review courtesy of Author and Publisher
Lady Madeline Essex is the last of the unwed “ducklings” in her family—and by far the most outspoken. But when she boldly enters London’s most notorious gaming house in search of fodder for her novel, even her sharp tongue can’t save her from the horrible crime she stumbles upon there. As luck would have it, first on the scene is the last man she wants to see her vulnerable. The one man who could tempt her heart…How to Dance with a Duke and How to Romance a Rake the first two books. How to Entice an Earl is the third and final installment in the series.
Christian Monteith, the new Earl of Gresham, isn’t much for card rooms and gaming hells. But as a favor to his former commanding officer, he's investigating a gamester for espionage on the night that Maddie ventures in looking more enticing than he's ever seen her. Suddenly, his feelings for his friend aren't so friendly anymore. And when her curiosity brings the impetuous novelist to the attention of a madman, Christian will stop at nothing to protect her—from a sinister plot that is far more dangerous than any stolen kiss…
These books have one common thread: the Dance Card. For Cecily (How to Dance with a Duke) and Juliet (How to Romance a Rake), the card proved to be a good luck charm, not only was it a way for them to meet eligible men, it soon lead to them meeting and falling in love with their husbands. While our heroine, Maddie, is happy that her two cousins found wedded bliss, she is not ready to settle down just yet, her first priority is finishing her novel.
The hero, Christian, as he jumps at protecting Maddie from the taunts of the series bully, Amelia. Maddie is head strong in gaining entry to gaming hells for research for her novel, Christian finds himself volunteering to be her escort.
Once again the book centers around solving a mystery~ this time it is a murder. This book takes you on a roller coaster ride, there are twists and turns and just when you think you may have solved it, you find out that you are wrong.
Manda Collins has the plotting for a mystery down to a science, leaving the the reader satisfied in uncovering the mystery page by page. I truly enjoyed the main characters in this mystery: there is the feeling of intense romantic chemistry between them. Manda blended both the romance and the mystery where they didn't overshadowed each other.I would have loved to see a story dedicated to Lady Emily and Linton. Manda Collins is an author that will be on my must read list..
“Warmth, wit and delicious chemistry shine through every word of of Manda Collins’s delightful debut. With a heroine to root for and a hero to die for, How to Dance with a Duke is a romance to remember.” —Julie Anne Long
Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with three cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and more books than strictly necessary.
I Could Write a Book
by Manda Collins
In my latest book, How to Entice an Earl¸ Maddie is determined to write a novel. And regency romance is positively brimming with lady writers, from journalists to novelists and everything in between. Let's take a look at some of my favorite examples of the female writer in the genre:
1. Lydia Grenville, heroine of Loretta Chase's fabulous The Last Hellion. A journalist by day and a novelist by night, Lydia is as hard working a lady writer as you'll see in romance fiction. Her journalism writing takes her into the very darkest parts of London society where she exposes the exploitation of women and children. And her serial novel (under a pseudonym) has the people of London clamoring for the next installment. Her relationship with Vere Mallory, Duke of Ainswood is rife with witty banter, passionate arguments and just plain passion. At 6 feet tall, Lydia is quite literally a force to be reckoned with. And her devotion to her craft as well as her love for the bull headed Vere makes her one of my favorite heroines ever.
2. Marina, Countess Gorham, heroine of The Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal. Marina is the celebrated author of silver-fork romances, which were quite popular during the Regency era and depicted the elegance and glitter of high society at the time. (Not unlike our own Regency romances that often feature Dukes and Duchesses and the highest of high society.) But it's her rumored romance with Jasper Hedges' nephew that brings him up to London to rescue the young man from her clutches. It turns out, however, that Jasper himself finds himself dazzled by Marina and her witty repartee. Marina, born Maria in Ireland, is as inventive about remolding herself as she is with the plots of her novels. And she's a great example of the upward mobility that novel-writing allowed women of the era. Her romance with Jasper is remarkable not only because they are made for each other, but also because they are somewhat older than your average romance hero and heroine. All of which makes The Age of Impropriety one of my favorite novels.
3. Sara Fielding, heroine of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. I'm cheating a bit with this one, since Dreaming of You is set during the Victorian Era, but I don't think you can talk about lady writers in romance without mentioning Sara Fielding. She writes novels set among the lower classes of London society, and it's on a trip to the London rookeries on a research trip that she stumbles across Derek Craven being accosted by two young men and frightens them away with a warning shot from her pistol. From the first theirs is a relationship of opposites: Sara is from a respectable middle class family, Derek was born in a drainpipe. Sara is a bespectacled writer, Derek is a mountain of a man who owns a gaming hell. Perhaps it's because of their divergent backgrounds that their romance is so wonderfully sweet. And it is because of Sara's longing to have the happy ever after in real life that she gives to the characters in her novels that when she and Derek find theirs the result is utterly magical.