Monday, July 20, 2009

The London Belle by Shirley Kennedy

Read For:
RYOB Challenge
A to Z Challenge
Summer Challenge

Synopsis: Lady Jane Sperling is the eldest daughter of the Earl of Hedley, and in her third season. Her finicky nature and scholarly pursuits have prevented her from complying with her family's wishes to wed her off to some wealthy old man. But now her father's gambling debts have put the entire Sperling fortune in jeopardy...To help the Sperlings, Lord Dashmont offers Jane employment - as a companion and tutor for his son, who still grieves over the death of his mother. Wary of the notorious rake's true motives, she reluctantly agrees. And as Jane helps a frightened little boy emerge from his shell, her actions also melt the heart of her employer. But can she trust Dashmont - a disreputable rogue and gambler - enough to fall in love with him?

My review: This book is a perfect example of how good writing can overcome even the biggest dislikes. When I started the book, I quickly learned that the heroine was a vain, spoiled brat who thrived on being the "belle of the ball". Likewise, the hero seemed a bit of a cad-more concerned with his personal pleasures of gambling and cyprians than his son. Normally, I'd quit the book right there as these are personal "peeves" of mine. But the whole story does a 360 degree turn early on-turning both characters worlds upside down. In doing so-we see both characters grow and mature. It had moments of "Lizzie and Darcy" that I really enjoyed-both had preconceived notions of each other but both cannot fight their attaction, and in so doing, find out how wrong they were about the other. This Regency is very romantic and a bit "sexier" compared to most Regencies, but still MUCH tamer than other Romances-still a "PG" rating on the love scenes.

All in all, a very good Regency-Recommended-4 stars.

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