Tag Archives: Jayne Fresina

The Trouble with His Lordship’s Trousers (Ladies Most Unlikely #1) by Jayne Fresina

Trouble with His Lordship's Trousers CoverRelease Date: March 14, 2016
Published by Twisted E-Publishing, LLC 
Review Copy from Author

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In Regency London, Georgiana Hathaway has no intention of falling into the conventional trap of marriage and motherhood. She has so much more to do with her life, and a few tortuous years at ‘The Particular Establishment for the Advantage of Respectable Ladies’ has done nothing to change her mind. In fact, she’s already taken the first steps to carve out a career, by anonymously crafting a scandalous, satirical column, called His Lordship’s Trousers, for her father’s newspaper.

But as the misadventures of her comical rake become the most talked-about story in London, and the naughty column earns greater popularity, it is also bound to gain critics. How much trouble can “His Lordship’s Trousers” get her into? She’s about to find out.

Meanwhile, “Dead Harry” Thrasher eagerly reads that wicked column every week. It is one of the few things— other than the obituaries— that make him laugh out loud these days. He lives vicariously through that fictional rake’s antics, because his own life is suspended in time and he sees no reason to move forward. After all, when a man’s obituary has been printed in the newspaper, not once but twice, he has a tendency to believe it. What’s the point of a life over which man has no control? What, exactly, has he been saved so many times for? He’s about to find out.

When Dead Harry meets Miss Hathaway, they will both find their worlds, and their long-ingrained opinions, at risk. She does not want to fall in love with a man when everybody knows the male animal only gets in the way of a girl’s ambitions. And Harry may have survived a “mortal” wound, and eight hundred and fifty days stranded alone on an uncharted island, but can the very private life of this semi-recluse survive the reckless curiosity and impertinent sauce of Miss Georgiana Hathaway?

He’s a naval war hero— even if he does have an aversion to decent clothing and polite behavior— so if this young woman thinks to conquer him and put his life in order, she’d better have a battle strategy. It’s been a while since he enjoyed a skirmish at sea, but Harry has a feeling he’ll love every moment of this one.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

There’s nothing like a really good historical, am I right? Jayne Fresina has penned some stories I’ve highly enjoyed, and I’m adding The Trouble with His Lordship’s Trousers to the list. Her particular brand of historicals is sure to delight and never bore. In a quirky, humorous approach to an otherwise classic trope, Fresina matches wits – and more – of the unlikeliest of bedfellows. Readers will find the end result truly magical.

I’m always drawn to a heroine who’s a tad bit rebellious, and  Miss Georgiana Hathaway certainly fits the bill. Unwilling to simply abide by society’s standards for young ladies, Georgiana dreams of an independent life as a writer. She has a pretty good start on that already, secretly writing an anonymous column for her father’s newspaper.  Now if only her amusing shenanigans wouldn’t attract so much attention and keep getting her into trouble! Her heart’s in the right place, though, and that’s what counts.

In what seems like more than coincidence, Georgiana finds herself frequently crossing paths with “Dead Harry” Thrasher. The former naval war hero is the stuff legends are made of! The rumors and myths surrounding him are never-ending and endlessly entertaining, except perhaps to Harry himself. He’s a quiet fellow who’d love nothing more than to battle his demons in private and live a solitary life peacefully in the countryside. His meddlesome aunt, however, has other plans.

As Georgiana and Harry fumble their way through a forced acquaintance, it’s obvious there’s something more to it. Nevermind being warned to keep her distance, Georgiana is far too curious and strong-willed for that.  Besides, Harry’s odd behavior and secrets present the perfect mystery.  It’s a good thing she’s so persistent, because it presents the perfect opportunity for Fresina to build a relationship between them that’s unique and special.

All in all Fresina’s creativity and powerful storytelling show through in this rather eccentric romance. Her ability to create and develop unique, independent characters demonstrates a depth and complexity readers appreciate.  The interaction of these distinctive characters is the pleasing reason readers keep coming back for more. I know I’m looking forward to reading more of the adventures of the Ladies Most Unlikely.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

How to Rescue a Rake (Book Club Belles #3) by Jayne Fresina

how to rescue a rake coverRelease Date: January 5, 2016
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Copy from NetGalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Reject his marriage proposal
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate’s mysterious new wealth has the town’s rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana’s attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry “any suitable girl” under the age of 25.

Run away
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate’s return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can’t help but feel in Nate’s presence…and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.

But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

I’ve been waiting so long for the impenetrable Diana Makepiece’s story! Her tale is one that’s intrigued me from the beginning with all her quiet introspection and a detectable desire to unleash her innermost desires. Diana’s bright, witty and extremely intelligent, but she’s ruled by the iron fist of her scrutinous mother who makes sure all is right and proper.  It’s a classic case of being stifled by society’s demands of a lady and learning to strike a balance between what’s expected and what makes her happy.  It’s always seemed to me that what makes her happy is Nathaniel Sherringham. Of course she could never admit it. Oh no.  That would never be allowed.

Nathaniel Sherringham is a jovial sort of gentleman who enjoys life. It’s easy to see why Diana’s drawn to him – he seems to be everything she’s not. He’s charming, engaging and wildly popular in society. Unfortunately those same characteristics are why Diana’s mother deems him an inappropriate match for her daughter. Apparently his easy demeanor and tendency to throw caution to the wind would make him a risky, unreliable husband.

In yet another fun, engaging installment of the Book Club Belles Society, Jayne Fresina delivers what at first appears to be a straightforward tale of love lost and second chances. When you dig deeper, however, you find the many complex emotional elements surrounding Diana and Sherry, Diana and her mother, and simply Diana herself. It’s a joy to watch this meek young lady flourish and grow during her adventure in Bath, finally realizing a potential readers have seen all along.  An unexpected bonus for me is seeing the dower Mrs. Makepiece in a whole new light – one that’s not entirely pretty, yet explains quite a bit.

