It’s been a few years since Humphreys’ last novel so I was eager to dive in when this one released. And wow, she did not disappoint!
Peter Jennett is shot while on his way to visit his cousin in his country parish. It’s not the first attempt on his life, so he gives a false name when he awakens in the local surgery.
Anne Albright nurses the man she knows as Peter Matthews, allowing herself to develop feelings for him. As they grow closer they learn some secrets about each other, and keep a few more. When the full truth is revealed, Anne can’t forgive Peter for the deception, even though he’s still being stalked by a killer.
I loved this story so much! It’s a wonder to me how Humphreys kept the pace and action of the book moving, when the hero spent so much time in bed and convalescing. But she did! The attraction between Peter and Anne grew and flared naturally. It’s obvious Humphreys does her research, both medically and historically.
I highly recommend NEVER A VISCOUNT!
And, in news that’s sure to shock regular readers of my reviews, I purchased this copy of Never a Viscount. It was not a free advance copy. That’s how sure I was that I would enjoy it, and I was right!
I love love love this book! The attention to historical accuracy and detail makes it a cut above most historical romance. The Victorian mores and attitudes are captured perfectly. But instead of being dry or superficial, The Unseducible Earl is full of emotion, poignancy, and heart.
Victoria Thorne is a Nightingale nurse recently returned from the Crimea and hired by the Earl of Cheriton to nurse his brother, also a Crimea vet, back to health. As Victoria cares for Jamie, she is also able to deal with her own issues that linger from living and working in a war zone. At Cheriton Court, she expected to work hard, to help patients with her skills, and to face some opposition. She never expected the intense attraction she feels for the earl–the betrothed earl.
Robben Merrick is betrothed to a woman who is perfect for him. On paper. He doesn’t love her, but he expects affection will come. It is time for him to marry and produce an heir. He’s grateful his fiancee is willing to postpone their announcement while his brother is still battling for his life, even though he’s out of battlefield danger and safe at home at Cheriton Court. His growing feelings for his brother’s nurse are not part of his plans. And he cannot act on them, even if it feels like he is sentencing himself to a loveless marriage and a broken heart.
Humphreys is a wonderful writer. I felt every bit of Victoria and Robb’s attraction and brokenness.
There are a couple of sub-plots that added to the depth of the story and made the ending even more satisfactory.
The last two to round out my Top Ten.
I thought long and hard about this.
These last two are by friends. And I can hardly bear to only put two friends on the list, so I may have to add a few more. I have so many amazing writer friends that I’m very afraid to start down the road of naming my faves, because I just know I’ll accidentally leave off someone.
But … here goes.
FADING STARLIGHT by Kathryn Cushman. Katie’s been a best writing friend for a long time. And I couldn’t love this book more even if she was a complete stranger. The story is delicate and nuanced and perfectly presents both sides of a sticky moral issue. And the clothes sound fabulous! I love that dress and the window on the cover. Gorgeous!
A HERO TO HOLD by Sheri Humphreys is a great book. There’s just no getting around it, friend or not. I mean, I’ve always known HERO is special, but it was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016. So I may be biased, but someone else who doesn’t know Sheri personally also loved it.
The hero is in a wheelchair, injured in the Crimean War. The heroine is a widow, pretty much shunned by society. Their chemistry ignites on the page and I guarantee that the reader forgets he’s not completely able-bodied.
Whew! That was harder than I thought.
And I had to leave off some really stellar books by friends and strangers. I also either read and enjoyed these books or I’m looking forward to reading them soon (disclaimer: I’m sure I left off someone whose book I loved or will love. Please know it was inadvertent):
A HERO TO HOLD by Sheri Humphreys is amazing.
Sheri is a friend and critique group member, a fellow Elnora workshop alum, and a damn good writer.
So while I may rave about this book, it’s not because I know the author. Or at least not only because I know her. This is a seriously good book.
From the back cover:
Viscountess Charlotte Haliday has lost her illusions. Scandal took her position in society and the husband she thought she loved, and his mysterious murder followed shortly thereafter. But now is the time to return to London, time to find whatever small portion of happiness remains to her.
