Love at the Spinster House #reviews #coyer #2016hw

July 18, 2016 Reviews 0

I loved both these books so much that I read them back-to-back, no real pause in-between. My thoughts for them are so connected, that it only seemed fitting to review them together.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Love at the Spinster House #reviews #coyer #2016hwWhat to Do with a Duke by Sally MacKenzie
Narrator: Beverley A. Crick
Series: Spinster House #1
Published by Tantor Audio, Zebra on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 9 hours 12 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love…

Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting would rather be lounging in the library than circling the ballroom in search of a husband any day. So when Cat hears that the town’s infamous Spinster House is open for a new resident, she jumps at the chance to put all this marriage business behind her. But first she must make arrangements with her prospective landlord, Marcus, the Duke of Hart—the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and the only man who’s ever impressed her in the least…

With her wit, independent spirit, and not least of all her beauty, Marcus can’t help but be stirred by Cat. It’s terribly unfortunate he’s not looking to marry, given the centuries-old curse that left his family with the Spinster House to begin with. No duke shall live to see his heir’s birth. But is there a chance the curse could be broken—in true fairy-tale fashion—by an act of true love? The race to Happily Ever After is about to begin…

Book 1 in the Spinster House, What to Do with a Duke, was not at all what I expected. To be fair, I read the synopsis a long time ago and then didn’t read it again before jumping in. But to say that it was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement.

What worked:

  • The premise. It was so unique, having a spinster house where one woman gets to choose the life of a spinster and get the security that normally she wouldn’t have unless married. And that it was funded by a long line of dukes who’d been cursed – and believed in the curse FULLY was just another great twist/element.
  • The curse. This isn’t silliness, I half believe in the curse. Which is why the book’s ending was not enough (hence 4.5, not 5 stars). I need to know if one really can escape the curse!
  • Love love LOVE the characters. I like that we have a female character, Cat, that is not eager to wed. She sees marriage as a trap, where she doesn’t get to do what she wants. I like that we have a male character, Marcus, who is afraid of marriage, for a reason beyond being tied down… (that’s the great curse at work again).
  • The cat. That’s all I’ll say 🙂

What didn’t work:

  • The ending. Sort of. I mean we sort of have our expected HEA. But that damn curse! I need more!
  • The way everyone seems just fine with women compromising themselves and having sex before marriage seems really anachronistic. But whatever, it was fun.

As you can see, I felt a little bit left on a cliff so I immediately jumped into book 2…
4.5 stars I loved it

Love at the Spinster House #reviews #coyer #2016hwHow to Manage a Marquess by Sally MacKenzie
Narrator: Beverley A. Crick
Series: Spinster House #2
Published by Tantor Audio, Zebra on April 26, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 9 hours 36 minutes
Source: Publisher

Two possible futures loom before Miss Anne Davenport. The first option: sharing an unhappy home with her father and soon-to-be stepmother. The second: a life of independence at the Spinster House, if only her friend Cat would vacate the premises and marry the Duke of Hart. A well-placed whisper about the pair's secret tryst might speed the course of true love. But the duke's stubborn cousin poses an obstacle-a ridiculously handsome, very persuasive obstacle . . . Nate, Marquess of Haywood, has spent his life looking out for the duke, hoping to stave off a family curse. The only way to keep his cousin alive is to keep him single. That means convincing the intriguing Miss Davenport that her lovely lips could be put to far better use than gossiping. Kissing, for instance. In fact, Nate is beginning to hope that Miss Davenport's destiny lies not in the Spinster House at all, but with him.Contains mature themes

… And was immediately disappointed. No answers were immediately waiting for me book 2 of Spinster House, How to Manage a Marquess, began.

What Worked

  • Once again, I really liked the premise. First of all, the continued use of the Spinster house as a means for women to live without dependence on marriage. The way these women are fighting over that one spot really highlights how few options women had. But also, we have a situation I haven’t read before – the heroine is getting ready to be replaced as mistress of her home because her father is remarrying. Suddenly she’s not going to fit in. Hadn’t thought about that before.
  • I really REALLY enjoyed the children in this one. The heroine, Anne Davenport’s, father is remarrying and the wife-to-be is a widow with two young children. Her former husband was not a good man at all and these kids just broke and lit up my heart.
  • The hero, Nate, is very likable. He’s a good friend, a good caregiver, a good person. I really enjoyed him and seeing his relationship with Anne grow.
  • It was really neat seeing some of the events from the last book over again, but from 2 new perspectives.
  • The cat. Again 🙂

What didn’t work

  • Nate’s obsession with keeping Marcus (from book 1) safe from the curse is a bit ridiculous. I understand he has this deathbed promise to his mother. But it just got absurd to me.
  • The juxtaposition of extreme distress over being seen alone and unwed for Nate and Anne with her father and his wife-to-be’s openness about being pregnant before being married is just jarring for me. Can we have sex or not people? It just felt really off.
  • The forward progression is just not enough! Okay, that’s not true, but we don’t actually move forward much in time between the two books and so I don’t have my answers. And book 3 isn’t out yet.#grrr!
  • You can believe I’ve got my eyes peeled for book 3… Assuming there will be one. It’s certainly setup for a third (and probably final) Spinster House book!

    4 stars Pretty Great

    I read both Spinster House books in audio and loved that narration! I was able to listen at 2x speed with no trouble, enjoyed the variation of voices and felt that characters came through really well. I’ve enjoyed Beverley’s narration before, though, so that wasn’t a surprise 🙂

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    About Berls
    Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

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