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A Stolen Kiss (Victorian Love #1)

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A mistaken kiss. A forced engagement. Can it become something more? Lily Kingsley accepts that she is destined to be a spinster—but not until she gets her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist. Unfortunately, she kisses the wrong one and ends up in the arms of an overbearing and exceptionally frustrating merchant. When busybodies catch them in their illic A mistaken kiss. A forced engagement. Can it become something more? Lily Kingsley accepts that she is destined to be a spinster—but not until she gets her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist. Unfortunately, she kisses the wrong one and ends up in the arms of an overbearing and exceptionally frustrating merchant. When busybodies catch them in their illicit embrace, an engagement is the only solution, but Lily doesn’t want a fiancé who’s only doing his duty. And she certainly doesn’t want a gentleman far too used to getting his own way. She simply must make him see how ill-suited they are. But why is the fellow so determined to see their engagement through? Jack Hatcher hates surprises, but when a beguiling lady mistakes him for someone else and launches herself into his arms, he discovers not all surprises are bad. Marriage was not in Jack’s plans, but Lily stirs something inside him he never expected to feel. But with his fiancé desperate to break with him and a new enemy working to woo Lily away, Jack discovers force of will won’t keep her by his side. Can he find a way to win her heart before it’s lost forever? The Victorian Love series is a spin-off series that follows the children of the heroes and heroines of the Regency Love Series. Each book in both series is a standalone sweet historical romance and can be read in any order.


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A mistaken kiss. A forced engagement. Can it become something more? Lily Kingsley accepts that she is destined to be a spinster—but not until she gets her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist. Unfortunately, she kisses the wrong one and ends up in the arms of an overbearing and exceptionally frustrating merchant. When busybodies catch them in their illic A mistaken kiss. A forced engagement. Can it become something more? Lily Kingsley accepts that she is destined to be a spinster—but not until she gets her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist. Unfortunately, she kisses the wrong one and ends up in the arms of an overbearing and exceptionally frustrating merchant. When busybodies catch them in their illicit embrace, an engagement is the only solution, but Lily doesn’t want a fiancé who’s only doing his duty. And she certainly doesn’t want a gentleman far too used to getting his own way. She simply must make him see how ill-suited they are. But why is the fellow so determined to see their engagement through? Jack Hatcher hates surprises, but when a beguiling lady mistakes him for someone else and launches herself into his arms, he discovers not all surprises are bad. Marriage was not in Jack’s plans, but Lily stirs something inside him he never expected to feel. But with his fiancé desperate to break with him and a new enemy working to woo Lily away, Jack discovers force of will won’t keep her by his side. Can he find a way to win her heart before it’s lost forever? The Victorian Love series is a spin-off series that follows the children of the heroes and heroines of the Regency Love Series. Each book in both series is a standalone sweet historical romance and can be read in any order.

