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On Regency Tropes (Plus a Review of Gentleman’s Folly by Cynthia Bailey-Pratt)

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This book’s so obscure, this is the best image I could find of the original cover.

One of the top ten lines people use when dismissing romance novels is inevitably if you’ve read one you’ve read them all. Well guess what? The same can be said of sitcoms, Sci-Fi books/movies/TV shows and even reality TV shows. Hell, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood made careers of making the same Westerns over and over.

And yet…

I do most of my romance reading in the Traditional Regency and Regency historical genres, and there are times when I just want to read something… different. No rakes, no Almack’s, no obligatory meeting in the library in the dead of night. But Carla Kelly and Elisabeth Fairchild can only write so many books, bless their hearts, which means I spend a lot of time reading synopses and gnashing my teeth, because they all sound so much the same.

Take for instance Gentleman’s Folly by Cynthia Bailey-Pratt.

Here’s the book’s synopsis, courtesy of Goodreads:

THE STUNNING STRANGER
Jocelyn Burnwell lived in the everyday world of housekeeping and looking after her rather mischievous cousins. But one day she helped save a dashing, mysterious gentleman’s life. And her world changed forever.
Who was this elusive Mr. Hammond, this master of disguise and man of a thousand unanswered questions? Jocelyn knew only that he carried with him a letter from Napoleon; she didn’t know that the fate of England depended upon Hammond–or that she was about to embark on a grand and treacherous adventure! As she left her docile life behind and set forth with this intriguing hero, she also felt a stirring in her heart–of a love without rhyme or reason….

That is the synopsis for the original 1991 Jove edition of Gentleman’s Folly. When the book was reprinted in e-book form by Regency Reads, it got a slightly different synopsis:

Jocelyn Burnwell was caring for her mischievous cousins in her domestic world when she saved a stranger’s life. Mr. Hammond turned out to be a master of disguise who had a letter from Napoleon—which could determine England’s fate. So Jocelyn set out on an adventure with this dashing, mysterious gentleman—an adventure that would change their lives.

These are the kinds of synposes that make me want to cry, composed of strings of the pernicious cliches that bedevil Traditional Regencies and Regency-set historical romances. These two examples are particularly egregious, so much so that one could be excused for assuming that Bailey-Pratt is funning us. That she’s written the ultimate farce on the Regency genre.

To wit:

Mischievous Cousins – when I see “mischievous cousin,” my mind reads irritating plot moppet. Plot moppets are the locusts of the Regency, and usually appear for two reasons: A. to serve as a plot device to draw H/h together; B. to make “kids say the darnedest things” remarks revealing wisdom beyond their years. The good news is, plot moppets most often conveniently disappear altogether for pages and pages at a time, then pop up when the plot needs them. Hate ‘em.

Master of Disguise – all I despise more than a mischievous cousin is a master of disguise. Unfortunately, they’re thick on the ground in Regency romances. Cue the: A. heiress posing as a governess; B. the gently-bred lady passing as a boy for nothing more than a pair of nankeens and a bit of binding; or C. the spy posing as a fop, complete with thirty watch fobs and quizzing glass. Heiresses posing as governesses and spies as fops are one thing, but the woman-dressed-as-a-man trope takes the prize for my least favorite disguise, simply because it’s so rarely done well or believably. 

Letter From Napoleon (indicative of spy status) – if there had been as many spies at work during the Napoleonic Wars as show up in Regencies, there would be a lot fewer Regency romances, because the war would have been dispatched with posthaste.

Unless, of course, they were Regency romance spies, who are often fooled by women dressed as boys and all too willing to drop whatever intrigue they’re pursuing when they meet the heroine. Suddenly there is absolutely no urgency about their errands, and they almost always trust the heroine (almost always a stranger) implicitly from first glance. Somehow, however, they’ll manage to remember the intrigue in time to wrap it up in the last quarter of the book.

