What I've Read This Week . . .
A Noble Pursuit by Sara Blayne -- Regency RomanceThis book is a sequel to A Noble Deception which I have not read.
She's further disappointed that through her first season.Lady Francine Powell, daughter of the Earl of Bancroft, is not looking forward to her comeout this Season. Francie would prefer to stay at home and ride her beloved horse and be with her family. She's also disappointed that instead of being under the chaperonage of her beloved eldest sister Lucy, she has to stay with her middle sister Florence, the new Marchioness of Leighton. Florence is feeling down because her husband scarcely spends any time at home and Lady Bancroft feels her daughter would benefit from helping Francie. En route to London, the spirited Francie wards off a drunken squire by claiming she is betrothed to the Earl of Ransome. Then she convinces her coachman to stop in Quorn country where she yields to an impulse to ride her horse to hounds. Her hoydenish behavior catches the attention of Harry Danvers, the Earl of Ransome who admires the young lady's free spirit. Back at the inn, Francie accidentally overhears two villains plotting the death of her brother-in-law Leighton. When she's noticed, she flees, and runs straight into Lord Ransome. The odious squire puts in another appearance and to save her lie, Francie begs Lord Ransome to kiss her. Harry is completely captivated by the young hoyden's innocent, refreshing nature. When next they meet, he finds himself agreeing to accompany her on her wild schemes to save Lord Leighton's and her sister's marriage. Francie thinks Harry agrees because of his love for adventure. She persists in believing she does not have any feminine attractions. Harry must convince Francie that she's the one woman he can't live without before the villains learn her identity. This is a light, fluffy story despite the villainous plot against Francie's brother-in-law. Francie is very young and very innocent and I found her adventures somewhat cringeworthy because I could tell she was going to find herself in over her head. I wish more of the story was from Harry's point-of-view because I kept wondering what he was thinking and what his back story was. We don't really know much about him except what Francie says. My favorite character is Lucy, Francie's eldest sister and I would like to read her book at some point. I liked that Francie comes from a large, loving family. It made a nice change from dramatic relations. Her relationship with Florence is very complicated and realistic. The rest of the story is not so much. The story is resolved a bit too easily and quickly but contains an Epilogue that isn't necessary. The plot is rather improbable but it's a fun read. If you are a stickler for period language and behavior, then you probably will not like this book. Read about the youngest Powell girl, Josephine, in A Noble Resolve.
A Phantom Affair by Jo Ann Ferguson -- Paranormal Regency Romance
I don't usually read paranormals but this one sounded good and I thought I'd give it a try. It is part of a series but can be read alone. Taken up by a wealthy lady of the ton, Ellen Dunbar, a Scottish lass, has had three Seasons without finding a lasting passion for any gentleman. Sure she's fallen in love but it never lasted longer than an evening. She's optimistic though, when she meets her friend Marian's neighbor and childhood tormentor, Corey Wolfe, Lord Wulfric. Ellen likes his sense of humor and Corey is drawn to Ellen's forthrightness. Unfortunately, a tragic accident results in the young lord's untimely demise. Corey was mortally wounded saving Ellen's life and she refused to leave his side while he lay dying. Ellen is severely shaken by the accident and mourns the loss of what might have been. She receives yet another shock when Corey appears in her bedroom - as a ghost! Corey can not move on until he pays Ellen a debt for staying with him. He vows to find her the perfect husband before summer ends. When Ellen recovers from her shock, she finds the dashing ghost just as charming as he was in life. The two quickly become friends while Corey is determined to play matchmaker. Ellen's friend Marian has a few gentlemen in mind who will bring Ellen all she's had to do without her whole life. Ellen wants nothing more than to be with Corey forever, for she has finally lost her heart. Of course, that is impossible as Corey well knows. Corey has fallen deeply in love with Ellen and it's far too late. Of course they can never be together even if the lady cared as much for him as he does for her. She seems a bit too interested in his cousin Lorenzo's poetry for Corey's tastes. How can he cross over when his heart still beats for Ellen. How can she marry when her whole heart belongs to Corey. There's no easy solution for these ill-fated lovers. Ellen and Corey have great chemistry. I really like Ellen and can relate to her practical nature. Corey is a bit rakish but charming and witty and I think many women could fall in love with him easily. Most of the secondary characters are rather stereotypical. My least favorite is Marian, who thinks she is doing what is best but is really incredibly unkind and insensitive. I like her hound-crazy husband though. They are an odd couple. The ending is somewhat of a shock and I can't say I really liked it. It stretched my credibility too much. I really liked this book despite the unusual premise. It's funny, sweet and sad and I would recommend it even to those who don't enjoy paranormal.