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[Prime] The Stranger She Married (Rogue Hearts, #1)Author Donna Hatch –

I really want to like this book It had many good comments from other readers of traditional regencies, so maybe my expectations were too high I found too many inconsistencies in the story line One moment, the heroine was hating the hero, then the next paragraph they were laughing together in the carriage In another scene, the characters were eating dinner, then, all of sudden, they were out in the garden When did they move I just found many huh moments like that I found the heroine self depreciating thoughts a bit over the top Even when men would complement her on her looks or dress, she would put it down to them being nice , this even after a description of the silk ballgown and curly rings of hair Didn t she ever think she looked or felt even slightly pretty I found the hero s behavior, because he couldn t help himself, to be eye rollingly naive He often asked himself why he was attracted to her I wondered why, too I think the author could have done a better job of bringing his feelings out, rather then leaving them vague. I reread this bookwithin 24 hours Devoured it These characters and the romance sucked me in once again Donna is a master of writing romance I found both Cole and Alicia extremely likable while also having weaknesses The pacing was fantastic never a dull moment I cannot compliment this book enough This was written really well, but I did not like the whole premise of this story Kissing falling in love with a man who is not your husband is cheating, even if the two men end up being the same person in the end This story really disappointed me as it was written so well, I just couldn t get past her betraying her husband, even though she was cheating with her husband. Reviewed for THC ReviewsI had the privilege of meeting Donna Hatch several months ago at a local event, and upon returning home, I looked up her website to find out about her debut novel, The Stranger She Married I was thoroughly intrigued by the synopsis and excerpt of the book I found there, and immediately put in on my TBR list, so when Ms Hatch recently contacted me about reviewing the book, I was than happy to oblige The plot of The Stranger She Married is reminiscent of Kathleen E Woodiwiss A Rose in Winter, a classic romance novel that has been on my favorites list for many years In spite of the similarities between the two books, Ms Hatch still managed to keep me engrossed in her storytelling and often second guessing what would happen next The Stranger She Married is written in a traditional regency style Most of the story is of a rather low key nature, and it is very character driven It is also, without a doubt, a PG rated romance, making it appropriate, in my opinion, for both younger and sensitive romance readers It has no curse words, minimal violence, and aside from a couple of passionate clinches, the love scenes are merely implied and take place off the canvas with no explicit details whatsoever With its subdued nature, I wouldn t necessarily characterize this as a passionate, heart stopping romance, and I normally prefer my romances to have a bit steam Still, in spite of it not being quite like my usual fare, The Stranger She Married had a very appealing quality that made me like it a lot.I think that there were two key elements which contributed to my enjoyment First, the settings of the Regency balls, parties, social events and even the quiet solitude of a country estate were so beautifully and vividly rendered, it truly made me feel like I had been transported back in time to that era The author certainly seems to have a good grasp on the history of the period, which lent the atmosphere a wonderful air of authenticity The other thing which truly impressed me was the dialog I don t think I have ever read dialog that is quite so fresh, varied and robust to the point that it is not only woven seamlessly into the plot, but it almost becomes a living, breathing thing in itself I have certainly waded through my share of vapid conversations in romance novels, but the dialog in The Stranger She Married is never boring or inane, instead I felt that it really gave the story genuineness and depth The author skillfully uses it to build relationships, and occasionally there was some sharp, witty bantering which brought a smile to my face It seems to me that writing truly good dialog would be rather challenging, but in my opinion, Ms Hatch has done a wonderful job with it here In fact, my only minor quibble would be that it is formatted in a rather unusual way which I have not seen before This made it difficult at first to discern who was speaking, but once I got used to the pattern, I didn t really have any further trouble with it.I also found the characters in The Stranger She Married to be an appealing bunch There are essentially two heroes, cousins, Cole and Nicholas Amesbury who represent two sides of the same coin Cole outwardly has a reputation as a charming and careless rake, but inside he has a heart of gold He has tired of the social scene which he sees as nothing than a marriage mart, and is quite taken by Alicia s looks and personality, which are so different from the other young women who typically pursue him I loved his innate sense of honor and his desire to protect Alicia at all costs The only thing about Cole that didn t quite ring true is that there was an allusion to dark things in his past which made him think of himself as something of a blackguard, but nothing ever came to light that made him seem like anything less than a gentleman to me He also spent a good deal of time fighting his feelings for Alicia, which didn t really seem necessary given the direction the story took Nicholas is the gentle, patient beta hero who mostly contents himself with simply spending time with Alicia I loved how the author built their relationship through everyday things like talking, walking, playing games and sharing of knowledge Nicholas, however, is a scarred man who is literally shrouded in mystery from head to toe Then there is our heroine, Alicia, who finds herself in the confusing position of loving them both Sometimes it seems like she is trying to have