Saturday, July 6, 2013

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Eccentric Lady by Jane Lovelace -- Regency Romance

Lady Elizabeth Anne Haughton-Marshall is content to work on breeding chickens on her farm and wants nothing to do with fancy dresses or the London Season. Her uncle, the Earl, feels he's been neglecting his late brother's wishes and forces Lady Beth into coming to London for the Season by threatening to away her farms for good. Lady Beth bristles at the thought of having a chaperone and playing nice with the snobs of the haut ton and comes up with her own plan to follow her uncle's rules. Lady Beth's chaperone, Jane, far from being a dragon, is delighted and amused by Lady Beth's plans and takes eager part in Beth's shocking tall tales and crazy stunts. Beth thinks the ton will dismiss her and she can return home, but the crazier she acts, the more London society falls at her feet. Jane's nephew, Steven, the Marquis of Alspeth and his nephew Jonny are also in town for the Season. Beth befriends the callow youth and his charming uncle. Steven has a sense of humor and enjoys hearing about Beth's latest stunts while Beth tries to help young Jonny through the course of his first romance. When one of Beth's stunts goes too far, she risks losing her only true friend in London. Will his good opinion once lost stay lost forever or can she do something to make things right? This is a really cute story in the vein of Georgette Heyer. It's not as zany as a Heyer novel but pretty close. I loved Lady Beth and she is exactly the heroine I would want to be if I were a heroine in a Regency novel. I'm not sure how realistic she is but I loved her. She could be a bit cruel but she never actually is because everyone seems to be aware that she's making fun of them and takes it in good stride. Steven is a good uncle, nephew and friend. That's about all the reader knows about him until the last page. It would have been nice if some of the story was from his point of view. As it stands, the romance isn't fully believable because the reader doesn't really know why she loves Steven. The plot starts off strong and fast but gets slowed down towards the middle/end with a lame subplot that gets in the way of the romance. I wouldn't even classify this novel as a romance but more of a traditional Regency hybrid comedy of manners love story. The romance comes at the very end a la Heyer. It's sweet and made me chuckle a bit. I really enjoyed this story. Fans of Georgette Heyer, Joan Smith and some of the older Regency authors will like this book. I suggest trying to find it through a bookseller site that sells used books or a swapping site.

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