Review: “The Trouble With Harry” by Katie MacAlister

The Trouble With Harry by Katie MacAlister

A review by Vanessa.

The new home of Harry Haversham, Lord Rosse, is full of secrets. It is only natural seeing as how Harry used to be a spy, working for the Home Office, serving King and country. Now Harry is a family man in search of something even more important: a wife. After the death of his first wife in childbirth, Harry is not looking for some young title-hungry girlish maiden to throw his life into chaos. He needs a good woman to help him rebuild his new home. But Harry will have to keep a few secrets from the new Lady Rosse. To avoid someone marrying him only for his title, he won’t tell her he is a lord until after they are married; and perhaps it would be best not to mention his five children. First Harry must find the perfect woman. Someone of strong character, good humor, of some age, who loves children, and isn’t to unpleasing to the eye… Someone just like Frederica Pelham. But of course, the lady has one whopping large secret of her own. And Harry’s spying days might not be as far behind him as he thought.

Frederica Pelham, Plum to her friends, isn’t quite sure she is doing the right thing when she answers the advertisement in the paper looking for a wife, but she hasn’t much choice. After being ruined by her first husband, whom it turns out couldn’t be her husband since the lying charlatan was already married, she has been cast out of polite society. Trying to care for herself and her orphaned niece has become impossible, and Harry seems like an answer to her prayers. He is handsome, and as it turns out, a lord who doesn’t seem to know anything about her troubled past. It doesn’t feel right not to share the secret but Plum has to do what she can to survive and to be a good mother to her suddenly five stepchildren! Besides, she has an even darker secret that could ruin them all if anyone were ever to find out. Plum wrote a book, but not just any book. She wrote the most popularly banned book that is all the rage with high society known as the Guide to Connubial Calisthenics, and if anyone ever found out the fallout would be more catastrophic than ever. She has to do everything she can to keep Harry from finding out about her past and her secrets, for her sake and the sake of her new family. But how long can secrets really last?

MacAlister’s ability to shape a plot line is always fantastic. It is not just about her ability to develop lovable and interesting characters, but the way she weaves together the experience of discovering her characters with the overarching romantic story is really wonderful. In this novel, she does just that with the intriguing backstory of Harry, and his experience as a spy and his very entertaining five children. Plum, as well, is a strong character whose own backstory is fascinating and makes for a complex twist in the romance set up between the two of them. I really like how MacAlister writes in the historical romance genre, setting up the obvious tropes of the time, while still allowing her lead female character to show uncommon strength, tenacity, and determination. Having read so many of McAlister’s modern paranormal romances, I remember being very eager to see how she fit her classic humor and writing style into the historical romance genre. This one was my first of her historical romances, and she did not disappoint. The romance is passionate, heat-filled, and satisfying, but there is so much more to the story the reader will discover through the mysterious twists and turns. A great read!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “Time Thief” by Katie MacAlister

Review: “Time Thief” by Katie MacAlister


A review by Vanessa.

Kiya Mortenson has found herself quite down on her luck. She’s out of a job, out of love, about to be out of a car that should have died ages ago, and she’s just been hit by lightning… for the second time. But things seem to be turning around for her when she stumbles across a genuine and gorgeous good Samaritan in the form of one Gregory Faa. Gregory knows of a job that Kiya might be great at, but it would require her to stay in the forests of Oregon rather than heading back to her coastal home. Kiya decides to go for it, but when the job turns out to be puppy-sitting five pugs for a crotchety old gypsy lady, who happens to be Gregory’s grandmother, Kiya starts to wonder if it was really good luck. Mrs. Faa is very serious about her dogs, and the rest of the Faa family is very serious about keeping away any outsiders. Since they all apparently live in a suspiciously large group of RVs out in the woods, that is generally not hard to do. But something is going on with this strange group of people, and the mysterious cousin Peter who has joined them on their odd vacation.

Peter Faa is not just a gorgeous, violet-eyed mystery. He happens to be a member of The Watch, the police of the magical community. He is also not just visiting his family for pleasure; he is on an official investigation. Murders have been happening under mysterious circumstances and all signs point to the involvement of Travelers. Peter’s family is a well-known group of Travelers: those who have a strange and powerful relationship with lightning, and time itself. The last thing Peter wants to do is go back to the family from which he has been estranged to possibly arrest someone for murder, but he has always followed his duty. When he runs into Kiya, a pleasant if vexing surprise, he finds it might not be so bad after all. But the family is as close-knit and unaccepting of anyone as they have always been, and one of them just might be a murderer…

A twisting and engaging plot pulls you into this book and definitely does not let you go until the fascinating end.  The characters are each interesting, alluring, lovable, and irritating in fascinating ways. The main character Kiya is a little bit flighty, but altogether likable and easy to root for. Though she seems a bit lost, her experience in finding out who she really is throughout the story is quite captivating. Peter Faa is an enchanting character, with just enough gruffness and grumbly attitude to be charming, and a wholly good heart that will make readers just fall in love with him. The supporting cast of characters are no slouches either. There are characters you will love to hate, and ones that will drive you almost literally crazy. MacAlister builds on to her already wonderful universe of dark ones and dragons by adding a new and fascinating group to the mix: Travelers. Their relationship with time is a compelling hook for the story, and as usual, Katie does a wonderful job of creating a whole new world for them to inhabit, right in the midst of the real world. This book is the first in a series that already has two books out, and I would highly recommend the series as a whole so far.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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