Fate of England Depends Upon (Insert Hero’s Name Here) – as common as the spy in Regency romance is the military hero/duke/earl-who-simply-cannot-abandon-his-responsibilities-at-home-but-contributes-to-the-war-effort-by-doling-out-Very-Important-Advice who manages to have the fate of the nation upon his broad, manly shoulders.

If he’s a military hero, you can bet that he’s Wellington’s right-hand man, or that Wellington would be nothing without him. If he’s a spy, he’s the best in the business and has the one bit of intelligence that will change the course of the whole war. If he’s a peer, then Lord Castlereagh doesn’t make a move without consulting him first.

As if having the fate of the nation on those manly shoulders were not impressive enough, these heroes are almost always to the manor born, so to speak. We’re inevitably told that military heroes bought commissions just to join in the war effort, which of course means they had no training or practical experience prior to the war. They’re just natural born leaders, understand. Likewise spies often need no more than a good French accent to glean all the information they need to save the nation — everything else is managed by sheer force of will and personality.

The Lords SuchandSuch are clearly savants one and all.  Little else can explain how they gain all this wisdom they impart to Castlereagh, considering their relative youth (they’re rarely more than a shade over 30, if that) and all that time spent dodging matchmaking mamas at Almack’s or Vauxhall Gardens. It’s a good thing they are always so humble about everything, and never but ever want anyone to know just how much Castlereagh relies on them. Otherwise they’d just be insufferable.

A Grand and Treacherous Adventure! – otherwise known as a semi-valid workaround for the constricting mores of the day.  There were few legitimate opportunities for unmarried females to be the company of men of no familial relation, during the Regency period. Young, unmarried ladies required constant supervision, you know, otherwise they’d just hare off on some  Grand and Treacherous Adventure! just to have an excuse to be alone with a suitable hero.

Said Grand and Treacherous Adventure! will usually involve some combination of these elements:

1. some dire family emergency/attempt to thwart a Gretna Green marriage/on-the-lam run from an evil guardian/other flimsy excuse for a female to be unleashed upon the world without the proper retinue of chaperone(s)

2. a road trip in an overstuffed mail coach with fellow riders who assume the H/h are married and coo appropriately;

3. only one room at the inn, which means automatic compromise to the heroine’s reputation (as though disappearing off the face of the earth with a real or would-be rake wasn’t the outside of enough);

4. the inevitable shotgun wedding when the heroine’s family, oddly absent/generally uncaring during this whole Grand and Treacherous Adventure!, finds out she’s been compromised.

Points are awarded if the heroine (or a plot moppet) also does something(s) adorable but stupid which blows their cover, endangers their lives and results in them losing every last sou.

So far, it’s not looking good for Gentleman’s Folly, but something compelled me, and I pressed on.

Little in the first chapter impressed me. Before we’re five pages in, Jocelyn, our heroine, has dressed as a boy to divert the authorities from catching that mischievous cousin of hers, Arnold, who is the world’s most precocious poacher (no, I’m not sure why that was necessary, either), hit a constable over the head with a gourd and generally behaved like featherbrained girl. Hammond, despite being injured in the line of spy duty, has to rescue her from a soldier who claims she pickpocketed him. Although she must needs divest herself of her cousin’s coat to rinse Hammond’s blood out before it stains (yes, you read that right) and to bandage him up (though she neglects this duty until he all but begs her to), he still never notices she’s a girl. But then, he’s busy stuffing that all-important letter from Napoleon into the lining of her coat, for reasons I’ve still yet to understand.

It quickly becomes clear that Bailey-Pratt is a veritable encyclopedia of Regency cliches, and things progress from there. Throughout the course of the book, we are treated to, in no certain order:

  •  a huge cast of family members and neighbors that are sometimes hard to keep straight;
  • the snobbish, interfering local Grand Lady who is just waiting for Jocelyn to prove unseemly;
  • kindly, wonderful servants who aid and abet most of the schemes, including the housekeeper who shapes everyone on the place up;
  • a village of less than 4000 people (yes, it’s enumerated) full of spies and ne’er-do-wells;
  • a secondary romance between a beautiful but slightly dense friend and a devoted swain;
  • rank strangers who are more than glad to help this odd lot as they go about their Grand and Treacherous Adventure!;
  • more coincidences than Prinny has mistresses.

