The Wagered Widow

by Patricia Veryan

One of the prequels to her outstanding romantic adventure series, The Golden Chronicles, this is one of the books I would recommend to any who wanted to try a Patricia Veryan for the first time. The heroine is delightful and a very well rounded character. The hero is (supposedly) a cad but with a heart of gold and good with children. It is a nice mix of country and city, adventure and social comedy, and is one of her funniest books. Not to mention, it introduces numerous characters one will meet in later books.
Veryan is often compared to Georgette Heyer, and love of Heyer is how many readers discover her. She really shouldn’t be. Only about a third of her books are set during the regency period. Most are set in the mid 1700’s and are indirectly concerned with the Jacobite rebellion. They both use the language of the period with lots of detail on fashion and the culture of the day. The romance aspect in Veryan seems much more robust than in Heyer: The hero and heroine just seem more passionately in love. The courtship of Treve and Becky builds slowly, as Becky starts to realize Treve is not a horrid rake and Treve realizes that she is not a woman to be trifled with. At the end, their romance is thrilling. In Heyer, it is less about passionate true love, and more about the protagonists finding their kindred spirit and making a match.
Veryan’s books also incorporate much more intrigue and adventure, while Heyer’s are primarily a social dance. Both result in the happy ending for the two principals and both have their delights. **5 out 5 stars**

October 28, 2016

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