Monday, September 19, 2011

What I Read Last Week

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

Lady Fiasco by Kathleen Baldwin -- Regency Romance

This is the first book in the trilogy featuring Aunt Honore. The other two being Mistaken Kiss and Cut From the Same Cloth. In this book Tyrell, Earl of Westmont has returned home from the wars to take up his duty upon his father's death. His mother is determined it's high time he marry and give her a grandson. Tyrell is angry at the world for he feels that he should still be on the battlefield in Spain and not in the ballroom. He's determined not to even look at any of the young ladies his mother forces on him but then he encounters his childhood playmate Fiona Hawthorn. Fiona was always an adorable elf and Tyrell soon discovers that the little elf has grown into a beautiful minx. Fiona tries to warn Tyrell of her reputation for disaster. The villagers all think she's cursed and even her stepmother doesn't want to be around her. Tyrell cares little for curses and pursues Fiona. However, Tyrell refuses to be leg shackled and when he always gets carried away with Fiona he storms off in anger. Fiona's Aunt Honore comes to the rescue and brings Fiona to the attention of the ton first in Brighton and then in London. Aunt Honore's eccentric ways and Fiona's accident prone nature make Fiona the belle of the ball. Soon Aunt Honore's stepson Marcus becomes jealous of Fiona and is determined that her reputation will keep him in his inheritance. Tyrell soon follows Fiona to London raging with anger and jealousy. He's determined that Marcus should not have Fiona but he doesn't seem to want her himself - or does he? Obviously this is a romance novel and the plot is pretty obvious. It follows a bit of a different path though since the hero and heroine already know each other. Fiona is likable enough and I felt sorry for her that everyone thought she was cursed. I loved Aunt Honore in the previous two books I read. She's outrageous and shocking but in this first novel she's not quite as funny. I did not like Tyrell at all. He's hot tempered, jealous, brooding and uncontrollable. We never really learn his whole story and he never talks to Fiona about why he refuses to be married. I do not like heroes with anger management problems. This is an average read. The other two books are better, with Cut From the Same Cloth having the most depth. Each book stands alone so you do not need to read them all or in order. 

Town Bronze by Kate Huntington -- Regency Romance

Christopher Warrington spent the last eleven years in hellish prisons in France. Now he has returned to England and to the rule of his autocratic grandfather, the Viscount Adderly. Christopher's grandfather wants Christopher to marry Cassandra Davies, the Viscount's ward and the sooner the better. The lady objects to the match and Christopher also wants nothing to do with the sharp tongued young girl, but the Viscount remains adamant. Christopher is not about to exchange one prison for another so he hares off to London without a moment's notice. Grandfather and Cassandra soon follow. Cassandra is thrilled to be in London where she will be able to do the Season at last. Her miserly guardian has hitherto not allowed her to have a Season. At two and twenty Cassandra is a bit naive but she's not so naive to know that when she next encounters Christopher, he has acquired a great deal of town bronze. Christopher arrives in London thinking he'll take his time to find a bride and get reacquainted with London. He becomes friendly with the fashionable widow Mrs. Benningham who helps him when he is in need. At first Cassandra has the time of her life in London. She enjoys the attentions of Lord Whitby, an Earl's heir. Christopher despises Whitby and tries his hardest to keep Cassandra out of harm's way. His jealously does nothing to endear him to the lady but perhaps she isn't the awful creature he has always believed her to be. Cassandra loves London but she can't help but feel like something is missing. This is a typical Regency story that contains slightly different plot elements. Christopher's plot is interesting and unusual, especially. Cassandra's plot feels very realistic and the interaction between Christopher and Cassandra is wonderful. There are some amusing moments but little actual romance. Cassandra's character is a bit stereotypical at first. She comes across as mercenary. She becomes well-developed as the story progresses and I liked her more. She's naive but not stupidly innocent. She has spark and fire and she knows what she wants. Christopher is charming and witty but he has a nasty temper that I'm not fond of. He's much kinder than many Regency heroes, however, and others may love him. The end of the story seems a bit rushed but it's funny and sweet just the same. I really enjoyed this book. It's well-written, realistic (as much as a Regency novel of this type can be) and a cut above the average Regency novel.

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