But despite all this, it works.

Yes, it works. It works beautifully. Bailey-Pratt manages to employ almost every stock element known to exist in Traditional Regency romance, and in doing so proves how some of these familiar Regency tropes became popular.

The unworldly country-bred heroine is one of the Traditional Regency’s most frequent flyers, right up there with the poor downtrodden heroine forced to live off the charity of her relations, and at first blush, Jocelyn seems no different than a hundred other similar heroines.

Then she surprised me by refusing to fall head over heels for Hammond within the first three chapters. More surprising still, when she does begin to feel a distinct stirring of feelings for the rogue, she shrugs it off as nothing more than an exciting change from the usual humdrum. Her feelings for him develop in intriguing fits and starts as he reveals himself as kind, funny and honorable.

Jocelyn is so refreshingly normal. Sometimes she’s stubborn and silly, but mostly she’s just a harried young woman left in charge of her relatives’ ramshackle household. Not only is she not Mary Poppins-esque in her complete mastery of all domestic tasks, she’s often the opposite — she lets her cousins’ rooms go to dust and moths and allows the youngest to accumulate a nice coating of dirt that she cheerfully tells him needs drowning to remove. The only fault I found with Jocelyn is that she’s often no more than a linchpin, the still point of the action that’s going on around her.

Then there’s Hammond. I almost cringed when he quickly identified himself to Jocelyn as a spy, and not only because I thought of course he trusts her implicitly, despite barely knowing her. I waited for him to prove out to be a sorry excuse for a spy, but wonder of nine days’ wonders, Hammond is indeed an actual working spy. With results both comic and exciting, he spends (or wastes, depending upon his mood) days trying to flush out the villains at work in Jocelyn’s village and get back the famous coat and the letter inside.

It soon becomes obvious that he revealed himself to her just to play upon her youth and trusting nature, something he’s not above doing several times in the book. He’s also not above letting someone else come to her rescue if he’s got bigger fish to fry, because he’s got a job to do, and if he just so happens to encounter Jocelyn as he does it, great. If not, she’ll just have to wait. And he really is a master of disguise — Bailey-Pratt’s descriptions of the subtle ways he changes his appearance are delightful.

If it sounds like Hammond’s a first-rate cur, trust me, he’s not. He never gets anywhere near compromising Jocelyn, but neither does he always try to exclude her from the action Because She’s a Female and Must Be Kept Safe. By the end of the book, even I was believing him as the Spy That All Other Spies Admire and Wish to Be.

Which brings us to the plot moppet, Arnold. He’s the most wonderful awful boy, sort of a cross between Opie Taylor and Dennis the Menace, always up to no good, but it’s no wonder — poor kid’s being raised by wolves who routinely leave him with Jocelyn and a rotating cast of housekeepers who leave within hours or days. He lies, he carouses, he wants candy. Jocelyn no longer dreams of having children of her own for fear they will be like Arnold, and Hammond sums him up best by saying that while he can appreciate Arnold, he’d rather not have one just like him, since he likes sleeping at night.

Even the lesser cliches are employed with the utmost care. The Grand Lady really isn’t that bad — she’s nursing a surprising tendre is all. Not all the coincidences are quite so coincidental, after all, when it’s all wrapped up at the end. And if everyone this ragtag bunch meets on their Grand and Treacherous Adventure! is shockingly helpful, then it’s likely because they, like us as readers, just seem to be enjoying these characters so much.

So why does a book, built as it is on a house of Regency pattern cards, work so well? Bailey-Pratt uses these tropes as touchstones, rather than let them do the work of creating characters and plot.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the cliches that Bailey-Pratt and so many others use in Regency romance. They are no more cliched, in fact, than any other romance novel cliches. If we automatically roll our eyes when we see these stock elements in a Regency novel, then it’s because we’ve so often seen them abused.

