I have a weakness for good, clean period romance. I'm obsessed with Jane Austen, love the works of Fanny Burney and Elizabeth Gaskell, and am always on the lookout for a good new find from that period (such as Julianne Donaldson's recent new release Edenbrooke). Occasionally I'll get a certain itch that only period romance can scratch. Here are some recent reads:
Lilly Haswell remembers everything -- whether she wants to, or not...
As Lilly toils in her father's apothecary shop, preparing herbs and remedies by rote, she is haunted by memories of her mother's disappearance. Villagers whisper the tale, but her father refuses to discuss it. All the while, she dreams of the world beyond --- of travel and adventure and romance.
When a relative offers to host her in London, Lilly discovers the pleasures and pitfalls of fashionable society and suitors, as well as clues about her mother. But will Lilly find what she is searching for --- the truth of the past and a love for the future?
My Rating: ***
Okay, I'm torn on this book. For one thing, I loved all the period details and the writing was fabulous. The story flowed along and I was completely interested in and invested in Lilly. Loved that she was so brilliant at apothecary science and really, all the apothecary details were my favorite. It fascinates and disgusts me what passed as medicine back then.
It really was a good read and I couldn't put it down but several things irritated me. Each of them were male. Too many suitors for your main character, Ms. Klassen! I hate that because I don't know who I'm supposed to root for or what's going to happen. Strange, but I actually like predictability in a romance (to a certain extent). There were a couple other storylines that ended up being dropped, which irritated me because I thought they were rather important. These are all personal opinions. Overall I thought the writing was nice and the romance clean, if frustrating. This is technically Christian Fiction, but don't let that turn you off. All it means is that Lilly occasionally decides to pray about her situation.
The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary...
Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.
Mr. Darcy's Diary presents the story of the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Darcy's point of view. This graceful imagining and sequel to Pride and Prejudice explains Darcy's moodiness and the difficulties of his reluctant relationship as he struggles to avoid falling in love with Miss Bennet. Though seemingly stiff and stubborn at times, Darcy's words prove him also to be quite devoted and endearing - qualities that eventually win over Miss Bennet's heart. This continuation of a classic romantic novel is charming and elegant, much like Darcy himself.My Rating: ***
I've been looking for a good P&P retelling for a while and this had some of the best reviews on Goodreads. There's another one I'm interested in, but it's actually a three book series by Pamela Aiden (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman), but I decided I didn't really have time for three books. One was just right for my Pride and Prejudice fix.
It was fun to read it. There was a lot of straight up retelling of the book at times, but Darcy's perspective really added to certain parts. Of course he's dying to rush over and hold Elizabeth when he finds her crying over Jane's letter! We all know it, but it was fun to read. :D This story stayed true to the book, even going on a bit after the wedding (no bedroom scenes, thankfully) like the book does and I really loved that.
The writing is my main complaint. Some descriptions were very repetitive. Yes, I got the message; everything Elizabeth Bennett does is "satirically". But other than that, this was plenty of fun. Recommended for major P&P fans.
When Sir Hugh Stanton-Lacy went off to Brazil on a diplomatic mission, he entrusted his eighteen-year-old daughter Sophia to the care of his sister, Lady Ombersley. From the moment Sophy arrived, it was clear that she was no ordinary girl. She is The Grand Sophy - impulsive, direct, fearless, and a scandal to the proper society of London. But Sophy's energy, wit, spunk, and courage shook up and revitalized the entire family, especially her steely cousin, Charles Rivenhall. Saddled with the responsibility of paying his father's debts and keeping his younger brothers and sisters out of trouble, Charles was also engaged to a pious and prim young woman - until Sophy came along.
My Rating: ****
This is my first Georgette Heyer and I'm calling it a huge success. I ADORED Sophy. She was hilarious and just full to the brim with gumption. I loved watching her throw out convention and propriety at times to do what she thinks is right and she always had some ridiculously amusing scheme going on. She was so refreshing compared to other period heroines. My love for Sophy is right up there with Elizabeth Bennett. I found the whole novel incredibly entertaining.
But I don't think Georgette Heyer's writing is for everyone. It's seriously wordy and so packed full of unfamiliar details and dated slang that anyone (even Regency-obsessed people like me) would have a hard time following it at times. I know there were definitely passages I struggled with. But overall, the whole thing is so gosh darn fun that I couldn't dock it more than a half a star. I'd easily call this a four and a half star book. I will definitely be reading more Georgette Heyer.