Humor Fiction

THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEWOMAN WITCHES by India Holton

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

There are no such things as witches. Charlotte Pettifer certainly isn’t one. And she certainly hasn’t been selected as the future leader of the secret League of Gentlewoman Witches because no such organization exists because witches don’t exist. And if they did exist, their future leader would certainly be discrete enough not to mount her broom in St. James’ Square in broad daylight and fly over the crowded streets just to escape a confrontation with a despicable and distressingly attractive Irish pirate.

But of course, Charlotte is a witch and the League’s rightful heir and therefore the only person with the legitimate right to steal the amulet that belonged to the foundress of the League (and, I suppose it must be mentioned, the creator of the spell that gave the pirates the ability to fly their battle houses over London). And when one such pirate steals the amulet for herself, Charlotte does not hesitate to commandeer a pirate’s house to give chase–both to retrieve her amulet and to get a second taste of the delightful freedom of flight. That she happens to commandeer the house of the Irish pirate is purely coincidental. That they appear to have formed an alliance is merely a distortion of the true reality that they are committed enemies who very maliciously kidnapped each other. That they occasionally find themselves locked in a broom closet together, their eyes locked, their bodies pressed close…well, everyone needs a bit of exercise…

Sometimes I skim books. Shameful, but true. But not this book–I couldn’t risk missing a single, hilarious word! From the absurdity of this series’ premise to the banter between the hero and heroine to the wealth of cleverly overturned literary allusions, I was laughing aloud the whole time. Add to that the deliciously steamy romance, thrilling adventure plot, and substantive cameos from the hero/heroine of the previous book, and you have a five star historical romance that you won’t be able to put down. I cannot recommend this series highly enough!

THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS by India Holton

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I am a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a commission, and Bookshop.org will donate a matching commission to independent booksellers. For more information, see my “About” page.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

When Cecilia learns that Lady Armitage has hired a pirate to assassinate her, she is pleased. Her late mother would be terribly proud that she finally merited an assassin. In fact, she is shaping up to be a fine pirate herself. She knows how to fly a house, how to pick a lock and a pocket, how to fight with knife, gun, or sword–in short, everything a lady needs to be a successful member of the Wisteria Society of Victorian pirates.

But as it turns out, her assassin isn’t as keen on killing her as Lady Armitage expected. In fact, Ned, as he insists she call him, warns Cecilia of a plot by her murderous father to kidnap her. Though Cecilia doesn’t trust Ned, when the rest of the Wisteria Society is shanghaied, she has no choice but to ally herself with him in order to effect a rescue. But while Cecilia may be well-versed in the art and science of piracy, she is in no way prepared for the feelings she begins to have toward Ned, and even less prepared for the feelings he seems to have toward her.

I’m pretty sure this book was written to delight me. I started laughing at the “Table of Significant Characters” and never stopped. But in addition to humor, it also checked all my boxes on what I want from a historical romance: a hero and heroine who I actually like, both independently and as a couple; a meaningful project not directly related to romance on which they can collaborate; and of course a healthy dose of swoon-worthy sexy-times. Still, as you can probably guess from the house-flying pirates, this won’t appeal to all historical romance readers. I would describe it as Sherry Thomas meets Gail Carriger. If that doesn’t help, read chapter one, and you will know if it’s for you. (And if this book is for you, we should definitely be friends. Because like I said, delighted…)

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels): Holton, India:  9780593200162: Amazon.com: Books

THE 100-YEAR-OLD-MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED by Jonas Jonasson

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An hour before his 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his bedroom in the Old Folks Home and heads toward the bus station.  His escape might have been perfectly ordinary if he hadn’t run into the young gang member with the large and intriguing suitcase.  While the young man is in the bathroom, Allan steals the suitcase and hops a bus to nowhere in particular.  And so it is that the centenarian becomes one of Sweden’s most wanted, chased across the countryside by policemen and thieves, and collecting an odd assortment of friends and circus animals along the way.  Not that this type of thing is anything out of the ordinary for Allan Karlsson.  After all, it pales in comparison with the time he helped Mao’s third wife escape from anti-communist revolutionaries or the time he helped President Truman build the atom bomb or the time. . .

The absurd story of Allan’s present weaves in and out of the absurd stories of his past in this hilarious satire novel.  The suspense of the suitcase mystery and the cast of colorful characters (past and present) make this book difficult to put down.  I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy political satire.  This novel may appeal to fans of Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller.

Thanks for the recommendation, Meagan!