Saturday, May 23, 2015

What I Read in December Part X . . .

What I Read in December Part X . . .

A Midnight ClearA Midnight Clear by Lynn Kerstan-- Regency Romance

Miss Jane Ryder is in need of a job and a place to stay ASAP so she takes a job with the scandalous Lady Swann who wants Jane to transcribe her scurrilous tell all memoir of the British aristocracy of the 18th century. When the new Marquess of Fallon discovers Lady Swann's intentions, he is outraged. She threatens to destroy everything he is working hard for. When Lady Swann refuses to suppress the book, she sends Jane with an offer to Lord Fallon to uncover the history of the women of the family. Lord Fallon sees the opportunity to use Jane for his own ends but she's too sharp for that. She decides to accompany him to his estate over Christmas to find what she's searching for. Both Jane and Fallon find the unexpected and discover a Christmas miracle. It will take more than a miracle to find the happy ending they both desire.

This is a cute story but not all that memorable - more like a 3 1/2 star read but since it's Christmas I will round up. The plot is pretty good. Though the timeline is super short, the relationship develops meaningfully and realistically for the characters. There is a mystery towards the end that comes out of nowhere and I couldn't put the book down until it was solved. The conclusion is less tedious and common than I expected and not too rushed. I liked the way it all came about. This book reminded me of Joan Smith's writing style. The romance is clean but there's talk of past exploits and Lady Swann's conquests (current and past).

My favorite character is Lady Swann. She's a riot! She's manipulative in a good way and provides a lot of comic relief. I liked Jane and Fallon as well. Jane is a great heroine. I felt bad for her once she revealed her full history and her wishes for Fallon's future children. My heart broke for her. I love how she can stand up to the most autocratic people when she feels like it and how she's too smart to be manipulated - or so she thinks. She's very caring and strong. At first I loathed Fallon. He was a typical alpha male, high-handed aristocrat in the mold of Mr. Darcy but more hot tempered. Then, once Jane got to know him and his story, I grew to care about him too. He's an honorable man (sort of... he is a nabob and he probably didn't get that way from being honorable) struggling to do what he feels is right. I think he was actually on the right track given that the next generation will come of age during the stuffy Victorian era. Yet, I wanted him with Jane and I wanted him to be happy and true to himself. It was a tough dilemma.

This is a good older Regency. It's light but has substance. I would recommend it to fans of the old traditional Regency novels.

Christmas PresentChristmas Present by Amanda Grange -- Austenesque/Regency novella

Darcy and a heavily pregnant Elizabeth go off to visit Jane and Bingley and their newborn son for the holidays. There they meet with Caroline Bingley and the Bennet family who have come to find Kitty a husband. Darcy is worried about Elizabeth and encountering her silly family is the last thing he wants to do but if it makes her happy, so be it. Then his own family shows up unexpectedly bringing more uninvited guests. They all come together for a ball on Christmas Eve and you can guess what happens next.

Snooze. That's pretty much all I have to say about this story. The author got some slight details wrong/added in strange things. I don't see Mr. Collins having a brother. If he does, then the entailment passes to the brother if there are no heirs so I think Jane Austen would have mentioned it. Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine are spot-on while Kitty hasn't yet reformed. She's sulky and acts like a typical teen who is angry at her parents. The main characters were pretty much as I imagined them. There's not much to the story so there isn't much of an opportunity to flesh them out a bit more.

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