Well-worn tropes are the lazy author’s best friend, the writing equivalent of a paint-by-numbers kit. By using stock characters like the rake, the country-bred ingenue, the foppish dandy and the matchmaking mama, the author bypasses the difficult job of character development. We all recognize these characters, and have a mental picture of them ready to slot in to the author’s space. Framing the story around familiar plot points and situations achieves the same goal. 

So anyway, I hope I’m not damning Cynthia Bailey-Pratt and Gentleman’s Folly with faint praise, because this is a book I have returned to time and again, though I still don’t know why. 

 One last thing about Gentleman’s Folly:

I have absolutely no idea how I came to have this book on my old Aluratek e-reader, but it’s been there three years or more. It wasn’t recommended to me. I didn’t find out about it from a review, because the only review I could find when I wrote this was one I posted at Amazon.  I didn’t buy it from Amazon, either, or it would be on my Kindle. It’s a mystery to me.

Also — no apparent reason for this book to be titled Gentleman’s Folly, and can someone please help me understand why so many books I love have awful covers? The only element in the original cover for this book that has anything at all to do with the story is the cane the erstwhile Hammond is holding.

Gentleman’s Folly

Cynthia Bailey-Pratt

199 pages

Jove (1991); Belgrave House/Regency Reads (October 12, 2010)

Like Traditional Regencies, sweeting? Try these:

Marriage of Mercy by Carla Kelly

The Country Gentleman by Fiona Hill


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Browse On By: Links to Love February 28 2014

from Dandy Bread and Candy via Blogspot

When you’ve picked yourself up off the floor after collapsing into a puddle of awwwwwwwwwwws over the insane cuteness of that Elvis Presley photo, take a look at these links:

If you’re feeling really dorky, and I, for one, usually am, take a look at the first sentences of classic novels, diagrammed. 

Verona, July 17, 1796

I write you, my beloved one, very often, and you write very little. You are wicked and naughty, very naughty, as much as you are fickle. It is unfaithful so to deceive a poor husband, a tender lover! Ought he to lose all his enjoyments because he is so far away, borne down with toil, fatigue, and hardship? Without his Josephine, without the assurance of her love, what is left him upon earth? What can he do?

We had yesterday a very bloody affair; the enemy has lost many men, and has been completely beaten. We have taken the whole country around Mantua.

Adieu, adorable Josephine; one of these nights your door will open with a great noise; as a jealous person, and you will find me on your arms.

A thousand loving kisses.

BONAPARTE

If you are a Regency romance reader, it’s hard to remember, sometimes, that Napoleon Bonaparte was ever anything but a dirty frog/Mad Corsican/filthy beast. Alas, it’s hard not to get a little warm and fuzzy when you read his letters to his beloved Josephine. This website created to complement PBS’ Napoleon documentary is full of suchlike letters and other information about Bonaparte — by the time you’re done, you might wish someone would write a Regency with a French perspective.

If you sometimes feel that there’s someone in Harlequin’s offices playing paper dolls with virgins, sheikhs, Italian playboys, Texas cowboys and cute babies, well, you’re almost there. Turns out Harlequin knows just How To Write The Perfect Romance, and was helpful enough to share the formula with the rest of us! Because this Harlequin page has no image, I took the opportunity to insert a wholly gratuitous bizarre Harlequin cover image. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m intrigued by this cover. 

I’m a little headachy today, so I’m going to sign off with that. But just so you don’t feel cheated, here’s another gratuitous image, this one of yet another cute guy doing the darnedest thing:

In which world’s fastest Scotsman and all-around cutie-pie Jim Clark proves that the 1960s were a much more adorable time in general than the 2010s.


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Open Library Find of the Week: Puppets by Jenna Ryan

I hope that when you read that cover blurb, you hear it in the voice of that guy who does all the voiceovers for movie trailers…

If you still haven’t checked out Open Library, what in the world are you waiting for, honeybun? A treasure trove of books both new and old are just waiting there for you! You can read them in a browser, on your tablet/smartphone/clay tablet-smartphone or on your (Adobe Digital Editions-equipped) ereader. FREE. 