30 review for A Stolen Kiss (Victorian Love #1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    'It was only a little kiss… Lily Kingsley knows it’s time to abandon her romantic fancies and accept spinsterhood. No man has ever noticed her, and that is unlikely to change, but that does not mean she must abandon the last of her dreams: her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist in that endeavor. Just one kiss, and then she will happily accept her solitary lot. Jack Hatcher hates surprises. In his experience, they are nothing but a deviation from his carefully constructed pla 'It was only a little kiss… Lily Kingsley knows it’s time to abandon her romantic fancies and accept spinsterhood. No man has ever noticed her, and that is unlikely to change, but that does not mean she must abandon the last of her dreams: her first kiss. And she knows the perfect gentleman to enlist in that endeavor. Just one kiss, and then she will happily accept her solitary lot. Jack Hatcher hates surprises. In his experience, they are nothing but a deviation from his carefully constructed plans. Structure and order are paramount to success—whether professional or personal—and any unanticipated alteration is rarely an improvement. But when a beguiling lady mistakes him for someone else and launches herself into his arms, Jack discovers that not all surprises are bad. Then busybodies catch them in their illicit embrace, and an engagement is the only solution. So, why is the lady in question refusing? But Lily wanted a kiss and not a fiancé bound to her by duty and obligation, so why is the overbearing gentleman forcing her hand? Set in Victorian era England, A Stolen Kiss is a sweet romance about the importance of seizing love when we find it, even if it comes in unexpected ways.' _____________________________ A Stolen Kiss is the first book in M.A. Nichols' Victorian Love series, which follows her previous series Regency Love and tells the story of the next generation of the family tree that we met then. You don't need to have read the Regency Love series to understand this series but if you have read it, then it is nice to see those characters again years after their HEA. I ADORED this book so much. I really love characters that are somewhat awkward and don't really know how to express themselves well, something which both Lily and Jack struggled with. Jack was more awkward, which I found endearing, and Lily had a hard time feeling confindent in herself. I really related to them. A lot of main characters are so smooth and witty in their interactions and, although I find them amusing and relate to them in other ways, that's not how I normally feel in conversation with those I don't know well so I really loved seeing some less suave characters here. This book is just so realistic, there's no over the top peril or plots. Just a believable story of two people that didn't have the most conventional start together. It was interesting how things turned out with this stories villain, but I'm so happy that it went the way it did. Had it gone the expected route, I think it would have made the story a little cheesy and less believable. I really enjoyed this first book in M.A. Nichols new series and I'm looking forward to more books being added to it. I will be reading this book again at some point. I loved it, so I must recommend it to anyone who enjoys clean historical romance. _____ I read this book with my Kindle Unlimited membership.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This has been on my KU shelf for over a month now, and I've just worked up the courage to start it. I've enjoyed most of the other M.A. Nichols books that I've read and hope that trend continues. I'm trying not to be too excited. :) 2.5 stars. I'm sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the other books I've read by this author. I guess I'm just not really into the whole "I'm a plump, not traditionally attractive, almost spinster who has a heart of gold but assumes everyone is This has been on my KU shelf for over a month now, and I've just worked up the courage to start it. I've enjoyed most of the other M.A. Nichols books that I've read and hope that trend continues. I'm trying not to be too excited. :) 2.5 stars. I'm sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the other books I've read by this author. I guess I'm just not really into the whole "I'm a plump, not traditionally attractive, almost spinster who has a heart of gold but assumes everyone is making snide comments about me" trope. It's been a while since I read Mina's (the heroine's mother) book, but I'm pretty sure her story was along the same lines. At least there wasn't really any OP drama in this book. No past wast mentioned for the hero, so I'm just going to assume that he was a stand up guy. :/ Anyhoo, the idea that two people which such baggage could make a go of things should be encouraging to all the rest of us. However, the journey to the HEA was sort of frustrating, and not really in a deliciously angsty way. I mostly wanted to shake the two of them and make them sit down and have a vulnerable and honest conversation. As it was, the storytelling was engaging enough (although a bit repetitive and the heroine cried way too much), but ultimately the story itself was too frustrating to be enjoyed. If you're looking for a clean romance that is quite sweet and don't mind spending a couple of hours feeling annoyed with the MCs, then give this one a try. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    M.A. Nichols

    This was such a fun book to write!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Johnson

    Ms. Nichols has created compelling, believable and empathetic characters you can't help but cheer on from page 1. You feel the story along with the characters, and care deeply that they receive their happy ending. My only hope is that she'll tell more of Lilly's story in the future. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the characters 🙂. Ms. Nichols has created compelling, believable and empathetic characters you can't help but cheer on from page 1. You feel the story along with the characters, and care deeply that they receive their happy ending. My only hope is that she'll tell more of Lilly's story in the future. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the characters 🙂.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ☽ Rhiannon ✭ Mistwalker ☾

    “Though well into her sixtieth decade, Aunt Louisa-Margaretta showed little sign of it apart from slight wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and mouth.” 😳 This probably deserves a higher rating, but I suffered something of a reader’s block for a bit, and it took me a minute to pick it back up. I loved both the protagonists, and apparently these days I’m willing to overlook a lack of steam if there’s enough angst. (3.5 stars)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Southerland

    This is not your typical “Happily Ever After” romance. It is clean & well written but it is a complicated & messy & realistic relationship. And I loved it. Ms Nichols is one of my favorite authors. Hands down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I loved this story. I just couldn’t put the book down. Wonderfully written—I loved the author’s turns of phrase. Lovely. (That was written last night and this morning I have decided this is “six stars” which is my highest rating meaning I would read it again.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura L.

