Thursday, April 8, 2010

Adam Faramond, Earl of Rothbury, needs to find a wife -- immediately -- or his beloved grandmother will leave him penniless. But Adam, an unrepentant rake, would reform for only one woman, the woman he's lusted after and loved for years. It's rather unfortunate, then, that Miss Charlotte Greene would never consent to be the blushing bride of a rogue, or so he think.
Charlotte believes that the earl, the only man whose touch leaves her treambling, would never want a woman like her. Weary of her wallflower ways, Charlotte decides that a friendship with the earl just might give her the excitement she desires. Keeping their true feelings hidden, she and Adam plan a sham ceremony to placate the dowager. But when the "marriage of convenience" takes an unexpected turn, will Charlotte and her wicked earl finally reveal their irresistible, unforgettable love--and delight in a life time of passion.
This is Olivia Parker's second Regency romance and is the sequel to At the Bride's Hunt Ball. It is lighthearted, fun, full of the color and romance that marked that period in English history, and Ms Parker's writing style is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer's wonderful, breezy, humorous story telling ways.
Charlotte Greene "lost" the bid for Lord Tristan Devine, the object of the Bride's Hunt Ball. He was a man who had captured her heart when she was a girl, having stepped in and rescued her and her mother after a very bad carriage accident. She was given reason to believe that Lord Tristan would choose her and when he broke her heart, she turned away, back to her reticent and hidden life at the edges of the dance floor and the crowds at the soirees. Yet, there is one person who seems to be a constant -- Lord Rothbury -- a man who stepped in and danced with her at the Bride's Hunt Ball when no one else would do so. What she doesn't know is that he had been nurturing an unrelenting love for her with a desire to possess her to match for six years. He has covered his tracks with proposals to various debutantes (who he was certain would turn down his proposal) and what would appear to be a very public obsession for Lady Rosalind Devine, the sister of the Duke of Wolverest, even though she has done all she could to dampen his ardor and been rebuffed by the Duke himself. It is all a sham which he perpetrates while trying to find a way to win Charlotte. So they agree to just be "friends" which will give them access to one another without any expectations. In fact, Charlotte's mother has given her strict orders to have nothing to do with Adam Faramonde because of his terrible reputation. In order to win her mother's permission for her "friendship" with Adam, Charlotte has told her mother that Adam was gay.
Like all good Regency romances this story twists and turns with funny old women, haughty society mavins, desperate debutantes, lots of chaperones--some of whom are good and some of whom are inattentive--while the men of the ton try to put off marrying as long as possible, and the jaded rakes sniff out attractive widows or wealthy and unhappy wives to seduce. It is a world unlike most of us know and perhaps that's why we enjoy books that are set in this context. One of the best characters in this novel is Adam's grandmother--a lovely, elderly, seemingly nutty French woman who married his grandfather and who speaks only French. She is tired of waiting for him to get his life in order and do the "right thing" which simply means that she wants grandchildren and she wants them NOW! Sometimes she appears to be completely aware of her situations and surroundings, and then she appears to be off in the clouds on other occasions. Charlotte's mother who sort of wafts in and out of the story is an older woman -- Charlotte was born when her parents were "older" -- and who struggles with her aching joints and bouts of arthritis. Because she takes laudanum, that day's version of opium, she has slept through much of Charlotte's life and certainly her London Season.
Regency romance fans will find lots to like in this book -- great story telling, really colorful characters, a fun plot, and that wonderful historical period that seems to grab our imagination and our love of all that makes historical romance such fun. Olivia Parker certainly has demonstrated great talent and this second of her books is every bit as good as the first. It's not overly long and very easy to read. I think you will all like it. I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

This was very cute. I just loved Rothbury. I can't say I liked Charlotte as much but still a really good, fun read.