I love Open Library for its mind-boggling selection of long out-of-print paperbacks. You truly wouldn’t believe the number of old Harlequins, Silhouettes and Signets available. I’ve whittled my infamous Amazon Wish List down by hundreds, no kidding.

Which brings us to today’s find, Jenna Ryan’s Puppets How I came across this gem is a story in and of itself: I had a vague recollection of being stuck in a rented vacation house once and reading a Harlequin with a hero and heroine who meet in a Jim Henson’s Workshop-like  puppet factory setting. Turns out that Puppets is not that book, but when I read this description, I was sold, anyway:

He stalked her…
Hiding behind the gothic columns of the famed Paris Puppet Theater, Raul Sennett watched her. Katarina Lacroix was a vision of beauty and perfection as she performed onstage, mesmerizing the audience as a human puppet. He didn’t know how much longer he could wait to touch her, to be with her.
Returning to his underground lair beneath the century-old theater, Raul cursed the dank vaults where he lived. The world of darkness and isolation had become his home, hiding him from the world above.
In the shadows, secrets lurked — secrets that were the key to his freedom. And only one woman — Katarina Lacroix — could unlock the demons that were buried there. For Raul, they had to be unleashed. No matter what.

Just in case you’re laboring under the illusion that this book is not batshit crazy, have a look at these helpful inserts at the beginning of the book (all apologies for quality — it’s hard to extract these from Open Library):

puppets1

puppets2

When you need a map to a boarded-up room, a vault and a hiding place, plus fair warning that you’ll meet characters with bizarre obsessions, deadly jobs, and unnatural fascinations, you know you’re headed for nuclear-level insanity. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited right about now.

No, really. I’ve actually read several Jenna Ryan books, and have never been less than entertained. It’s almost as though she sets out to write the craziest books ever, and yet she has just enough talent to keep you from howling the whole time. She’s Anne Stuart-lite — seriously bizarre settings/plots, but without the genuine air of menace that Stuart usually delivers. 

I will be checking back in with a review, so sit tight…

Puppets

Jenna Ryan

Harlequin, 1992


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Browse On By — Friday Link Love

I don’t know about you, but like Johnny Cash, I always prefer hiding under a shrub to eat strawberry cake with my hands.

Happy Friday! Happy Friday? Happy Friday?!?! I’ve not made my mind up yet, babies. But anyway, here are a few things you’ll love:

Guess what that is? A never-finished Regency-era sampler depicting the solar system! Or so they say over at the Museum of Childhood, where a wonderful blog post about Georgian-era asterism-themed samplers awaits you…

Say, did you know that Anne Mather’s classic Mills & Boon/Harlequin Leopard in the Snow was made into a movie? With Keir Dullea no less? Even if you did, you probably forgot about it, so you should get yourself right over to  the awesome Cinebeat blog to read a really good piece about the first (and only) major theatrical adaptation of a Harlequin romance.  The movie was evidently atrocious, but the information about Harlequin/Mills & Boon and the challenges inherent in bringing the mid-70s style heroine-centric romance to the screen is well worth reading. Also: Keir Dullea does not like leopards. At all.

from Digital Bookworld

Meanwhile, over at Digital Book World, people are very concerned that self-published e-books are mostly kind of porny…

from Amazon.com

…and, come to find out, all those porny books are probably Amazon’s fault, since Amazon and that pretty little Kindle Fire there are the worst thing that ever happened to books, according the New Yorker’s George Packer, by making it too easy for any old yahoo with a porny story to tell to publish it. 

So there! Have a wonderful weekend, or at least as good a weekend as Johnny Cash was having when he crawled under that shrub to eat his cake!


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Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart

A new Anne Stuart book, even a re-issue, is always cause for celebration for me. Anne Stuart is one of the authors who inducted me into romance, so to speak, and years later, she’s still one of my favorite authors. 