    Merry1 I liked the emotion and real descriptions of peoples thoughts and feelings. But wanted to see more development and growth between them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Jack

    Excellent Characters I loved this unconventional historical heroine. Not only is she older than the typical debutante that you see in Regency and Victorian romance (she’s 29), she's also a tall and plus-size woman. She has been mostly ignored by men, though she is well loved by her family. She is a fun and relatable combination of trembling nerves and nerves of steel. When she wants something, she is charmingly timidly determined. For instance, she decides she wants to experience her first kiss, Excellent Characters I loved this unconventional historical heroine. Not only is she older than the typical debutante that you see in Regency and Victorian romance (she’s 29), she's also a tall and plus-size woman. She has been mostly ignored by men, though she is well loved by her family. She is a fun and relatable combination of trembling nerves and nerves of steel. When she wants something, she is charmingly timidly determined. For instance, she decides she wants to experience her first kiss, so she writes a letter to a good friend who will soon emigrate, asking him to perform the deed. In a very well-done scene, in a darkened library at a private ball, she launches herself at a man who turns out not to be the one she wrote the letter to. While she initiates the first kiss, the hero is the one who does the second—after she figures out he is the wrong man. Even in that first encounter, both feel something neither expected to. Of course, they are discovered, and her reputation hangs in the balance. The hero is a complex character as well. Unlike many heroes in historical romance set in this time, he is not a fancy Lord. He is—heavens, no!—in trade. He is a wealthy man, so even though he bears that social stigma, he has still been pursued by the matchmaking mamas and their debutante daughters. He at first believes that the heroine has contrived this compromise to trap him, but he soon figures out her true nature (and absolute mortification) at what has transpired. It's interesting to watch his mind go back and forth as he tries to figure both himself and herself out. That made him relatable and believable as well, and I found it charming the way he came to feel more for her as he watched her interact with sellers and their goods at a street market. If you enjoy well-written Victorian romance, you may very well enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review. My book blog: https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anonymous 5

    This is my first time reading something by this author and I really enjoyed it. The book is set in the Victorian era and is a sweet story of taking advantage of love when it comes, even when you least expect it. Lily is an awkward but lovable girl and she has come to terms with her future and has accepted that she will be a spinster. She will not accept, however, not having the experience of a first kiss. She asks a friend to help her achieve this and when the time comes it is not her friend, bu This is my first time reading something by this author and I really enjoyed it. The book is set in the Victorian era and is a sweet story of taking advantage of love when it comes, even when you least expect it. Lily is an awkward but lovable girl and she has come to terms with her future and has accepted that she will be a spinster. She will not accept, however, not having the experience of a first kiss. She asks a friend to help her achieve this and when the time comes it is not her friend, but Jack who she ends up kissing. Not only did she kiss the wrong man, but they were also discovered and now her reputation is at stake. It was fun to see how things played out after that, and the emotions and thoughts that went back and forth between the two. This was a truly delightful story with wonderful, endearing characters that you can't help but fall in love with. I enjoyed this first book very much - it's a great start to a new series and I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Birty

    Sweet Romance Lily is almost 30, a little on the chubby side and has no marriage prospects in sight. All she wants is one kiss and she’ll be fine as a spinster. So, she has a plan but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite right. She now has a fiancé, Jack, who insists they marry. You would think that this is every Victorian era woman’s dream. But, not so much. That’s what makes the romance so good-not your typical VR. I really liked the characters in this book. Strong-willed female and seemin Sweet Romance Lily is almost 30, a little on the chubby side and has no marriage prospects in sight. All she wants is one kiss and she’ll be fine as a spinster. So, she has a plan but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite right. She now has a fiancé, Jack, who insists they marry. You would think that this is every Victorian era woman’s dream. But, not so much. That’s what makes the romance so good-not your typical VR. I really liked the characters in this book. Strong-willed female and seemingly reluctant male, but no one is as they seem. I loved the interaction between the characters and how their personalities moved and drove the story. This is one of those stories where, at the end, I wished for more. The epilogue was not enough.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    This is a spin-off series from the Regency Love series and while the characters from the first series are secondary characters I was glad I read it before this because I was more connected to the characters. Lily is Mina’s daughter and is a lot like Mina 2.0. Like her mom, she is older, not super attractive, and plump. I liked the differences between Lily and Jack. She is gregarious while he is broody, she likes to express her feelings while he is very guarded. I enjoyed reading their story. Kis This is a spin-off series from the Regency Love series and while the characters from the first series are secondary characters I was glad I read it before this because I was more connected to the characters. Lily is Mina’s daughter and is a lot like Mina 2.0. Like her mom, she is older, not super attractive, and plump. I liked the differences between Lily and Jack. She is gregarious while he is broody, she likes to express her feelings while he is very guarded. I enjoyed reading their story. Kisses only

