Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Elizabeth Rolls - Regency Marriages

Something had a wrought a change in Thea Winslow. As a girl, Thea had been bubbling over with mischief. As a woman she seemed half lost in shadow. Richard Blakehurst couldn't mistake the desire between them. But Thea must tame her wayward thoughts because she could never secure Richard's good opinion of her if he ever learnt the truth...
Marrying the governess...Lord Braybrook urgently needs to hire a governess and companion, and the beautiful, headstrong Miss Christina Daventry is conveniently available. There is something so endearing about her that Julian quickly forgets how scandalous it would be to give in to the mounting attraction for his penniless governess...
Two classic and delightful Regency tales!

Comment: This is a book that compiled two novels by author Elizabeth Rolls and it's part of a collection about Regency stories. All the other volumes have two stories as well, by other authors and all have different titles. This one is Regency Marriages and I picked it mostly because of the second story, which seemed very intriguing. At the time I had no idea the two novels had a connection, it's there but nothing complex, so it means one can read each story independently of the other.

Overall, I liked both stories  but my expectations were met in the second one, the one I was really looking for to read. While reading I got the idea there was another book certainly connected to these one and after reading the blurbs of other books by the author it was confirmed. Why they chose these two and not the other I have no idea but because I bought a used edition at amazon marketplace, the price would be the same so I picked this omnibus edition instead.

As the title says, both stories are Regency and feature situations very difficult for women. This is the first book I read by the author so I can't compare writing or accuracy but I mostly enjoyed the style of this author. Wat annoyed me were the characters of the 1st story. The 2nd was much better.

The 1st story, A Compromised Lady, presents us Thea Winslow, someone we get right away had some problems in her youth because of her fiancé. Now, after allowed years of almost solitude, her father wants her back in Society so she can marry. Many think she went away to mourn her deceased fiancé but the truth is completely different. Now she is back, she knows she will receive a fortune from one uncle and suitors will show up even despite her reputation. But Thea discovers something and won't stop until the confirms it. Meanwhile, she re encounters a childhood friend, they have the same matchmaking godmother and somehow their relationship rekindles.
I confess I found this story boring. It had interesting details, execution but the way the characters talked to one another, some of the actions they took and Thea's character itself weren't always interesting to me. I like shy and quiet heroines but Thea isn't exactly this, she was just hurt and ashamed. I kind of wanted her to have a different relation ship with Richard, their connection never felt right. We are told they used to be friends while children and that's fine but they kept on being so now. There were no believable adult feelings between them, at least I wasn't convinced of that. In the end, despite the HEA and some interesting facts, I was still too bored with everything to think too positively about it.
Grade: 6/10

The 2nd story, Lord Braybrooke's Penniless Bride, gives us Julian Braybrook, a wealthy aristocrat and how he convinces the sister of one of his own sister's suitors to come and work for him and his stepmother so his little sister can understand what will happen, financially, if she marries the poorer man. Christiana Daventry will work as a governess and companion and she accepts only because she is in need of money. She is outspoken, frontal and has no fear of defending those who need, even if she knows a proper lady wouldn't act like that. Christiana knows she shouldn't feel attracted to Julian and she should keep her poise but when things go out of hand, their fates do become entangled.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one, especially until the two main characters decide to marry. I liked the emotional depth used to characterize Christy's poverty and honor, how she thought she would be simply useful but keeping her pride at the same time. I liked it that she wasn't a silyl woman always thinking about Julian. I liked we had plenty scenes with her doing her job. The sexual tension between her and Julian was well done, not in our face all the time and the evolution of their relationship was quite good. I only think after they get together things between them weren't as smooth as I'd imagine. On one hand it was great to see serious subjects addressed and put on the page; on the other it wasn't as romantically done as I'd hoped for.
Nevertheless, it was a great story, got me in tears once or twice and it ended up well. A sweet epilogue, like the first story had, would also have been perfect here.
Grade: 8/10

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