A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

A Proper Companion (A Regency Romance)

First in Candice Hern’s Regency Rakes Trilogy

Here is another highly enjoyable, light romance by Candice Hern!  Hern’s delightful style of writing makes me never want to stop reading her books.

The novel opens with a prologue—I know some readers skip prologues, so I’m hinting that you should read this one since it explains how our heroine’s parents became estranged from her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Pentwick.

Emily Townsend is a beautiful, intelligent, modest, and proper lady of twenty-six, who is also very much aware of her place in the world as a penniless orphan. Emily is employed as a companion to the Dowager Countess, Lady Bradleigh—a feisty, eccentric older lady who loves deeply, and has great affection for Emily (I loved Lady Bradleigh!) Escaping her employer’s early attempts at matchmaking was not difficult while they lived in Bath, where year-round residents are mostly of an older generation, but that is about to change.

The story begins with Lady Bradleigh upset after reading an announcement in the newspaper stating that her beloved grandson, Lord Robert Cameron, Earl of Bradleigh, has become engaged to marry a woman his grandmother does not like.

Having traveled from London to inform his beloved grandmother of his news in person, Lord Bradleigh comes upon the ladies just after his grandmother reads the article. Since he had never felt affection toward any woman he’s met, and since he knew it was high time that he provide an heir to his title, Lord Bradleigh admits that he has now sworn off his disreputable, rakish ways and arranged a marriage of convenience.

His grandmother is miserable knowing that her grandson has taken such a business-like approach to marriage when she had hoped  he would follow her example by marrying for love. Eventually resigning herself to accept his choice, Lady Bradleigh decides to make the journey to the earl’s house in town so that she may prepare a grand engagement ball in celebration of her grandson’s betrothal.

Upon first meeting him, Emily is wary of Lord Bradleigh due to his notorious reputation with the ladies, but she finds she can’t help but like him since he is very much like his grandmother. The attraction between Emily and Lord Bradleigh is immediate, although they keep to themselves. After living in the same household in Bath, and then in London, knowing it is impossible to become more, the two become good friends.

Once in London, the fun really begins. With gentlemen of an appropriate age available, Lady Bradleigh recruits her grandson to assist with her matchmaking efforts for Emily. Emily’s nasty, estranged relatives also come into the picture. Meanwhile, Lord Bradleigh can’t seem to keep his mind on his engagement to the coldhearted Miss Windhurst. Although he regrets the betrothal, he feels a responsibility to follow through with the marriage.

Can Emily and Robert find happiness elsewhere while denying the love they feel for each other?

Since I can’t seem to get enough of Candice Hern’s stories, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more reviews here as part of the Regency Romance Reading Challenge hosted by Austenprose.com

The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

It was a pleasure to become reacquainted with a minor character, Miles Prescott, from A Garden Folly, and get to know him better as a main character in this delightfully light and witty romance.

The Best Intentions (A Regency Romance)

by Candice Hern

Miles Prescott, Earl of Strickland, of Epping Hall in Northamptonshire, is reserved, conservative, and fastidious. His wife Amelia died two years ago, leaving him with two young daughters who he feels desperately need a mother. Having had a love-match with Amelia, Miles doesn’t believe he can fall in love again and wants a marriage of convenience the second time around.

Winifred also believes it is time for her brother to remarry. When she and her family travel to Epping for their annual, Winifred asks two of her husband’s cousins to join them, intending the widowed Lady Charlotte Abingdon for Miles.

Charlotte is a beautiful young widow, elegant and sophisticated—exactly what Miles wanted for his second wife as long as she gets along with his daughters.

Charlotte’s half-sister, Miss Hannah Fairbanks, is nineteen years old and so backward that she has not yet come out. Quite intelligent, she is more interested in architecture than putting herself forward on the marriage mart. In fact, Hanna has no interest in marriage at all and repeatedly tells herself that she doesn’t care that people think she’s still a child.

Almost immediately after their arrival, everyone in attendance assumes Miles and Charlotte will marry, but of course, all does not go as everyone expects 😉

I’m enjoying Candice Hern’s books so much that I’m sure I’ll be adding many more to my list for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com) before 2013 is done!

