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Amusing Regency set romance,
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This review is from: Aphrodite's Brew (Tales of the Laughing God) (Paperback)
The Earl of Vailmont, after one disasterous marriage, is a confirmed batchelor. However, his scheming mother is determined that he will marry the girl that she has chosen for him. She hasn't learnt her lesson from the first girl she chose for him. Lady Vailmont is a prattler, going on and on about nothing until her son's mind switches off and he stops listening to her, answering automatically. She then slips in important bits of information which will trap him into carrying out her will.
However, on one particular morning Val's senses warn him to listen and he learns that his mother has invited an old friend and her eligable daughter to stay. Val therefore leaves his beloved estate rather than be trapped into marriage and goes to Bath to join his cousin Pink and two very young naive friends.
Val learns from the two young men that all the eligible men in Bath are atwitter because it seems as though the young women are using a love potion which works. Several confirmed batchelors have recently married and married the most unlikely young women. Val himself caught a female cousin doctoring the wine of one man who she has now married.
Val is a sceptic and doesn't believe in magic. He accepts a bet from Pink and his friends that he can uncover what is happening and it won't be magic.
He then meets Sylvia, Lady Ashbroughton, a young widow who has brought her 17 year old stepdaughter to Bath in order for the girl to gain some polish before her London season the next year. Val is very taken with Sylvia's silver green eyes.
Val decides to visit all the Apocrophy shops in Bath to try and find out more about the potion. He doesn't have any luck until the last shop. He gets into a discussion about magic and witches with the shopkeeper, who both agree there is no such thing. Then the man mentions that there actually was a family of herbalists in the Cotswolds, one of which was burnt as a witch in the 15th century. As an afterthought, he says that the last of the line married the late Lord Ashbroughton some years ago.
So Val heads back to quiz Lady Ashbroughton. What follows is a witty and amusing romantic dance between the rather uptight Vailmont and the woman who in all innocence believes that her restorative tonic for women is just harmless herbs. When the scheming Lady Vailmont appears with her friend and daughter in tow and the cynical, sophisticated Pink appears to fall instantly in love with Lady Grace, more chaos is added to the mix.