Monday, March 4, 2013

What I Read This Weekend

What I Read This Weekend . . .

Miss Westlake's Windfall by Barbara Metzger -- Regency Romantic Comedy

Miss Ada Westlake had just turned down yet another marriage proposal from her neighbor and good friend Viscount Charles Ashford. She thinks of Chas like a brother and she thinks marrying him would be convenient but she wants to marry for love. Marrying Chas would certainly be convenient monetarily since her eldest brother died leaving nothing but debts and her younger brother is determined to get himself killed fighting Napoleon's troops. Then there's her sister Tess, an artist lost her in her world and Rodney's widow Jane and greedy uncle Filbert. The last two are furious Jane whistled a fortune down the wind. When Ada finds a bag of money hidden in a tree in her orchard, she's sure it's ill gotten so she's determined to return it. What she doesn't know is that Chas, in a drunken stupor, placed the money there for her to find. Of course the money was supposed to go towards helping a French spy make a new life in London, but the man seems to be missing in action and Chas has plenty of money. First Ada tries to return the money to a reputed smuggler and when he returns it, it caused hilarious chaos in the Westlake household. Chas, with his dog Tallyho at his heels, is one step ahead of Ada making sure she keeps the money. He's determined she'll finally wed him and with the dowry she deserves. Lady Ashford is determined Chas marry someone, preferably a well-born debutante. Chas may allow his mother to invite all the simpering misses to come for a house party, but he will not give in. With some advice from his half-brother, Chas sets out to prove to Ada he's more than a brother to her. This story is Barbara Metzger at her best. If you love her other novels, you will love this one. If you enjoy screwball comedies, you'll like this novel. It requires some suspension of disbelief because the action is so zany, but I laughed and laughed through the whole thing. My favorite character is Tess. She is a hopeless romantic living in a dream world but she proves to be shrewd and awake on all suits. I liked Chas a lot for his devotion to Ada and Tally and his kindness towards his brother. I didn't really like Ada that much. I thought she was a bit crazy not to marry Chas since they were so close, but the real reason I didn't like her so much is that she didn't like dogs. I understand her reason why but it's not a good reason not to like dogs. Hate the hunt and the human who hunt but don't blame the dogs! I loved this story so much, I plan to keep it and read it again when I'm feeling down.

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