Cherished Enemy

by Patricia Veryan

Some of this book was kind of a chore to get through. It is the second time I have read it. I found the hero and the heroine likable and admirable but rather run of the mill. It was very “talky”, with little or no advancement to the plot or character. It was not as funny as many of her books. There was no joy in it. Still, it is key to the series. It is the one where all of the cyphers are finally put together and the puzzle is solved after much struggle. It sets up the 6th and last entry, The Dedicated Villain, perfectly. I love the character of Fr. Charles Albritton. He has been a mystery figure up to this book, and he finally comes out of the shadows. Also, to a lesser extent, does his love, Deborah Singleton. The other big draw to this book is that all of the “league” make appearances or we learn something about them. The re-appearance of Treve and the “Little Parish” of Wagered Widow is particularly welcome. We even get a reference to visiting Willowvale! The hiding place of the Jacobite Treasure will be featured in a book 50+ years hence in one of the Sanguinet Saga. So although I appreciated some things PV did in this one, I agree with most reviewers that it was one of the weakest in the series, indeed, in her canon. **3 stars out of 5**

May 11, 2017

Love Alters Not

by Patricia Veryan

As far as Veryan’s 3 series of books, I prefer the more domestic family and home and society centered novels rather than the picaresque more adventure oriented. Love Alters Not is primarily the former and culminates in a terrific court-room drama. It truly is one of the great scenes in Veryan’s canon. No one does swords and pistols better. One of her trademarks is to inject high comedy and even slapstick into deadly intense duels and fights. This novel features one of her classics.

Despite it’s strengths, Anthony, the hero, was a little too noble and a little too long suffering and pitiable to suit my taste. There is one horrible act that happens later in the book that puts the sorrow and pity issue way over the top. It was too much for me. Never were bad guys so evil and good guys so noble. And never were those in the middle so conflicted and confusing! Of course it is true that the lower the depths the hero can sink to, the higher he can rise. 

Sir Anthony’s salvation is very very satisfying, as is the evil ones’ downfall. One of the big mysteries in the book is how such a brave and noble character could possibly be guilty of cowardice on the battlefield. All is solved by an appearance of a certain Duke of Marbury that we first met in Mistress of Willowvale. This nobleman rivals Heyer’s Duke of Avon or Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo in terms of an all-powerful and all knowing presence. His unexpected appearance when it appears that all is lost is epic. He is one of Veryan’s great characters and will also be featured in the last book of the series, The Dedicated Villain. Despite the fear and trembling that the Duke engenders in those he despises, he is also gentle, kind and funny. His nickname is “Muffin”, of all things. Of course the love story is one of my favorites. And Dimity (Mitten) is one of my favorite heroines. Brave, funny, and adorable, her influence makes itself felt throughout the series and even into the next. **4 1/2 stars out of 5**

April 28, 2017

Mistress of Willowvale

by Patricia Veryan

This one has more angst than a typical novel by this author. A giant misunderstanding between the two principals, leads to a lot of heartbreak and pain. The hero, Kit, is really mean to the heroine. Luckily this is resolved a good bit before the end of the book. As always, there are a lot of humorous scenes interspersed throughout the sadness and near-disasters and dangers. I read this book long ago, and couldn’t remember exactly what Leonie was hiding from Kit, and I admit that when the full secret was revealed, I was surprised. I remembered part of it but there were so many questions in my mind that demanded answers, I actually had to skip ahead because I couldn’t read fast enough, and found myself not able to concentrate the immediate aspects of the story. This second prequel to the Golden Chronicles is vital to a full appreciation of Veryan’s art. It introduces a mysterious elderly gentleman who will save the day for the hero of a book written 6 years later and is an important character in another. The portraits of Kit and Leonie are hanging in the home of a character in The Sanguinet saga which takes place 60 to 70 years later. Her planning and subtle interweaving of characters across books, series, and generations is mindboggling.**3 stars out of 5**

January 18, 2017

The Tyrant

by Patricia Veryan

Although the last section is full of adventure, danger, and suspense, this one is mostly a more domestic romance and more of a comedy of manners than many of Veryan’s novels. It is charmingly old-fashioned as are all of her books. The final love scene between the Phoebe and “Merry” is one of Veryan’s most romantic and touching. It is full of period detail and is engaging throughout. There is one part that drags a bit, as usual, but this one part is pretty short. As usual, so far, the couriers of the cypher that name Jacobite (Jacky-bites, as called by one old codger) “traitors” and give the clues to the treasure collected to raise funds for Bonnie Prince Charlie, are ill-chosen, as they are, although long on bravery and nobility, are pretty weak in the brain department. This gets a little tedious after awhile. Luckily our hero and heroine are loyalists, not rebels, but have sympathy for the victims of Cumberland’s atrocities. **5 our of 5 stars**

January 10, 2017

Journey to Enchantment

by Patricia Veryan

** spoiler alert ** Journey to Enchantment is another deft mix of Veryan’s signature adventure/romance. Like its predecessor, the emphasis is on the adventure. In the second in the series, we follow Geoffrey Delavale, Penny’s brother she thought dead in Practice to Deceive. He is a dying man, but still manages, masquerading as Ligon Doone, to rescue Jacobites fleeing from Lord Cumberland’s savagery. There is a shade of The Scarlet Pimpernel in this one, as Prudence, our Scottish heroine, idolizes Ligon Doone, while thinking contemptuously of Geoffrey Delavale, a Sassenach she suspects of being a spy. He is recovering from his war wounds at her family’s estate on the banks of Loch Ness by virtue of the fact that though fighting against Bonnie Prince Charlie, he is an old friend of her brother Robbie. The second half of the book is a chase through the highlands, as Geoff, Prue, and their compatriots are running from soldiers, bounty hunters, and paid assassins. It ends with a tense nail biter of a showdown between Geoff and Prudence and the evil and greedy Uncle Joseph, the wanton Aunt Sybil, Roland Otton, and the Captain who has been pursuing them. I did enjoy this one a bit more than the first of the Golden Chronicles as I found the hot tempered Prudence more funny and engaging than Penny, and the brave and noble Geoffrey much more mature than the sometimes not-too-bright Quentin Chandler. **3 out of 5 stars**

Rating: 3 out of 5.

November 28, 2016

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

Practice to Deceive

by Patricia Veryan

The first of the Golden Chronicles, this is one of Veryan’s more adventurous, swashbuckling titles. It is full of derring-do and one of her many picaresque/chase type adventures. There is some humor, but not as much as most of her novels. It is probably too long and could easily been shortened a bit, but it does serve to introduce a number of characters, male and female, which will make a number of appearances in later novels in the series, and even in her later Jeweled Man series. In this way, the more you read her books, the more you are invested in the characters and their fates. She weaves a very complex plot in an enchanting way. Sometimes one just has to pause and read a description or a scene again just for the quality of the writing. I understand how people might be disappointed if they are expecting another Georgette Heyer, because their books have little in common. What they do have in common is how they both create a beguiling world peopled with very well-rounded, lovable and hate-able characters. What Veryan has over Heyer is that you meet them or hear about them again and again as your read through the series.

It’s 3 stars because her other books are so much better! Although I will say it has one of the most effective and withering scoldings of a hero (by his father) that I can remember. It is so on point and cringe producing that I felt sorry for him even though he deserved every scathing word.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

October 13, 2016