her cake and eat it too, but she is not unlike many Regency heroines who find themselves in the untenable situation of being a penniless orphan from a financially strapped noble family, wanting to marry for love but needing to marry for money Alicia initially can t quite forgive Cole for his duel with her brother which ultimately left him dead, and by the time she is able to, circumstances have already forced her to marry Nicholas I thought that Alicia could have stood out a little , but then again, she was a wallflower What I liked most about her is that she had the intelligence to realize that her family s deaths may not have been the accidents that they seemed, meaning that she too was in danger, as well as eventually putting the pieces of the puzzle together to discover the game that her husband was playing There was also a nice group of secondary characters including Cole s matchmaking Aunt Livvy and his three brothers only two of whom actually appeared in the story who all have wildly varying personalities All in all, I thought it was a very well rounded cast.There were many things that I liked about The Stranger She Married, but one thing I thought could have been better was the murder mystery To be honest, if the synopsis hadn t alluded to some danger and intrigue, I probably wouldn t have recognized the mystery for what it was until it was staring me in the face There were very few clues and no red herrings to speak of, so I wouldn t have been able to even hazard a guess as to a suspect or motive The answer to the puzzle is basically just handed to the reader on a silver platter I like a little light mystery in my romances from time to time, but half the fun is in being given enough information to speculate about what s happening Also, the denouement of the suspense was pretty cliched with the villain making one of those tacky deathbed confessions which I thought lacked finesse Overall I felt that the mystery suspense element could have been much stronger, and the general plot ideas could have been original In the end though, I found myself waffling a bit over my star rating, and if those two things had been a little better, the book probably would have earned keeper status from me Otherwise though, I really enjoyed The Stranger She Married The pacing was good, never lagging, and the story kept me engrossed and wanting to continue Readers who like historical ambiance in their Regency romances should find some pleasurable entertainment in this one The Stranger She Married is the first in a planned series titled Rogue Hearts According to Donna Hatch s website, the next book, Guise of a Gentleman, is due to be released sometime this summer, and although there are very few details about it yet, I strongly suspect that Cole s dashing pirate brother, Jared, will be the hero In my opinion, The Stranger She Married was a good debut novel from a very promising and talented new author, and I definitely look forward to reading of her books in the future. 1 20 17 I thought I had read this before It came out with a different cover on kindle so it kind of threw me I had forgotten a lot of it but remembered the just of it Enjoyed it again the second time I wish I had been able to read a little cleaner version Lots of lust and the below mentioned stuff 3 12 13This is my first full length Donna Hatch book, and I must say I really enjoyed it I kept second guessing myself the entire time are they or aren t they Great romance, great suspense, great writing, great characters Can t wait to read in this series Moral Note The only reason this is a 4 instead of 5 stars, there is a lot of talk of past mistresses, being a rake, etc Nothing detailed, but too much of it for my taste Pretty clean language, just 2 3 son of a motherless goats at the very end Mild violence. SPOILERS AHEADI don t know if you could call that a spoiler, since it is quite obvious, but I ll warn anyway.I had mixed feelings about this book Although entertaining, there were somethings that got me irritated and it was mainly the MC s behavior.Let s begin with Alicia the self deprecating main heroine In spite of her constant put down on herself, she did not annoy me, since, to me, her behavior can be explained by the fact that several people call her plain, causing her to have very low self esteem and not a very good sense of herself So, contrary to many readers, that part of her personality didn t bother me too much what really got me was her behavior with Cole, while she was married with Nicholas.Let s forget about the fact that they were both the same person Nicholas and Cole , because, despite that fact being known to the reader, it was not known to the MC So, during all the time she flirted with and kissed Cole, we can say that Alicia was entertaining an extra marital affair with another man and not any man, her husband s cousin and best friend.So, to me, she cheated It doesn t matter that it turned out that both men were the same, she cheated by principle in light of the fact that she didn t know they were the same person.Don t get me wrong, but I don t enjoy reading love stories that come from affairs First, because I think that if you want to be with someone else, all you have to do is end your current relationship and start anew, instead of hurting the other person so deeply by betrayal For god s sake, break ups are already hard, so the person doing the breaking up should do the courtesy of not making it harder by cheating and, in consequence, belittling the other person Second, if a relationship already starts like that with deceit I think that bores bad for the future of your new relationship how do you know that the person, who was capable of betraying his her former partner with you, won t do the same.I know that, in Victorian era, my first predicament would be impossible since divorce and separation were things that ruined a woman forever However, Alicia made her choice of marrying the masked stranger, and so should harbor the consequences of said choice She could, at least, try to make her marriage work, instead of flirt and giggle every time her husband cousin comes by and I was further aggravated by her later attempt to make it work, by I ll discuss it later.I also thought that it was callous of the author