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Posted July 13, 2011
A Great Character-Driven Traditional Regency
This is one of those low-key character-driven Regencies in which all the action is internal--no races to Gretna, no kidnappings, no Gothic hauntings. Just two decent people figuring out they're in love.
Our hero is the new Earl of Clanross. He was badly injured during the war and his ill health is what initially brings the H/H together. He was also Engaged in Trade, which earns the scorn of the snooty heroine, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a bluestocking spinster, but she doesn't parade around her spinster-hood or her scholarship. In fact, she's resigned to the first and hesitant to discuss the latter.
In a fit of desperation, Elizabeth agrees to marry her friend, a long-time flirt, only to discover that the duke she has scorned and maligned is actually the one she loves. Elizabeth is a prickly heroine, and she may be a bit off-putting at first. But Simonson does an excellent job of showing how she learns from her mistakes and becomes worthy of the hero's regard.
The hero is the strong, stoic type. Simonson shows his decency and goodness in a dozen small ways without being treacly. There are no pretensions to rakishness--it's all about the hard work of being strong and honorable man who's been given more than his fair share of pain and misery.
If you like trads by Susanna Fraser, Rose Lerner, and Emily May, you should definitely give this one a try. It's a keeper.
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Posted April 29, 2011