Gothic Love Stories

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

These were kind of ridiculous in the best way. If you love reading dreary Gothic tales but prefer your heroines bold, the romance steamy, and the gore fun, these are a perfect way to pass a few dark, stormy nights.
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The stories in this boxed set are set in Regency times and contain romance and intrigue.  There is also a bit of the mystical entwined within each story which makes for a very enjoyable reading experience.  
These are not your typical Regency HEA stories.  Our heroines and/or heroes have mystical abilities that make for a different turn in the story.
Follow Evangeline & Gavin, Susan & Evan, Rebecca & Daniel and Violet & Alistair as they meet for the first time, or again as is the case with Rebecca & Daniel.  
The road to love is never easy, as evidenced for all of the couples in this set of stories.  
After many trials and tribulations, our couples will find their "Happily Ever After".  Will it be with each other?  
I recommend the purchase of this boxed set to my fellow historical romance readers.  You will not be disappointed.
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TOO WICKED TO KISS
TOO WICKED TO KISS is the first book in the Gothic Love Stories series.  Each will stand on its own, but I have loved all four in the series.

I loved this old style upper-crust society house party solving a case of who murdered one of their own.  All of the best characters are there:  the innocent, the tormented, the conniving, the drunkard, the mean, and the misunderstood.  I will only say that it was not Miss Plum in the Kitchen with a candlestick.

There is more than murder afoot; Ms. Evangeline has a special gift… a gift that, at times, has been the source of her torment and torture, intimidation and extortion.  I loved how she wants to use her gift to help.  It is only when she is being forced to use it that she balks.  (Like an artist who will only paint sad landscapes if he has been denied the joys of his life.)

While solving the murder, friendships bloom, trust is tested, and love grows.  All together, it made for a wonderful story that I never wanted to leave, but I still wanted to know it ended well.  The plus side is knowing that the second book in this series is about Evangeline’s new friend, Susan Stanton and her HEA.

TOO SINFUL TO DENY
TOO SINFUL TO DENY is the second book in the Gothic Love Stories series.  Each will stand on its own, but I highly recommend all four.

An old gothic manor on the cliffs of a beach town filled with smugglers and those who enjoy the goods being smuggled into their town.  What could go wrong?

Did I mention ghosts?  Susan started seeing them after she temporarily died in the Thames River.  Moreover, a captain that wants to do more than smuggle – piracy sounds like even more fun to him!  Conspiracy and abuse are being hidden in this small town as well. 

Susan has to decide who to trust, who to believe, and if her own heart will lead her astray.  I have to say, I loved Susan.  She’s an absolute brat with a new paranormal talent to figure out while banished to a boring seaside village with no outlets for a society miss.  Her answer seems to be to make as much trouble as possible to entertain herself and those around her!

This was a fantastic read with a proper amount of paranormal fun, teasing, passion, and romance.  Speaking of romance, let’s mention Evan Bothwick.  He is a smuggler with an offer to become a pirate.  Is that a line he wants to cross?  There is a difference between adventure and murderous greed!  He’s also handsome, a gentleman at heart even though he’ll deny it, and a loyal brother.  Another character with whom I have fallen deeply in love.

Together, they are fire.  They are steam.  They are volcanic!

TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST
TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST is the third book in the Gothic Love Stories series, formerly released as Romancing the Rogue.  This is a stand-alone gothic novella with no tie to the previous two books in the series, but there is mention of at least one character from the Dukes of War series.

My heart went out to Rebecca – orphaned twice – by her parents and now by the old earl, her guardian these last five years.  I wanted her to find friendship, companionship, and true love.  Enter Daniel – a young man who has allowed title and family to come between them before – will he make the same mistakes again?  Add in a few ghosts in the castle and it was totally my cup of tea!

I loved that in this story both of our main characters have been shown to mature and learn from their pasts.  They each long for the other, but are reluctant to dive in too quickly.  They each have a fear of rejection that must be laid to rest.  Ms. Ridley does a wonderful job of building their past and their present to allow them to regain the trust that is needed to bring them to where they both always wanted to be.  

This was a feel happy story that had me smiling for hours after I closed my Kindle.

TOO WANTON TO WED

TOO WANTON TO WED is the fourth book in the Gothic Love Stories series, but was originally released as a stand-alone novella, DARK SURRENDER.  

Violet was born to nothing, not even a real name of her own.  Through luck, she is taken in at the Livingstone School for Girls in Lancashire.  Because of her talent, she later became an instructor in art.  Unfortunately, for those born with nothing, bad luck becomes normal and expected.  When the school is closed and one of her students is attacked, Violet finds herself on the run with only the clothes on her back, a few coins, and her wits.  When she falls on the doorsteps of Waldegrave Abbey, Alistair Waldegrave instructs the staff to provide her with bath, food, and a night of rest.  One night as a Good Samaritan recipient becomes a temporary position for Violet as governess to Alistair’s daughter, Lillian.