So when I got a chance to review the ebook re-issue of Shadow Lover courtesy of NetGalley, I couldn’t wait to dig in. Here’s the synopsis, courtesy of Amazon:

Victim. Lover. Both? His dark game is seducing her– just as it was when they were young.

How can he still have that power over her? Eighteen years ago, she saw him die.

Wealthy, selfish, and greedy, the McDowell family raised Carolyn McDowell–a foster child–like a modern Cinderella. Neglected and ignored, good-hearted Carolyn adored scion Alexander despite it all, though even he tormented her.

When Alex ran away one night, Carolyn followed and witnessed his murder, though she never told anyone. Her beloved Alex died when he was seventeen. There was no doubt.

Eighteen years later, Carolyn returns to the decadent milieu of the McDowell clan to care for her dying foster mother, Sally. As greedy relatives gather to claim their inheritances, a stunning stranger arrives, claiming to be Alexander. To Carolyn’s utter shock, Sally greets her “son” without question, and no one but Carolyn believes he’s a fraud.

As she delves into the mysteries of both the past and present, Carolyn quickly realizes that the resurrected Alex is a dangerous combination of seduction and power. Is this stranger after the McDowell fortune, or is he really, somehow, the Alex of old, come back to claim her? How can he be an imposter and yet know family secrets only the real Alex would remember? Was someone helping him?

What would you do if the boy you loved returned almost twenty years later, and you fell in love with him all over again–even if you were sure it couldn’t be him?

What a premise. Very similar to Mary Stewart’s classic, The Ivy Treeand ripe with possibilities. 

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

Maybe recognizing the premise of this book as so similar to The Ivy Tree set the bar impossibly high, but somehow Shadow Lover just fell flat for me.

As with The Ivy Tree, I figured out the secret to Alex’s identity fairly early on, but that in no way detracted from the mystery of the book. The bigger mystery, you see, is just who Alex and Carolyn are, anyway, because neither are exactly what or who they seem. 

That mystery should have been the crux of the book, but Stuart instead dispenses with those mysteries about two-thirds through the book. The mystery of Alex and Carolyn’s identities should have formed the basis for both their motivations and the motivation of the villains, but instead, we have a muddle of unclear or confused motives and a denouement that is unsatisfying at best.

Stuart can usually redeem even a hackneyed plot with her characters, but that doesn’t happen with Shadow Lover. She’s known for somewhat wishy-washy heroines, and Carolyn is a doozy — I just couldn’t get a grasp on her at all. She comes off as either dumb as a box of rocks or just bland at best, and the bombshell that’s dropped about her identity seemed less important to her than lusting after Alex and hating herself for it.

Speaking of Alex, in Stuart’s rogues gallery of mad, bad and dangerous to know anti-heroes, Alex is near the bottom. He’s not as dull as Carolyn, but his actions make little to no sense half the time. When he’s told about a major secret in his own past, he shrugs it off or conveniently uses it to move the plot along, depending upon his mood.

There was still time to save this book, however. I kept thinking of Now You See Him, another of Stuart’s books, and how that book, featuring a similarly bland heroine and another (much, much better) mysterious hero was redeemed by the interactions between the two. Francy was a bit of a bore, and Michael was, by virtue of the book’s plot, hard to get a handle on, but sparks flew in their love scenes or even when they spoke on the phone. I kept waiting for that to happen with Alex and Carolyn, to no avail. They had zero chemistry together.

And finally, the book’s biggest problem is the villain, or, more succinctly, lack thereof. The villain’s actions are never explained well enough for you to believe why he/she would go to such lengths. He/she simply didn’t have enough to lose to take the risks, and didn’t gain enough, either. Puzzling that Stuart chose this particular villain, because creating a believable villain within the framework of this story would have been so, so easy. 

I find it hard to believe that I have just written a bad review of an Anne Stuart book. Here’s hoping I never, ever have to do that again.

