Sep 082014

A Very Plain Young ManHow I Adore This Ingenuous and Enchanting Family!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

A Very Plain Young Man is Book Two in the Hapgoods of Bramleigh series by Christina Dudley (a Traditional Regency romance series in the style of Georgette Heyer). The series focuses on the Hapgoods, an almost impoverished gentry family living in Somerset. The family is headed by a blustery, unsophisticated squire who prefers to spend all his time with his beloved canines and an often indisposed and indolent mother. The four delightful daughters of the family are frequently left to their own devices and have very little society besides their immediate family.

Book One of this series, The Naturalist, was about Alice The NaturalistHapgood (the second oldest) and how her desperate desire to study nature led her both into scandal as well as to the altar! In Book Two, we spend more time with Elfrida, the eldest and most beautiful sister in the family. While Elfrida’s beauty attracts the notice of all around her, she pays it no consequence, in fact she considers being called practical the more desired compliment. Elfrida is an adorable heroine who carries a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders – she is indeed practical, forthright, and composed, all things a young lady ought, but her one flaw is her nearsightedness. Poor Elfrida can’t see much detail in anything unless it is a few inches from her face.  And perhaps Elfrida’s shortsighted tendencies extend to her views on men and marriage… Continue reading »

Feb 102014

The NaturalistA Traditional Regency Romance with Heyer-esque Hijinks!

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Ever since reading Christina Dudley’s beautiful modern adaptation of Mansfield Park, The Beresfords, I have been eager to read more from such a skilled and creative author! (It isn’t everyone who is The Beresfordsbrave enough to take on Mansfield Park!) Even though her latest release, The Naturalist isn’t my typical Austenesque fare, I was enticed to read it after hearing it described as a clean Regency romance similar in style to Georgette Heyer (I love me some hilarious hijinks!)

Our heroine in this tale is Alice Hapgood, the second daughter (out of four) of an almost-impoverished country squire. Alice reminds me a little of Elizabeth Bennet with her quick mind, love of the outdoors, and sometimes blatant disregard for lady-like behavior. She is passionate about science and sneaks out most mornings (in young men’s attire *gasp!*) to conduct her research and observations. An activity she is able to keep secret thanks to the help of a few trusted and caring servants! Continue reading »

Oct 262012

A Stellar and Compelling Homage to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Being fourteen is never easy – still in your awkward stage, feeling misunderstood, falling for your first crush, etc. And for Frannie Price it is an even more trying time because she is painfully shy, insecure, and harboring a secret and possibly inappropriate crush on her step-cousin, Jonathan. But what really makes the summer of her fourteenth year really unbearable is Caroline and Eric Grant. From the moment she met the quick-witted, charming, and vibrant siblings, Frannie knew they were trouble. She knew that they would enchant, distract, and negatively influence all the Beresford siblings, but what could she do about it? She was just a poor relation with a drug-addict mother, taken in by her aunt’s wealthy husband and family…

Starting her tale during the summer of 1985, Frannie tells us the story of that fateful summer and continues to chronicle the lives of the Beresfords for the next several years. Through Frannie’s impressions and insights readers are able to witness her true thoughts, hidden emotions, and silent pain. This establishes an intimate connection to the heroine and perhaps makes her seem less “priggish” and “insipid” as her Regency counterpart is sometimes described… Continue reading »