Fresina takes great care to set things in place for future stories with the introduction of the Plumtre sisters during Diana’s time in Bath. These carefree, rambunctious girls are sure to turn Hawcombe Prior upside down with their antics and unpredictable ways. I know I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what mischief awaits them!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

 

Sinfully Ever After (Book Club Belles Society #2) by Jayne Fresina

Sinfully Ever After CoverRelease Date: December 2, 2014
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Copy from NetGalley

About the Book:
Teaching scandalous young men a lesson? This is not your typical book club…

To Rebecca Sherringham, all men are open books—read quickly and forgotten. Perhaps she’s just too practical for love. The last thing she needs is another bore around—especially one that’s supposed to be dead.

Captain Lucius “Luke” Wainwright turns up a decade after disappearing without a trace. He’s on a mission to claim his birthright, and he’s not going away again until he gets it. But Becky and the ladies of the village Book Club Belles Society won’t let this rogue get away with his sins. He’ll soon find that certain young ladies are accustomed to dealing with villains.
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Our Thoughts:

For such a small town, Hawcombe Prior is certainly full of lively characters! These  Book Club Belles seem to find themselves in the middle of the most interesting situations, and, as a group of independent, well-read women, they definitely have an interesting view on how life should be managed. In Jayne Fresina’s latest installment, she puts a splendid spin on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, bringing the tale to life right before our eyes. Although there are some noticeable differences from the original, there’s enough familiar territory to make me wax nostalgic for Marianne and Colonel Brandon.

Perhaps one of the best, most enjoyable correlations for me is the role of Rebecca to that of Marianne. Rebecca definitely has a romantic nature, wanting to believe in true love, however she’s just cynical enough to believe it’ll never happen to her. I find that she definitely portrays the sensibility intended in this retelling, and perhaps this gives her character a bit of an edge. Many historical readers might take exception to this kind of forthright, brash heroine, but for me Fresina’s writing captures the very spirit and essence originally planned.  Rebecca’s character grows, changes and flourishes right along with her attachments and involvement with Charles Clarendon and Luke Wainwright.  By the end, I feel she’s a much more likable, less stolid individual who has the sense to embrace all she’s been given.

If you’re familiar with Austen’s work, you’ll appreciate the care Fresina takes to integrate many details from the classic. I mean, she even manages to incorporate the dead leaves and the lock of hair. Just brilliant! Sometimes in retellings or adaptations, very specific references of this nature are missing or lost. By including them, I feel Fresina shows respect for Austen’s masterpiece while displaying gratitude for the opportunity to give it her own unique twist.  I admire many things about Jayne Fresina’s stories, and her ability to take something old and make it new again is among them. I was never bored during Sinfully Ever After despite my basic expectations for how the story would end; the drama as it unfolds in Hawcombe Prior is, as always, highly entertaining.

RATING: ONE SNEAKER, ONE BAD ASS BOOT

Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society #1) by Jayne Fresina

Once Upon a KissRelease Date: June 3, 2014
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Review Copy from NetGalley

I am in love with the Book Club Belles Society.

This story ushers in a new series from Jayne Fresina that will change what we expect from historical romance. She’s expertly given us a country tale interwoven with the classic elements of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Fans of Mr. Darcy will surely swoon over Darius Wainwright, the most unlikely of heroes and love interests. I know I did.

I’ll admit to a certain amount of uncertainty as I began reading. I’ve truly enjoyed Jayne Fresina’s books in the past, but I was struggling to get behind Justina Penny, the heroine in Once Upon a Kiss. She’s definitely eccentric and unique which I love, but her awkwardness was over the top and sometimes painful. I was pretty much cringing in fear for the girl as she endured painful encounter after painful encounter.  I don’t expect all young misses in historical novels to be demure and refined, but Justina’s clumsiness seemed exaggerated. I see now that calling attention to her plight was necessary for Fresina to set the stage properly.  It wasn’t long before Justina’s heartwarming determination and recklessness won me over.

When Darius Wainwright arrives in Hawcombe Prior, he’s determined to remain there only as long as necessary to tend to his late great-uncle’s estate. What is it they say about the best laid plans? That definitely applies here – Darius doesn’t anticipate crossing paths with Justina,  whom he’s shared two very remarkable encounters with in the past. (You can read more about this in the free series prequel novella, Before the Kiss.) As each begins to realize the identity of the other, that creates part of the allure. Darius certainly knows he should steer clear, but can’t seem to help himself.  This is part of the romantic charm for me – he’s driven to seek her out rather than avoid her disastrous company. Darius finds her garishly clumsy, domineering ways charming rather than appalling. In short, he’s got it bad.  Not to mention he’s hiding some insecurities and imperfections of his own.

Naturally Fresina doesn’t make it easy. (Is romance ever simple?  Never.) In this case, there’s a meddlesome mother (or three), an overbearing step-sister and her unassuming friend,  a beautiful sister, and a fruit-loving swine to stand in the way. I really enjoyed each bump in the road for Justina and Darius, and I felt that they earned their love and connection. As Justina herself admits, they had to dislike each other before there could be anything more.

Once Upon a Kiss presents a colorful cast of characters I absolutely adore, and I can’t wait to see more of them. I truly wasn’t ready to leave Hawcombe Prior when the story ended. Fresina seamlessly sets the stage for several future stories, including one character’s apparent return from the dead. I can’t wait to see what that’s all about in the second book, Sinfully Ever After.  Who knows what the Book Club Belles will be up to next.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!