannot go wrong with her books. Her heroines are always brave and witty and her leading men are dark and swoon-worthy. I especially loved Olivia - she was such a carefree young woman. I liked that she didn’t overdo or dwell on things. She saw a hurdle and she pretty much just jumped over it. She was never frail or timid in my eyes (nor Max’s for that matter). Max was all that I look for in a leading man. I loved how he is portrayed as dark, big and brawny compared to the petite Olivia. But don’t let the cover or its short synopsis fool you. Aside from the sweet romance you’ll find there’s a lot going on in this novel. I could not sit still with everything that was going on – from the worry of Olivia’s illness, the wager on her seduction, several kidnappings, sultry love scenes and one of the vilest villains I’ve read in a long time. Needless to say, I devoured this one quite rapidly.
All in all, Secrets of an Accidental Duchess is a wonderful addition to the series. I loved how we get to see more about the lives of Serena and Jonathan (Confessions of an Improper Bride) as well as foresee who the next characters in the upcoming book will be (Pleasures of a Tempted Lady – releasing August 2012). I personally cannot wait. Ms. Haymore has proven herself once again and has earned the honor of being a permanent staple in my Historical Romance shelf.
Once Upon a Wicked Night
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Genre: Historical Romance
All of London looks forward to the Dowager Duchess of Clayworth’s annual ball. For no matter how hard the serious society matron strives to host an elegant event, scandal always ensues…
Seven years ago it was a young Serena Donovan and Jonathan Dane who shocked the ton when they were discovered in a most compromising position. Tonight they return for the first time as the Earl and Countess of Stratford. And while Serena hopes for a quiet evening to introduce her younger sister Olivia to society, Jonathan’s only desire is to pick up where he and Serena left off…
Though innocent Olivia secretly longs for the kind of passion her sister shares with her husband, none of the men she’s met spark a fire inside her heart—least of all the notorious Marquis of Fenwicke. When his request for a waltz turns into something sinister, Olivia must use her wit and wiles to evade a powerful peer who vows if can’t have her, no man shall... [via GoodReads]
Once Upon a Wicked Night is a short novella that takes place right after Confessions of an Improper Bride and gives you insight into the first chapters of Secrets of an Accidental Duchess. In it you first meet Olivia as she is introduced to society by her older sister and brother-in-law, the Earl and Countess of Stratford. It has been seven years since Jonathan and Serena were discovered in a compromising situation and Jonathan is convinced that they should start up right where they left off (wink-wink). Olivia on the other hand is impressed when she meets Marquis of Fenwicke, but when a waltz and an accidental moment where they are alone turns into something sinister it'll be up to her quick thinking to get herself out of a perilous situation - making an enemy in the process.
This was such a quick read and fans of the series will enjoy this short glimpse into the lives of Jonathan and Serena and be enchanted by their first introduction of Olivia. Although it's not necessary to read, I do recommend it as it gives some explanation as to the first chapters of Secrets of an Accidental Duchess. Lovely and captivating and short enough that you won't want to miss it.