This is the BEST series I’ve read in forever! Seriously. I devoured these books on Kindle Unlimited and could see myself checking them out again in the future. They are THAT fun!
The House of Oak series by Nichole Van has 5 books. Each was incredible. Read them in order. This is not a read-out-of-order series. You’ll miss out on delicious literary delights if you do. This author makes my reader heart and eyes happy. The cadence, rhythm, and layout are ingredients that combine to make a happy dance in my heart.
Book 1 – Intertwine
Emry has always had a thing for the past. She immerses herself in history for her job, but when she finds an old locket with a picture of a handsome man in it, a spark ignites in her soul. This story has a whimsical paranormal element in it, and some time travel. Emry is whisked back to 1812 in a frightening storm when she accidentally steps into a portal. When she awakes in the same man who is in her locket’s house, she can’t remember who she is. Modern clashes with the past in this heart-tugging romance. I loved the high stakes, the awesome characters (James and Emry have sizzling passion, yet this book is nice and clean), the beautiful English countryside setting, and the myriad plot twists.
Emry Wilde was a disaster magnet. She admitted it freely.
It was one of those perfect moments. Where your heart takes a picture and you store it away, so that when life becomes LESS THAN, you can pull out this one perfect memory and remember. At one point in time, life had been decidedly MORE.
Book 2 – Divine
This is Georgiana’s story. She’s James’s sister (from book 1). In the modern world, she receives a letter from the past. A letter from herself to a mysterious man (whose moth-eaten name is lost to time). Torn because she doesn’t want to leave James to go back to the past, she nevertheless goes back because she is drawn to a good mystery and must solve this one. If she finds a man she adores like the letter suggests, so much the better. Maybe. Possibly. She doesn’t know what to think…or believe.
This is a friends to lovers trope that had so much yearning and heart-tug-a-warring going on. Perfect romance. This book is full of mysteries as these two friends discover that they are the perfect match. Even better than gooseberries. Hee hee.
But Hope was a persistent beggar. Always hovering around the edges of his life, needing only the smallest glance of encouragement to start clamoring for a coin. Eager to purchase a place in his soul.
Why does everything come back to gooseberries?” Sebastian asked.
“Wicked little fruit.” Georgiana gave a small laugh.
Book 3 – Clandestine
This was my absolute favorite. I don’t think I’ve ever giggled so much through a romance before. SOOOO good! It still has the clean sizzle and passion and emotion I adore in Van’s books, but it had some seriously funny dialogue and scenes that are just snort-laugh funny.
This is Marc’s story (Emme’s brother from book 1). He’s your normal 2014 type of guy. Bronco football fanatic, stunt man for his day job, handsome, funny. And not the type to ever get strung up by a relationship. He likes women, but he’s never felt serious about one. But when he starts receiving blackmail notes from someone who knows about the portal to the past in his basement, and then kidnapped back through that same portal to 1814, life gets seriously weird. He meets Kit, a lady’s paid companion, and is drawn in by her vivacious zest and strength. He never knew women from the past could be that way.
I won’t say anymore about this story because the surprising twists and turns have to be experienced first hand to be most delicious. I won’t lick your drumstick and then give it to you and take all the fun out of reading it. You’re welcome. But I will say that Marc and Kit were hilarious. They’re my favorite couple so far (although I hate to play favorites because every book has been super yummy). The chemistry between these two, Marc’s play on Star Wars names, and other hilarious traits just made these two spectacular.
Secrets left you with only one thing—more secrets.
He was in 1814. What was he supposed to do now?
Lord Linwood suspected him of being a spy for Princess Pepsi or Toyota Camry (!) with possible knowledge of local French espionage (!!), forcing Marc to adopt the pseudonym of Lord Vader (!!!).
What was it they said? You can’t make this up, people?
Stranger than fiction?
Book 4 – Refine
This one features Timothy Linwood (who seemed irredeemable in book 1) and Jasmine Fleury, the flighty, awesome friend of everyone in the future. Timothy is a pompous, stuffy lord from 1815. Jasmine is a flower child, mystic-loving girl from 2015. Your typical couple. Ha ha. When Timothy is faced with losing his estate and everything he holds dear because of an embezzling land agent, he grasps at anything—even the idea of marrying a wealthy heiress he can’t stand—to save his heritage. But when he goes to Deur Cottage and ends up in 2015 facing Jasmine and her messy house, he’s in for an even ruder awakening. All his stringent rules (all 313 of them) clash horrifically in the twenty-first century.
This is a lovely frienemies trope, where opposites attract and hate each other at first, but come to get to know each other and have to change up their first impressions and judgments. It wasn’t as funny as Clandestine, but each of these books are solid EXCELLENT.
You know my name, not my story.
Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.
She seemed his opposite in nearly every way.
But therein lay the deception.
She wasn’t so much his opposite, as his completion. Bright where he was dark. Free where he was tethered. Round where he was concave. Reaching outward to fill his hollow surfaces.
Book 5 – Outshine
This last one features Daniel Ashton (Kit’s little brother) and Fossi Lovejoy (a brilliant mathematician who Daniel hires to help him solve his secret problem he can’t really tell her about—er….the time portal). Fossi is sweet, downtrodden, undervalued, and almost invisible to her family and society. But inside, she is vibrant color and life. Too bad her circumstances make her keep all her brilliance and vibrancy locked up tight. When she meets Daniel, the bigger than life Lord Whitmore, she is blown away. He is a keeper of secrets and guards himself and his true emotions like a mighty fortress. But when he seems to ‘see’ her, Fossi’s heart foolishly falls for him.
The time portal is whacked out in this book, people’s lives hang in the balance, and Daniel feels he must do whatever it costs to fix what he has broken. He can’t move on until he does. But moving on might make him lose what he has come to cherish most. Fossi.
Life is joy.
The cost of loving someone is the pain of losing them. That’s the deal. Joy is always Pain on borrowed time.” – Kit
Don’t deny the joy because you’re afraid of the pain.” – Kit
I can’t recommend this series enough. If you’re signed up for Kindle Unlimited, you can check these books out there. The first book, Intertwine, is only 99 cents, so read it to see if you agree with me or not about how awesome these books are.