Saturday, April 13, 2013

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Rogue Grooms by Amanda McCabe -- Regency Romances

Lady Rogue

Alexander Kenton, Duke of  Wayland has recently returned from his regiment to take up the duties of his estate after the death of his elder brother. Damian left the estate in ruins and Alex has no idea what to do. He heads to London where his friends encourage him to marry an heiress, but he can't make himself propose to any of the simple-minded young ladies of the ton. Then he spies the most beautiful woman he's ever seen and she's a damsel in distress. He rushes to his rescue and begins a friendship with Georgina Beaumont. Georgie is a fashionable, if not entirely respectable, widow. She's a painter of some renown and owns two homes in Italy. She is in London staying with her friend Elizabeth who is in delicate condition. When Alex rescues Georgie's West Highland White Terrier, Lady Kate, Georgie is instantly attracted to this paragon of a man. Alex's friends bet that the pair will be married and Georgie's friends also seem to think so, but Alex and Georgie aren't so sure. They are each hampered by pride which may prevent them from ever finding happiness. This is a sweet, straightforward romance. There are a couple of moonlight kisses that are actually a little corny, but the romance is bound to please those who enjoy a simple, straight romance. The plot is driven by internal factors rather than any sort of excitement or adventure. The back stories of the characters reveal what sort of decisions they make and why. I liked Georgie and could relate to her desire for independence. If I were her, I would probably hesitate to marry again too. Alex seems like a perfect paragon for most of the book, and to tell you the truth, he's a bit boring until his pride gets in the way. Then that paves the way for a sweet, happy ending. I quite admire his little sister, Lady Emily, who is a surprise and a welcome change from the usual young lady of her years. My favorite character is, of course, Lady Kate. The author seems to know a little bit about Westie behavior though not a whole lot. (I wouldn't let a young terrier in my Regency house! Instead of sleeping on a cushion, she should be chewing on it). Lady Kate provides the comic relief this story needs and plays a role in bringing the hero and heroine together. This book is a sequel to two previous stories but enough backstory is explained so that I didn't feel confused. I am eager to read Elizabeth and Nicholas' story now and also Carmen and Peter's story. First though, is Lady Emily's story. 

The Star of India

The Star of India is Lady Emily Kenton's story. 
Lady Emily was a spirited, carefree young girl before the tragic accident that crippled her mother and the deaths of her father and eldest brother. Her best friend, and neighbor, David Huntington, is the only one who understands her. He feels that Emily is the only girl in England who will look at him, for he is half Indian. When David and his father, the Earl of Darlinghust, suddenly leave for India, Emily is bereft. Before they left, David and his father left their most precious jewels behind with the Kentons for safe keeping. Fourteen years later, Lady Emily has three seasons behind her and no husband. She vows she will never marry unless it is for love, despite the urgings of her brother and sister-in-law. They mean well, but they don't understand Emily at all. Emily is happy enough running the family estate with a stay in Town for the Season, but she carries a secret heartache; a burden that she is determined to keep hidden lest it ruin her family. David, now the Earl, and his young daughter have just returned to England where he hopes his family will find more freedom. He also has plans to purchase his family treasure, The Star of India, a sapphire taken from the shrine of a Hindu god back from the Kentons. His grandmother insists upon the jewel returning to where it belongs. When David and Emily are reunited, they feel like strangers. David is curious about the girl he left behind and why he senses some great sorrow beneath her joyful facade. Emily longs to unburden herself, but if she does, she may lose the man she has grown to love. This beautiful romance has a mystery thrown in for fun. The mystery adds some comic relief and extra depth to the love story. The mystery moves the love story along very nicely. The romance between Emily and David is so sweet, it will make you sigh. There's a lot of passion in this story but no lengthy passages of lust or even anything more than becoming emotionally close and kissing. I especially liked the way the author was able to convey the hero and heroines feelings without resorting to spelling it out. Emily is no longer the bubbly girl we met in Lady Rogue but she tries to make everyone think she is. I disliked her for being so independent, yet I can not fault her because I probably would have acted the same way. She's less unrealistic than Georgina but not quite the most realistic of Regency heroines. The details about life in India and Hindu legends really add a unique element to the story. The descriptions are so amazing that like Emily, I found myself riveted. The author lists her bibliography in the beginning of the book. Though she did extensive research, I found it difficult to believe that people were traveling back and forth from Begal whenever they felt like it because the years covered in this novel were a time of warfare, both global and within Bengal. By the time the afterward takes place, David's family would be losing their social position. (At the same time I read this novel, I was reading a scholarly text on British Bengal for school). Other than the travel issues, I loved the story. It's much better than Lady Rogue because of the added mystery and David's feeling of not belonging. I don't consider this book one for the keeper shelf but it's at the library for when I want to read it again.

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