Reviews by Rike Horstmann

B-
Lord Sin

Lord Sin by Kalen Hughes is a typical example of the misleading packaging peddled by romance publishing houses with the goal, one assumes, to attract more readers. The title is so bland as to contain no valid information about the book whatsoever (Oooh, there must be a man in it! And sex!) and winds ...

B+
The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart is a collaborative novel. The three author's contributions are welded together so seamlessly that I was never able to pinpoint where one had left off and another began. In the end, my enjoyment of the book in itself w ...

C-
Hot Desert Nights

Anthology
In romances I do not usually expect in-depth discussions of current political or social problems. Some elements may be necessary, but not so much as to overshadow the romance. Still I was curious when opening Hot Desert Nights to what extent the authors permit realities of the present relationship b ...

D
The Naked Earl

Sally MacKenzie's The Naked Earl has a nice cover. When I looked at it approvingly, opened the novel and began to read, I had no idea this was to be the last moment I unconditionally enjoyed the book. My problems started in the novel's very first scene, and in the end I had to take the book as my on ...

C+
Web of Love

What struck me first when looking at the reissue of Mary Balogh’s Web of Love is how much I prefer the new cover to the old. The old cover is Signet at their worst: lots of browns and a couple dancing in a scene which does have its counterpart in the novel, but the facial expressions of both hero ...

B-
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever starts off as vintage Julia Quinn, and that is high praise indeed! I was captivated after just reading a few pages, set aside some work that really had to be done and devoured the book in one sitting. A short prologue relates the first meeting of hero an ...

A+
Howl's Moving Castle

I first read and loved Howl's Moving Castle when it was published twenty years ago. In my umpteenth re-reading of the book for this DIK review, I realize I still love it as much as ever. It is, in my opinion, one of the best novels ever about finding yourself and about the nature of love. It begi ...

B
Miss Billings Treads the Boards

Carla Kelly's 1993 trad Regency features a most unlikely romance hero: Henry Tewskbury-Hampton, Fifth Marquis of Grayson, has thinning hair and an expanding waistline. Since leaving the army after fighting in the Peninsular War, he has become lazy, bored, and afraid that he is no longer likable. Tra ...

B+
A Most Unconventional Courtship

The setting of this romance is unusual, and highly attractive. The island of Corfu, in northern Greece just this side of the Albanian border, is described well, and its landscape makes a splendid backdrop to the story and serves as far more than wallpaper. The time is 1817, and the British co ...

C-
Midnight Marriage

Set in Medieval Cornwall, Midnight Marriage takes place against the backdrop of the final years of the power struggle between between King Stephen and Henry FitzEmpress (later to be King Henry II). After the evil Sir Hugh de Noirville manages to drive the Earl of Liskeard out of Cornwall, he marries ...