Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week Part I . . .

Twin Peril by Susannah Carleton -- Regency Romance
This book is a companion to A Rake's Redem
ption and the final volume in The Six series. Michael Winslow, the Duke of Fairfax is being pressured by his grandmother to choose a Duchess. Michael, a shy, scholarly man, would rather have a wife and companion than choose a bride for her family and wealth. Michael has one lady in mind for his bride, Lady Deborah Woodhurst. Deborah also likes Michael for his own sake rather than his title. He is kind and shares her interest in music, but she isn't sure he can tell her apart from her twin Diana. Diana is counting on the fact that Fairfax can't tell her from her sister because she's out to catch the highest peer with the greatest wealth for her husband and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Deborah wonders how she and her sister can have such different outlooks on life and dreams of finding a man who will love her for herself. Michael must reveal the man behind the ducal mask if he wants to earn the love of Lady Deborah. This is a nice, sweet story that takes place at the same time as A Rake's Redemption. Michael is a too-good-to-be-true hero who is kind and shy but able to stand up for himself. Deborah is an interesting young woman but she doesn't really stand out as being anything exceptional. There are some interesting descriptions of music and musical instruments woven into the plot and I would have liked to have "seen" an actual performance from members of The Six or at least the performance from Deborah and Fairfax. The ending was a bit rushed because it takes place at the same time as A Rake's Redemption. I liked the sweet relationship between Deborah and Michael but was confused by Diana's behavior. When she was first introduced in The Marriage Campaign, she seemed nice enough but then she became rude and mean without any sort of explanation. Though some of the scenes are from her point of view, she doesn't really reveal why she's such a witch. My other complaint is about the series as a whole: the heroes (with the exception of George) always want to protect and cherish the heroines and none of the heroes want to marry Tina, who is a hoyden. Tina is my favorite member of The Six and I hoped she would find someone who would like her for her impulsive behavior. I recommended this series to those who like sweet, quiet Regency romances. 

y Lady Inkeeper by Barbara Metzger -- Regency Romance
Lyndell Markham is bored with society. At the grand old age of 24 she has lost faith in men and decided never to marry, unless she finds a man who can truly capture her heart. A shocking letter from her wastrel stepbrother Jasper Riddley reveals that he has been involved in running a backwater country inn, smuggling, highway robbery and someone has been committing treason at his inn and wants him dead. Jasper has gone into hiding and begs Lyndell to take care of things. Though exasperated by her relative's spinelessness, Lyndell seizes the chance for adventure. She disguises herself as Jasper Riddley's frumpy middle-aged spinster sister turned innkeeper in hopes of catching a spy. Lyndell enlists the aid of trusted servants to help her run the inn. Lyndell didn't expect to encounter a savage dog, a shy stable boy, and a bar maid who serves guests more than just food and drinks. Nor did she count on playing chaperon to a beautiful dimwitted heiress fleeing an arranged marriage to a rakish Marquis and neither lady ever expected the Marquis of Cheyene to show up at the inn! After returning from the wars two months ago, Cheyne has been living life to the fullest: drinking, gambling, consorting with demireps and even dueling with his own cousin! However, Cheyene has one last bit of business that the war office has asked him to take care of. This business takes Cheyne and his cousin Willie to a certain inn where he encounters a stuffy spinster, a beautiful maid and a dazzling damsel who may or may not be the woman for him, depending on what he's interested in. This mad cap adventure brings Lyndell more danger and excitement that she ever bargained for as well as new feelings she's never encountered before. This novel is a hybrid of a traditional Regency and romantic comedy. I love romantic comedies and I enjoyed this one a lot. Metzger's heroines are always independent and appealing to the modern reader, even if they probably aren't very realistic for their time. Lyndell fits the bill for an engaging heroine and even Cheyne is likable and charming for all he's a rake and I couldn't help but root for the unlikely pair. The secondary characters were amusing and good foils for the primary characters, though they were rather stereotypical for the genre. This book is funny and romantic and a little bit sensual without going overboard. It's definitely one to read.

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