The first step will be proving she is her own person, unafraid of the lies and deceit that came before. Then she will defy her father and all others who try to steal her independence. Never again will Charlotte have a husband or seek the perfect marriage of her best friend Jane, but perhaps she will dare the wrath of the gossip-mongers and indulge her tiniest desire. To do so will bring her face to face with a stranger in an alcove. It will lead to learning Mr. David Scott is not only a war hero soon to be awarded the Victoria Cross, but also the most formidable man she has ever met. Broken in every way except the ones that count, he just might make her believe in love. And only she can show him that he is not alone.
A HERO TO HOLD is the first book I remember reading with a physically disabled hero, confined to a wheelchair. But make no mistake, David Scott is a hero in every way. His injury and disability do not detract from his strength and charm. Lady Charlotte is strong and determined not to let scandal and widowhood define her. Together, they ignite the pages.
And to prove that while I may be prejudiced, Kirkus Reviews agrees with me:
“Humphreys’ exceptional debut utterly stuns with its professional style, natural dialogue, and extensive research.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Do yourself a favor and grab this one!
I’ve known Sheri for several years. We’ve been in critique groups together and it was at Sheri’s urging that I finally joined Romance Writers of America® in 2013. I’m thrilled to be a fellow Golden Heart ® finalist this year with her!
Please welcome Sheri Humphreys to Live Vi-Carrie-ous!
Tell me about your GH Finalist manuscript, Sheri. Is this your first time entering/finaling?
Another historical, A Hero to Hold, finaled in 2012. I had previously entered different versions of The Unseducible Earl, but I’d revised it and written a new synopsis. Here’s a brief description of the story:
The end of the Crimean War brings Victoria Thorne home to face a society that isn’t ready for a lady with the education and experience of a physician. While nursing a Crimean veteran she proves herself able to deal with medical challenges and discrimination, but she’s dismayed when she develops an attraction to her patient’s betrothed brother, the Earl of Cheriton.
Robb Merrick, Earl of Cheriton, is engaged to a darling of society, yet finds himself drawn to his brother’s nurse. She makes him feel connected with the world instead of cocooned by his title and position. He craves the freedom to pledge his love and loyalty, but ending his betrothal means entangling them all in scandal. How can an honorable gentleman be expected to keep his vow when doing so means destroying all hope of happiness?
Of course, I have to ask: Chocolate or peanut butter?
If we’re talking ice cream or a treat, I’ll take chocolate. If we’re talking food for sustaining life, I’ll go with the pb.
What’s your day job?
I’m a retired ER nurse. And retirement is fabulous!
Tell me a bit about yourself. Family, hobbies, etc. Where you live, in particular.
Last year I moved to Cambria on the Central California coast. It’s a unique village-type atmosphere and retail chain businesses are not allowed, Every business is independently owned. I love the ocean, the weather and the wildlife. It’s a great spot to live.
Who’re your favorite authors? Your go-tos for fiction?
I read a lot of romance. Contemporary, historical, inspirational, romantic suspense, even some erotica. I read books from well established, best-selling authors to debut authors. The only thing I don’t read is paranormal, and the fantasies are few and far between. Right now I’m reading a marvelous book–A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I’ll be following it with the other two books in the series. It is gifting me with a magnificent reading experience.
Oh, I loved A Voice in the Wind! I agree, it’s magnificent.
This one is a toughie, considering you live in a vacation destination, but what’s your favorite or best vacation spot?
Rather than returning to the same spot over and over, I like to go to different places. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, and I want to get there fairly soon.
Are you coming to San Antonio this summer and what are you looking forward to most? What are you wearing to the awards banquet?
Yes, I’ll be there! My Golden Heart experience in 2012 was indescribable. Just fantastic. I’ll be enjoying 2014 just as much. I don’t have a dress yet, but I’ve done a bit of looking.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
There is a magnificent, live coastal oak in my backyard. It must be over 100 years old. That tree is downright spiritual.
What did you do/think when you got “the call” on March 26th?
The Unseducible Earl is the book of my heart. It’s about a nurse. I’m so happy I didn’t give up on it, and it finaled.