Review: An Eligible Gentleman by Alice Chetwynd Ley (1983)

Posted April 7, 2022 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

This is a meringue book – light, very digestible and sweet enough, but ultimately not meaty enough to be filling. I’m writing this a few days after finishing it and already I’m struggling to remember what I liked about it.

Here’s the premise: Frederick is that staple of Regency romances, the eligible but confirmed bachelor who has no wish at all to marry and settle down. His mother [*], however, has other ideas. She and her sister Ianthe, Lady Chalgrove, plan to marry Frederick to Ianthe’s daughter Phoebe (yes, a cousin marriage, so if this bothers you, best avoid this book). Lady Eversley is to bring Phoebe to London for the season, where she hopes cousinly feelings will blossom into something warmer. She persuades Frederick to accompany her to collect Phoebe. But Phoebe is in love with someone else and has no desire at all to marry Frederick, so her friend and local hoyden Eleanor Denham (Nell) sets about a cunning plan to make Frederick look like a bad match. Not understanding her motives, but knowing that her story is nonsense, Frederick takes Nell in great dislike. And when she, too, goes to London, the stage is set for a great deal of misunderstanding.

To be honest, this book made very little impression on me. Neither the events in London nor any romantic moments stayed with me, and I don’t feel inclined to reread to remind myself. However, it was very digestible, and I certainly enjoyed reading it, although I got a bit muddled with who was supposed to pair off with whom. A pleasant four star read.

[*] The lady actually died earlier in the series! This didn’t bother me in the slightest because I didn’t notice, but I saw it pointed out in a review and went off to check.

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