Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bella’s Betrothal by Anne Stenhouse


While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.

Bella settles into the household of her Aunt Hatty Menzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.

Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.

Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?

About the Author:

ANNE STENHOUSE has always loved words. Reading them and using them greedily, she can’t truly remember a time when she couldn’t escape into the pages of a book and certainly can’t remember when she couldn’t talk and ask questions. Anne is a published and performed playwright. She studied both English and History at University in Edinburgh, and finds it a great joy to combine these two disciplines in her first novel, Mariah’s Marriage. Being a playwright means Anne loves dialogue and knows a piece is going well when she ‘begins to hear the characters talking to each other’. She has been a civil servant, full-time Mum and, for a while, a worker in an Addictions’ rehabilitation unit. Anne lives in Scotland with her husband and dancing partner of over thirty years. Their children and a grandchild are close by.

Review by Rochelle:

Bella’s Betrothal is about the granddaughter of an Earl who is sent to live with her aunt in Scotland when her reputation is ruined by rumors of an affair with a married man in London. The rumors are false, but her mother banishes her anyway, sending her on the long, perilous journey north without the protection of a male relative to escort her.

When the unscrupulous Lord Direlton hears of Bella’s pending arrival, he decides to kidnap her and have his way with her. He invites his buddies to partake, as well. Charles Lindsay is like a son to Bella’s uncle and wants nothing to do with the plot. He decides to rescue the girl, and falls in love with her at first sight. Part of him doesn’t believe the rumors and part of him doesn’t care about them. He’s already flaunting society by working as an architect, and Bella is working hard to clear her name. As time goes by and word arrives that her cousin is expecting while Bella is not, it becomes clear that Bella’s honor has not been compromised—until Direlton tries again to kidnap her and she and Charles are seen alone together late at night with their clothing rumpled. They must become betrothed to save both their honors.

I normally avoid historical romances. I absolutely hate anachronisms. There’s nothing worse than reading an historical book littered with modern idiom. When I expressed this opinion in an online discussion, Ms. Stenhouse challenged me to find an anachronism or modern idiom in her book, Bella’s Betrothal. I found one semi-questionable line that was so iffy, I didn’t even bookmark it.

Another of my pet peeves is the misuse of homonyms. One of the most confusing pairs is affect/effect. Rarely do I see the word effect used correctly as a verb. Yet, at twenty-seven percent of the way into the book, Charles says, “Give me the pen. I caused the damage, and I will effect a repair.” I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Ms. Stenhouse using “effect” correctly. Bravo! I have found a Regency author who not only avoids anachronisms, but knows how to write English grammatically! There must be something special about the Scottish school system, since that, I believe is where J. K. Rowling was also educated.

In addition to the historical consistency and good grammar, the characters are well-drawn and the action starts on page one and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the book. Bella is never quite certain of Charles’s feelings for her, and Direlton and his men hover over them like the flaming sword of Damocles. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to more accurate, well-written, page-burning historical fiction from Ms. Stenhouse.

Author’s Website:
Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  271 Pages
Digital Price:  $5.95

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. 
Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

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