Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What I Read in September Part IV . . .

What I Read in September Part IV . . 
Tuesday's Child (Child, #2)Tuesday's Child by Barbara Hazard -- Regency Romance

Sir Christopher Wilde returns to London for the first time in many many years. He ran away to India at 17 and made his fortune in the shipping trade. Now his father and older brother have died and he must take up the duties of the baronetcy. He finds it all very tedious and his London friends shallow and callow. He's far more interested in the lovely young woman who cleans the brass doorknobs with such joy. When he discovers the "maid" is actually the lady of the house, Miss Felicia Simmons, he's determined to find out who she is and how to help. Felicia is an impoverished young lady of Quality with an ill father and a big heart. She takes in waifs and strays in need of a home and feeds urchins at her door each night. She barely has enough herself and must make ends meet by teaching music lessons. When her situation becomes more precarious, she takes in lodgers, Miss Cecily Perkins, a spoiled beauty and her mother. Then out of the blue, Felicia's godmother returns to England and wants to take up Felicia. Felicia is reluctant to accept, but the members of her household insist. Being launched into the ton isn't easy for Felicia and if anyone knew the truth about her, she would be ruined. Always by her side is Sir Christopher to tell her what to do. She can not understand why he always commanding and authoritative. She admires him and fears a certain look in his icy gray eyes. Chris doesn't believe in love and has no use for women. Why then is he so eager to help Felicia?

This is rather a Cinderella type story, at least for the first 1/2 of the book. The writing is decent and the author incorporates a fabulous amount of detail about the everyday lives of Londoners in 1811. Felicia's world is not the glittering world of ballrooms and drawing rooms - at least not entirely. I liked the gritty details as much as the fashion and ton activities. Actually I liked the gritty details better because it made the story stand out. The misunderstanding is unique and actually kind of funny. After that the plot drags a bit. The last third of the book is like a different story. A villain is introduced randomly into the story and serves as the catalyst to bring the action to a conclusion. This part felt a bit rushed.

The characters add a lot of dimension to the story. Felicia is not just another Cinderella/Mary Sue. She's proud and stubborn and has a bit of a temper. She can stand up for herself and take care of herself when she has to. I admire her strength and her big heart but I think she could have saved her money and donated her time or/and money to a worthy charity. You can't solve the problem of London's poor all by yourself. That to me, was her only real fault. I had issues with Chris. His story doesn't come out until late in the novel and we only get it second hand. He comes across as rather too steely and authoritative for my tastes. He also has a heart of gold but hides it. I didn't like his anti-woman attitude much either. The secondary characters add the humor to the story. I loved all the various members of Felicia's household, even little George who is such a rascal. I had a love/hate relationship with Marjorie. She's so bubbleheaded, it's annoying yet she means well and she's funny. Her husband is amazing and they're very sweet together. Spoiler for those who know Georgette Heyer's The Nonesuch: Cecily is even worse than Tiffany!

I won't go out of my way to find more Barbara Hazard books but if I come across more, I would probably read them.

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