to include scenes where Alicia indulged in her platonic feelings for Cole by kissing him and embracing him By his point of view, I thought strange that Cole was so intent on making her fall in love with him without considering the fact that Alicia was in fact cheating on her husband because, once again, she didn t know that he and Nicholas were the same person How could he trust a woman who so easily conceded to another man flattery and attention At this point, I should observe that the MC didn t give me the impression that she wouldn t behave in the same way with any man that paid attention to her I was not convinced that Cole was special, especially since she later begins developing feelings for her husband when she realized that he did care about her.Another pet peeve I had with this book was Alicia s feelings for her husband Yeah, we get to see that he treats her well, and is kind and gentle, but up to one point, she was never able to get past his masked form enough to see those qualities Then, her uncle dies, she fights with Cole and suddenly has a revelation that she loves her husband I was completely baffled because, in the earlier chapters, she was singing praises to Cole, comparing him to her husband Apart from her feelings of obligation to make her marriage work and that only comes from the fact that she thinks that, if he casts her away, Cole, the rake, would never marry her , we are never given signs that she starts to care for her husband, only that she pities him and his appearance If the author had made her MC choose to spend some time with Nicholas, instead of Cole, her love for her husband would have been plausible Instead, she spent all that time with Cole, while in London, and only suffered a pang of guilt for ditching her husband for his cousin.Seriously, to me, the MC seemed shallow since she always concentrated on Cole s look , needy she starts developing feelings for every man that gives her attention and kinda oblivious And, at last, I was completely annoyed by her reaction when she found out Cole s ruse I thought that she would get angry, throw things at the wall, or at least eat the man alive for making her look like a fool Instead, all we get is a stupid oh, well, he did it for love reaction from her and she completely puts everything behind her.Seriously, I love my husband, but if he pulled something like that on me, I would give him the trashing of his life and then, only after making him grovel like a dog, I would forgive him even if I knew he did it out of love, I would still make him grovel.Alicia was extremely blas about it The least I expected was a little revenge, like her pretending she didn t find out and tell Cole that she loves Nicholas, instead of him, and that she chose him Come on Not even that little prank So, while I thought this book had some interesting parts, overall it got me completely annoyed especially the fact that Alicia ALWAYS sang praises to Cole s look was every freaking time they met it got boring soon , and I don t know if I would give it than 3 stars. Really good When a book makes me feel giddy throughout the day in between reading it, then it s a 5 star read for me, and that s what this was Donna Hatch has a way of making you fall in love with her male characters I found myself wanting the heroin to overcome her fears of her scarred husband and let him into her bed, She married out of neccesity, not love She doesn t know him and she is scared of what disfigurement he may have behind his cloak and hood But at the same time, I wanted her to NOT consumate her marriage so she could have Cole I loved them both This story just had so many good things in itI loved the tension and banter and longing in this story, and I love that it was still clean. When Her Parents And Only Brother Die Within Weeks Of Each Other, Alicia And Her Younger Sister Are Left In The Hands Of An Uncle Who Has Brought Them All To Financial And Social Ruin Desperate To Save Her Family From Debtor S Prison, Alicia Vows To Marry The First Wealthy Man To Propose She Meets The Dashing Lord Amesbury, And Her Heart Whispers That This Is The Man She Is Destined To Love, But His Tainted Past May Forever Stand In Their Way Her Choices In Potential Husbands Narrow To Either A Scarred Cripple With The Heart Of A Poet, Or A Handsome Rake With A Deadly SecretCole Amesbury Is Tormented By His Own Ghosts, And Believes He Is Beyond Redemption, Yet He Cannot Deny His Attraction For The Girl Whose Genuine Goodness Touches The Heart He D Thought Long Dead He Fears The Scars In His Soul Cut So Deeply That He May Never Be Able To Offer Alicia A Love That Is TrueWhen Yet Another Bizarre Mishap Threatens Her Life, Alicia Suspects The Seemingly Unrelated Accidents That Have Plagued Her Loved Ones Are Actually A Killer S Attempt To Exterminate Every Member Of Her Family Despite The Threat Looming Over Her, Learning To Love The Stranger She Married May Pose The Greatest Danger To Her Heart Wow The Rogue Hearts series came highly recommended and this first book did not disappoint There are vibrant characters who are flawed enough to be realistic but not unlikeable The difficult circumstances provide impetus to push the action forward in unpredictable ways I had my suspicions about the mysteries unfolding, but was uncertain enough to be kept guessing I felt like Cole and Alicia fell rather quickly for each other in the beginning which made their attraction seem superficial or based on physicality, but as the story progresses they are able to appreciate each other for deeper reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this clean but passionate romance and can t wait to read the next brother s story Thank you to Loving The Book for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review Alicia is a girl who has suffered many loses recently the death of her twin brother, the deaths of her parents, and the loss of the family money Her uncle basically forces her to marry by the end of the month to save the remaining family members from the debtors prison A rogue steps in and offers marriage and she refuses, since he s the man who killed her twin brother, so he arranges for her to marry his cousin A touch of mystery, full of romance, and set in 1818 England Loved it