Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I Read Recently UPDATED

What I Read Recently . . .

Lord Yates and the Yankee by Joy Reed -- Regency Romance

Lord Vincent Yates is bored. He's infamous for his exploits but they've become boring. His Mama is after him to marry and secure the secession but Vincent can't bring himself to marry any of the simpering misses of the ton. He came close to marriage once, with the lovely Desdemona who is now married to one of Vincent's closest friends. Mona seems to want to resume their old flirtation and Vincent is tempted. To alleviate boredom, he decides to pop in on his sister's literary salon for the famous American author Samuel Locke. Vincent finds himself enjoying the lively novels and looks forward to meeting Mr. Locke. Vincent then makes the acquaintance of Miss Constance Locke, daughter of the author, and she takes him to task merely for being an Earl. Vincent has never been so shocked in his life but realizes that her argument is valid and enjoys a lively debate with the young lady. He's soon interested in seeing more of her to show her that not all Earls are dissipated wastrels. Constance is a pragmatic Yankee bluestocking who despises the wastefulness of the aristocracy. She's surprised and pleased when she meets Vincent and eager to spend more time in his company. She tells herself she must not fall in love for Vincent can not be serious and he stands for all she hates, plus there's the little matter of her fiance Will back home in Boston. This story is a take on Pride and Prejudice. Constance even has "very fine" dark eyes. I couldn't resist this novel about a Yankee bluestocking, being one myself (with dark eyes), but the story didn't quite live up to my expectations. I really liked Constance. I could easily see myself saying some of the things she says, just not in public! Once her motivation for speaking out was revealed, I conceded that I probably WOULD have behaved exactly the same. I admired her outspokenness and her ability to revise her opinion. (Unlike someone who's good opinion once lost is gone forever.). My problem was with Lord Yates. He's 35 and acts more like 25 or younger. Vincent is known as a dandy, a tulip, a pink of the ton and his speech is peppered with "What?," 'Pon rep!" and "By Jove!" I kept hoping that as he matured, he would drop the silly dandy speech  but he never did. His ridiculous speech pattern was cute as first but grew annoying after awhile. Georgette Heyer knew how to use it sparingly for her sidekick characters so it remained funny and fresh. I did like that Vincent wanted to change for Constance, but his transformation happened quickly and we were mostly told about it and didn't see much of him on his estate. The story stalled and dragged on after that. It's not long in terms of Zebra Regency novels but feels long and repetitive. I disliked that Constance was engaged to someone else already. That's the primary factor that kept the hero and heroine apart. As a result, there's not much courtship or many really sweet moments.The story would have been better without the fiance. This could have been a cute novella instead of a mediocre novel. I would recommend it but it's not one for the keeper shelf. 

The Duke and Miss Denny by Joy Reed -- Regency Romance

Miss Judith Denny has come to keep her older sister company in London. She senses something is not quite right with her sister's marriage and she might be able to mediate and fix things. Judith's sister stages a big come out for Judith, something which the practical vicar's daughter does not want. Lady Fanny Spicer offers all sorts of advice for her little sister and when Judy takes that advice a bit too much to heart, she ends up accidentally snubbing a Duke! The Duke of Ashland is astonished at being snubbed by a nobody when he was merely trying to be helpful. He's determined to meet this girl and find out why she snubbed him. When Judith realizes her mistake, she apologizes in her plain spoken manner and quickly endears herself to Ashland. He loses his heart to his new friend and he is determined to make her his wife. That is, if their meddling relatives don't interfere! Judith has doubts about becoming a Countess and makes up her mind to refuse Ashland, should he offer, though it will break her heart. She hadn't counted on the depths of his feeling or his determination, however. What should she do? This is a nice, quiet little romance. Nothing much happens except a lot of talking. It gets bogged down a bit with Judy's self-sacrificing act which goes on a bit long. What happens after that is exactly what I would have suggested. I liked the details in that part of the book more than the beginning and I felt that part should have come earlier and ended sooner. It dragged on a bit too long because it got weighted down with details and Fanny's subplot. The story won't keep you guessing but it will please lovers of sweet romances. I really liked Judy. She's very kind and caring but not obnoxiously good. I like the way she speaks her mind and makes her own decisions. Ashland is an average hero. He's bored with Society, tired of being hunted by matchmaking Mamas and their daughters and enjoys the fresh breath of air Miss Denny breathes into his life. 

Desperate Measures by Candice Hern -- Regency Short Story (free E-book)

Miss Lydia Bettride is desperate. Her Mama is after her to choose a husband but the man she loves doesn't love her back. Geoffrey Danforth is one of her brother's friends and treats her like a sister. What's a lovesick maiden to do? Enlist the aid of another friend of her brother's to play the suitor to make Geoffrey jealous. When Philip cries off and lets Geoffrey take his place, Lydia doesn't know what to do. She comes up with a brilliant solution that will hopefully have Goeffrey in her arms in no time. Her plan seems to be working too well when Geoffrey awakens her budding sensuality. Will they or won't they get together in the end? This story is dreadful. It could have worked as a longer story but the length makes the action happy too quickly. The backstory comes a little too late after characters are mentioned but not explained who they are. The romance heats up quickly and is more sensual than I expected. The sensual scene is plopped in the story without really exploring what it means to the characters. They very briefly talk after that and then the story ends. It's all a bit too quick for me.  There's no time for character development or a slowly developing relationship. The hero and heroine already know each other so that the story can proceed right to romance. I prefer a more slow burn type relationship that begins in friendship and ends in a proposal. This author has gotten rave reviews from clean Regency fans and I hope her non-free, full length novels are better.

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