Lovely Reviews & Starred Reviews!

THE BOXING BARONESS has garnered a 3rd

🌟STARRED🌟 review,

this one from the American Library Association’s


As the Boxing Baroness, one of the stars of Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre, Marianne
Simpson has turned down her share of propositions from men. But St. John Powell, the duke of
Staunton, has presented Marianne with a proposal she can’t refuse. To rescue his younger

brother, Ben, St. John needs to arrange a meeting between Marianne and her treasonous ex-
lover Baron Dominic Strickland. If Marianne won’t cooperate, St. John will call in her Uncle

Barnabas’ debts, and Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre will cease to exist. With no other
choice, Marianne agrees to St. John’s plan, but she’s about to embroil him in a fight he will never
forget. With the launch of her swooningly romantic, sizzling sensual new Regency-set Wild
Women of Whitechapel series, Spencer delivers her own one-two knockout punch with a
superbly realized cast of characters that includes an intriguingly different yet historically credible
heroine and an exhilarating plot that not only delves into the fascinating world of female
pugilism—Marianne is based on a historical figure, Mary Anne Pearce—but also deftly
illuminates the dangerous state of affairs in France after Napoleon escaped from Elba.

— John Charles

Yay! THE BOXING BARONESS has garnered a 2nd starred review!

I am SO excited to share this magnificent 🌟STARRED🌟 review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

The Boxing Baroness

Minerva Spencer. Kensington Press.

Spencer (Notorious) launches her Wicked Women of Whitechapel Regency series with an outstanding romance based in part on a real historical figure. Before the start of the novel, Marianne Simpson had a disastrous dalliance with dastardly Baron Dominic Strickland, who staged a fake wedding to Marianne solely to get beneath her skirts. Unable to work as a governess after this scandal, the delightfully confident and forthright Marianne now stars in Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre as the Boxing Baroness. Dominic is also causing problems for the powerful and upstanding St. John “Sin” Powell, Duke of Staunton, who receives a letter offering information about his missing, presumed dead brother if Sin can convince Marianne to meet with Dominic. The traveling circus is headed on an ill-advised tour of war-torn Europe—so Sin and two friends do the only thing they can think of and join the Fayre as carnies. Marianne initially disdains Sin for his privileged background, but as he proves himself a hard-working circus employee, he earns her respect and admiration, heightening the magnetic attraction already between them. Spencer ramps up the mystery and the romance in equal measure as the threat of Dominic and the knowledge that society would be unaccepting of their relationship hover over the captivating couple. This is sure to wow. (STARRED)
THE BOXING BARONESS will be out October 25, 2022, but you can preorder a copy now.



THE BOXING BARONESS by Minerva Spencer (Kensington TP/November 2022/978-1-4967-3809-7)

“Spencer’s (Phoebe) first in a new Regency-set series is a story loosely inspired by a real-life individual known as the Boxing Baroness. A mysterious past, an unsavory family business connection, and a youthful indiscretion have left Marianne Simpson with few life choices beyond being a pugilist in her uncle’s establishment, Farmham’s Fantastical Female Fayre. Unfortunately, the fights she participates in are very real and constantly put her health and future at risk. When St. John Powell, the Duke of Staunton, comes to her with a proposition to go with him to France to meet her ex-lover, who claims to have information about St. John’s missing brother, Marianne’s choices are to cooperate with the infuriating peer or risk losing her livelihood and condemning her only known relative to jail. As the two travel through a continent that suddenly teeters once again on the edge of war, their lives—and their hearts—are soon at risk. VERDICT Fans of historical romances with strong female characters in non-traditional roles and the men who aren’t afraid to love them won’t be disappointed by this series starter.” – Library Journal STARRED REVIEW

Release date is 10/25/2022 but you can pre order a copy now.

FABULOUS Publishers Weekly review for His Valet,

Book 2 in Victorian Decadence series!

I was just tickled pink about this review! It is rare for PW to review erotic romance, so this is a serious thrill for me. 

