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. The 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. STARRED REVIEW
STARRED REVIEWS FOR SCANDALOUS!
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
STARRED REVIEWS FOR BARBAROUS!
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
STARRED REVIEW FOR DANGEROUS!
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