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    A wonderfully realistic tale. The lady in this tale is a bit older, not the standard beauty, and has a life of spinsterhood awaiting her. As it is so often plans do not work out the way you hope and that is what Lily experiences then again perhaps it is fate stepping in. Jack the gentleman of the tale is a wonderful character after all he is going to take on a strong-willed lady like Lily. It was written so well and I was entertained by the characters. Looking for steam this is not the one for yo A wonderfully realistic tale. The lady in this tale is a bit older, not the standard beauty, and has a life of spinsterhood awaiting her. As it is so often plans do not work out the way you hope and that is what Lily experiences then again perhaps it is fate stepping in. Jack the gentleman of the tale is a wonderful character after all he is going to take on a strong-willed lady like Lily. It was written so well and I was entertained by the characters. Looking for steam this is not the one for you but it is a story that you should read I have enjoyed every minute spent this piece.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Book one in the Victorian Love series a well written story with a great storyline. This is a new Author to me, but I now want to read more by her. Lily Kingsley believes no one will ever want her so she writes a man saying she would like a kiss before he goes to Canada. But once in the library of her hosts home she kisses Jonathan/Jack Hatcher instead. These are two people who have a lot from their pasts to overcome in order to get their happy ending. I received a free copy of this book via Book Book one in the Victorian Love series a well written story with a great storyline. This is a new Author to me, but I now want to read more by her. Lily Kingsley believes no one will ever want her so she writes a man saying she would like a kiss before he goes to Canada. But once in the library of her hosts home she kisses Jonathan/Jack Hatcher instead. These are two people who have a lot from their pasts to overcome in order to get their happy ending. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Absolutely breathtaking! I've never been so touched as I did while reading this sweet romance. The characters were flawed according to the world's standards (Lily isn't skinny and talks to much and Jack is broody and lacks eloquence). They made for a perfect pair demonstrating that love isn't about appearances, but about the person making you better and seeing the real you. Such a refreshing book telling the truth that most of us can relate to. Absolutely breathtaking! I've never been so touched as I did while reading this sweet romance. The characters were flawed according to the world's standards (Lily isn't skinny and talks to much and Jack is broody and lacks eloquence). They made for a perfect pair demonstrating that love isn't about appearances, but about the person making you better and seeing the real you. Such a refreshing book telling the truth that most of us can relate to.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Excited to have read a romance that didn’t included nobility or peerage. This was a very sweet book that included some great characters like a very talkative heroine that had low self esteem and a very quiet hero who says he’s bad with words (but he’s actually a pretty smooth talker... just blunt). Very nicely done.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    So Good! Sometimes you have to write a review because you enjoy a book so much that you are tempted to start over at the beginning and read the book all over again. It’s THAT good of a story!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I absolutely loved this book! I will read more of MA Nichols! You better believe it! The characters were spot on! Thank you!

  19. 5 out of 5

    SK

    This was an okay read for me. The pacing in the beginning was very slow. I almost gave up midway, but thankfully it started to pick up pace. Although I liked Jack I could not warm up to Lily. She was a bit annoying and infuriating at times. She was pretty rude to the H when he was always so steadfast. Thankfully towards the end she developed more sense.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    A fun story as Lily meets Jack and then the challenge of social conventions and everyone’s expectations some into play. Clean and entertaining book as love tries to grow. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Barry

    Wonderful story! As usual, M.A. has delivered a delightful book. The lead gentleman in this one reminds me so much of Mr. Darcy. Loved this romance, the story and the ending. Off for more!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie's Kindle

    Lily Kngsley the child introduced to us at her birth has now come of age and like her mother before her is looking at becoming a spinster. With a large heart but found lacking by others Lily has found herself without offers for marriage. At age twenty nine she has come to realize it is not going to happen. Although she is dearly loved by her family, the rest of the world is all too quick to point out her shortcomings. We are all too short, too tall, too heavy, too thin, too chesty, too flat, pro Lily Kngsley the child introduced to us at her birth has now come of age and like her mother before her is looking at becoming a spinster. With a large heart but found lacking by others Lily has found herself without offers for marriage. At age twenty nine she has come to realize it is not going to happen. Although she is dearly loved by her family, the rest of the world is all too quick to point out her shortcomings. We are all too short, too tall, too heavy, too thin, too chesty, too flat, prominent teeth, crooked teeth, imperfect. Others are all too willing to overlook their own flaws but admonish you for yours. Lily decides before she "goes om the shelf" to indulge in one kiss. Sending a note to a gentleman who is leaving the next morning for Canada not to return. She will meet him in the library at a ball for just one kiss. Sneaking away from the ball at the appointed hour, Lily finds a gentleman in the library and struggles to kiss him properly. He reciprocates and lo and behold not only are they caught. It is not the gentleman leaving for Canada. She is ruined and he thinks he has been ensnared in a devious woman's trap to marry!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Osburn

