- Mass Market Paperback: 222 pages
- Publisher: Dutton / Signet (31 Dec 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451202686
- ISBN-13: 978-0451202680
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 3.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,416,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Viscount is supposed to stand proxy for his brother Kit, the long-time fiancé of Florrie, who spent time with the two young men during their youth. Florrie's father is in the diplomatic corps and she loves that life, so it seems only natural to marry Kit, who's really almost more of a brother than a lover, but who is also heading for that same sort of career.
Mishap after mishap follows, however, leaving Florrie and Alford married by mistake, but to each other. The two fathers conspire to send them away from the gossips in London, and in a month or two, an annulment can be sought. Needless to say, the young couple has no idea they'll end up together.
In the wilds of Devon, accessible only by a once-a-week dogcart, Hartland has a custodian couple, and little else to recommend it. Except for the resident ghost, and the hidden passage, and the smugglers and so on. Florrie and Alford take turns trying to disconcert the other, but usually ending up drawing even closer together, as their various secrets are revealed. Slowly, the past perceptions are replaced by the current consciousness, and suddenly, an annulment doesn't seem quite so desirable after all.
Part romance, part gothic, part adventure, part Taming of the Shrew--but in the end, ALL the parts add up to pure enjoyment for the reader.
His Lordship's Mistress is another kind of Regency tale, entirely. I must have read it, earlier on, as well, but it didn't leave as deep an impression on me. Certainly it's well-crafted, with a determined and engaging heroine, Jessica Andover, and a hero--Phillip Romney, the earl of Linton, who shows an unusual degree of kindness and consideration towards her.
Having been victimized by a greedy step-father, and left nearly destitute--with her two young half-brothers--Jessica determines to find a way to salvage the family home. Only in that way--belief in herself--can she ensure the future of the two boys, who will need what she can give them.
Taking no one into her confidence, she heads to London, where she uses her own very specialized education--excellent speech and diction, plus a thorough knowledge of Shakespeare--she auditions at Covent Garden Theatre. She'd hoped for a bit part, but to her surprise, was cast in a leading part, all the better for her plan--to find a wealthy man and become his mistress.
Her plans work better than she'd hoped; she is a success on the stage, and finds the man to whom she can give herself. Of course, life is not a play, and the final act is not as she'd envisioned it. It was money that was the goal--not falling in love. Having earned enough to pay off the mortgage, however, she returns home to let her wounds--and her heart--heal. Philip, however, takes her abandonment very hard, and determines to find her. And when he does--she won't get away from him again....
I really like this concept--two full length previously-published stories in one volume, for barely more than the price of one new book. I hope we see more of them. (Hint, hint.)
The first story, His Lordship's Mistress, is the tale of a young woman who will do anything she can to save her family's home. You get the basic idea from the title. The second, Married by Mistake, deals with a couple who, due to their fathers' meddling, end up wed to each other unawares--a proxy marriage gone awry. They squabble their way through a smuggling subplot to find they love each other after all.
Both of these stories were easy, light reading. I preferred Joan Wolf's tale, but that may just be a matter of personal preference. If you're looking for something to keep you occupied in the waiting room or while traveling, I would recommend this book.
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