Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Book Review: Captain’s Lady by Sharon Milburn

Yes, I can read and enjoy something that isn’t loaded with sizzling sex scenes! Mind you, I don’t do it very often, but I can

Didn’t most of us read the short, traditional Regency romances when we were young girls? The incomparable Georgette Heyer! Those sweet, shy (but actually clever and independent) misses making their come-out in the London Season, those daring rakes who would drag the lady into scandal and then make a love-match of it? And all with just a kiss or two, perhaps a touch of hands.

This type of Regency fell out of favor in recent years, although “Regency-set historicals” remain popular – longer length, more complex story lines, much hotter sensuality. A few publishers have leapt to fill in the gap for readers who still want the traditional type of Regency. Cerridwen Press started its Cotillion line this year, putting out one ebook a month; the books seem to be showing up in print a couple of months after the ebook.

Captain’s Lady features Alice Carstairs, who is beyond the age of coming out and finding a husband (gee, if you haven’t done that by twenty, you’re on the shelf). Due to the loss of the family’s money, she is drudging at a bleak and uncomfortable position, running the household and caring for the children of a distant relative. It’s an awful situation, since that family is also about to lose its home and Alice’s integrity and loyalty are at their limit. The new heir is dashing Captain Sir Edward Masterman, and although he knows nothing about being lord of the manor, his arrival saves the household and Alice.

Despite the accusations and lies of others, Sir Edward quickly recognizes Alice’s true qualities and comes to rely on her opinions and her help in solving local problems. She is quite clever and tactful in her advice, and most of the staff and villagers love her. But there are those jealous or guilty few… Sir Edward wants to take care of Alice the way she takes care of everyone else. But he’s also torn by his attachment to his naval career and his desire to fight the evil Bonaparte. And Alice falls in love with him but of course thinks that he could never marry a penniless nobody like her. (For those of you inexperienced in traditional Regencies, this is the stock phrase used to describe a good half of these romances.)

This is a typical story of the genre, containing most of the standard elements. But it is very well written and well plotted, I enjoyed the author’s voice and talent, I loved the hero and heroine. I strongly recommend it to those who love the Traditional Regency genre.

Print (trade paperback, $9.99) and ebook ($5.95); Cerridwen Press
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