    Hard Love First I did enjoy this book and characters! But even after he knew he loved her and would do anything for her why couldn't the author simply let the last words of the book be from his lips I love you. I would have given it 5 stars if Jack would have said it. I find it unbelievable that a man with his past and present would not have said I love you. It's Great She can see it in his eyes and never has to doubt or wonder about the depth of his love but reality he would have said it simply Hard Love First I did enjoy this book and characters! But even after he knew he loved her and would do anything for her why couldn't the author simply let the last words of the book be from his lips I love you. I would have given it 5 stars if Jack would have said it. I find it unbelievable that a man with his past and present would not have said I love you. It's Great She can see it in his eyes and never has to doubt or wonder about the depth of his love but reality he would have said it simply and not embellished. The author dragged the plot on and on to the bitter end and couldn't give us readers the one thing we needed most .... I LOVE YOU .... The end......

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Sheffield

    I really enjoyed this book. I love how Lily knows herself and Hatch as well. They just don’t know each other. Yet. So real world in how people assume things that others are thinking or motives behind their actions. I love the way the author builds her characters and makes them human. I get aggravated with heros and/or heroines all being exceptionally gorgeous yet they have hearts of gold. I find that to be a rare unicorn that actually happens. I’ve already dived into the next book in this series I really enjoyed this book. I love how Lily knows herself and Hatch as well. They just don’t know each other. Yet. So real world in how people assume things that others are thinking or motives behind their actions. I love the way the author builds her characters and makes them human. I get aggravated with heros and/or heroines all being exceptionally gorgeous yet they have hearts of gold. I find that to be a rare unicorn that actually happens. I’ve already dived into the next book in this series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luci Jamison

    Clean romance I really enjoyed reading this tale of Jack and Lily. Their beginning so humorous and tragic at the same time. The journey of theirs as they struggle to know one another and their different “love language “. Each had scars whether actual or figuratively they had a worthy battle to win for themselves and each other. I look forward to reading more from this series and author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    Overall, I liked this story & I enjoy the author's style of writing The h is often overlooked. However, that doesn't mean she has nothing to offer & that is an uplifting message. Though the mention of her height I felt was written about frequently enough I did have the thought of it being metioned too much. I did enjoy the bit of history woven into the story. I did really like the H & his defense of the h. I was shown not told how the H's affection for the h was developed & it was sweet. Overall, I liked this story & I enjoy the author's style of writing The h is often overlooked. However, that doesn't mean she has nothing to offer & that is an uplifting message. Though the mention of her height I felt was written about frequently enough I did have the thought of it being metioned too much. I did enjoy the bit of history woven into the story. I did really like the H & his defense of the h. I was shown not told how the H's affection for the h was developed & it was sweet.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sonny

