The Shop Girls Forbidden Love – Jenni Fletcher

This book contains:

  • Domestic violence (financial control).

Nancy’s father died when she was young and when her mother remarried, her stepfather slowly took control of their finances even though he slowly stopped working. This control extended to ensuring they ended up with almost no money despite needing to pay rent and board and continued even after she found her own way in the world.

James is the son of a successful grocer and has encounters throughout his teen and early twenties with Nancy have him reeling and pushing back against his parents wishes for his future. While he’s sure he wants to continue his father’s grocer business, he’s got his own plans for who he wants to marry and how he wants to grow the business, he just needs to convince his father to listen to him.

Nancy and James cross path several times over the span of about 10 years, during which time they learn little, tiny facts about each other. Not enough to consider each other friends, but enough to spark an interest.

When they reconnect later in life, they start to get to know each other and overcome their own challenges to find their way to each other.

Continuing on in the Belles of Bath series, Jenni continues to weave a fascinating tale of independent women fighting for independence in a world that’s not yet ready to give women their independence. In this case, Nancy’s determination to not let anything get in the way of her successfully running Belle’s is inspiring.

Although her complete resistance to letting love in is not something anyone should aspire to. We all need to be loved and to love others.

Meanwhile, James is endearing in his assurance that Nancy is the girl for him, without pressuring her or forcing her in any way to be with him. Having a guy depicted in this time as being sensitive like this is such a great change of pace, especially since he still needs to make a living by working every day.

Since I haven’t read the first two books in the series, I definitely think I need to go back and read those!

The Duke’s Runaway Bride – Jenni Fletcher

This book contains:

  • family violence in the form of control, both financially and mentally.

Quinton is the Duke of Howden and has been for about a year. Three to four months prior to the when the book starts, he marries Beatrix for her fortune since his family is dead broke thanks to his father wanting to leave them penniless. Not to mention all the other drama and emotional abuse he dolled out to Quinton’s whole family over the years.

Beatrix on the other hand has spent the past 12 years almost entirely confined to her room by her aunt and uncle after her parents pass on. The abuse she felt throughout that time shaped her actions and her view of the world from the moment she married Quinton.

Beatrix ran away on her wedding day (after marrying Quinton) to create a life of freedom. Only, she needs to get rid of her husband so she can truly be free and let him be free to find a new wife. The big hitch in that plan is that Quinton isn’t playing ball and instead convinces her to trial being married to him for 6 weeks.

During that time, they get to know each other, learn why the other behaved the way they did and show the world what a strong marriage looks like. But they still need to figure out how to communicate what they’re feeling at the end of the 6 weeks if they’re going to make the right decisions.

I’m really glad Jenni stayed true to the time period (she always does) and delved into how men treated their families in those times. I think to brush over it as if it never happened paints an inaccurate picture of how family violence has progress over the years and as if it’s a modern problem.

Yes, I wish it wasn’t something anyone had to worry about ever. But the truth is, in some way, shape or form, family violence has been perpetuated throughout history. To pretend like it hasn’t and like society as a whole has always objected to it (like I know some authors have done) doesn’t help anyone. So, thank you Jenni for always staying true to history and what actually happened!

Those kinds of details, even in other less obvious areas are what makes her books amazing to read. You know she’s put in the time and effort to research and be as true to the time as possible while still giving us a great romance and female empowering story.

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher was born in Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels ranging from the Roman to late Victorian eras. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull and has been nominated for 4 RoNA awards, winning for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. She teaches Creative Writing at a university in the north of England and her favourite hobbies are baking and, of course, reading.

Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. I know I’ve released a few posts, but this is my first review in TWO WEEKS!

You might have seen that I read this as part of the Reindeer Readathon, that’s because I like to try and read books at least 4 weeks in advance of the review date so I don’t have to stress. Because we all have too much stress in our lives to begin with.

I read this entirely at home (except for the day I finished it, I will admit I took it to work with me that day) because it was a physical ARC (thank you Jenni Fletcher for shipping this to me!) and I hate bringing books to work with me because I inevitably damage them. Yet when I got to the last portion of the book (and I’d just finished another book on my Kindle) I knew I had to bring it in with me.

Whenever I was away from this book, I was thinking about what was happening between Amelia and Cassius. How were they reacting to each other, what were they going to do next, what could happen now since they’re married, and I’ve got a good portion of the book to go? Etc etc etc.

Given it was set at Christmas time I was obviously going to love that aspect of the book. Yet there were some very modern issues of depression and self-worth that were openly discussed and explored. Not only did the characters discuss these issues (maybe not in those terms, but they did) they also coloured all their actions and interactions.

It was fascinating to me seeing such a “modern” thing as mental health be addressed headfirst in a setting where I wasn’t expecting it. Because of this I got the sense that Jenni was trying to say that mental health has always been an issue. Just maybe not talked about in the same was that we talk about it now.

