I read one of Elizabeth Bramwell’s books quite a while ago, and enjoyed it, so I don’t quite know why it’s taken me so long to read another but there we are. This was recommended to me as being a light read, and so it is, and very enjoyable too.
Here’s the premise: Lydia Meadows has no desire to marry, and have her husband take everything she owns. Instead, as her father’s sole heir, she’s going to help him manage his various business interests, and perhaps develop a few businesses of her own, too. Her father recognises her talent and encourages her in that direction. And since she’s far taller than the average woman, she’s unlikely to find a husband anyway.
But then Lord Standish intrudes into her orderly existence by falling from his horse during a hunt. Lydia helps to rescue him, and this throws the two together. For his part, William has no intention of marrying, either. Some day, maybe, because as the only son it’s his duty, but surely not yet? But as they gradually learn more about each other and begin, perhaps grudgingly to develop some respect for each other, they realise that they are as alike as chalk and cheese. She is practical and competent to her core, but with a brisk, businesslike manner that may be successful in making deals but doesn’t work socially, while he is the easy-going social animal, who couldn’t organise his way out of a paper bag. And when he tries to prove his ability to manage his own affairs, everything goes horribly wrong. In some ways, they are ideally suited, but are they too unalike to make a match of it?
Well, we know the answer, of course, but watching them reach that point themselves is a delight. I liked the way William learnt to use his injured leg to his own advantage, when it suited him, and I thoroughly enjoyed his inventive ways of dealing with unwanted attentions from young ladies eager to be led to the altar. But along the way, he also learns what it’s like to be confined to the wallflower benches, and discovers that even wallflowers have strong and interesting personalities. It’s not uncommon to see a wallflower become the heroine of a Regency, but it’s unusual to see the plight of them as a group in this way. An interesting insight into Regency life.
The author brings the romance to fruition with a sure hand. I loved that William is attracted to his goddess, and charmingly calls her Artemis, almost from the start, and never wavers in that. I do like a hero who listens to his heart and understands what love is, instead of having it creep up on him as a huge surprise in the final chapter. There are some oddities of language – lived experience? Learning curve? But otherwise nothing horrible tripped me up, and this was a good four stars.