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Posted February 10, 2010
LOVE THIS NOVEL, loved the characters and wanted to "hang out" with them as I sipped tea by the fire on a cold winter day. Even minor characters were well drawn, delightful, and pleasant company.
Margaret is an independent spirit, as a romance heroine must be, but she is also quiet, calm, firm yet gentle, and entirely willing to make painful decisions with dignity and restraint. Nice change from the hissing, foot-stamping heroines that turned me off the romance genre years ago. Think Melanie (Gone with the Wind) as a romantic lead, and how she struggles to keep her passions and long-repressed desires in check.
Modern readers may oppose novels where virginity is expected of brides but not grooms, but Ramsgate is historically correct-in England, in the time of Napolean, a man might have been considered odd if he did *not* have a mistress or some experience with women.
Ramsgate forgets his playboy habits as a member of The Fancy when he meets a virtuous "spinster" who supports herself in a rotting manor house by smuggling roses, fabric and brandy from France. During a trip to the village, Ramsgate witnesses people shunning Margaret because of a spurned man's lies about her being his mistress. Margaret, instead of fighting back, comports herself with dignity. While others in the novel accuse Margaret of weakness, Ramsgate comes to appreciate that it is the weak who lose their tempers and yell, while Margaret is peerless in her quiet strength and courage.
Margaret's self-restraint should not be mistaken for a lack of passion. See Margaret by moonlight playing Beethoven's "Pathetique." Ramsgate stands behind the French doors, watching in fascination and admiration. Feel her discomposure when she misses some buttons, and he comes up from behind to re-button her dress. I shivered along with Margaret at the touch of his fingertips and that whispery kiss on the nape of her neck. On the ride home from the village, she yearns to lean against him and I ache for it to happen. Of course it doesn't--we keep turning pages hoping to find thighs touching under the dinner table, stolen smiles and warm glances.
If readers find her self-sacrificing for others maddening, it's not weakness but concern for her loved ones that motivates Margaret. She would rather return to a life of loneliness than bring scandal or rejection upon the family of Lord Ramsgate, who take her to London and try to restore her social standing. Selfish, impulsive, she is not, but passionate, she is.
I love Margaret's passion for roses, her sense of humor and confidence with men like Ramsgate, her maturity and wisdom contrasting with the silly, awkward 18-year-olds entering their social "Season." At 24 Margaret is "too old" to hope for a husband, but she outshines the young ladies at balls and boring dinner parties.
Her servants, Henry and Alice, are delightful personalities. Her grandmother and Ramsgate's mother renew their acquaintance and bring wickedly funny moments to the novel.
I was sorry to read the last page and say goodbye to this pleasant company of people. Write on, Amy! You have a new fan.
Posted June 17, 2008
What an enjoyable read! I loved the damaged characters and their redemption stories. Also, this book has one of the best endings I've read in a long time. The bad guys get their comeuppance and the good guys all get what they deserve! Loved it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.