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March 6, 2023

3 New Romance Novels to Fall in Love With

by MK French

Love is in the air and there are a number of great romance novels coming out this month. To get you started here are three that you will want to pick up this week.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Anatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge

book cover of romantic comedy novel Anatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge
March 2023; Montlake; 978-1662504570
audio, ebook, print (331 pages); romantic comedy

Samantha Holbrook mistook fellow OB-GYN Grant Gao for a patient on a bad drug trip. Trying to forget the disastrous meeting, she keeps herself busy with roommates and her passion project, improving pregnancy care in the community. Hospital administration is less than enthusiastic about the project, however, so now she must ask Grant for help.

Our extremely stubborn heroine is entering a fellowship after research experience and is full of excitement for it. This is great; good OB care in poor communities is so hard to come by, I was cheering her on. She equates doing things for others as earning care and respect, especially after dealing with her very passive-aggressive mother. This leads her to overextend herself: the new program, helping her friend with her engagement party invitations, helping her mother with a reunion party, and the gradually developing relationship with Grant. She assumes the worst of every situation, leading to nervous chatter and making mistakes. I love how close she is to her roommates, and that they see each other for who they are, validate fears, and aren't afraid to call out the mistakes they make. It's a great counter to how Samantha sees Grant; while he has his own flaws, she sees him as demanding perfection and more of her than she can give. Of course, there are revelations, apologies, and changed behavior at the end, going much more smoothly than it likely would in real life. It flows well, though, and I loved how it all came together at the end. 

Buy Anatomy of a Meet Cute at Amazon

A Noble Cunning by Patricia Bernstein

book cover of historical romance A Noble Cunning by Patricia Bernstein
March 2023; History Through Fiction; 978-1736499061
ebook, print (266 pages); historical romance

Bethan Glentaggart, Countess of Clarencefield, is a persecuted Catholic noblewoman in the middle of the 1715 Rebellion against England's first German king George I. Traveling alone from the Scottish Lowlands to London through one of the worst snowstorms, she is determined to save her husband's life. The king and his court have little interest in mercy, so Bethan and her friends must use a complex scheme featuring multiple disguises and poison to free Gavin.

This story is based on an actual Countess, which makes me enjoy the story that much more. It opens up with an attack on Bethan's home by a Protestant mob searching for an itinerant Catholic priest. One of them attacks Bethan, as he's completely unhinged. The religious conflict is alive and well not only in the Scottish countryside but in England as well. This sets off the rebellion against George that gets Gavin caught by the end of the first third of the novel. This extended beginning shows us the atmosphere of the period as well as the love between Bethan and Gavin. It's believable that she has the strength of will to go against the king, deal with painfully estranged family, and maintain love of her husband to push her forward. 

We get a chance to see what life is like for the titled gentry as well as the merchant class and serving folk of the period. I can't help but think of Phillipa Gregory's novels with the level of detail for the time period and how threats of war, insurrection, and religious discord affected all walks of life. The scene where Bethan tries to petition the king is a complete melodrama, and as tense as they were leading up to it and after, I found it really memorable and it's easily one of my favorites. (It also actually happened!) 

The second half of the novel is essentially a heist, which is really fun and detail-laden for all its tension. I enjoyed that part and seeing how all the friendships made it work out. Not exactly a spoiler, the story wouldn't have been known if not for the Countess' bravery and cunning. If you enjoy the time period, there's also an appendix with further reading suggestions thoughtfully provided.

Buy A Noble Cunning at Amazon

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by K.J. Charles

book cover of Regency romance novel The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by KJ Charles
March 2023; Sourcebooks Casablanca; 978-1728255859
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); Regency romance

Gareth Inglis grew up lonely, prickly, and always expects disappointment. While he fell for a charming stranger, he expects the worst when his lover must return home. Gareth becomes Sir Gareth when his father abruptly dies, forcing a move to Romney Marsh with the family he never met. The Marsh is full of smugglers, including a very familiar man. This turns out to be Joss Doomsday, the head of a smuggling clan. Though their reunion is tense, Joss and Gareth want to be together. Secrets abound, and the two must rely on each other to unravel them.

This is book one of the Doomsday Books series, and I'm eager to see the rest of it. Poor Gareth was abandoned by his father, who simply couldn't be bothered to deal with anyone or anything outside of his creature comforts. His father didn't even update his will, so his daughter isn't provided for. Gareth is kinder than he thinks he is, as he sets up Cecelia and allows her aunt to stay in the house and tries to be a good brother. He wants to do the right thing, including upholding the law when most on the Marsh only have a passing acquaintance with it. This sets Joss and Gareth at odds, and they wouldn't talk again if Cecelia wasn't attacked and Gareth thinks a Doomsday did it.

As the two get closer, there's more to find out about Gareth's family, the people after him, and even the Doomsday family themselves. It sucked me in, because, on top of the Regency time period and class concerns, the family dynamics of both men are straight-up drama. Gareth has to reconfigure his view of his family and the law. Joss also must realize that he can't run everything on his own. They have different areas of expertise and experience and help make each other better men. The final push to the ending is exciting, and the threat against them is decidedly lethal. As a Regency romance novel, we have a happily ever after between our heroes as well as a hint that the money might be a hook for future books. Gareth and Joss are in a good place together, and they really deserve to be.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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