An insouciant yet pragmatic Frenchwoman exiled from London after being pushed to the edge of respectability by a past scandal is drawn to an American ex-conman trying to earn a respectable living by peddling gossip about the ton in a historical that crackles with equal parts wit and lust. Marie-Anne is recalled from her country exile by her almost sister-in-law, who is desperate for her help in disengaging her two sisters from unsuitable betrothals. One of which is to the aforementioned disreputable American, Mr. Mason, who proves far more attracted to the lady intent on breaking up his engagement than with his actual fiancée. My favorite het historical of the year.
Society-page writer Lucien Saxby has little in common with titled and wealthy people about whom he writes—until a sexual encounter with the Honorable Aubrey Fanshawe turns into something more than a pleasurable one-time event. But Aubrey is already emotionally and sexually involved with a husband and wife of his own rank, a relationship which he cannot trust a journalist to keep secret. Or can he? An unusual Edwardian-set historical that combines rich class critique, sympathetically-drawn characters, and polyamorous relationships to brilliant effect.
eckham's debut proved a strange, but deeply compelling read: a historical that took its history seriously, but which also included a strong BDSM/erotic thread, a far from usual combination. Poppy Cavendish, granddaughter to a viscount, is about to lose her beloved greenhouse, and all the plants she's been cultivating therein, after the death of her guardian, her unconventional beloved uncle. But when the sister of her neighbor, the Duke of Westmead, offers her a commission to decorate her brother's ballroom with her blossoms, and throws in help moving her plants as part of the payment, Poppy agrees, despite having to spend time with the brusque Duke. For his part, Archer is on the look-out for a wife, and decides to propose to Poppy, framing the proposal as strictly business: she will provide him with an heir, and he will give her the money to start up a major plant importing business. She should not expect him to give her love or affection in return. To Poppy's surprise, though, their early married days are tender and affectionate. So when Archer inevitably pulls away, Poppy is both hurt and deeply unhappy. I enjoyed Peckham's deft character development, and the clear affection both Poppy and Archer slowly develop for one another, and am looking forward to reading more by this new author.
This is a 2017 release, but I did not read it until this year, worrying that my familiarity with the original story (I taught Peter Pan for more than a decade to children's literature students) would get in the way of my enjoying this retelling. Boy was I wrong. Chant's Peter is a trans man who returns once again to Neverland after ten years back in the real world, unable to conform to a life as the female Wendy Darling. But life in Peter's fantasy world has changed drastically, with the make-believe of war now turned deadly—and with Captain Hook, once his dreaded enemy, now a compellingly attractive temptation. Bursting with intelligence, unexpected turns, deep emotions, and lovely language, Chant's brief novella is one of the best Pan retellings I've ever read.
Susannah Nix, Advanced Physical Chemistry (Chemistry Lessons #3)
Cathy Yardley, What Happens at Con (Fandom Hearts #4)
Rebecca Grace Allen, Her Claim (Legally Bound #2)
Kate Clayborn, Best of Luck (Chance of Lifetime, Book #3)
Mia Hopkins, Thirsty (Eastside Brewery #1)
Ainslie Paton, One Night Wife (The Confidence Game #1)
What were your favorite feminist romances of 2018?