One Thread Pulled: The Dance with Mr. Darcy

One Thread Pulled:

The Dance with Mr. Darcy

by Diana J. Oaks

Although I’ve read it twice before, I decided to revisit this excellent story—full of sweet romance, intrigue, and even a mystery—for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge. I highly recommend this book!

What if, from the story of Pride and Prejudice, weaved by Jane Austen, one thread was pulled? Diana J. Oaks imagines just that when she pulls the thread that has Elizabeth Bennet overhearing Mr. Darcy’s insult at the assembly ball. As a result, One Thread Pulled goes off in  directions increasingly dissimilar to the original as the story unfolds.

Since there was no knowledge of the insult, Mrs. Bennet declares that they should forgive Mr. Darcy’s pride, and Elizabeth agrees. Jane suffers a fall on her way to Netherfield rather than an illness, resulting in some rather amusing scenes which explain the changes in her character from the original.Without Elizabeth’s injured pride, her behavior toward Mr. Darcy is friendlier, causing both their feelings to develop sooner. Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy appear earlier, as well, and the characters we love to hate are even more hate-worthy in this adaptation—a very satisfying deviation.

I was sorry to see this book end, and I am looking forward to the second of the series to be published! Diana’s first draft of the sequel is being posted to BeyondAusten.com, titled Constant as the Sun.

Valentine Babies (Holiday Babies Series) by Mona Risk

Although the challenges Roxanne Ramsay and Greg Hayes face are complex, Mona Risk somehow manages to turn this story around into a light and sweet romance that easily grabbed my attention and had no trouble holding it. I’d recommend this story to anyone looking for a quick and easy dose of happily-ever-after. Although the name implies that it’s only for Valentine’s Day, it would be a nice read for any time of year.

Roxanne Ramsay is a fiercely independent woman and an ace journalist who travels the world to get her stories. At Roxanne’s sister’s wedding, she’s paired up with the best man, the handsome Dr. Greg Hayes. Determined not to ruin such a special day, Roxanne tries to hide the devastating news she’s received the day before, but Greg can’t help but notice the sorrow and distress of the beautiful lady who has already worked her way into his heart. When she faints, Greg comes to her rescue, and as an OB/GYN, he realizes that she’s pregnant.

Greg befriends Roxanne as she faces many difficult decisions, and the two fall in love. But can Greg ever accept another man’s child as his own? Thinking she is partially responsible for her child’s father’s death, will Roxanne give in to her guilt, giving up her way of life and Greg’s friendship in the process?

Text of Pride and Prejudice – 200th Anniversary personal challenge

I woke up this morning and remembered a dream I had – for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, I was typing the entire text.  Since many of my ideas for my stories also come from dreams, I decided that”s just what I’m going to do!