I read this as a standalone, and it can be read as a standalone, but I’ve just (as I’m writing this review) discovered that it’s part of a trilogy that’s been written by 3 different authors! I know I keep coming back to Jenni’s work, but I might consider getting the others to see how their stories play out!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’m reviewing Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller.

Reclaimed by Her Rebel Knight – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, after spending some time in beautiful Croatia, I went back in time to medieval England for some good old romance!

This is my second Jenni Fletcher novel and I loved the first one, so I was sure I’d love this one too. I will have my moment to complain in that I loved receiving a signed paperback copy of The Warrior’s Bride Prize. I felt so special when that arrived, but I had to make do with an e-copy this time around.

But I digress so back to the story!

Constance and Matthew got married five years ago and haven’t seen each other since. That is until he comes back to England to collect her and stir up a rebellion. By this point in time she’s built up some well-deserved anger towards this arrogant guy who made all these life altering decisions about her life without even having spoken two words to her outside of the marriage ceremony.

I can’t even stand one case of this happening, so she definitely displayed better manners than me to actually get through a conversation with him without yelling at him. But reading about how she gave him a chance, them talking things out, slowly discovering things about each other etc really had me hoping they’d make it.

The passion they showed for each other was subtle in most cases and reflected how I believe people who’ve been hurt in the past, or don’t know how to show emotions because they were never exposed to them growing up would. It was great to read those relationship dynamics grow and develop over time in a way that is reminiscent of what happens today.

But Jenni also included specific details that made all these interactions feel real for the time period they were set in. Things like the male dominance, inheritance laws etc. It all felt so natural, while being historically accurate which was amazing. I can’t image the amount of research that goes into ensuring that happens. But I appreciate it all the same.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing two books (OMG why did I agree to so many books?! Or more importantly, why are there so many good books coming out now?!) Willow by Grace Parks and Lure of Obsession by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher is Scottish by birth, but now lives in Yorkshire where she writes Medieval, Roman, Victorian and Regency romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull University and now teaches Creative Writing at a small university in the north of England. Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s northern.

The Warrior’s Bride Prize – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome to a bonus review for you. Today is the day that Jenni Fletcher’s “The Warrior’s Bride Prize” is released and I gota say. I really enjoyed this one! I read this while holed up in bed exhausted and trying to recover so I’m really glad I got to do it with a good book.

Overall this book spans only a handful of days, but in quite a bit of detail which is different to most of the books I’ve read recently. We started off with Livia in a carriage to a fort near Hadrian’s Wall to meet her soon to be husband. Along the way when she’s fairly sure her, her daughter Julia and her main are getting close to their destination they are stopped. Eager to find out what the hold up was after hearing voices but no fighting Livia steps out and comes face to faces with the man she believes to be her future future.

I think we all wish we had that moment when we come face to face with a guy who looks so perfect you can’t help but fall in love straight away. Except I don’t believe that that really happens. I believe that attraction is possible at first sight. I know I had that with my partner when I first saw him. But surely they don’t have a full on attraction so quickly? Not enough to try and ruin their lives? Surely?

Then reading about how they struggled through fighting their attraction while she had to try not to kill her newest fiance was a struggle. For both of them. Which was actually quite amusing for me. This meant every time I laughed at their awkwardness I ended up in coughing fits that then hurt. But I’m hoping that tells you how funny I found those moments. There is obviously some emotional connections, but they had to fight their way through all their social awkwardness and mistakes they made with each other.

And of course right as they finally seemed to connect; Livia’s past comes in the way and makes it impossible for them to move forward. Only to have Livia ignore Marius’s wishes. But lucky she did, coz that made him realise how much he loved her. And in typical manly fashion he lies and pretends to hate her to get her to leave the dangerous frontier so that he can concentrate on fighting and surviving. I know if I was in her place I would be completely pissed and would struggle to accept him if he came grovelling back. So at this stage I was starting to wonder if this would be the first book in the series. Because surely it’d be one hell of a journey for Livia to forgive Marius?

Given the way the book ended I don’t think there’d be a second book. But I did finish it wishing there was more. Even if it didn’t follow Marius and Livia it could follow Scaevola. Or maybe Julia some time in the future? I dunno, but I really want to read more about these two. I loved the way Jenni wrote this story and it totally hooked me in throughout the whole time. The major thing that sucked was that I kept almost falling asleep while I wanted to read. Now that I’ve had a chance to read her writing style I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

Now if you haven’t picked this up already, I think you should go and buy this book, take a couple of sick days (ok maybe don’t fake it…) and buy this one to read immediately! Worst comes to worst, put this on your Christmas wish list for someone to buy for you.

If you’re interested in buying this one, you can get it via the Amazon and Barnes and Noble links below as well as iBooks and WHSmith.

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.

She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull. After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected. Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

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