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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #762, “Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 1:04pm by muffy

Among the Booklist’s Top 10 Romance Debuts are these 2 delightful historicals. 

mr_malcolms_listMr. Malcolm's List * by Suzanne Allain, a screenwriter whose most memorable trip was to London where her script for Mr. Malcolm’s List: Overture (see trailer) was being filmed.

Spurned debutante Julia Thistlewaite learns through her brother that The Honourable Mr. Jeremy Malcolm, second son of the Earl of Kilbourne finds her lacking the many qualifications on his well-crafted list for a suitable wife. To exact revenge Julia invites her friend Selina Dalton, a vicar's daughter, to London, planning to tailor her to Jeremy's list, attract his attention, and then reject him for failing to meet the qualifications of her own list.   Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia's scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who appears to be very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia's description.

“By focusing on a few well-developed characters, screenwriter and debut romance writer Allain make it easy for readers to become emotionally engaged in the progress of these friendships and budding romantic relationships. She also provides a cheeky look at the different expectations placed on men versus women during the Regency Era, revealing the limitations society accords individuals in terms of their family connections and personal wealth and education.” (Library Journal) 

“This effervescent love story is a charmer.” (Publishers Weekly)


To Have and to Hoax * * by Martha Waters (eBook, also available as downloadable audiobook)  In this hilarious debut Regency rom-com, an estranged couple feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention, and maybe just win each other back in the process.

After a whirlwind romance and a year of wedded bliss, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley are reduced to cold detached politeness. When Violet learns James has been thrown from his horse, she rushes to their country estate, only to find him alive and well at a tavern. Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own which James quickly sees through, but he decides to play along. “ What follows is a series of riotously funny mishaps, pranks, and misunderstandings as the feuding couple weaponize Regency manners for their own ends. Waters gently lampoons genre tropes without sacrificing genuine feeling. Self-aware and brimming with well-timed epiphanies, this joyful, elegant romp is sure to enchant.” (Publishers Weekly)

Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory and Julia Quinn.



A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby *  (also available in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Vanessa Riley - this multicultural historical Regency romance is the first in the Rogues & Remarkable Women Series, for fans of Beverly Jenkins, Evie Dunmore, and Alyssa Cole.  

Romance burns slow and hot between a rakish war hero and a determined widow in this bewitching Regency series opener. When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband Colin’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Hired by Lionel’s unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, as his nanny, Patience all the while, is hatching a foolhardy plan to claim her trust documents and whisk her son to her homeland as soon as possible. 

“Riley’s well-researched depiction of 1814 England tells a broad story of life in wartime, the lack of women’s rights, mental health, and suicide, while, with all the difficulties they face, Patience and Busick’s love story feels genuine and deep.” (Booklist) 

If you just binged on Shonda Rhimes's Bridgerton, Vulture suggests trying these 10 Romance Novels to Read

* *  = 2 starred reviews

* = Starred review

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