    *Re-read 02-18-2021** [proper review to come...] I needed this book... this series [this one & the prior Regency Love].. and this Author to remind me of why I need every bit of this new series to make me never forget how these awesome characters make me feel. Also...why I love writing and storytelling and just great fantastic, always unforgettable characters. I will return with a more coherent review but I am currently locked in a heavy crying jag at the 50% mark of Book 2... =================== 02- *Re-read 02-18-2021** [proper review to come...] I needed this book... this series [this one & the prior Regency Love].. and this Author to remind me of why I need every bit of this new series to make me never forget how these awesome characters make me feel. Also...why I love writing and storytelling and just great fantastic, always unforgettable characters. I will return with a more coherent review but I am currently locked in a heavy crying jag at the 50% mark of Book 2... =================== 02-19-2021 09:54am Back with a proper review... I felt so bad when I first read this book, last year, and even when I felt compelled to write a review about just how "mirror-like" and SEEN this story made me feel... M.A. Nichols comes out with two more novels and my mind went kersplat!!...because--Lemme explain myself. 2020 felt like it lasted 5yrs, so many things I "had" planned to do simply eradicated on their own. And I always added the last bit... "I'll get around to it...LATER!"...and here we sit in 2021, me typing away, feverishly. Something about how this wonderful Author writes forces someone like me to word-vomit all over a review. This is not going to be a typical review where I tell Nichols what is wrong or right, how things should have finished or been unfolded. I truly believe these characters, Lily and Jake/Hatch have earned this lovely tale, and really who am I to tell anyone this should've been different in any way. It is perfection, AS IS. As a writer, myself, I know the blood, sweat, and tears...sometimes deep to the bone-marrow, onion-layer peeling some go through to actually put pen to paper. I have seen it in every single book by Nichols, so far, some seem heavier laden than others but I know what I know and I am sticking to it as The Truth. And I am not even talking about some monumental KA-POWIE-BANG! that upends someone's life. Nichols has this innate ability to take something so blase and mundane and create such a powerfully-charged "slice of Life". No matter the Era. She did it in Regency Love series and she is, once again, giving readers something I crave. Something I have always found in the Romance genre because there will forever be a fundamental feeling and emotion akin to "love", various formats. Not just romantic love but familial love. Even the "love" of self. Regency love intro'd readers to a wonderfully complex family...of The Ashbrooks and Kingsleys. Victorian Love is carrying on the MCs and couples of the prior series and not only making sure the Kids Are Alright, but that the parents are doing just as good. A Stolen Kiss is simply put...just that. Lily steals a kiss--her first kiss--and she requested it of a childhood friend whom she knew was leaving her life, maybe for good, and she simply wanted a "moment". HER moment. Her special moment where maybe she could connect and possibly establish a bit of movement in her life. Stagnant at 29, Lily is more-than-a Spinster, more-than "put-on-the-shelf"...she has become a burden...unlovable, unwanted... She feels like a Nothing, A Nobody. And, man, who doesn't feel like that in 2021? And who didn't feel that several times over in 2020? You have to understand something very easy to always never forget. In order to tell a great story with fantastic and unforgettable characters, you do not have to do much more than what Nichols does here--and what she has kept doing for not just the 4bks previous in Regency Love, but will now do here in Victorian Love [at this point it is 3bks, in total]. There is s single plot point, but there is a care, deep-seated compassion, and a sweet, heartbreaking consideration to not just Lily but to Jack, aka Jonathon or aka Hatch. You would think her MCs would simply be 1-dimensional--or, maybe 2-D, their Good vs Bad sides, and that they would be seen as THIS or THAT. But every single time I pick up one of Nichols's books, her MCs are multi-faceted and flawed...my word are they flawed. Their inner turmoils are unbounded. I am not talking about cute personality quirks or naive idiosyncracies, but deep-down formative, bone-chilling personality shifts that echo inside even the most modern of humans walking around today. It stuns me, continually, that Nicholas shows several versions of ME ...in a Regency or Victorian Era. How does she do it? And also make me FEEL IT, so consistently I swear she has secretly been bugging my Life through all of my 47yrs alive. Maybe it hits different in a Post-pandemic world's atmosphere. Hell, just by living your life, in chunks of decades gives one the fortitude to pry through the thicket and mire...hoping to come out of this with some sanity leftover and a modicum of sensibility. No one is perfect. No one is completely ready to be forced to shift-change their life to suit another. Or bow graciously to another because society demands YOU pay the price for your mistakes no matter the cause or effect to your psyche. Sometimes there are those willing to take the punches to the gut and suffer those consequences. Take responsibility for your actions and survive to live another day. Without being told you have to live your life a certain way to suffice it for Others. "Others" can be society...can be friends...can even be someone you love, like a family member you once fathomed you were close to or had your "best interest" at heart. Hell, you thought that they had a bit of concern and respect for you, but...yeah, no. No one should tell you how to live, how to BE...you. Lily accidentally kisses the wrong man...and suffers for it. Just as she has suffered in the midst of her Ashbrook/Kingsley family for two decades. Hatch is no different, except his suffering occurred earlier in his life, sent away by his own parents to become...a, well, really...an orphan even though his parents were very much alive. Life at sea, literally. A child reared on the cusp of mental anguish and physical abuse...but as an Adult such a solid human being, if not for some oddities in social niceties. Lily had a lovely childhood except when you factor in that there are some outlying family members who will never see the worth some of your immediate family sees...as you grow older, becoming a marriageable woman...your "worth" to everyone, even society...becomes less and less. So minimal you may as well be invisible. You come to a realization you never mattered in the least to most. Lily and Hatch...or Jack, if you will...were the Unlovable. The too-complicated. As Adults, they have foraged alone to come to this one single stolen kiss...and found themselves in such a quagmire. I feel if any other Author had control of this story, not named M. A. Nichols...things would be cliched and tropey. Nichols has something I have longed for, for many years...a writer who thinks outside the box who doesn't modernize her history in order to prove a point. Nichols also doesn't have to shove history down my throat to allow me a moment to fantasize and escape to her world-building. Sure there are prominent historical moments in the background because this is a different time period than the prior novels...but it never becomes the reason you are reading these two book-sets by Nichols. There is something every-person [I mean EVERYMAN as a "universal" WE but I wanted to be PC] about her writing that I miss in so many others. There is care and a delicacy taken to her storytelling that just becomes...The Peanut Butter to my Jelly... The Grilled Cheese to my Tomato soup. I read every word written because there are such atmospheric gems I do not want to miss a thing. I am in a conundrum because many would say Nicholas writes about nothing but I have to disagree and say...there are a whole-lotta somethings inside the Nothingness. There is heartache and pain, slowly being pried back, in order to be revealed and to be...ultimately loved in spite of. I don't love M. A. Nicols's storytelling because she so happens to write in my favorite Romance genre...I love, admire and respect Nichols because she is merely shedding light on everyday aspects of humanity--of having "lived", having been alive and survived as long as you have despite your circumstances. Shedding light on everyday people. On family. On society, in whatever era. Shedding light even on an altered version of ME that I have so wanted to be seen and heard...moments in my own life to where I, too, felt much like Nichols's characters, and not just her MCs. There is compassion here for characters unmatched that is so hard to duplicate in other works. When I read a Nichols's book, there is a born-confidence that I will never be messed around with or made to feel inferior or duped. I may often have to prepare myself to need a box of Kleenex or a dry sleeve of my shirt [psst, usually it's my bed blankets as I am laying down to read]... I keep thinking Nichols secretly knows my life...my past, present, and my future. She not only gives me hope, but she makes me feel like somewhere in my life I have been SEEN. Someone paid attention and felt a similar story needed to be told. Not of a stolen kiss...but of how situations and people walk in and out of our lives and moments shift change, for the good or the better. Sometimes they change even when you never wanted a single thing to move. Being stagnant can be good. Being caught in a rut can be life-changing. Oh, sure, it's not healthy. No one loves or begs for, monotony. A stolen kiss compromises two people...but there is a mountain of trauma and past toxicity that has made these characters who they are when these "little moments" become catastrophic. Suddenly we are forced into an engagement we do not want...who neither party involved seems to want...between two people who would never have even met. In the hands of other Authors, this story would fail. It would be boring and flat, bland and trite. Why make such a big, huge deal about some little ole stolen kiss? Lily...like so many of Nichols's unforgettable and unflappable heroines is stalwart yet so breakable. She is sturdy yet fragile in parts. She is so independent yet clings to the family she adores, wanting for a love unmatched. Hatch wants to obey and follow rules...protect a person he may have naively harmed or hurt...yet he has social cues that set him apart, making him a formidable adversary. Things get done when Hatch is around. Lily is, at first, one of those adversaries...until she is made to look deeper--the way we all should. Lily wants to be SEEN, and loved and adored...find her One and soulmate. Hatch would rather NOT BE SEEN and simply be allowed to live his solitary life, preferably alone. Two people who never should have met...meet by accident by way of a stolen kiss...and since I have now read it twice, it was even better and more powerful the 2nd time. It "hit" differently, as all great books should. It moved me to finally write a review I thought I would pen last year. This time, though, the book was a moment in my world I didn't know I needed this badly. An unknowable salve when one least expects it. THIS...is why I love books...why I love storytelling... why I love Romance, in historical settings... As always, M. A. Nichols...if I have not said this before...thank you so, so much for bringing these stories and these wonderful lovely people into my fragile brain. For always never forgetting where we came from...where we often lay our heads in soft, comfy spaces...amidst family, loved ones, and good friends. **[Mary & Ambrose just keep knocking it out-of-the-park for me this time around. Mina will always be my "girl", but there is a power in this Adult-ing couple of Ambrose and Mary that is slowly killing me softly in Book 2...and you know what you did, but you've earned a footprint on my heart and a soft spot in my soul...man, oh, man...] And always... thank you for letting me know it's okay to write outside the box and allow characters and stories to bend, shape, and flow organically. The gratitude in awesome slow burn is REAL...and vivid, breathing life into me. To seemingly write about every-day nothing, but to suddenly open up to an other-worldly something. I write this book's review first because I should've done this in 2020, so I owed you some gratitude from back in 2020, with a flair for 2021--where I am AT in 2021. The state of quiet, little ole ME. This time...I HAD TO WRITE because Book 2... Ruby's story was even more poignant and powerful. Blessings, to you and yours.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Twee