Shadow Lover

Anne Stuart

Onyx, 1999 / Belle Bridge Books 2013 (ebook)

Sound like something you’d be interested in, sweet thing? Try these:

The Ivy Tree/Mary Stewart

Ritual Sins/Anne Stuart


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Itty Bitty Review: The Bath Eccentric’s Son by Amanda Scott

Book Synopsis:

Beautiful Nell Bradbourne lost her family estate to her distant cousin Jarvis. Now that pernicious and persistent gentleman sought to possess her as well, and to escape this unwanted wedlock, Nell fled to Bath.

But instead of safety Nell found herself in the embrace of scandal, as the handsome and rakish Brandon Manningford decided that only she could save him from ruin by giving him her hand and everything else she owned.

Nell was caught between a ruthless scoundrel and a shameless libertine–one who had stolen her birthright, while the other was shockingly stealing her heart…

A Traditional Regency in the Georgette Heyer vein, The Bath Eccentric’s Son never slows down — it’s one thing right after the other, from attempted kidnapping to a visit from Prinny to a daring showdown at a gentleman’s club. As a romance, it’s so-so, but it’s fascinating just to see how perfectly Scott hews to the Heyer pattern card — from the Regency-era slang to the historical detail about the city of Bath, if Scott’s name wasn’t on the cover, you’d think you were reading one of Heyer’s lesser novels. Nothing’s as it seems in Bath, from the titular Bath Eccentric to the authorship of popular gothic romances to the city itself — feathers and sticks used to paint walls to mimic marble, false-fronted buildings backing up filthy alleys, streets hardly wide enough for the carriages. If the book’s more interesting for its descriptions of Bath and gothic romances of the era than for the romance, it’s still a fun read.

The Bath Eccentric’s Son

Amanda Scott

Paperback, 224 pages

Published February 1st 1992 by Signet/2013 Ebook


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Wish List Wednesday: New Life by Bonnie Dee

WishListWednesdaySweetRocket

Today’s Wish List Wednesday pick is a contemporary that I’ve been meaning to buy after trying a sample. Maybe today’s the day I’ll break down and buy it already!

 

Here’s the synopsis:

Since the car accident that caused traumatic brain injury, Jason has fought to regain his memories and the ability to organize thoughts and control emotions. His promising future shattered, he works as a night janitor in an office building and clings to routine to make it through his days. 

New lawyer Anna breaks down one evening after fumbling her first court case. Self-doubt brings her to tears in a deserted stairwell where Jason finds her and offers comforting words. From this unexpected meeting an unlikely romance begins. 

A casual coffee date soon leads to a deeper connection and eventually a steamy affair. But are Jason and Anna’s growing feelings for each other strong enough to overcome the social chasm that divides them and the very real issues of Jason’s disability?

I discovered New Life after reading another of Bonnie Dee’s books, Bone Deep. Bone Deep was so different from any other historical romance that I’d ever read that I couldn’t help but be interested in seeing what else Dee had written. She’s a writer with an astounding range, certainly — in addition to historical and contemporary romance, she also writes erotica, male/male romance and fantasy romance. 

According to Amazon, this book has been on my Wish List since November 30, 2013, which is not long after the book was released.

Why do I want this book? Like I said, Bone Deep was enough to pique my interest, so I downloaded a sample of New Life shortly after reading Bone Deep. To be honest, I have no idea why I haven’t bought this book yet. I went back and read the sample again before writing this, and I was surprised that I hadn’t already bought the book. While Anna comes off as sort of whiny in the sample, it’s clear she has potential, but Jason is, as we say in these here parts, a pure-old doll baby.  Here’s a snippet from the book to prove it:

The first thing you need to know about me is I’m not retarded. Or mentally handicapped I guess is the polite term these days. But whatever you call it, I’m not that. I have a mental disability, but I wasn’t born this way. It took extra stupidity for me to get this way– driving drunk, shooting through the windshield, landing on my noggin, and scrambling my brains permanently. I don’t babble and I don’t drool, except sometimes on my pillow when I’m sleeping, but everybody does that.

You know what? I think I’m going to mosey on back to Amazon and make a purchase. Later, alligator.

New Life by Bonnie Dee

Self Published/2013

Available At Amazon 

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