There are many avenues of passion in this story – art, parental love, and romantic.  All are well written and all consuming.  The story is well paced and continually moving forward.  I never wanted to put it down to deal with real life.  This was definitely a book to get lost within the pages.

Who should read it?  Anyone who likes romance, a touch of crime novel, and a hint of paranormal activity.
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Splendid! I do believe gothic Regency romances may be my new favourite type of novel. A “Who Done It?” mystery in the Regency period with romance and a spirited heroine! Jackpot! This set of books have it all.
These books had my heart accelerating from, “Oh no! Watch Out!!!” to “ooooh is he going to kiss her", "Will she let him?” moments. 
Great series, Loved the stories
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I loved these four stories. Erica Ridley is a new author for me but I plan on reading her other books now. To Sinful to Deny was my favorite. This is also my first time reading gothic novels. I did think of Dark Shadows when I started the first novel Too Wicked To Kiss. I did giggle a little with this thought. There is a little bit of heat between each H/h. I like that and have no problem with it happening outside of marriage. Thank you for allowing me to review an advanced copy.
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A great set of stories each one different from the other well written and a set I will read again. The stories are TOO WICKED TO KISS, TOO SINFUL TO DENY, TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST, and TOO WANTON TO WED. This set looks like it is no longer sold but the books are sold separately. I received a copy through NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
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I absolutely loved this series of Gothic Love stories! Each of them held my attention and made me want to keep reading ALL NIGHT. It was fun change of pace and really well done. The darkness of each of the stories seep through and you begin to wonder who the good guys really are. Definitely give these a try. This time of year is perfect for reads like these!
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To say that I'm a big fan of the author it's just a tiny bit unfair because i just love her writing and each story that she writes for us to enjoy.
I loved each couple, so different and so perfectly matched, with flaws and feelings that can't deny the love they share and even if they have to go through some dangerous situations, love will always find a way to bring them back together and never let go. 
Just love.
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These are the first Gothic stories I've read from Ms Ridley. They were quite wonderful. She does such a beautiful job of bringing the characters to life. I would highly recommend.
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Another excellent set of stories by Ms. Ridley. Good plost and such an interesting assortment of characters. Enjoyed
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Really enjoyed this collection of exciting adventures filled with danger, intriguing charters and thrilling emotional ups and downs..... excellent reading!
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Positively addicting! A raving success in ravishing detail. Gothic horror? No. Gothic pleasure at its finest. 5/5 stars for a job well done.
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I absolutely adored this set of books. The stories were all standalones but each one heaved you firmly and wouldn't let you go. If you enjoy romances with amazing characters and happy endings these books are for you
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These are the first of Ms Ridley’s gothic stories that I have read and found them very different from my usual read. They had murder, mystery, paranormal and a full range of emotions.  If you like Ms Ridley I am sure you will like these as well. They are something different but of course well read as you would expect from a great story teller. Well worth the read.  I received these as an ARC and was happy to review.
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Gothic Love Stories are a collection of an interesting mix of historical meets paranormal romance. 

Too Wicked to Kiss- 3.5 stars

Evangeline Pemberton in a desperate chance to flee her abusive step-father runs off to the doorstep of one of her late mother's friend. Lady Stratford (said friend) is on her way to a house party at Blackberry Manor belonging to the reclusive Lord Lioncroft, who is rumored to have killed his parents in cold blood. Lady Stratford agrees to take in Evangeline as long as she agrees to help in her scheme to trap Lord Lioncroft into marrying her daughter, Susan. Evangeline has a secret that she desperately tries to keep hidden. The party suffers a sort of Clue-like death and a whodunnit ensues. 

I enjoyed the dialogue between the two MCs. Erica Ridley has a way with words and discussion that is fun and exciting. The setting was very fun and spooky. And as always, the romance was quite fun!

Too Sinful to Deny- 3.25 stars

Smugglers, and pirates, and ghosts! Oh my!

Exiled socialite Susan Stanton just can't catch a break. First, she's exiled from society for tattling about a witnessed clandestine affair between two members of the ton, then she fails her mothers attempt to trap a Lord into marriage to cover up said scandal (see Too Wicked to Kiss). She was punished by being banished to her room. One night she escapes and goes out to an ice festival but on her way there the ice cracks and she falls in and carries the lasting effects of that night. Now, her family has banished her to a little seaside town steeped in mystery and secrets.

In all honesty, I was not really looking forward to reading any more about Susan. She kind of annoyed me in Too Wicked to Kiss but she also acted sometimes in a way that made me not really trust her.  But I was pleasantly surprised and ended up liking her. I dug Evan and their interactions. As always, the back and forth banter between the two MCs was on point. While normally, I absolutely dig how Erica Ridley writes her smexy, romance times, but I just wasn't feeling this one too much. I did get a bit wearisome with the constant mistrust through nearly the entire book. There were a lot of twists and turns that maybe were a bit distracting. The mystery and all its layers made for quite a good whodunnit. But truthfully, at some point, you fully distrust almost every single character in the book. Like, Who do you believe? Who is the woman? Who is running the manor? Who killed Evan's brother? What is the... I could do this for a while, but you get the point. All in all, this was a good historical mystery/romance.

Too Tempting to Resist- 3.5 stars

After the death of her parents, Miss Rebecca Bond was sent to her only living relative, in a lonely castle. In an attempt to stay out of the way, she keeps to the shadows. Many of the castles occupants thing she is actually a ghost, When the new heir inherits the castle, he decides he must marry her off or be out on her ear. In an unexpected chance of fortune, she is reacquainted with Lord Stonebury, one of the ton’s greatest rakes. While he broke her heart many years ago, she decides he might be just the one to help in her mission to find a husband. Daniel's biggest regret is hurting the only girl he's ever cared about. In an attempt to make amends, he jumps at the chance to finally make up for his previous misdeeds, even if that means helping Rebecca get married to another man.

This was a quick little novella that, gratefully, lacked the constant twists and constant mistrust of Too Sinful to Deny. There were no side plots and unfortunately not much of a gothic or paranormal twist other than the beginning misconceptions that Rebecca was thought to be a ghost living in the castle. I really did enjoy the romance aspect and the brevity. I'm not gonna lie, the Gothic Love Stories collection/bundle was quite wordy. All in all, Too Tempting to Resist was a short and sweet romance.

Too Wanton to Wed- 3.0 stars

Violet Whitechapel, is a woman on the run. In the defense of an innocent child, she accidentally murdered two men. In an attempt to save her own life, she ran as far and as fast as she could and found herself at the doorstep of a broken down Abbey. Its owner is a desperate recluse in search of a cure. Alistair Waldegrave, the owner of Waldegrave Abbey, is desperate to find a cure for the deadly disease that afflicts his daughter and forces him to keep her imprisoned in her own home. Lilian suffers horribly and is incapable of tolerating any sunlight. Alistair must keep his daughter's life a secret from superstitious townsfolk who think him and his wildly misbehaving daughter are--- vampires.

This was a good read and I enjoyed the overall story and mostly enjoyed the characters. I know this is bad to say... and I'm a mom, so I feel super horrible about it but I really disliked Lilly. OMG, that girl needed something! I know the whole story progression was supposed to come from Violet helping to tame the wild-feral child and help Alistair wake up from his super-indulgent, super-obsessive cure researching coma and bring life back into them. I know, I know that but... ugh, there is not such a fine line between overindulgence and unconditional love that you can't see the difference. (channeling Veruca Salt anyone?) No one ever disciplined her or even said "you were wrong to throw paint all over those paintings that took Violet days, weeks to paint FOR YOU", no one ever made her apologize. Nothing! And could Violet have been more disrespectful? I mean she was about to jump his bones right on top of his wife's grave. My goodness, could they not have moved further away? And the whole chemistry/relationship build-up was just not there for me. 

Ok, so I'm just going to chalk this one up to a miss for me. On the whole, the story was good and the overall love relationship worked out, but it just didn't click for me.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for this generously provided ARC!
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For lovers of gothic romance this is the perfect escape. These stories will give you hours of nail biting suspense and intrigue. Dark mansions with unending and confusing corridors lend just the right eerie touch to these stories. Some are a bit humorous, others poignant, but all are intriguing and compelling?
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An enjoyable selection of Gothic Romance stories and they all are great for light, fun reads; perfect to jump out of reality for a while and into these. A couple are much more gothic than the others, and I enjoyed these more as I like a gothic setting, and of course it provides a rich, dark and dramatic backdrop to a period romance. 
Overall, I'd recommend this selection of romance reads, perfect for a cold winter night by the fire.
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Absolutely fabulous kept me gripped throughout, I’m not even sure where to start. They were fun to read with the right amount sinister suspense for me a great balance of sexual tension and I loved all the characters who were very believable and you had a great connection with. 
I love the brooding heroes the feisty heroines and altogether fabulous read, that was a different read for me but one that I totally enjoyed and would happily recommend.
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I'm a huge historical romance reader but not many of those have been Gothic love stories. I found the dark castles, ghosts, secrets, second chances and romances a lot of fun to read. Something different from my usual reads. 
I love reading Erica Ridley books when I need a little break from my norm. They are shorter in length but not short on humour, love and happenstance. I highly recommend her books. 
I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
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Each book in this set was fantastic. They were intriguing and romantic and I couldn’t wait to see how they unfolded. They each had a ghostly storyline that left me guessing and a black guard that left me guessing too, in a good way. Book provided by NetGalley.
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