The Valet   S.M. LaViolette. Crooked Sixpence, $9.99 trade paper (322p) ISBN 978-1-951662-16-5

LaViolette titillates in this erotic historical romance between master and servant, the red-hot second in her Victorian Decadence series (after His Harlot). Jo Leather is a woman, but she’s been raised as a man by her misguided father. Now she works as a valet to Stephen Chatham, for whom she pines in secret. Having jealously spied on Stephen with prostitutes on many occasions, Jo hatches a plan to reveal herself as Josephine while playing the part of a prostitute at a local brothel in hopes of finally experiencing Stephen’s charms. The plan works, but as Stephen indulges in decadent encounters with Josephine, he’s surprised to simultaneously realize an attraction to his longtime valet. Jo struggles to balance her newfound double life, and it’s only a matter of time before Stephen discovers the truth. Having been hurt by romantic partners in the past, Stephen lashes out, taking Jo’s deceptions as betrayal. But will his outrage outweigh his love? LaViolette’s clever, inventive plot makes room for some kinky erotic scenes as her well-shaded characters explore their sexualities. Fans of erotic romance will find much to love. (Self-published)
You can read this for FREE on Kindle unlimited or order a print copy anywhere print books are sold!

FANTASTIC Publishers Weekly review for THE POSTILION,

Book 2 in THE MASQUERADERS series!

Thrills abound in LaViolette’s red-hot second Masqueraders Regency (after The Footman). After Benedicta “Benna” de Montfort’s brother and father die, Benna, now the 10th Duchess of Wake, is left in the care of a cousin until she comes of age. When she discovers the man’s sinister plot to steal her inheritance and hide her away—or perhaps even have her killed—she runs away, disguising herself as a boy and calling herself Ben Piddock. Well versed in horses, she lands a position as a postilion with Jago Crewe, the new Earl of Trebolton. Benna works in the stables until Jago discovers her true gender—though not her rank. Immediately enamored with her, he hires Benna to restore the estate, which is long overdue for repairs. The proximity forges a tighter bond between them as they navigate the complexities of their relationship—and the secrets that threaten to tear it apart. As in the first installment, LaViolette’s handle on sexual tension is masterful and steamy scenes abound. Fans will be delighted. 


Book 3 in THE REBELS OF THE TON series!

Celia Trent once used her beauty and social position to make Richard Redvers a complete
laughingstock of the town. Ten years later, now the widow Celia Pelham, she is working as a
companion to Lady Yancy when her past sins come home to roost. While accompanying her
employer to a holiday house party and wedding, Celia finds herself among the entire Redvers
clan, including Richard, who is now a very wealthy and very sexy entomologist. Can Celia
summon the courage to right old wrongs and in the process forge a future with a man she once
tormented? Realistically transforming the Regency equivalent of a mean girl into a relatable, all-too-human heroine is no easy feat, but Spencer (Outrageous, 2021) succeeds on every level. Lightly dusted with wintery holiday charm, graced with an absolutely endearing, beetle-obsessed hero and a fully rendered cast of supporting characters and spiked with smoldering sensuality and wry wit, the latest in Spencer’s Rebels of the Ton series is sublimely satisfying.
— John Charles

This FANTASTIC review from the Historical Novel Society isn’t starred, but it is one of the nicest reviews I’ve ever received:

“A prank gone awry changes lives in this delightful Regency romance.
In her first Season, beautiful Celia Trent became a pawn in the Duke of Dowden’s cruel society games; the scandal sheets dubbed her “Lady Infamous.” Now facing poverty due to her father’s gaming debts, Celia agrees to Dowden’s demand to create a particularly brutal “joke”—a note that goes astray and results in the forced marriage of wallflower Phyllida Singleton and highly desirable Viscount Redvers.
When Society discovers that Lady Infamous has gone far too far, Celia’s forced by lack of both money and reputation to change her name and take a position as an elderly lady’s companion. Unfortunately, one Christmas Celia’s employer is invited to Viscount Redvers’ country seat for the holiday, and, there, events take a series of twists and turns that may lead to justice and love, or to utter ruin when everyone’s darkest secrets are exposed.
Perfect for fans of Bridgerton, Infamous is also a charming story for Christmas. In fact, I enjoyed Infamous so much that when I was halfway through it, I ordered the author’s first novel, Dangerous. I look forward to reading much more of Minerva Spencer’s work.”

Publishers Weekly STARRED review for THE FOOTMAN,

Book 1 in The Masqueraders!


LaViolette (the Academy of Love series) takes cues from The Count of Monte Cristo in her riveting first Masqueraders romance.