    Five stars for the opening scene in which Lily mistakenly kissed the wrong guy in the dark. I love when a heroine takes the initiative and makes the first move and thereby shocks the heck out of the guy. This is a sweet but uneventful story about two characters falling in love unexpectedly. Both Lily and Jack are likable characters with relatable human flaws. Lily has passed the prime marriageable age and has pretty much resigned herself to spinsterhood, until she meets Jack accidentally. Jack i Five stars for the opening scene in which Lily mistakenly kissed the wrong guy in the dark. I love when a heroine takes the initiative and makes the first move and thereby shocks the heck out of the guy. This is a sweet but uneventful story about two characters falling in love unexpectedly. Both Lily and Jack are likable characters with relatable human flaws. Lily has passed the prime marriageable age and has pretty much resigned herself to spinsterhood, until she meets Jack accidentally. Jack is a businessman, a very good one, who does not make room for love and therefore has no intention of ever getting married. The story continues on about their engagement and their courtship or lack thereof, depending on whose views you take. The sweet and memorable parts are Jack’s thoughtful actions…the nice things he does for Lilly. The other things that I like in this book are wisdoms such as this, “There is a difference between loving someone for their potential and loving them for who they are while seeing their potential.” Now, for the aspects that made me reluctantly downgrade my rating from the initial 5 stars. First, the abundance of wisdoms, descriptions, and narratives about the characters’ thoughts and actions is just too much. Each wisdom, description, etc. is poignant and meaningful but with too many, they sound repetitive and I lost interest. Secondly, it felt as if the story did not have a climax or I missed it. There wasn’t a point in the book where I had to put up a Do not interrupt me because I need to finish this part sign to my family members. Overall, a relaxing read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Clara Gee

