Monday, September 20, 2010

Spotlight Review:

IMPROPER LADIES - Amanda McCabeSignet Eclipse - Double Book
ISBN: 978-0-451-23108-6
September 2010
Regency Romance

Do you miss the traditional Regency romances the mainstream publishers used to publish? Signet is betting you do. Here are two more favorites by Amanda McCabe to follow the March double book, SCANDALOUS BRIDES.

London and Wycombe-on-Sea, 1814

The Earl of Lyndon put an end to his second son's scapegrace ways after his third duel. He bought Justin a commission and had him sent to India. About the same time, a drunken Lawrence Aldritch stumbled in front of a moving carriage and left his widow a scanty few pounds and that evening's winnings, the deed to a gambling establishment.

Four years later, a much soberer Justin Seward, the new Earl of Lyndon, returns to London to find his younger brother Harry following his early example. In hopes of turning Harry away from a dissolute life without coming the heavy, Justin accompanies him to the exclusive Golden Feather gaming house. When Harry foolishly precipitates a brawl, and Justin approaches the owner to offer to pay for repairs to the establishment, he is intrigued by her mystery and beauty.

With the proceeds from the sale of The Golden Feather added to the income from the last four years, Caroline Aldritch can now retire her mask, wig, and Mrs. Archer identity and resume a respectable life. At last she can remove her beloved younger sister Phoebe from her expensive school and give her a come out, making all the misery of running a gaming club worthwhile. Once Phoebe is settled in a good marriage, Caro plans to live quietly. Her acceptance of a life alone, however, is greatly disturbed by thoughts of Lord Lyndon.

The end of the London Season is nearly over, and as interested in each other as Caroline and Justin are, neither expects to ever meet again. Justin accedes to his mother's wishes for the family—the countess and her two sons—to spend the holiday in Wycombe-on-Sea with her good friend Lady Bellweather and her daughters. Caroline takes the first steps toward re-entering Society by taking a cottage by the Wycombe...

Fate plunks a pair of responsible adults with strong attractions for one another into neighboring houses in a holiday town. Smooth sailing ahead for a romance? Not with Caroline's fear of exposure as Mrs. Archer. Not with Justin's fear Caroline would discover his past and think he was cut from the same cloth as her wastrel husband. And certainly not with each having an impulsive young sibling to chaperone. The younger set, including the eldest Bellweather daughter, whose mother pushes her at Justin, adds many lighthearted moments to the story, though the main plotline is not without its own humor amidst the depth of emotion.

London and just outside Town

With her parents and her husband dead, Rosalind Chase is responsible for earning a living for herself and her younger brother Allen, just eighteen and supposed to be in school in Cambridge. Rosalind owns and runs Mrs. Chase's Seminary for Young Ladies. She's also the anonymous author of the popular book, A Lady's Rules for Proper Behavior. Allan has fallen in with bad company and borrowed money to pay his gambling "debts of honor." Now the bankers are dunning Rosalind for payment. To top it all, her book is falling out of favor with the ton, and she is sure Lord Morley's influence is behind all her troubles. With the school closing for the Season, Rosalind is determined to do something about it and leaves for London.

Michael Bronston, Viscount Morley lives a pleasure-seeking life. Rules annoy him, and being handed a copy of that blasted rule book by that prudish headmistress at his sister's school annoys him even more.

In a lively tale of opposites attracting, Rosalind and Michael are bound to come together with a resounding crash. With a supporting cast that includes Michael's sweet young sister Violet and their awful father, plus Rosalind's friends, the Duke and Duchess of Wayland among others, THE RULES OF LOVE is an enjoyable read. Over and above the romance and bit of suspense, it says something about the role of rules on society.

Since her debut in 2001, Amanda McCabe has established herself as a creative writer who can be counted on to produce original storylines, uncommon settings and intelligent, well-developed characters. She has an obvious affection for her creations that is readily transmitted to her readers. I highly recommend THE RULES OF LOVE to everyone looking for rich and entertaining love stories.

Jane Bowers

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