In 1802, impetuous 16-year-old Lady Elinor Atwood thoughtlessly throws herself at 19-year-old Iain Vale, her family’s guileless new footman, setting off a devastating chain of events.

Lord Trentham, Elinor’s cruel fiancé, catches the pair in their single, sloppy kiss and has Vale sent to prison, where he is brutally treated until he is rescued by his uncle, who sends him to America. There, Vale remakes himself as the affluent Stephen Worth, driven by the desire to exact revenge on Elinor.

But when he returns to England in 1817, he discovers that Elinor, now a widow who occupies herself with the study of medicine, is no longer the entitled girl she was.

Alternating between the past and present, LaViolette keeps the tension high and the pages flying. Elinor is an admirable heroine who remains strong in desperate situations, and the formidable Worth makes a sympathetic antihero as he navigates his long-standing hatred and mounting desire for Elinor.

Lovers of historical romance will be hooked on this twisty story of revenge, redemption, and reversal of fortunes.

Booklist’s STARRED review for NOTORIOUS,

Book 1 in The Rebels of the Ton!

Print cover of NOTORIOUS

By Minerva Spencer
Nov. 2020. 352p. Kensington, paper, $15.95 (9781496732835)

What would writer, philosopher, and women’s rights champion Mary Wollstonecraft think?
Actually, as a charter member of the Society for the Practical Application of Wollstonecraftian
Ideals, Drusilla Clare knows exactly what her idol would say about matrimony, especially to a
man like Gabriel Marlington. Unfortunately, after Dru is caught in a compromising, albeit
completely innocent, position with Gabriel at a ball one night, the only option the two have that
will keep Dru from being utterly shunned by polite society is to marry. However, when their
marriage of convenience starts heating up into something much more passionate, Dru discovers
there just might be some advantages to having a scandalous rake as a husband. Romance
readers will feel like they have hit the literary trifecta with Notorious, the first brilliantly crafted
book in much-awarded Spencer’s brand-new Regency-set Rebels of the Ton series. Spencer
serves up an irresistible cocktail of smart characterization, sophisticated sensuality, and sharp
wit—all while orchestrating her own clever spin on the popular bluestocking-and-rake trope. STARRED REVIEW
— John Charles

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for THE MUSIC OF LOVE !

Spencer (Notorious) launches her Academy of Love series with this pitch-perfect Regency romance set in Cornwall, England.

Eustace “Stacy” Harrington hires private piano teacher Ivo Stefani to join his household staff, but Ivo’s widow, Portia, shows up instead.

The alluring, quick-tempered Portia proves herself to be a talented teacher, and despite Stacy’s insecurities about his albinism and his worries about starting a romance with one of his employees, he can’t help his attraction to her. Ivo used to shame Portia for enjoying sex, leaving her insecure and fearful, but she finds herself drawn to the imposing but unfailingly kind Stacy.

he pair impulsively give in to their desires in a steamy sex scene that cuts through the typical will-they-or-won’t-they dance. When Portia discovers she’s pregnant, Stacy is overjoyed and agrees to marry at once. But the dark pasts of both loom over their newfound domestic bliss, and when Stacy is shot returning home from a business trip, the newlyweds are thrown into a complex web of danger and intrigue.

Spencer’s characterizations are nuanced and believable, and the passion between the protagonists scorches the pages. Readers will be hooked. 




In hindsight, Captain Martin Bouchard should have locked up his pistols. That way, after he rescued missionary Sarah Fisher from the Blue Bird she might have been grateful enough not to shoot him. However, the real reason Sarah purloined Martin’s pistols is because she intended to use them to force him to also save the slaves on the Blue Bird with whom Sarah was imprisoned. As it turns out, Martin is more than willing to do a bit of bargaining with Sarah, but there is something else he wants from her in exchange. In the third exemplary addition to her Outcasts series, following Dangerous and Barbarous (both in 2018), Spencer once again rewards readers with the bold originality of her story lines—here she deftly explores the impact of the early nineteenth-century slave trade—the fearless unconventionality of her characters (including a hero tortured by his past and a take-no-prisoners heroine determined to help him), and an abundance of potent, sensually combustible chemistry she cooks up between her protagonists. Spencer is a storyteller of impressive flair. STARRED REVIEW

— John Charles





When the orphaned daughter of English missionaries is swept up in a slavers’ raid on her African village, it puts her on a collision course with a formerly enslaved pirate captain who avails himself of every luxury but considers himself completely unworthy of her love.

