Have you ever read a book once, and thought meh, then went back again and found it a totally different book? That’s my experience with Lady Elizabeth’s Comet.
Part of my problem when first reading Lady Elizabeth’s Comet was, unfortunately, Lady Elizabeth. Big problem when the book’s narrated by Lady Elizabeth. For a first person narrator to be successful, the narrator must be, if not reliable, likeable. I had a hard time liking Lady Elizabeth at first. She is, quite frankly, a shrew.
Lady Elizabeth is as near to an anti-heroine as you’ll find in a Traditional Regency. She’s short-tempered and snobbish, often treating the hero (and various other characters in the book) unkindly or dismissively. But if you stick with it, you’ll find she’s also funny and smart, and eventually all-too-aware of her own shortcomings. Interested more in astronomy than the people around her, it seems amazing that she could somehow attract not one but two suitors, her father’s heir, Tom Conroy, Lord Clanross, and Clanross’ close friend, Lord Bevis.
I won’t spoil the book for you by revealing which of her suitors Lady Elizabeth chooses, but I will say that although Lady Elizabeth is one of the least romantic female leads I’ve ever personally encountered, the romance that develops almost painfully slowly over the course of the book is delicious. It will remind you more of an Austen romance than even a Heyer romance.
I find myself returning to Lady Elizabeth’s Comet when I’m burned out on trite or trope-filled Traditional Regencies, or just want a great example of everything that is wonderful about the Traditional Regency genre.