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A Splendid Indescretion and the Grand Passion (Signet Regency Romance) [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth Mansfield


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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly splendid passion -- 25 Nov 2005
By kellytwo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A grand passion is not necessarily a fun thing to live with. Or through. Oh, to be sure, there are occasional moments of pure bliss, but on the whole-it so confuses your mind that you end up doing unbelievable things you'd never thought of doing while totally ignoring the very basics of life that you should be doing. But then, you see the object of your obsession, and away you go-there's no immediate relief.

This wonderful double volume of two more classics from the marvelous Elizabeth Mansfield (sadly no longer with us) tells of not one-but two-such grand passions; one in each of the two stories.

The first of these-A Splendid Indiscretion-demonstrates just how well opposites attract. When the very organized Ivor Griffith, Viscount Mullineaux, first tangles with the hopelessly muddle-headed Ada Surringham, she inadvertently saves him from a supreme disaster. Having been followed to a roadside inn on the way to Wales by a wandering wife (not his own) and then by the lady's husband, Ivor flees the ensuing scene, right into Ada's room. Ivor and Ada know that he left the room immediately after the confrontation with the suspicious husband, but had no way of knowing that they would soon be residing under the same roof-in London.

The farcical un-masking that takes place in chapter nineteen could not be improved upon-for sheer joie d'vivre, good humor and vivid astonishment. Ms. Mansfield, consummate writer that she is, never puts a foot wrong while thoroughly engaging the reader's interest and juggling several plot lines all at once.

Fortunately, Ivor realizes that Ada is essential to his well-being, but it does take a while. Enjoy!

The Grand Passion tells an entirely different tale of mistaken identity, revenge and, yes-passion. It's an excellent explanation of just how muddle-headed a seemingly sensible and intelligent person can become while in the throes of such an emotion.

Tess Brownlow thinks she should know a grand passion when she encounters one, and so she chooses to marry her neighbor and friend Jeremy Beringer. It is his grand passion for her that puts her in this position, even though she cannot return his love in the same way. When a coaching accident takes the life of Jeremy even while he's on his way to the wedding, Tess feels such remorse she determines to avenge him.

But first she has to discover the person responsible for the accident, and after a search, learns of one name-Lotherwood. With the aid of a cousin, Tess heads for London to achieve her goal. Even when she learns that he is betrothed, still she sets her plan in motion. When he is sufficiently in love with her, she'll leave him, desolate. Indeed Matt is desolate, but so is she, as she's fallen into her own trap. And then she discovers, quite by accident, that she's sprung her trap on the wrong man.

It takes time, but finally, Tess and Matt find each other and are happily united in their Grand Passion.

This is an extraordinary pairing of two classics-unhappily for us, we'll not see their like again anytime soon.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4-1/2* - Double the Entertainment! 9 July 2005
By M. Rondeau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Both stories in this reprint are an exemplary example of what one should expect to

find from one of the best Regency-era romance novelists of our time. If you are even thinking of reading regency A SPLENDID INDISCRETION, should be on the top of your list to truly give you an enchanting taste of this marvelous genre. Ada Surringham is surely one of the most muddleheaded females you might ever discover who is sure to give absent-mindedness a new meaning. If she weren't so innocently charming in her day-dreaming and forgetfulness one would truly want to wring her neck. For Ivor Griffith, Viscount Mullineaux, the last thing this well set up Corinthian needed was a bubbleheaded wife, yet, with Ada, and her ethereal presence - she was a vision that he was sure he always to find, in his life, and in his bed. Presented with a marvelous set of secondary characters, along with the very engaging lead couple the reader should totally enjoy this offering. - In this first story of this double volume, you will find a smile on your face from beginning to end in this totally delightful and fun read. Overall Rating - 5

The second story in this volume, THE GRAND PASSION while still showcasing the superb writing and feelings of regency era, will give the reader another emotional high, but rather than sweet, I found it to be rather a sadder tone dealing more with the complexities of human emotion than the lighter versions one generally associates with a traditional regency.