Check out the new page on my website.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Since I’m afraid it might disappear if I type it here, I’ll be typing in Word and pasting it from time to time.  I certainly hope it all fits!

~~~~~

I was going to simply read Pride and Prejudice as part of

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

at Austenprose.com

but this is one step better!

Attempting Elizabeth by Jessica Grey

Have you ever become so involved with a story that you didn’t even want to stop reading long enough to eat or sleep?  Yep, that’s what happened while I was reading Jessica Grey’s new release:

Attempting Elizabeth

Janeites everywhere will love this story! It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed this hard or this often while reading a book. The characters were alive, and I couldn’t help but connect with Kelsey on so many levels.

I had written up a description for Attempting Elizabeth, and even chose a couple of quotes that I absolutely loved, but I decided not to use them when I realized they gave away too much of the plot. The official description tells the perfect amount:

“Kelsey Edmundson is a geek and proud of it. She makes no secret of her love for TV, movies, and, most especially, books. After a bad breakup, she retreats into her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, wishing she had some of the wit and spirit of Elizabeth Bennett.

One night at a party Kelsey meets handsome Australian bartender Mark Barnes. From then on, she always seems to run into him when she least expects it. No matter how Kelsey tries, she always seems to say the wrong thing.

After a particularly gaffe-filled evening around Mark, Kelsey is in desperate need of inspiration from Jane Austen. She falls asleep reading Darcy’s letter to Lizzy and awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar place that looks and sounds suspiciously like her favorite book. Has she somehow been transported into Pride and Prejudice, or is it just a dream?

As Kelsey tries to discover what’s happening to her, she must also discover her own heart. Is Mark Barnes destined to be her Mr. Darcy? In the end, she must decide whether attempting to become Elizabeth is worth the risk or if being Kelsey Edmundson is enough.”

I was left with one question at the end, but I was able to answer it myself by opening my copy of Pride and Prejudice. I’m relieved to declare that all is still as it should be!

I’m sure I’ll be reading this again soon!

~

I’m counting this book toward the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (austenprose.com)

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Writer’s block has me reading at light speed!

Next up for review is another for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com.) I read a sample chapter of the following at the end of Desperate Measures, and I couldn’t resist adding it to my list:

A Garden Folly (A Regency Romance) by Candice Hern

Catherine Forsythe lives with her sister and sweet aunt. Penniless, the ladies depend on the kindheartedness and, erhm, resourcefulness of their manservant, MacDougal. Having already sold most of their belongings to put food on the table, they are never sure whether they’ll be able to continue doing so.

All are thrilled when Aunt Hetty’s old friend, the Duchess of Carlisle, invites them to her annual summer house party at her estate in the country. Always the most sensible of the three, Catherine sees the invitation as the chance of a lifetime—surely either her beautiful sister or she will find a rich husband and save them from living in poverty!

Stephen, the eccentric Duke of Carlisle, is unhappy about his mother’s plans to hold her house party this year. Although he usually left Chissingworth during her August gathering, this year he could not accept an interruption to his project – the addition of a glass conservatory to the estate, where he does much of the work personally. Stephen insists that his mother tell her guests that he is not in residence so that he will be spared the need to socialize and can continue his work.

When Stephen literally runs into Catherine while she admires his plantings, he finds there is indeed one guest he’d actually enjoy spending time with, especially since she does not recognize him as the duke and assumes he is the estate’s gardener instead. In order to continue hiding from the other guests, he uses his first two names when introducing himself, leaving off the rest which would identify him as the duke—and the charade begins!

A Garden Folly is an engaging and amusing tale of mistaken identity and romance that I highly recommend to all! I’m very glad I decided to add this to my list.

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story)

My first read for the Regency Romance Reading Challenge (Austenprose.com), my choice is:

Desperate Measures (A Regency Short Story) by Candice Hern

Lydia Bettridge is in love, but the gentleman couldn’t possibly think of her that way. Lydia, her brother, and his friend come up with a plan to catch the unnamed gentleman’s attention. When the scheme goes awry, will she still be able to cause her heart’s desire to become jealous, or will she fail, leaving her miserable for all time?

If I had to choose one word to describe this short story, it would have to be “delicious.”  If you enjoy unrequited love stories, this short story is one you should not miss!

Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match

Since I’m suffering from writer’s block, I might as well take advantage of the time “off” and get started on the challenges I’ve signed up for this year.

First up in the Pride and Prejudice Bicententary Challenge is

Marilyn Brant’s new release, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match

The premise of Dr. Will Darcy and single mom Beth Bennet meeting through “Lady Catherine’s Love Match Website” sounded interesting, so I grabbed it. Once I started reading it, only sheer exhaustion forced me to put it down, to be taken up the following day as soon as I was able, and reading straight through to the end.

Both Will and Beth have their motives for signing up for online dating, and “looking for love” is not among them. Beth, a sociology student, fakes her profile as research for her final paper. Will is more honest with his answers, but it is in response to a bet he can’t refuse – what he’ll win will help make a lot of people’s lives so much better.

After corresponding through email for a while, they meet. Attraction grows into something much more, but to take their relationship to a more serious level, they’ll have to confess their deceptions. Will either be able to trust the other once the truth is out? Can Will get past his prejudices and accept who Beth really is?

Although this story didn’t hit all the marks one expects from a Pride & Prejudice modernization, I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this sweet, romantic tale.