Sarah Fisher thought slavery was abominable before she landed in the cargo hold of a Dutch slave ship after refusing to abandon the African villagers she’s known her whole life. When they’re overtaken by a privateer, she prepares to fight him to let the captives go but discovers Capt. Martín Bouchard is an escaped slave himself and eager to set them free. Martín is asked by the British admiral in Freetown to bring Sarah back to England on his ship, and he’s disconcerted to find himself wildly attracted to the brave, headstrong woman who threatened him at gunpoint to save her friends. Then Sarah discovers he’s illiterate and is determined to teach him to read, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Martín that heightens their intimacy. The journey to England feels endless thanks to their volatile attraction, and Martín sabotages the relationship, certain he’s not good enough for her. Arriving in England, Sarah learns her uncles are wealthy bankers who embrace her immediately and encourage her to settle into a good marriage. Sarah is only interested in Martín, who clearly wants nothing to do with her, but when a deadly secret from his past threatens, Sarah takes matters into her own hands, fighting for their future with the steely determination of a pirate under siege. Spencer continues her outstanding Outcasts series with two characters from completely different backgrounds who share similar values and a sizzling passion. Along the way she explores love, freedom, friendship, and what it means to be a person of worth, especially by living on one’s own terms.

Sexy, witty, and fiercely entertaining. STARRED REVIEW




Complex characters make this historical romance a standout. The illustrious privateer Capt. Martín Bouchard has loved many women, but none has enticed or frustrated him more than the missionary Sarah Fisher, whom he saves, along with hundreds of others, from a slave ship. No matter how infuriating he gets, Sarah remains intrigued with the surly captain, and she quickly becomes admired by his crew for her strong and noble spirit. When they discover that the captain of the slave ship is Dutch royalty, they agree with port authorities to take him to England to meet his fate. Sarah and Martín keep winding up in compromising positions, unable to tame their desire for each other. Martín wants to keep Sarah at a distance to protect the secrets of his painful past and true identity, but that doesn’t stop the forgiving woman from getting under his skin and arousing emotions he’s never experienced. Blackmail makes its way into the ballroom, but Martín is a formidable adversary backed by powerful, loyal friends. Spencer’s brilliant and original tale of the high seas bursts with wonderfully real protagonists, plenty of action, and passionate romance. STARRED REVIEW


Barbarous revised


There has to be some mistake, since Hugh Redvers died nearly 20 years ago. At least that is what Lady Daphne Davenport was led to believe. But now the very real and insanely attractive man standing before her suggests that the reports of Hugh’s death have been greatly exaggerated. He has reappeared as his alter ego, the infamous privateer One-Eyed Standish, suddenly turning up at Lessing Hall, the country estate of Daphne’s late husband and Hugh’s uncle, the earl of Davenport. This is definitely problematic for Daphne, since by rights everything that her husband left to her and her two young sons now belongs to Hugh. If that isn’t bad enough, Daphne quickly discovers that she isn’t quite as immune to Hugh’s rakish charms as she would like to be. Fans of Amanda Quick’s early historicals will find much to savor in Spencer’s exuberantly crafted, exhilaratingly plotted, and erotically charged sophomore literary effort that quickly proves to be every bit as much fun as her stellar debut, Dangerous (2018).

— John Charles


dangerous book cover



Euphemia “Mia” Marlington knows she can’t afford to be too picky when it comes to choosing a husband, but is marrying a cold-blooded murderer really the answer to her matrimonial dilemma? Given her firmly on-the-shelf age and a now-scandalous reputation fueled by a 17-year absence from polite British society, Mia finds her marriage prospects limited, to say the least. Still, when Adam de Courtney, the Marquess of Exley, shows an interest in her, Mia is initially inclined to put Adam into the reject pile with all of her other suitors. After all, Adam, otherwise known as the Murderous Marquess, is rumored to have done away with his two previous wives. However, Mia is intimately acquainted with the gap between rumor and truth, and, as she gets to know Adam, she begins to think he just might be the perfect husband for her. A remarkably resourceful heroine who can more than hold her own against any character invented by best-selling Bertrice Small, a suavely sophisticated hero with sex appeal to spare, and a cascade of lushly detailed love scenes give Spencer’s dazzling debut its deliciously fun retro flavor.