    I really enjoyed this book. It was so nice to see some characters we haven't seen in a while and get to know some new characters. I really liked the main characters, Jack and Lily. Lily was so sweet, caring and sensitive, sometimes in a way that can work against her. Jack could be totally obtuse and close-off but very loyal and and it was obvious that he cared for Lily very much. They two are complete opposites of each other yet once they were able to understand one another they complimented eac I really enjoyed this book. It was so nice to see some characters we haven't seen in a while and get to know some new characters. I really liked the main characters, Jack and Lily. Lily was so sweet, caring and sensitive, sometimes in a way that can work against her. Jack could be totally obtuse and close-off but very loyal and and it was obvious that he cared for Lily very much. They two are complete opposites of each other yet once they were able to understand one another they complimented each other quite nicely. I was over the moon when Mary and Ambrose appeared in this book. Their book is my favorite out of all of M.A. Nichols books so when they showed up this one I was ecstatic. I loved their support of Lily and how they actually made sure that that the marriage was going to make her happy unlike Nicholas and Louisa-Margaretta. I liked how Nicholas and Louisa-Margaretta were portrayed in this book. While their opinions on the marriage were contrary to what Lily wanted they were only trying to do what they thought was best for her. They cared about Lily a lot and stuck up for her when people tried to put her down. I really liked being able to see a better side of the two because they have gotten a bit of a bad wrap in the past so it is nice to see another side. While Colin was barely shown the parts we did see, especially when he was with Miss Aubrey I enjoyed. Colin had some problems but with the help of Miss Aubrey he was able to overcome them. I really liked this book and I am so excited for the next one

  30. 4 out of 5

    Martha B.

    In general I liked A Stolen Kiss. The prose-like writing and descriptions were very impressive, but I wish the author, M.A. Nichols, would have used less mental musings and more dialogue between the characters. The dialogue method is a much better option than the musing method when an author is trying to develop the lead characters. It also has the added benefit of adding more depth to the supporting characters. As to the story, it was simple and sweet. I found the plus size heroine (Lily) both In general I liked A Stolen Kiss. The prose-like writing and descriptions were very impressive, but I wish the author, M.A. Nichols, would have used less mental musings and more dialogue between the characters. The dialogue method is a much better option than the musing method when an author is trying to develop the lead characters. It also has the added benefit of adding more depth to the supporting characters. As to the story, it was simple and sweet. I found the plus size heroine (Lily) both a refreshing and brave choice. The author did a great job of conveying the unfair treatment of all people that are outside the normal and just how such treatment impacts that individuals self esteem. I did have a bit of trouble to get close to the hero (Jack), but I slowly came to love him when I understood his past. All in all, this is an interesting read that is both sweet and clean. Content 411: This is a clean read. It is swearing and sex free, but there are a couple of kissing scenes that give off a passionate vibe.

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