By Harriet Evans
I don’t really mind when heroines are unlikable at first. I enjoy a good redemption story. Laura starts out as not seeming very bright, despite having an interesting job which she is good at. Her fatal flaw is her self-deluded history of making every guy she is attracted to into a fairy tale hero and believing him to be the one true love of her life. Again and again. This is partly thanks to her aspiration of modeling her beloved confidant and grandmother Mary’s extremely happy second marriage. When her latest relationship with an engaged man predictably implodes and rains humiliation upon her, she is rightly ashamed of herself. Suspended from her job, she retreats to the bosom of her sweet family and joins them on vacation. She has finally been shocked into gaining insight and clarity into her past romantic foolishness and decides to turn over a new leaf. Step one:
She moved over to the bookshelf. Laura gulped. This was harder than she’d expected…Firm. Strong. Away with childish things….into the box went all her Nancy Mitford books. In went all her Mills & Boon romances. She hesitated over her Jane Austen collection. Surely that was proper English literature, she shouldn’t be throwing it away! You never read them for academic enjoyment, Laura Foster,…you read them because they make you swoon and sigh and have striding men wearing breeches in them. In they go. Finally, she reached up the top shelf of her bookcase. With shaking hands, she picked up her Georgette Heyer collection. She knew it had to be done, but, by God, it hurt. Tears came into her eyes. One by one, she dropped each book in the box, watched as they slammed onto each other, the pale colors of the old paperback covers gleaming up out of the box at her. It was torture.
Fate is cruel, however. No sooner does she turn over a new leaf, and is keeping herself fully grounded in reality, she meets a nice handsome estate manager with whom she has an instant rapport and attraction. And horrors! It is soon revealed that he is an incredibly wealthy and powerful nobleman, and, in fact, the third most eligible bachelor in all of England(after Harry and William). In fact, he is the embodiment of every girl’s romantic fantasy and fairy-tale hero. He is even has a damaged past. Will Laura fall into her old ways? Is she destined for heartbreak? Or has she learned her lesson too well, and thrown away the one chance with the man who really is the true love of her life? I found the last part of the book very romantic
In addition to the primary romance, there is a hint of a secondary romance or two, a few heart-tugging scenes, many very endearing and complex secondary characters, Family drama (more funny than serious), and Laura’s not always successful efforts to rehabilitate her relations with her friends, family, and job. These are hampered by her going too far in the other direction and becoming cynical and closed off. It won’t be a spoiler to reveal that she finally achieves balance. She does go back to Heyer’s Regency Buck, but assures her friend that she is also reading Trainspotting. As a Georgette Heyer devotee, I was delighted by the references to her.
She saw herself for once without pretense, not as a girl from some book in a crinoline, dipping low in a curtsey at a ball..or a new person who..brooked no argument, who let no one enter her life, who did not suffer weakness or fools. She was just—–herself.
I knew this book had a sequel when I started reading it. I am looking forward to spending more time with the delightful and not so delightful characters in this book.
April 2, 2019