Reviews by Rike Horstmann

B
The Concubine

I have been deeply fascinated with China and Chinese history ever since reading Wild Swans many years ago, and I was delighted to discover that Harlequin Blaze were publishing a historical romance set in imperial China. I found The Concubine by Jade Lee a very pleasant and unusual read. ...

C
The Earl's Untouched Bride

The Earl’s Untouched Bride by Annie Burrows is a prime example of a whole that is less than the sum of its parts. This romance uses many ingredients I really like, but still the overall result, in my eyes, was no more than average. In the wake of Napoleon’s defeat, Charles Fawl ...

B
The Pearls/ The Crown

After finishing The Pearls and then The Crown, a two-volume fantasy series by Deborah Chester, I thought it okay. It was nicely written overall, but nothing that special. But rather to my surprise, the books stayed with me. I went on considering their plotting and characters, and suddenly I realised ...

A
The Legacy

Where does Medallion Press find its debut authors? This is the second time in a fortnight I have read a debut novel published by this house, and each time I have been overwhelmed by the quality of the writing, by the fascinating characters, and by the authors’ happy disregard of the usual formulas ...

B-
A View to a Kiss

I picked up A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden because I was expecting something like James Bond in the Regency. I like the dry humor of the (old) James Bond movies, and this sounded like it could be a fun read. Harry Sinclair is a working spy, not simply an aristocrat taking off s ...

A
Forever Princess

I have been an avid follower of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries since 2001, when I came across the first two volumes in a bookstore and read them in one sitting. Since then, I have bought each volume as soon as it came out, usually paying full price for the hardback. Forever Princess, together with P ...

C+
The Borrowed Bride

The Borrowed Bride by Elizabeth Lane is a romance set in rural Colorado in 1899. While I liked the setting, and was not put off by the love triangle of a woman who has to choose between two brothers (a no-no for a number of readers), ultimately the romance failed to convince me. Quint ...

D
Heart of Courage

The setup of Kat Martin’s Heart series already made my eyes roll: A Viking civilization on an island north of the Orkneys was cut-off for several centuries, but somehow some of them wound up in Victorian London, full-blooded warriors and all. Heart of Courage, the third volume, tells the story of ...

B
The Mistress Diaries

Has this happened to you? Rationally, you know all the reasons why you should dislike a novel, or at least consider it no more than average. Yet you find it a gripping read, root for the characters, and decide to order the other volumes in the series, minor and not so minor flaws notwithstanding. Th ...

B
Traitor's Kiss/Lover's Kiss

Anthology
With the demise of the traditional Regency romance, several authors have opted to write longer, meatier historicals. After publishing several trads, and, in the interim, short stories, Mary Blayney now makes the switch with a double feature, the first two novels in a series about a ducal family issu ...