A delightful romantic comedy that is one of MC’s better Regency romances
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: August 7, 2014
Pages: 217 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
I particularly enjoyed this MC Regency romance because the main plot is a satisfying romance, which is quite unusual for MC. All too often, a melodramatic murder plot takes over her novels, or a colorful band of eccentric characters massively overshadows the relationship between the romantic protagonists.
The heroine of this story, Henrietta, is an admirable young woman who shows a great deal of maturity, gumption, and compassion for someone who is only 19 years old.
The 33-year-old romantic hero, Rupert, Earl of Carrisdowne, is rich and handsome, but he is initially quite pompously full of his own importance. However, over the course of the novel, his pomposity decreases in direct proportion to his increasing respect and love for Henrietta. Refreshingly, unlike the vast majority of MC’s romantic heroes, Rupert does not try to hide his regard from Henrietta or the world at large.
Best of all, Henrietta and Rupert are on stage together more than 50% of the book. This is an expected feature of the romance genre in general, which is almost always delivered by other romance authors but, unfortunately, is routinely lacking in the vast majority of MC romance novels.
There is a subplot with two murderous villains, which is another common theme for MC. And normally in MC novels, such plots overshadow the entire book, leaving the romance in the dust. But refreshingly, in this novel, attempted murder and mayhem do not come into play until the last third of the book, and they do not consume more than 10% of the story as a whole. MC’s restraint in not laying it on thick with sudsy melodrama allows this story to consistently maintain a pleasantly amusing tone.
Contributing greatly to the humorous feel of this story as well is a quirky coterie of three loveable female friends who are Henrietta’s business partners at her confectionery shop. The younger two are Charlotte, who is 20, and Josephine, who is 22. Each enjoys a delightful romance with two adorable young aristocrats. Their love stories were big hit with me, in particular, because secondary romances are among my favorite subplots in a romance novel.
Henrietta’s third female friend is the 40-something, prudish spinster, Mrs Hissop, whose comedic kookiness steals the show every time she appears. Her greatest ambition in life is to depart this world with a flourish by financing as fabulous a funeral as possible. As a result, every scene in which she is dramatically involved elicits comedic comments from her either celebrating the expansion of or bemoaning limitations on the extent and quality of her proposed funeral celebration.
All in all, this is one of the better romance novels I have read from MC.