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Her Ladyship's Companion [Paperback]

Joanna W. Bourne
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Avon (Mar 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380815966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380815968
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,493,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shows its age a bit, but great atmosphere 7 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an early book from Joanna Bourne, but it shows that even back then she really could write. Her writing style is easy and fluid, and draws the reader into the story. The atmosphere of the looming house in Cornwall and its fractious house party almost jumps off the page.

I loved the gothic atmosphere, and the minor characters were all well drawn, particularly the sharp-as-a-tack Lady Dorothy, the elderly lady who heroine Melissa is hired to be a companion for, and the dreadful teenaged Anna. The snippets of letters at the beginning of each chapter are also great.

I liked Melissa's strong will and sense of humour. I wasn't as interested in the hero, Giles, or in their relationship arc, which didn't feel very real to me: first Melissa dislikes him, then she thinks she's fallen in love with him, then she resists him, then *her body betrays her* and she's melting into his arms. I thought he was far too sure of himself and could have done with having to work harder to win her! Still, it's a gothic, and fragile younger women falling for stoic older men is what you get with the genre.

In a world where historicals are getting sillier and sillier, it's great to read a book where there's a touch of humour, but you feel the characters really could have existed in 1818. Three stars.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and peril on the cliffs of Cornwall 10 Jun 2009
(From rear cover)Beautiful Melissa Rivenwood was leaving Mrs Brody's Seminary for the Daughters of Gentleman for a new life. But when she accepted the position as companion to the formidable Lady Dorothy, spirited Melissa could not have know that she would soon be caught up in a web of passion and intrique at beautiful and remote Vinton Manor.

Giles Tarsin,her haughty employer, is maddeningly aloof - and irresistibly attractive. Darkly handsome Sir Adrian Hawkhurst admires her undisguisedly with, Melissa suspects, the most impure intentions. Harold Bosworth, a family connection, appears to be ever the gentleman. But why is seven-year-old Robbie, an orphan like Melissa and the futue Earl of Keptford, so terrified? Before long Melissa is struggling to unravel dark family secrets that will lead her suspicions to centre on just one man - the one man she loves.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're a Joanna Bourne fan, don't pass this up. 11 Feb 2012
By Old Latin teacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
(Maybe 3.5 stars but it was such fun.) I have read every recent novel in Joanna Bourne's Spymasters Series, starting with The Spymaster's Lady in 2008 up to The Black Hawk (Berkley Sensation) from 2011. Better French Revolution/Regency England//French spies/English spies stories cannot be found in HR novels.

This particular story was Bourne's first published work and it's from 1983. It's not part of the Spymasters Series but is rather a gothic regency set in 1818. What's very cool about it is 1)even though it's from so many years ago, it's really a good read, and 2)Sir Adrian Hawkhurst is in the cast of characters. You know, Hawker from "The Black Hawk", sigh! And when you consider that a hardcopy used paperback of this would cost you anywhere from $47 to $188, how can you pass up the e-book at $3.99?

As said, it's a gothic. Heroine Melissa Rivenwood, parentless and unsatisfied with her current position as a schoolteacher of French, accepts a position as companion to Lady Dorothy, Countess of Harforth. The whole household is run by the Countess' nephew Giles Tarsin, formerly a soldier on Wellington's staff, until the day his nephew, 7-year-old Robbie, the Earl of Keptford, can take control. Many other characters are staying at the estate, among them Sir Adrian Hawkhurst, whom Giles has asked to come to help him with some mysterious doings at the estate. (Adrian is, as in the newer series, a spy involved in French Revolution intrigues, but this does not figure into the story.)

Mysterious goings on, possible murder attempts, not knowing who to trust, falling in love and not trusting your heart, etc. It's all here in this gothic treat and it's much better written than many other gothic HRs I've read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a period piece 8 Mar 2012
By Need me some tunes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
By period piece, I refer to the state of romance genre writing twenty years ago. The same deft hand is at work in this little novel as we see in the recent Joanna Bourne novels. The descriptions are vivid and pithy; the conversations wonderfully fraught; the characters smart, engaging, and deserving of our sympathies, though the conventions are different. Point of view, in particular, was a more fluid concept twenty years ago, and this book illustrates that the old ways are sometimes still good ways. Best of all, in this book we meet Sir Adrian Hawkhurst in an earlier incarnation, though still self-possessed, redolent of savoir faire, and mighty hot. I was prepared to find a few cringe-ables in this book owing to the shifts in reader expectations over twenty years, but I found nary a one.

One is left to wonder what might have been written had the author not taken a twenty-year hiatus between the first and second book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Regency At It's Finest 11 Feb 2012
By E. A. Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have no idea how I missed Her Ladyship's Companion on it's initial release. This is a wonderful example of the best in this era of Regency, right up with the works of Edith Layton or Carla Kelly. Kept me up much too late last night. Our young heroine walks out of an impossible employment and right into a pitch perfect gothic regency. With early versions of now beloved Bourne characters, reading Her Ladyship's Companion is familiar yet completely new. With a perfectly drawn classic regency cast complete with mysterious deaths, Bourne rivals Downton Abbey for amusing costume drama. While I enjoy what Bourne is doing now I wish there were decades of her traditional regencies waiting for me to discover them. One star removed because some aspects of the tale will seem expected to modern eyes. If I read this on initial release it would have been a five star rave for certain.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Working Prototype Spymaster Novel 12 Jun 2013
By drhorrible - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joanna Bourne does not write fast. It will be approximately forever before her next book comes out. Reading this book is like finding a lemon creme filled bonbon that fell behind the desk. It may be a little mooshed and have a few dog hairs on it, but I, for one, am thrilled to have it because I ate all my other bonbons a long time ago.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read! 14 Sep 2012
By Emma James - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great read! I tend to download free or dollar books for fast/fun diversion, however after reading book after book of poorly conceived plots, overwrought descriptions and intimate scenes bordering on the pornographic (yes, even in Regency Romances!), I needed a "real read" to stop my brain from atrophying. That usually means buying a Georgette Heyer or going back to the source with Austen, Elliot or Bronte. But I ran across this book and it had such great reviews that I decided to quadruple (but still it was cheap) my usual spend on an unknown (to me) author and give it a try.

I was not disappointed! The dialogue was articulate, intelligent and well crafted. The characters had depth and the plot, while pretty easy to figure out, expertly moved the story forward. Most importantly, the intimate scenes were kept as they would have been written in the 1800s - sweet and simple! I know I shouldn't complain about poor writing when I am frugally downloading free books, but boy was I glad to have purchased this book and would highly recommend it to others!
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