After several proposals Tess Brownlow finally accepted the suit of her childhood best friend who had always loved her. Jeremy Beringer might not have been what she anticipated as her `grand passion' but she'd always cared and loved him so that when she was delivered the heartbreaking news on the morning of her wedding day, that Jeremy had been tragically killed as a result of a coaching accident, she was devastated. Later when she found that the driver had been replaced by a drunken `sportsmen' of the famous Four-In-Hand club - Tess vowed revenge. Fortunately, Tess's scheme for retribution would work very well, unfortunately, Tess would discover that revenge was not at all sweet. - While finding this an extremely clever plot, I often felt very sad reading it as a vengeance theme is not uplifting, but when the writing is as polished as Mansfield presents in this regency realm, you still have to love it! In spite of Tess' intent to exact retribution on Matthew Lotherwood, they were totally engaging together and both extremely likable as they managed to seek forgiveness in one another. Couple this with engaging secondary characters and you are in for a rare double-dipped treat! Overall Rating - 4
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great (re)reads for the price of one 27 July 2005
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm rather glad that Signet is reprinting some of the earlier works of a few of the more noteworthy Regency-era romance writers. And that they're actually issuing them in form of two-for-one packages, is just the icing on top of the cake. This time around, Signet has reissued "A Splendid Indiscretion" (one of my favourite Regencies) & "The Grand Passion."

In "A Splendid Indiscretion," pretty and good hearted Ada Suurringham is everything that a doting uncle could wish for in a niece -- if only she didn't have this propensity to be constantly woolgathering, and for forever falling into one muddle or the other because of her daydreaming. Always the foil for her more beautiful and self-abosrbed cousin, Cordelia, Ada had thought that she had gotten rather used to remaining in the background and being the subject of a lot of eye rolling. But when Ada's godmother, Viscountess Millineaux, issues an invitation for either Ada or Cordelia, to visit her and be launched into London Society, Ada's uncle is determined that Ada should be the one to go. What follows is a wonderfully humorous romp as Ada stoically makes for London, only to end up working in her godmother's house as a librarian's assistant instead of staying on as an hounoured guest. But that would be nothing if it were not for the fact that Ada has managed to fall in love with her godmother's son, the sophisticated and urbane, Ivor. Is it too much to hope that Ivor would look past her muddle-headedness and fall in love with her instead of the prefect Cornelia? (5 stars)

In "The Grand Passion," Tess Brownlow has decided to marry her childhood playmate, Jeremy Beringer, even though she's not passionately in love with him. But when Jeremy dies in a coaching accident, all Tess can do thirst to avenge his death. And when she discovers the identity of the "gentleman" who so thoughtlessly caused Jeremy's death, she meticulously sets out to make the man pay. What Tess never counted on, however, was how Matthew Lotherwood, the Marquis of Bradbourne would awaken in her the passionate feelings that Jeremy never did. Should Tess go on with her plan of revenge, or embrace this chance to have a grand passion... (4 1/2 stars)

I feel in love with "A Splendid Indiscretion" the first time I read it, and even now, almost 20 years later, it is still one of my favourite novels and still brings a smile to my face. It is one of those charming and well written humourous tales that one can read and reread over the years without fearing that it will become stale or boring. On the other hand, my feelings about "The Grand Passion" have changed quite dramatically over the years. I didn't really like it all that much the first time I read it, and stayed away from rereading it over the years. But when I reread it a few days ago, I must say that I changed my outlook quite a bit. It is a very well written novel, and the manner in which Elizabeth Mansfield handles the whole thorny issue of revenge is one of the best I've ever read. I'm still not all that enamoured with the book, but I will note that it is, like "A Splendid Indiscretion" and a host of other Mansfield gems, a very well written and highly polished novel. The only reservation I have with "The Grand Passion" is that I still don't buy Matthew Lotherwood's sudden capitulation at the end of the novel. It just felt too rushed. He goes from cold fury, disillusionment and pain at how Tess has schemed to hurt him to completely giving in and forgiving her after just one impassioned speech from her. And while I know that Matthew would have forgiven her eventually and acknowledged that he still did love the totally single-minded, passionate and high-handed Tess, I didn't think that Mansfield made a good enough case for why it happened so very quickly one page from the end of the novel. On the whole, though, both these books are gems. And if you've found lately that the more recently published Regency-era romances have not quite come up to par, and that they lack the polish, wit and effervesce that one expects from a Regency, I'd recommend you check out some of these wonderful reprints.
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining. Regency Period at its best 29 Oct 2010
By E&M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed reading A Spledid Indiscretion. The author truly captures the regency period. I believe the main character, Ada S., would drive one insane with her constant forgetfulnes and daydreaming. The library scene towards the end was funny, I could easily imagine it in a movie.

