Saturday, June 18, 2011

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . 

The Scotsman and the Spinster by Carolyn Madison -- Regency Romance
Ross MacCailan is a soldier fighting in Spain when he learns that his uncle has died making him the new Viscount St. Jerome. At first, Ross wants nothing to do with his uncle's wealth or title but when Wellington commands Ross to go to London to fight in the House of Lords, Ross has no choice but to obey. Wellington commands Ross to an A. Terrington in London, who will help Ross learn to be a gentleman. Ross has no interest in becoming a mindless member of the ton, especially not when he learns his tutor is a woman! Adalaide Terrington is a spinster who wears turbans and spouts Latin at anyone who will listen. She has no desire to be married, despite the protests of her aunt. She has taken it upon herself to help young gentlemen learn social graces which help make navigating Society easier for them. She hadn't expected her newest pupil to be so ruggedly masculine not so difficult! Ross is stubborn and hot tempered but Addy is equal to the task. Ross resents the way Addy treats him as less than a man but still, she was the first friend he had in London and he won't ever turn his back on her. There's no time for him to think of romance though, with his maiden speech coming up and attempting to make allies out of enemies and stop his despicable cousin from ruining everything. Even so, he can't help but think Addy would make an excellent wife. As Addy helps Ross enter Society she begins to appreciate his masculine qualities despite the fact that he seems to hate her.As she begins to understand her own heart, she doubts Ross will ever see her in a romantic light. If you are new to the Regency genre, this might be a good place to start. Much of the book is given over to explaining the nuances of behavior in Polite Society. As much as I love history and appreciate a well-researched story, I think all the etiquette slows down the story at the expense of the romance. Addy and Ross don't really have a great connection. There's chemistry and friendship which I can see building into love but there's a lot left unsaid that bothers me. The reader does not get to know Addy very well. Most of the story is from Ross's point of view.  Ross and Addy don't really know each other that well. The romance heats up a bit, with one make-out scene but nothing graphic. If you prefer sweet kisses only though, you might want to skip that scene or not read the book. Overall, the story is well-written other than my few complaints and slightly above average.

A Noble Heart by Sara Blayne -- Regency Romance
This is the fourth and last book in the Noble series. 
A man wakes up and sees the face of an angel staring down at him and is convinced he died and went to heaven. Hardly - declares the lady as she informs him he's been in a coma for six days and then proceeds to scold him for something he can't remember! In fact, he not only can't remember what he did, he can't remember who he is. He, Lady Felicity Talbot informs him, is William Powell, Viscount Lethbridge, her brother's dearest friend. She omits the part about how he was wounded fighting a dual over her silly cousin and his opponent hovers at death's door. She also omits the fact that she's been in love with him since she was ten. Felicity is determined to keep William at her cottage in the Kentish countryside until he is fully recovered and until the fate of his opponent is known. Felicity is a strong-willed, independent woman and Will is instantly attracted to both her beauty and her spirit. However, the lady seems to only want to be friends and she's keeping secrets from him. When Felicity and her house guest are threatened, Will decides to get involved whether Felicity wants him to or not. He's determined to protect the woman he loves and win her hand in marriage, even if it means never recovering his memory. Will is the brother of Francie, heroine of A Noble Pursuit. Six years later, he remains unwed while his sisters are happy wives and mothers. It's easy to fall in love with Will and the romance is very charming. At first this seems like a run-of-the-mill Florence Nightingale effect plot but there's much more to it than that. The danger and action are also quite unique as far as Regency novels go. This is one of the better traditional Regencies but high sticklers beware - the author seems to have deliberately ignored some of the rules of proper behavior but the story more than makes up for it.

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