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Reviews for each novel are listed below


“This breezy, witty fourth entry in Belmond’s ‘Rather’ series features strongly defined characters, vivid settings, and a captivating mystery . . . The villagers prove suitably delightful, as does the loving relationship between Penny and Jeremy. [A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING] charms from beginning to end.” –Publishers Weekly

“Belmond works her usual unique brand of literary magic in A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING; and the chemistry the author creates between Penny and Jeremy is delightfully reminiscent of that between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Deftly blending charmingly quirky characters, wonderfully exotic settings, and an inventive plot inspired by Cornwall’s rich history, the author once again fashions an engaging mystery spiced with just the right dash of sweet romance.” –ReaderToReader

“A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING, the [newest] novel in Ms. Belmond’s thoroughly captivating ‘Rather’ series, is lovingly written and delightful to read. The suspense builds as the team meets opposition—from more than one source—and as they dig further and further into the past . . . Nichols and Laidley have often been compared to the protagonists in the early Nick and Nora Charles mysteries; I hark back also to the old radio show Mr. and Mrs. North . . . they all have this in common, a lightness of touch, determined sleuthing, and likable characters. What the ‘Rather’ books have besides those is a not-at-all-snobbish sophistication and glamour. They also introduce us to rather exotic (if I may use that term) locales, the people, the customs, and the histories . . . The whole series is a marvelous treat.” –Romance Reviews Today

“Each ‘Rather’ novel is independent of the previous books and can be read completely on its own. Though set in contemporary times, A Rather Remarkable Homecoming has an old-world feel to it. There are secret passages and forgotten rooms. Old friends become important and family members sometimes don’t do what you expect. Just when you think you might have it figured out, there seems to be a bend in the path. I enjoyed this old-fashioned feeling mystery . . . I found myself sure that Grandmother Beryl’s house would be destroyed and I followed with interest on how Penny and Jeremy might be able to pull off a miracle. This is definitely a book the whole family can enjoy.” –Night Owl Reviews Top Pick

“A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING, the fourth ‘Rather’ British charming drama, is a fun tale . . . Penny and Jeremy travel to Cornwall to find a way to prevent a developer from ‘renovating’ a section of the historical picturesque town . . . With quirky locals adding color to the tale, fans will enjoy the race between preservationists and developers.” –Midwest Book Review

“A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING is an adventure from page one. With familiar faces and new villains, Belmond weaves a tale of family heritage, history, mystery and romance that stunningly unfolds. Penny and Jeremy complement each other in such a way that their relationship and witty banter truly flows, jumping off the page and surrounding you so that you are pulled right into the action alongside them. And if the final chapter is any indication, readers may soon be treated to another novel in the series. As a full-fledged bookworm and fan of Belmond’s writing since I was introduced to her first novel, this is a title (and series!) that I’ve deeply enjoyed and would recommend to anyone.” –OutLoud

“Four stars! Fans of stories set in the English countryside will love A RATHER REMARKABLE HOMECOMING, Belmond’s latest addition to her ‘Rather’ series. Readers will root for Penny and Jeremy as they race to defeat a corrupt real-estate developer and save a piece of family history.” --RT Book Reviews


“A simpatico duo!” –Publishers Weekly

"C.A. Belmond’s entertaining duo, Penny Nichols and Jeremy Laidley, are back in the spotlight in her novel, A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION... A wonderful cozy mystery that weaves together pictures of relationships among a variety of couples while Penny ponders the life-changing ceremony that she is about to participate in. Beautifully lyrical descriptions of multiple European locales are juxtaposed with the painstaking search for clues in the tapestry, which in turn gives rise to vivid descriptions of the past lives of those whom the tapestry has touched. Trains and clocks provide additional threads which embellish the story and enrich the glimpses of affluent society in this charmingly lighthearted mystery that also provides a look at the intricacies of planning a wedding that often become a lesson in strategic diplomacy." –Night Owl Reviews “Top Pick”

“In the third novel in the "Rather" series, Penny and Jeremy are planning their wedding... However, something goes awry and a beloved family heirloom goes missing... Can Penny and Jeremy recover it in time? Or is its absence a bad omen, warning them to call off the wedding? Written in such an fascinating way, with characters that will both charm and entertain, A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is a book that you don't want to miss.” --ChickLit Club