The Grand Passion is entertaining. I was suprised how the story unfolded toward the end and enjoyed the book. Im excited to read more of her books, (I just wish I would have known about this author earlier) She truly is talented and understands the regency period quite well.
3.0 out of 5 stars Unrealsistic and Poor Developed 12 July 2010
By AUPoohBear - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Splendid Indescretion stars Ada Surringham, a dreamer with her head in the clouds. Her abstraction often results in exasperation on the part of her uncle/guardian when he can't find what he's looking for or falls on something Ada has dropped. After quarreling with his sister over a matter of whether Ada or her smug cousin Cornelia will visit London, Ada's uncle orders her off to London to stay with her godmother and triumph over Cornelia. Meanwhile, Ivor Griffith, Viscount Mullineaux is traveling solo when he is accosted by his former lover who demands he run away to France with her. Though he denies the lady, her husband chases after Griff attempting to force a duel which leads Griff running for his life into a private parlor of a coaching inn where he meets Ada. As the irate husband approaches, Griff passionately kisses Ada as if his life depends on it (and it does). Ada has never experienced kisses like this before and enjoys the searing passion. The incident blows over and Ada believes she'll never see the gentleman again, but they encounter one another later that evening in an unexpected way which leaves them both dreaming of the other. When Ada arrives at her godmother's, her original plans go awry and a case of mistaken identity leads her in a new direction. Her godmother happens to be Lady Mullineaux, the mother of the mysterious gentleman who kissed her in the inn. Though Ada can not get the man out of her head, she is convinced she would never make a suitable wife for anyone. She is determined to show everyone that she is not so shatterbrained as she seems, only she is but everyone finds her charming anyway. I also think Ada is very charming and I can relate to being absentminded, however, I do not like Griff. He is too overbearing and hot tempered for a sweet girl like Ada. Their romance was entirely unbelievable. There wasn't much development in their story or character development for Griff and therefore, the story fails, in my opinion and I just couldn't like it. I also felt the language was too modern to really feel like a period piece. The screwball comedy scene towards the end saved the book from being truly dreadful. This is is a short, quick read for those who like lighthearted comedies.

In A Grand Passion, Tess Bronlow has reached the grand old age of 23 without ever having experienced a Grand Passion, so she decides to accept the proposal of her best friend, Jeremy Beringer. Ever the romantic, Jeremy brings Tess flowers every day, even in winter and so on the day before his wedding, he traveled to find greenhouse flowers just for Tess. On her wedding day, Tess learns that Jeremy was killed in a coaching accident caused by a Corinthian who insisted on driving the coach through the snow along icy roads. Tess is devastated and vows revenge on the man who caused the accident. She travels to London to visit her newly married cousin Julia and makes certain that she is introduced to Matthew Lotherwood, the Marquis of Bradboune, the man whom she believes killed Jeremy. Tess plans to make Matt fall madly in love with her and then teach him what loss really means. Her plot doesn't go quite as planned when she finds herself in the throes of a Grand Passion! Still, Tess is bent on revenge and is even willing to risk breaking her heart again just to avenge Jeremy's death. There is a major major problem with this plot and that is a case of mistaken identity which should never have happened given the use of titles and names in Regency England. If you accept the mistake and go on with the story, it's not terrible but not great either. Mansfield's other major problem in this novel is character development. The reader never gets too deep inside Matt's head and the story is told mainly from Tess's point of view. Matt's actions and reactions happen very abruptly without real development. He's bewitched by Tess'a alter ego, Sidoney, but I'm not clear why he loves her. Matt is so kind and sweet and he matures throughout the novel, even though his maturity is rather sudden. Tess is incredibly unlikable. She's so twisted to desire revenge and doesn't let go even though it's obvious that Matt isn't the monster she thinks he is. The ending was strange and I don't agree with the way Tess handles the consequences of her bahvior. She comes across as rather cowardly and Matt has every right to be angry. Despite the problems and lack of comedic moments, I felt this was a better story than the previous one but not one to reread or keep.
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