— John Charles

More Fabulous Reviews (even though they don’t have stars…)

His Harlot

Publishers Weekly

Equal parts salacious and profound, the erotic romance that launches the Victorian Decadence series from LaViolette (The Footman) sees a sex worker fall in love with her client in Victorian England. Wealthy, dominant businessman Edward Fanshaw has been infatuated with stoic beauty Nora Hudson for months, becoming a regular client of hers at Madame Tosca’s gentleman’s establishment. He offers her a yearlong contract as his mistress, hoping to get her out of his system and break her hold over him. Though wary of her growing feelings for Edward, Nora agrees, moving into his house as his “ward.” Neither are particularly forthcoming about their feelings—Nora especially hides her inner life from Edward—but both enjoy their escalating dominant/submissive relationship. Things are further complicated when Edward marries young Lady Catherine to secure his social standing and get an heir. Catherine despises Edward but becomes smitten with Nora and the women embark on a secret sexual relationship of their own. When Edward finds out, he banishes Nora—but can the star-crossed lovers really forget each other? LaViolette keeps the tension high, delivering dark eroticism and emotional depth in equal measure. Readers will be hooked. 


Publishers Weekly

The kidnapper becomes the kidnapped in Spencer’s rowdy second Rebels of the Ton historical romance (after Notorious). Godric Fleming, Earl of Visel, is moments away from kidnapping the wife of his nemesis, Gabriel, as part of his ever-escalating schemes against the couple—but it’s he who ends up bound and gagged in a carriage bound for Scotland. His abductor is Eva de Courtney, Gabriel’s sister, who hopes to put an end to Godric’s bad behavior. But Godric turns the tables on Eva, pointing out she’s put herself in a compromising situation and insisting that they marry. As they match wits, Godric is surprised by Eva’s fiery temper, realizing that, though almost 17 years his junior, she’s a formidable—and attractive—adversary. Eva, too, sees a different side of Godric as threats from highwaymen and a vengeful widow force them to work together. But Godric’s pain and guilt over the loss of his first wife and child have created a wall around his heart that even Eva may not be strong enough to scale. The exciting drama of their road trip only facilitates their individual growth, and returning fans will be especially gratified to see the villainous Godric in a new light. This daring, emotional page-turner is a delight.




If anyone deserves to be kidnapped, it is Godric Fleming, Earl of Visel. At least that is what Eva
de Courtney tells herself after Godric launches a personal vendetta against her brother and his
new wife. Kidnapping Godric and keeping him away from her family for a few weeks sounds like
a logical solution to this problem until Eva finds herself in a very small carriage with a very angry,
extremely sexy Godric. With the latest splendidly entertaining addition to her Rebels of the Ton
series, following Notorious (2020), Spencer is once again perfectly on point with her fetching
brand of historical romance, as aptly illustrated by this lusciously sensual love story with a
memorable cast of characters that includes a marvelously matched hero and heroine and a plot
rich in action and danger and spiced with just the right amount of tart wit.
— John Charles



A former bully is reunited with her targets in Spencer’s crafty third Rebels of the Ton Regency romance (after Outrageous). Celia Trent’s father’s debts and mother’s death left her a scared child who bullied her schoolmates in fits of jealousy, particularly Richard Redvers and Phyllida “Phil” Singleton, whom she’s dubbed Odious and the Squab. As belle of the London season, she hatched a scheme with her cruel friend Sebastian to entrap the pair into marriage—but the plan backfired, instead resulting in Celia’s beau and Richard’s twin, Lucien, marrying Phil, and Celia being cast out of society. Ten years later, the destitute Celia works as paid companion to an elderly woman and in this role is forced to attend the society wedding of Lucien and Richard’s sister to Sebastian, who’s been blackmailing Celia to protect his reputation. Richard, unlike his twin, has never cared about his reputation. A world-traveling entomologist, he’d rather capture beetles than hearts—but he can’t deny his attraction to Celia. Now she has a chance to prove she’s changed and make amends for her past behavior. But can Richard and his family see her for who she’s become? Forgiveness forms the heart of this scandalous, sensual tale, and the lively house party setting adds to the thrills. Readers will be delighted.