“A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is a lovely reunion with American Penny Nichols and her English fiance Jeremy Laidley along with their assortment of English and French relatives...There’s old fashioned sleuthing throughout...along with some wonderful European locations and a bit of old fashioned glamour...[and] truly a once-in-a-lifetime wedding to remember...Wealth and the moneyed circles that they now move in are still somewhat new to both Penny and Jeremy, so they still haven’t gotten jaded about it all. So watching them enjoy their villa on the Cote d’Azur, their townhouse in posh London and their lovely vintage yacht is a blast. I can just see them in the sunny Riviera tooling around the winding roads in a lovely antique automobile...I am glad to know that Belmond is already hard at work on the next adventure for Nichols and Laidley, Ltd.” --DearAuthor

“If you were lucky enough to have read A Rather Lovely Inheritance, you would have met American Penny Nichols on the French Riviera... [and] that meeting led to A Rather Curious Engagement, the second delightful installment in Penny and Jeremy's adventures. You needn't have read the earlier titles to enjoy A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION, but they are both treasures. [Now] imagine you are able to bounce between your homes in England and the South of France, to enjoy all there is to see and do without worrying about the cost, and with the one you love by your side. Hard to imagine? Not with Penny and Jeremy as inspiration. They are good people prepared to make the most of their inheritances with natural good taste and innate kindliness. Several plot lines run through A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION, [involving] the wedding preparations, internal and external conflicts [and] an antique bridal tapestry. Writing well in the first person from a singular point of view must be difficult, but Ms. Belmond pulls it off beautifully. With fascinating glimpses of Europe past and present, and a gentle romance between a likable pair, she has produced an enchanting read. I highly recommend A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION for its combination of charm, liveliness, and suspense."--Romance Reviews Today

“A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION, the third installment in Belmond’s “Rather” series featuring American heiress Penny Nichols and her soon-to-be-husband dashing Englishman Jeremy Laidley, is every bit as much fun as the two previous books. The writing is leavened with just the right dash of tart wit, the romance between Penny and Jeremy is sweetly satisfying, and the search for the missing tapestry includes some fascinating historical details and intriguing tidbits about the perfume industry, French history, and coins. A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is a deliciously old-fashioned story that is guaranteed to charm both mystery and romance readers.” --Reader-To-Reader

“A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is a lovely cozy mystery much in the style of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora. They are a very charming couple and their adventures are filled with humor and a bit of suspense... The dialogue is very witty. It is impossible not to love Penny and Jeremy... The plot held my attention and kept me entertained from the first page to the last.” --Coffee Time Romance

“A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is the third title in a delightful series, involving the search for a missing bridal tapestry. Spoiler alert! Read no further if you’ve not read the first books in the series...” --Anglophile Books

“I first came across this author while browsing at my local library [and] I fell so deeply in love with these characters and plot lines that I pre-ordered A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION months before it was released! Part mystery, part romance... [it’s about] Penny Nichols, a historical researcher...and the thrilling adventures she embarks on with her dashing British love interest...I won’t divulge the details of the page-turning twists, so go out and pick up these "Rather" books!” --OutLoud Newsmagazine

“Charming is the perfect word to describe CA Belmond’s A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION. I fell in love with Penny and Jeremy when the series began, and enjoyed this time out, seeing the two prepare for their wedding. Although set in the present, the entire series has a 1930s feel... [and] there were some truly funny scenes in the book. (One, when Penny visits “the best wedding planner in London” had me laughing aloud, causing people to stare at me in a restaurant.) The author has a wonderful feel for settings and brings London, the south of France, Paris, and Geneva to life. I so wanted to go right along with Penny and Jeremy on their travels.” --All About Romance

“The third "Rather" tale, A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is an engaging contemporary that contains several mysteries regarding [Penny and Jeremy’s] respective families’ secrets... Fans of the “Rather” charming saga will enjoy this latest entry. Four stars!” --Midwest Book Review

“A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION continues the adventures of Penny and Jeremy as their wedding approaches, but family drama and a treasure hunt make this wedding anything but typical. Belmond’s descriptions are vivid, and the mystery surrounding an ancient heirloom is intriguing.” --RT Book Reviews


“In Belmond’s lilting sequel to A Rather Lovely Inheritance, heroine Penny Nichols exults in being released from her stodgy American life and learns that being newly rich is not all champagne and roses. Her barrister boyfriend, Jeremy Laidley, also an heir to Penny’s great-aunt’s vast fortune, wants to use their wealth wisely. Penny agrees, planning to pool their resources and eventually create a joint enterprise that will utilize Penny’s “natural-born snooping ability” and Jeremy’s legal expertise. Taking a summer off to explore their options, Jeremy decides to splurge on a vintage yacht at an auction. But their dreamboat vanishes from its berth and later turns up, damaged, in a nearby harbor. Penny’s determined to solve “Le Boat-Jacking,” leading them to the yacht’s previous owner, Count Hubert von Norbert, in Lake Como and some seafaring surprises. [A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT] is fun, even if you don’t have your own yacht.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Penny Nichols battled nefarious relations over her inheritance in Belmond’s first outing, A Rather Lovely Inheritance, and this time around she is finally able to enjoy it. Penny and her boyfriend, Jeremy, who also inherited a sizable sum, decide to set off for the French Riviera with the hopes of purchasing a yacht called Liesl’s Dream. Jeremy wins the yacht, but after its maiden voyage, it is stolen. After the ransacked yacht is recovered, Penny is determined to learn what the thieves were after. She and Jeremy journey to Lake Como, where the former owner of the yacht, Count Hubert von Norbert, resides. The aging count believes the robbers were after a valuable metal figure, the Beethoven Lion, once in his family’s collection but since lost. The count’s son, Kurt, hires Penny and Jeremy to find the lion for his father, leading them on an adventure across Europe. Belmond’s second novel [A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT] is bound to charm...” -- Booklist

“A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is absolutely perfect. The setting is realistic and the characters grab you from the very first scene up until the last. You'll find yourself rooting for them as they try to make it through every challenge money sometimes creates. There's humor, mystery and a beautiful love story, all within the covers of A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT, and one I hope you won't pass by.” -- Romance Junkies

“The moment I started reading A Rather Lovely Inheritance, I was hooked. Suddenly it went from 8pm to 2am and I had to force myself to turn out the light rather than reaching for A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT, which I then grabbed immediately come morning... You can’t help picturing yourself floating on a yacht in the Mediterranean or curled up in the library of your delicious London flat. There were moments when I felt my mouth watering at the descriptions of food... There are no good guys or bad guys–everyone is flawed with good and bad qualities that lead to the decisions which have given us our tale. Perhaps I share the gene of pragmatic romanticism with our heroine and that is why I loved every minute of reading the books only to be crushed when they were done with no continuation. Luckily, both books definitively end, but with such obvious cliff hangers that all clues point to the eventuality of a third book.” --Stacked Book Reviews

“What's not to like about C.A. Belmond's new romantic novel, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT? I was hooked by the end of the first page... What fun to get a first-hand view of the experience of Penny Nichols, whose spunk and sass counterbalance pure sweetness as she simultaneously grapples with the logistics of learning to responsibly manage a huge fortune, follow her heart into a developing relationship with Jeremy, determine her professional future, and pursue breathtaking adventure. Following Penny and Jeremy between London, Nice, Antibes, Villefranche, Lake Como, and Corsica, Belmond gives enough descriptive detail to make these places come alive for readers without overplaying the exotic locales. Each delicious vista is intimately connected to the plot... Belmond uses the same economy of words in scenes featuring Jeremy's upper-crust friends... A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT [is] something you can pass through the generations.” --Story Circle Reviews

“A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is narrated by Penny from her own insightful perspective. Her voice is amusing and upbeat, her outlook optimistic, and her attitude toward her fellow man is realistic, but trusting in the main. [As] in Ms. Belmond's terrific debut novel, A Rather Lovely Inheritance other minor characters are finely drawn and interesting as well. Penny is lively and friendly; Jeremy, a product of upper class British family and schools, is more reserved. They complement each other exceedingly well and make a delightful couple. A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is as well crafted as its predecessor. I highly recommend them both and look forward to any sequels to come starring this likable couple.” -- RomRevToday.com

“I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT! I set about to read just a couple of chapters and then go on with my day. LOL! Later in the day as I was well over half-way through it, I realized I was smiling, so pleased with the development of the story, the characters. I ordered several more copies for customers I could recommend the book to - and did recommend it to several more. What a delightful book... Bravo!” -- Vickie Denney, Reader To Reader

“A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT picks up where Belmond’s first book A Rather Lovely Inheritance left off as Penny and Jeremy find themselves not only adjusting to their new lives of wealth, but also their new romantic relationship. Belmond’s quietly captivating mix of sweet romance and subtle suspense will enchant readers with its sparkling wit and soul-satisfying charm.” – John Charles, ReaderToReader.com

“C.A. Belmond delighted fans with her debut novel, A Rather Lovely Inheritance. She will delight them even more with this sequel, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT. The book starts out where the first one stopped. Readers will be reunited with familiar characters and are introduced to some new memorable people. There are mysteries, family legends and secrets and a love story all in book. Don’t miss the enchanting sequel by a gifted author.” – A Romance Review

“This is a rather entertaining sequel as the adventures of an American heiress in Europe continue. Penny and Jeremy are wonderful... playing amateur sleuths tracking the mystery of the purloined yacht... Fans will relish the return of Penny and Jeremy as they tour Europe.” -- Midwest Book Review

“Five stars! Excellent writing and characters. I loved the way this book was written. The writing style was easy to read and just flowed. Each part of the book connected to the next in such a way that it was seamless. The characters were extremely well developed and very likeable... Following Penny and Jeremy and their search for the truth was interesting... I look forward to more books with these wonderful characters.” – Night Owl Review

“About a year ago, I read C.A. Belmond’s book, A Rather Lovely Inheritance and thought it was a fun book. The author recently came out with a sequel, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT that picks right up with the main characters and is just as enjoyable... the characters are always jetting off to places like London, the French Rivera, and Lake Como, and staying at wonderful villas, resorts, and even castles, while dining on decadent food and meeting intriguing people. There is some romance and adventure to the stories, but even that is quite civilized. I found reading these books to be a great way to forget my worries and just relax!” – The Happy Daily

“This is one delicious book about an American television freelancer researcher named Penny Nichols who came into a great deal of money from her great aunt in England. If you haven’t read C.A. Belmond, I certainly recommend you start with, A Rather Lovely Inheritance and then A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT. I found both Penny and Jeremy to be a very endearing and sweet couple that I wouldn’t mind reading more about in future books to come.” -- Ramblings on Romance Review

“An entertaining and witty story, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT displays the author’s flair for keeping the reader attached to the spellbinding story and adventurous, enchanting characters.” – Affaire de Coeur

“From gigolos to salesmen, no one seems to be immune to following or harassing Penny and Jeremy - some even going to the extreme of stealing their yacht. Getting themselves embroiled in yet another mystery that needs solving, Penny and Jeremy embark on a series of thrilling adventures that will lead them to a discovery so huge that it was thought to have been one big myth. Clearly written with a mix of everything that one could want in a good novel, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is a book that you'll enjoy right until the end.” --ChickLit Club

“Great plot, fascinating characters… In C.A. Belmond’s sequel to A Rather Lovely Inheritance, Penny and Jeremy decide to splurge on a yacht, not just any yacht... C.A. Belmond is a brilliant writer. I savored every word of A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT. While this novel is written from Penny’s point of view, I detected a distinct British quality to the writing. It works! I felt as though I were on tour with the loving couple. They make me yearn for my own yacht. A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is a must read!” -- ReviewYourBook.com

“Penny and Jeremy are the kind of couple you’d like to buy the house next door...As sleuths, they remind me a bit of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence, a couple unashamedly fond of each other while keeping up a feisty dialogue. If you are a fan of Dame Agatha, you’ll enjoy what I hope will be a lengthy series.” – Margaret Erbes on Amazon.com


"The heroine of Belmond's first outing, the improbably named Penny Nichols, finds herself an heiress after her great aunt Penelope dies. Penny flies to London for the reading of Penelope's will and is met by her dashing cousin Jeremy, a barrister. Jeremy receives Penelope's luxurious French villa, while Penny is given her London flat and the contents of the villa's garage. Although their feckless cousin Rollo is well provided for, too, he is envious of his cousins' inheritances... As Penny starts to dig into the family's history, the mystery takes her back several generations, and she realizes the connections among them all are more complex than she ever could have imagined. An entertaining yarn with family drama and intrigue aplenty." -- Booklist

“To describe this as a rather lovely novel would be to grossly understate the case. It is utterly charming... Penny is not at all self-centered and she's a keen observer. That and the excellent characterization and dialogue are why the first person point of view works so beautifully in this case... If a novel can be both gentle and lively, surely this is one. A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE tantalizes and entertains with its mystery and skullduggery, inner and exterior conflicts, and interesting characters, including the late Great-Aunt Penelope; Jeremy, a hero whose image of himself and his place in the family is severely challenged; and Penny, a perfectly lovable heroine. It's a rare gem of a book that leaves behind a feeling of pure pleasure. For these reasons, I'm awarding it a Perfect 10.” -- RomRevToday.com

“Belmond gets her story off to an appealing start by tapping into the near-universal fantasy of a distant, elderly relative leaving behind a pile of loot… Belmond's spirited heroine is likable…” -- Publisher's Weekly

“Rarely have I come across ‘chick-lit’ that is so engaging. I’m not even going to call it ‘chick-lit’ because it’s just plain good fiction... All through the novel it maintains this classic, elegant feel while still remaining modern and in our own time... Stolen art, mysterious relatives, secrets, romance and kept women; all of this is handled very lightly and with a touch of humor that kept me turning the pages well into the night... I closed this book with a smile on my face... how often do books leave you that way? Not often enough.”-- blogcritics.org

