regency romance reviews in brief

It’s the end of the summer, so I decided to immerse myself in the world of Regency England. I read six Avon Romance titles in probably about a week, and I thought I’d give a quick review and summary of each rather than letting each have their own book review. They are all below, in absolutely no particular order.

Tempting a Proper Lady, Debra Mullins

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This novel wasn’t quite your run of the mill debutante meets rake novel. Instead, we have Cilla, a young widow who is more interested in helping plan the parties of the ton than in attending them. When Captain Breedlove comes back from desertion on a Caribbean island, his intent is to win back his fiancee (who is not Cilla but rather Cilla’s client, who is getting married). There is some mystery surrounding Breedlove’s desertion and who is involved. There is also an “evil” titled gentlemen. I don’t know if everything truly was resolved by the end, but I enjoyed it.

Swept Away By a Kiss, Katherine Ashe

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Ah, a case of multiple identity and pirates and perils at sea! There are villains at foot, heroines who don’t do what they are expressly told to do, and heroes masquerading as priests. I enjoyed this because it was all over the place. It was at sea, in London, in the country — all over and exciting. Valerie and Steven had the perfect amount of chemistry and intrigue with each other. At first, I thought it might be a little disconcerting, given the fact that Steven was pretending to be be a priest, but really, he wasn’t very good at it. They both have secrets in their past, as do all good Regency heroes and heroines, and they must face them in order to truly find happiness with each other.

The Duke’s Indiscretion, Adele Ashworth

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I kind of have mixed feelings about this book. I love the premise — like several of the books in this Regency romance stint, it deals with double identities — opera singer Lottie English is wanted by nearly every man in England, whereas who she truly is — Lady Charlotte, a mild-mannered young woman whose older brother is trying to marry off. In comes Colin, a duke, who is in love (or is it lust?) with Lottie English. Marriage happens early on in this book, so it’s really a story of falling in love with one’s spouse, which I liked. I’ve found that a lot of times in Regency romances, opera singers are the mistresses of the titled gentlemen. Ashworth played with this a bit when she created these characters and their story.

Seven Secrets of Seduction, Anne Mallory

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I don’t think I’ve really ever read a romance novel quite like this one. Usually, the heroes are the tall, dark, and handsome types, sometimes they are brooding. But all that brooding has nothing on Maximillian, Viscount Downing. This is a very literary book — Miranda works in a small bookshop, and she’s definitely not part of the ton. But she writes letters to the editor about this book on the secrets of seduction. She takes up a correspondence with another reader and the writer of the book. I figured out the “twist” very early on, but that didn’t make the story less enjoyable. It was hard for me to read, honestly, as it was filled with description and strange highbrow conversation between Miranda and all three men in her life.

Last Night’s Scandal, Loretta Chase

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I’m not really a fan of Scottish romances, and this book somewhat masqueraded as one. It’s not that our hero is a Scottish laird (per se) or that he wears a kilt, but the novel does take place in Scotland. There’s not much room for travel in this case, not in the way a London season book moves from ball to opera to musical to Hyde Park. This has a slight twist on the old childhood sweethearts theme. Lisle and Olivia were practically raised together, corresponding through the years, and now finally he’s returned from Egypt and she’s ready for a Great Adventure with him.

Love Letters From a Duke, Elizabeth Boyle

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I think what I loved most about this one is the Clark Kent / Superman aspect. No, I’m not suggesting a superhero appears in Mayfair in the early 19th century, but instead it is a case of mistaken and secret identities. Felicity wants to marry a duke, and for years she’s been corresponding to the Duke of Hollindrake. Now she’s in London and means to marry the duke. Little does she know, the man who shows up on her doorstep, the one she assumes is a new footman, is the duke. Both Felicity and Thatcher are fun characters, and I spent much of the book wondering just how and when he was going to let her in on the truth. I absolutely loved this book, especially the idea that he wants her to fall in love with him as a lowly footman and not as a lofty duke.

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