Friday, March 18, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

The Madcap Heiress by Emily Henrickson --  Regency Romance

This book follows the adventures of the Hebert family. Previous novels include Lord Nick's Folly, Pruning Priscilla, Druscilla's Downfall, and Tabitha's Tangle. It is followed by My Lady Faire.

Adam Herbert, son of a country vicar, has finished his college degree and with no immediate plans, sets forth to visit his great-uncle, the Earl of Stanwell to see the place where his father spent his summers and discover if he can find a place as a land agent. Upon arriving in the village, Adam comes upon a beautiful young woman in an altercation with Claude Polkinstone, an unsavory character Adam knows from school. Adam intervenes, knowing how dangerous Claude can be, but the lady does not seem grateful. Miss Emma Lawrence, cousin to Claude, believes she can take care of herself. She finds Adam handsome and charming but mistrusts his motives. She fears he may be a fortune hunter. Adam falls instantly in love with the silly young girl. He can't believe the scrapes she gets in to, but feels the need to rescue her anyway. Emma is thrown into company with Adam while visiting with the Earl and Countess, who are like surrogate grandparents to her. Emma's negligent father is determined to marry her off to the despicable Claude and Claude won't take no for an answer, so Emma decides to act like the madcap everyone believes her to be in order to get Claude to leave her alone. Emma's plans don't work out as well as expected and she's in danger of losing her reputation all together. With some help from the Earl and Countess, their grandson, Emma's bosom friend Gussie and of course, Adam, she hopes to repair the damage. She doesn't count on falling in love with Adam. She isn't even sure he likes her. The dastardly Claude won't go away, however, and it looks like her father and Claude may win in the end. If only Adam had prospects and her father would look favorably upon his suit and if only Emma were not such a madcap. This is a pleasant little story that will stand alone from the rest of the series. Adam is quite unexceptionable. He's charming, handsome, humble and he knows what he wants and tries to get it without being overbearing. Emma is very young and very silly. She's badly in need of parenting rather than a husband. I felt sorry for her and her outrageous behavior provided a few chuckles, but she is just too young to interest me as a heroine of a romance novel. She'd make a great heroine of a young adult coming-of-age story though. The Earl and Countess are my favorite characters. Their story would be far more interesting than one about the young people. I'd also prefer a story about Gussie and the Viscount to Emma's story, which just didn't interest me. The plot was similar to A Chance Encounter and other traditional Regencies but lighter. If you're looking for a light, quick read then I suggest this book

The Incomparable Miss Compton by Regina Scott -- Regency Romance
Lord Malcolm Brekonridge, Parliamentarian crusader for reform, is in need of a wife. She must be capable of running a good household, intelligent and able to assist him with his work. Love has nothing to do with the matter, he doesn't believe in silly emotions, or so he thinks. At a ball in his honor, Malcolm is bowled over by the Incomparable Miss Persephone Compton, but before he can take his dance with her, her chaperone, cousin Sarah butts in. Sarah, almost thirty, had a disastrous first Season many years ago when she was a shy girl of only 18. Now she is happy to help her younger cousin through her first Season. Persephone is beautiful, spoiled and willful and absolutely not the wife for a politician. Sarah seeks to rescue both her cousin and Lord Breckonridge from disaster and finds herself gaining a new friend in Lord Breckonridge. The ton is all abuzz, thinking Malcolm is courting the younger girl, even Persy thinks he will ask her to marry him. Only Malcolm and Sarah know better. When Malcolm proposes, it's not what Sarah expected or dreamed of. Where is the romance, the passion, the love? How could Malcolm not believe in love? How could Sarah put her faith in something so silly? Never before thwarted at anything, Malcolm is determined to win. With some help from Anne and Chas Prestwick (from The Unflappable Miss Fairchild), Malcolm sets out to prove to Sarah just what a wonderful bride she will make him. Jealous, Persey sets out to win her own husband on her terms and may ruin everything with her youthful indiscretions. This is an unconventional Regency romance! It's quite refreshing to read about a hero who isn't a rake and I can't gush enough about a shy heroine! I can relate to Sarah more than any other character in any other Regency novel, even the bluestockings, and I loved her so much. She is very natural and realistic, most of the time. She gets a little annoying in the middle of the novel, for which I have to shave off a few points from my rating. Malcolm is an unusual hero. He knows what he wants and goes after it, yet he can't understand his feelings which is a little strange but it works within the framework of the story. Persey is a stereotypical spoiled teenage girl and her character development seems unrealistic within the time frame of the story. It's great to see Chas and Anne again and find out how they're dealing with the changes in their lives from their book. They're still funny and a lovely couple. The climax of the story is a bit unnecessary and silly but the romantic ending is so sweet it will make you squeal "Awww!" I loved this story so much and rate it 4 3/4 stars (out of 5). I also want to say Thank you, thank you, thank you Regina for a shy, intelligent heroine!

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