“I haven’t read anything like it in quite a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself… Penny is a delightful heroine…Who wouldn’t enjoy the unexpected chance to rattle around London and then fly off to the sunny Cote d’Azur?” –- DearAuthor.com

“This book is delightfully written, light-hearted and sharp, witty and sassy... it wasn’t just the happy ending that satisfied me—it was the thoroughly enjoyable process of getting there, and seeing each scene through the author’s imaginative eye.” -- ck2’s kwips and kritiques.com

“The first in the Rather series, A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE is a wonderful book chronicling the story of Penny Nichols (yes, that's her real name!). Penny is a charming, sassy and smart character that you'll root for even when you know she's going to get herself in trouble.. With breathtaking settings in France's Cote d'Azur, Italy and London, Penny and Jeremy's quest to find the mysterious item is suspenseful and filled with excitement, leading them to one of the biggest historical discoveries of current time. Creatively written, it contains a nice mix of romance, mystery and humour.” -- ChickLit Club

“What begins as a gentle character piece ends as a satisfying romp through Europe that includes vintage cars, art thieves, and great clothes.” -- Bibliotica.com

“What a great book. You have family mystery, villains, ‘vultures’, love, and adventure.” -- A Romance Review

"A Rather Lovely Inheritance has an exciting plot... interesting twists and turns, and Penny is a likeable character. This book is an interesting blend of mystery with a touch of romance." -- Curled Up With A Good Book

“Sit back and enjoy, because this is a rather lovely read... The style and descriptions made it seem like Jane Austen was being channeled... With C.A.’s background in TV and movies I would not be shocked to see this on either the small or big screen sometime in the near future.” -- 24/8 Book Club

“Belmond’s debut novel combines suspense, romance and crafty wit. The protagonist is a character to cheer for, and the mystery subplot will keep readers turning the pages. (Awarded four stars.)” –- RT Book Reviews

“A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE provided me with a delightful read, tapping into my love of European travel and girl sleuths, as well as my fondness for unusual chick lit... This is Penny's story, told from her perspective. I found her to be a delightful heroine. She has exuberance for life, taking joy in simple things such as racing up the stairs, rushing to beat Jeremy some place. I enjoyed how she gets lost in the history of her aunt, spending hours looking through old photographs and clothes. Her love of history, and historical artifacts at times lent the book the feeling of a 1940s romp... The author provides wonderful descriptions of Cannes, London, and other European settings. They made me feel as if I was right there with Penny, through all her adventures. If you think that all chick lit involves heroines who live for shopping ... you will be pleasantly surprised by A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE. I found it to be completely lovely.” -- All About Romance

“Fans will appreciate this inheritance war because of the élan of the visiting American who hooks everyone with her klutzy optimism. Readers will root for Penny who keeps the tale moving with her need to know the truth about Aunt Penelope and her willingness to compromise with Jeremy and battle nasty Rollo. Fans will enjoy the lighthearted breezy story line as the Yank takes England, France, and Italy.” -- Midwest Book Review

“A pleasant jaunt through Europe.” -- Kirkus Reviews

"Penny Nichols inherits much more than a small share of a French villa in C. A. Belmond's often amusing A Rather Lovely Inheritance." -- BookLoons.com

"A Rather Lovely Inheritance is about mystery, genealogy, love and living your passion. Belmond allows Penny to stumble through her family history much as a beginner would. Belmond’s characters are truly believable, fun and intriguing. I enjoyed jaunting across Europe chasing wills, French villas, art, elderly gentlemen and love. Here's hoping that Penny Nichols and her new love end up in another historical mystery adventure." -- genealogy.com/christinesbooklist

"A Rather Lovely Inheritance is unique and intriguing. Jeremy and Penny find themselves swept away in a series of events set in motion by their ancestors years earlier. And who wouldn't want to find out she was suddenly a woman of means?" -- Affaire de Coeur

“An insightful and gratifying novel. The leading characters are real and likeable. An absolutely wonderful story to read!”—myshelf.com

“It really was a lovely inheritance. I enjoyed this book so much! I read this book in one day because I was so curious to find out what was going to happen. I love that the heroine beat the villain at his own game but she was still willing to be kind to him. I look forward to the next book by Belmond!” – Jane Eyre Book Snob

“A return to the golden age of romantic suspense! A Rather Lovely Inheritance weds old-style glamour to chick-lit flair. You just want to move into the novel yourself—on a long-term lease, with hero and snazzy sports car included!” -- Lauren Willig, author of “The Secret History of the Pink Carnation”