Thursday 26 October 2023

Book Review – Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales, Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus @ars_ronnei

Offers of Atonement 
(Regency Tales, Book 5) 
By Maria Yrsa Rönneus 

Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: 29th August 2023
Pages‏: ‎457 Pages
Genre: Regency Romance

"We shall need a corpse."

When Captain James Hartcourt’s best friends ask him for an unusual favour, he doesn’t hesitate. Losing fortunes at cards, London’s shady underworld, his mother’s schemes – few things daunt him. Until he meets Lady May.

Destitute, Lady May stakes her reputation in one great gamble to retrieve her family’s estate. Arriving alone in London with a proposition he cannot refuse, she discovers that Captain Hartcourt is a cardsharp with emerald eyes, dangerous kisses, and a shed that seems to house horrendous secrets. Soon she must wonder whether he is a murderer too.

Set in 1820, just as George III has died and all of London is plunged into mourning, Offers of Atonement is the fifth stand-alone novel in the Regency Tales series. For those who loved Northanger Abbey, this romantic comedy of manners takes a grittier twist to paint a realistic portrait of the era, outside the polished salons.

Regency Tales is an epic series of evocative dramas of love and jealousy, friendship and deceit, spanning the years following the horrendous battle of Waterloo against a backdrop of political tension, societal pressure, and the opulence of the British aristocracy.

Trigger Warnings: Contains profanity, mild sex, violence, attempted rape.

Grab your copy HERE!

Blue-grey like stormy, Irish seas, her gaze washed over him, leaving him fighting for breath in the swell. He had intimately known scores of women, courtesans, ladies, ten times as beautiful, yet there was something about those eyes that might haunt a man; a surf that might whisk him away. Breathtaking. Endearing. 

‘Who the devil are you?’ Struggling to conceal his consternation, his voice came out rough.
‘I am Baroness Talleyn, and I am come to propose a business arrangement.’ 

To live by a deck of cards is a cruel existence, for you can never truly win. Captain James Hartcourt may have won an estate, but with it came the guilt that the loser was a man who had lost everything he had left. Hartcourt did not particularly care for the estate, for it was far away and in the country, but it seemed determined to haunt him.

Lady May was devastated to learn that her father’s estate no longer belonged to the family. In a desperate bid to keep the house and land she had loved her entire life, she travels to London to find the Hartcourt fellow who had accepted the stakes and gambled with her life. May had but one plan when she found him – the only way to keep her beloved home was to make it hers again through marriage.

An unlikely match, but one destined to happen, Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus is a novel of a romance written in the cards, and the wager of a lifetime.

When they meet, a match between Hartcourt and Lady May seems to be a win-win scenario. May would get to preserve her beloved King’s Ear Court, and Hartcourt would finally have a way to escape the social pressures of his mother, who would see him succumb to social rejection and ostracism rather than simply allow him to live his own life. A marriage was the final hand he could play in an attempt to escape her hold on him. But yet, Hartcourt and May barely knew each other. They were strangers joining hands in a church, and neither truly knew what they were getting themselves in for.

Lady May is a very lovable character. She is prone to speaking her mind, and does so while shouting at multiple points in this novel, but she clearly knows her own thoughts and is not afraid to make them known. She does not expect to fall for Hartcourt as she does – she expected a wedding and then for them to never truly speak, going their separate ways with nothing but a piece of paper tying them together. In the same way, Hartcourt had never predicted marriage for himself, and it was not something he was particularly bothered by, but there was something about May he just couldn’t ignore. The redecorating of the house, turning it from a lonely, damp, and cold building into a bustling household, fully furnished and full of warmth, shows the true effect May had on Hartcourt. She might’ve completely turned his life upside-down, but he was for once standing on his feet rather than drowning.

While both May and Hartcourt clearly find each other remarkably attractive, their relationship hits many ruts on the road, and there are more than a few ups and downs. But what is a true Regency romance without a relationship full of unexpected turns and hurdles? Neither truly knows the other’s feelings throughout the book, and both are of the impression that their feelings are one-sided, causing a lot of things to be hidden, and many things are not said that should really be spoken about. However, as the reader is privy to each of the character’s emotions and thoughts, you cannot help but root for them to learn of the other’s feelings, and confess their love for each other.

This is a novel of romance, of elegant, sweeping turns of phrase, and poetic notions that could make you swoon. This book truly draws you in and you cannot help but be carried along through the tender prose. It is difficult to put this book down once started. This novel has been penned with great care and attention to detail, and it truly brings the Regency era back to life within the pages. The clash between the genteel and the working classes, the fear of scandal and the delight at being invited to an exclusive evening event – it all comes together to create an unforgettable experience.

It is not all love and happiness, however, for secrets are keeping Hartcourt and May apart, things that might change everything if they are discovered. There are documents in Hartcourt’s desk that do not make sense – why was there a death certificate dated for April, when it was still only March? What confused the situation further was that the man who had supposedly died was still very much alive. Unless, there was something much darker afoot. Hartcourt is clearly involved in something horrendous, something he cannot bear to reveal to May, and she is determined to figure out what it is. The secrets are a wild card in their relationship, and whether it will tear them apart or things will be revealed and they grow even closer is unpredictable, keeping you turning the pages as fast as you can to find out.

This may be book 5 of a series, but it stands alone and you do not have to read the previous books to enjoy this one. Rather, once you have read this, you will want to go back and read the others, for you will not want to leave the world inside the pages. The author has done a fabulous job at creating a book you will not want to put down, and characters you do not want to leave behind. To read the other books may provide additional insight into some of the other characters, but it is not a necessity to read them all.

Offers of Atonement (Regency Tales Book 5) by Maria Yrsa Rönneus is not to be missed, for it has all the intrigue, social and domestic issues, and romance that a Regency novel can possibly have. This book makes you want for nothing but more, and I found it difficult to read as quickly as I wanted to, while also savouring every word.

I Highly Recommend.

Maria Yrsa Rönneus 

Hello, I'm Maria Yrsa Rönneus – author, artist, graphic designer.

As a child, I wanted to grow up to be three things: a ballerina, a farmer, and a writer. Many years and five published novels later, I think that one out of those three isn’t bad. 

Amongst my earliest memories is crayoning by the kitchen table and making up stories about the drawings, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Yet it was decades before I had enough courage to pursue it professionally; when I finally did, it was burnout from stress and childhood abuse that tipped the scale. 

At university, I studied art and philosophy mainly, but also film, literature, physics, and logic. I tried many different professions: teacher, project manager, care assistant, library assistant; I’ve been a cabbie and (briefly) a prison guard. I pursued a career in politics and was elected for public office. But, whilst many of these roles were rewarding, great privileges even, they were never a perfect fit. I treasure all of these experiences as they make me better at what I was meant to do – tell stories.

Born and raised in rural Sweden, rambles through fields and forests shaped me and continue to influence all my work; animals and plants are ever present. Whether images or words, I immerse myself wholly in my work. There’s a story behind every brush stroke, an image behind every word, although only a small fraction ever gets processed enough to share with others. The majority of my stories are written in English and, most commonly, in the genres of historical fiction, contemporary romance, or short stories inspired by Scandinavian mythology and folklore. 

Being a life-long history buff, I like to fancy myself a bit of an amateur historian and digging through archives and chasing facts for my novels is precisely my idea of a good time. Luckily, I also enjoy dancing, else I might never have met my husband. We live in the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula where, in the words of Voltaire, we cultivate our garden.

Connect with the author:



No comments:

Post a Comment

See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx