Cover Image: The Notorious Lord Knightly

The Notorious Lord Knightly

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Our hero, Arthur Pennington, Earl of Knightly, has a problem, everyone thinks he's the subject of a racy novel. It's embarrassing and there are people trying everything to solve the mystery; including debutants who want to get caught in the garden with Lord K. They want the passionate fairy tale Anonymous has written. Knightly has an awful secret & it's dictated his life foy years now. He's just trying the best he can to get by.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, so it's said. Our heroine, Regina, is dishing it out in style. She wrote this book as a way to support herself as well as aggravate the man who broke her heart. I think she'd kind of like Knightly to know Lord K is him and how much he hurt her and ruined her future. She has a secret too, a huge one.
Both are leading complicated lives and are multi-faceted characters. There isn't a lot I can tell without giving away the "noooo, really?" moments. You're going to love the HEA, get a tissue cos it's good. There's one more Chessmen to go and I'm curious if Rook will be as interesting as the first 3 books. I hope so.

#LorraineHeath #TheNotoriousLordKnightly #TheChessmen #AvonBooks #HarperCollins #historicalromance #romance

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Jilted and heartbroken, Miss Regina Leyland pens an anonymous book, exercising her feelings for Arthur, Lord Knightly, on page. The scandalous story quickly takes the Ton by storm and has everyone guessing the identity of its villainous “Lord K.” Knightly proposes a pretend reconciliation to throw the ton off and remedy Regina's reputation. But their false friendship soon resurfaces all their old feelings.

This is the second book in The Chessmen: Masters of Seduction series. The book stands alone quite well but Knight's friend group shows up, as do characters from the Sin for all Seasons series.

This was another winner from Heath. It's told in present tense as well as flashbacks to the characters' previous relationship. Charming and wealthy Knightly intended to make a quick appearance at a party, until he spotted the beautiful Regina, illegitimate but beloved daughter of an earl. Their whirlwind courtship led straight to the alter, however Knightly showed up at the church and said he wouldn't marry her. Regina traveled for a time, and wrote a titillating story based on their relationship. She didn't expect the Ton to be so determined to identify the man and unmask the author. Neither has gotten over their love for each other, and that torment is captivating as they try to find a way forward.

Tropes: Unexpected Title, Hero Falls First, Jilted, Ruined, Secret Job, Second Chance, Secret Baby

Steam: 3

* I received an ARC and this is my honest review.

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This was a wonderful read! I loved the dynamic between Knight and Regina. I felt like Lorraine Heath gave justice to their fraught past while also giving the reader hope for the future. A really, really enjoyable read. Heath continues to produce solid romance novels. I loved the Author's Note at the end which provided fascinating historical context.

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I loved everything about this book, from the cover to the writing and how well the second chance romance was executed. The story flowed seamlessly and I truly believed in our couple’s second chance at love.

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A great hero is surrounded by otherwise mid elements.

Lorraine Heath is, of course, amazing, but this one was not it for me. If you don’t like children in your romance books, stay far far away!
I did really love the MMC, but I wasn’t captivated by Regina. The plot wasn’t hooking me as much either. Not one I highly recommend. There are much better Heath books out there!

Star Rating: 2/5
Tropes: Second chance, enemies to lovers, slow burn

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I’m struggling with how to rate this book, for reasons discussed below. I’m going to go with a very low four stars for now. It’s probably somewhere between 3.5 and 4 for me at this point.

Miss Regina Leyland is jilted right before walking down the aisle by Lord Arthur Knightly without explanation. She leaves for Europe and returns 5 years later. When she returns, a book called My Secret Desires, a Memoir, is published by Anonymous featuring Lord K. When Lord Knightley suspects Regina of writing it, he approaches her to find out if she is Anonymous. He begins working his way back into her life.

SPOILERS BELOW
Regina is trying to move on with her life. She is being courted by Viscount Chidding, who she is hoping will accept her child born out of wedlock. Knightly promises to do his best to get him to propose since Regina has made it clear that she is interested in Chidding.

This story switches between the past, around the time Knightly jilted her at the alter, and the present, three or so years later. I didn’t really mind this fact, except for the secret baby trope which is not revealed by either character’s POV even though they both knew Knightly was the father.

Otherwise, I thought the book was entertaining. The secret baby trope isn’t my favorite but in this book it wasn’t the fact that there was a secret baby that bothered me, but the fact that neither party revealed her parentage until the very end of the story. Without that plot point, this would have been an easy four star for me.

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What an amazing book! I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book so much. It was filled with passion, betrayal, hatred and, eventually love.

Regina was an amazingly strong character, and I fell in love with her myself for all she had to endure throughout her life. That she came out the other side of such a tempest speaks to her incredible strength and generosity of spirit. Knightly truly was a knight in shining armor, always trying to protect those he loved even though it forced him to give up the love of his life. Five years of unending torment only made him stronger as well and gave him the fortitude to conquer all obstacles in the end. The author is a magnificent storyteller weaving a story that will leave you breathless. There are graphic sex scenes in this story so readers beware if you prefer your stories sweet. For me, the pleasure experienced by Regina and Knightly was a wondrous experience. Highly recommended!

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London - 1870 and 1875

Arthur Pennington, the Earl of Knightly, has been an object of both admiration and disdain for most of his adult life due to his good looks, reputation as a rogue, and luck with women. Lately, however, many in his circle are wondering if he is the Lord K referred to in a scandalous book published anonymously. Even his fellow Chessmen suspect that he is the rogue. Knightly wonders himself, and could the author be someone he hurt several years ago?

Miss Regina Leyland has settled back in London after fleeing five years ago when she was left standing at the altar by the Earl of Knightly. As the beloved illegitimate daughter of an earl and an actress, Regina has returned to England, determined to show the world that what Knightly did is behind her. But it isn't, and he isn't. Her revenge is to pen a novel that is loosely based on their love affair. What she isn't prepared for is how he would react, or how others will. She has kept to herself, and has not revealed a secret she's kept except to those in her immediate circle.

What Regina isn't aware of is the real reason Knightly suddenly backed out of the marriage. And he isn't about to tell her or anyone else. But he keeps running into her, and he sees that another man is now courting her. Knightly hasn't recovered from loving Regina any more than she has gotten over him. But neither are aware of their mutual feelings.

THE NOTORIOUS LORD KNIGHTLY is Book 2 in The Chessmen: Masters of Seduction series. Knightly is not the rogue he appears to be to the ton, and his heart won't let him move on from Regina. Regina, on the other hand, wants to fit into a society that snubs her, and by marrying a highly thought of man might be her opportunity. Or will it? She still has deep feelings for Knightly, and will that affect her future with another man?

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This is the 2nd in the Chessman series and although there are 4 Chessman, one is already married, so I am thinking this might be a trilogy. We shall see.
I enjoyed this book because it is Lorraine Heath, a writer I enjoy. However, there was a lot of Angst, and I preferred the story taking place in the present (1875) rather than the story 5 years in the past. The plot involved a woman, Regina being left at the altar by Lord Knightly, and the entire book we are waiting for an explanation. We begin to suspect slowly at why, and there are many reveals, until we finally get a happy ending. This is really a love story and I did cry at the end. There is also a darling little girl and a puppy.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the EARC for an honest review. This is a lovely series and I am looking forward to the next book.

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I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love a good second chance romance and this was done fantastically. Knightly was swoon worthy and so protective of Regina. I loved him wanting her to be happy even though at the time he could not be that. He finally was able to make things work and I was so happy.

Regina was wonderful. I normally don't like surprise kids but enjoyed this. Loved both of the main characters and never got tired of them. Really looking forward to the rest of this series especially the next book!

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Lorraine Heath is one of my faves and she does not disappoint with "The Notorious Lord Knightly." While part of her series "The Chessmen", this book would also work well as a standalone. Here, we have Lord Arthur Knightly and Miss Regina Weyland finding their second chance at love via her need for revenge. The book begins shortly after the publication of a borderline erotic pamphlet detailing the story of an innocent debutante and the wicked Lord K, written anonymously by Regina in an attempt to humiliate Knightly. Spoiler - he is not humiliated - rich men rarely are in this time period. He does, however, use the publication as a path back into the life of the woman he has never stopped loving. And while Regina detests Knightly, there is a thin line between love and hate, and she also still loves him. Not that love alone makes their path back together easy. It is not, but it is page-turning inducing.

I loved this book. The second chance romance trope, the secret baby trope (my favorite!), a swoon-inducing hero caught in a desire to do the next right thing but not being sure what that truly is, a smart and practical heroine who knows what she wants and deserves, and a little bit of spice...like I said, LOVE. 5 stars. Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for a complimentary ARC of this book. The opinions herein are my own.

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A scandalous book by an anonymous author takes London by storm, and everyone is convinced its villainous “Lord K” is the greatly admired Earl of Knightly. Heartbroken that he left her at the altar, Miss Regina Leyland impulsively sought revenge by revealing the true Knightly to the world but never expected the uproar to bring enemies to her door. To keep her identity hidden, she must trust the one man with the power to destroy her.

Lorraine Heath is the mistress of historical romance, and this entry in her new series is not to be missed. This reader cannot wait for the next Chessmen novel. Highly recommended. #TheNotoriousLordKnightly #NetGalley #SaltMarshAuthors

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The Counterfeit Scoundrel was my first introduction to Lorraine Heath and I have that book to thank for my lifelong fondness for the author. Just one taste and I knew I had to find everything I've been missing. Since that first book, I've read 14 of her novels and I'm still prowling her catalog. The Notorious Lord Knightly featured two of my least favorite tropes, but I still managed to have a good reading experience. The author's writing style and a hero whose cheeks I wanted to squish were my saving grace. I think my qualms are entirely personal and won't necessarily resonate with other readers in this particular manner. I absolutely loved the cameos from the first book and even other series she's written. It makes my heart so happy to know that all her stories coexist in one happy universe. Every time I see a Trewlove name dropped in conversation, I automatically add a star to the rating. That special little family means so much to me.

The two main proponents of the book that rattled my chain were Second Chance Romance and Cutesy Kid. I knew about the first, but was caught completely off guard by the latter. I personally don't believe children belong in romance novels and I firmly state that as a childless millennial. This was a huge bomb drop and I was a little sour about it. Thankfully, the hero was sweet as pie and he helped carry the weight of my disappointment. Once again, these opinions are all a matter of personal preference because I love Lorraine Heath's books with my whole heart. I think the Chessmen are a spectacular group of characters and I'm eager for the final checkmate. We've still got the Rook to make the last move on the board.

Despite my disappointment over the prevailing tropes, Lorraine Heath is a stellar author. I'm having a whirlwind time reading her past publications. Her books are slow-burning candles filled with tenderness and heat. I can't thank the publishers enough for giving me a chance to read this series, not knowing what a phenomenal impact they would have on me. The Notorious Lord Knightly certainly played the social scene like a chessboard, but it would be his queen dominating in the end.

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The author is definitely a hit or miss with me. I usually love or hate her books. This one was neither, it was just kind of meh. I liked both MC's. I felt bad about their situation but felt like Knightly could have done more to not hurt Regina the way he did.

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This one was ok. I’m not a huge fan of second chance romances especially ones w some of the tropes this one has. I think the relationship development could have been more apparent, it was a bit feeling like inevitable but that neither had to work so hard for the second chance.

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Oh the second chance romance, you either love them or hate them. I typically fall on the love side of second chance romance if done well and this one was definitely done well. Our mains were deeply in love and at the church when our Hero was forced to back out. I worried that his reasons would not be believable but I was pleased at how this was handled. Their original romance is established through flashbacks and the anonymously written book that our heroine had published and is the talk of the ton. I love how our heroine, Regina, has grown from this experience and she's unafraid to put Knight in his place and remind him what he did to her. I feel like the resolution could have been come to sooner but I think it was well handled.

This is the second book in a new series (Chessmen) so there was the requisite Hero dump at the beginning of the book with our Chessmen: Knight, Bishop, Rook, King (though I think he's from a different series). I have not read the first in the series but I may come back to it and I will likely try the new one when it comes out. Lorraine Heath has frequently been a miss for me but this one was worth a weekend read.

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Regency Romance 2nd chance at love book. Regina and Arthur have a past and avoid each other. Years, later a sexy scandalous memoir published about lovers who parted badly. The ton believe it about them which cause. This book was entertaining and flowed easily thru the story. I like the interaction between Regina and Arthur. The supporting characters were enjoyable. The book revolves around learning to trust again and taking the leap to be vulnerable to someone. Amidst of this, family duties, expectations, and responsibilities come into play. I read this author’s books previously and recommend her. It was a good story and HEA.

**I received this book from NetGalley and publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I was excited to get to this one back to back with the previous one and here I'm wondering if I have rated it too high.

I liked Regina and Knightly. They're both good, loyal people with secrets. I enjoyed reading their instant animosity and how their second chance was really the slowest of slow burns. Seeing the other Chessmen was fun and I loved the mentions of other characters from previous series.

Plot wise, it was a bit meh me. I wanted more conversation, not inner monologue. The full honesty between them came at different times and I struggled with parts of it.

***************SPOILER BELOW******************

I hate hate hate the secret baby trope, but I hated even more that Knightly spent the entire book knowing Ari was his and never once acknowledging it in his inner monologue. Yes, there were actions that led me to believe that he knew, but for some reason, it really bugged me that the words never crossed his mind/mouth until the end.

***************END SPOILER*****************

Overall, there were parts of this story that didn't work for me, but it's Lorraine, so I'm always going to be reading.

**Huge thanks to the publisher for providing the digital arc free of charge**

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A Lorraine Heath novel is always a grand and exhilarating mystery.

The Notorious Lord Knightly (The Chessman #2) may not have a body on the floor and a pistol wielding villain, but the expertly woven twists and conflicts make this a dramatic page turner.

When Miss Regina Leyland is left at the alter by her dashing love Lord Knightly, she is left to pick up the pieces of her heart and shattered reputation. As her scandalous book-based revenge plot brings him back into her life, Regina is forced to consider forgiveness and a second chance for a man who may not be a first rate scoundrel after all.

Heath is a master at bringing deep, fraught external conflict to the page without overshadowing the internal conflict of the characters. The emotions and the love story remain the primary focus, the goal in this genre, and their feelings and secrets are laid bare in heart-wrenching ways.

Knight and Regina were painted into a corner by circumstances out of their control. In a second chance romance, the success of the first part of the story relies on the believability of those external forces which shoved these two people apart. The conclusion hinges on the character’s emotional work to right those wrongs, gain forgiveness, and atone to their beloved.

The Notorious Lord Knightly succeeds on both those counts, giving the reader a thrilling ride to the why of how the split happened and delivering a beautiful moment of reconciliation.
_________________
– The Chessman: Masters of Seduction is a spin off series from The Duchess Hunt, Book #2 of the Once Upon a Dukedom series. As such, we see the Duke of Kingsland and Penelope Pettypeace, his Duchess, again. While The Chessman series can be treated as a standalone, The Duchess Hunt has one of the best historical heroines in recent years and is a strong recommended first read.

– The delightful Trewloves of the Sins for All Seasons series also make an appearance.

– As with all Lorraine Heath books, don’t sleep on the Author’s Note at the end. There’s always some fascinating little piece of history which finds a way into her stories and this one is particularly important in the age of book banning we find ourselves in yet again.

Spice Level: 2/5, open door, expert-level steamy
__________
Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date June 27th, 2023.

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✨ second chance
✨ angst
✨ revenge plot
✨ secret romance/erotica author heroine
✨ class diff
✨ hate to love

❌ CW: parental abuse/abandonment, patriarchal bullshit
🌶 spice: 1.5/5

i am having such a fun time with this series omg! this 2nd book in the chessmen series follows Lord Knightly and the jilted bride he left at the altar, Regina Leyland. Miss Leyland has been publishing their erotic and romantic past through her stories, making speculation and whispers arise among the Ton .. including catching the attention of the notorious Lord "K" himself! when they both meet head to head, the undeniable tension and angst of all that they've shared resurfaces, no matter how much Regina refuses to succumb to it.

you gotta love a second chance rom... Lord Knightly's clear love for her throughout all these years just SHINES through the pages; treating her with kindness even tho all he gets is her ire and hate, giving her horses, meeting in the gardens like they used to... sigh. their tension and angst of the past and present is palpable and makes for an irresistible read!

really recommend this series!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to the publisher Avon for the e-ARC via Netgalley. Releases June 27, 2023!

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