Tag: speers

Review: The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Jane by Susan Speers (2022)

Posted August 30, 2022 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 2 Comments

A difficult one for me to rate. I’m a huge fan of Susan Speers, who is one of the most original Regency authors around. I never quite know what she’ll come up with next, and I love that uncertainty. But it does mean that her books are quite hit or miss with me. This one was more miss than hit, but still an intriguing read.

Here’s the premise: Lady Jane Wilverhampton is living a retired life with her godmother in Scotland, trying to escape the misery of an almost-betrothal that went wrong and family scandal. But when she’s invited to a house party, she meets again the man who broke her heart a number of years ago, when he married someone else. It wasn’t from choice – the two were caught alone in the library together and forced to marry. Now she’s dead, and Angus Killoran is free again, but Jane has made a vow never to marry. Her father and younger brother were both tainted by a kind of madness, and she won’t pass on that bad blood to another generation. But Angus has a younger brother, Fergus, who is supposed to be wooing the daughter of their hosts, a beautiful heiress who will restore the Killoran fortunes. Unfortunately, Fergus has taken a shine to Jane…

The characters here have an awful lot of history. There’s the halcyon days of Jane and Angus’s courtship in France. The misery of his entrapment, forcing him to marry. There’s his wife’s death in a fire, partially destroying the family home. Then there is Jane’s father, and his cruelty to her mother and to the children. Jane’s younger brother has committed murder, although we never hear much about that, and he’s living abroad. And finally, Jane’s older brother, who also vowed never to marry, has broken that vow and is expecting his first child. All of this is revealed piecemeal in flashbacks, which gives the book a disjointed feel.

There are numerous side characters, none of whom are ever brought to the front of the stage so that we can get to know them properly. They simply flit about, moving into Jane’s view and then out again, easily forgotten. I would have liked to know more about the heiress, for instance, and also about young Catriona and her brother. What was the point of them in this story? I have no idea.

As for Angus and Fergus, I never really understood what they were thinking or feeling, or why they didn’t sit down together and talk openly about Jane. It seemed as though they simply drifted about in a helpless, purposeless way. And then there was Jane herself. What did she feel? Where was the emotion? Sometimes she cried and paced about impatiently, but I can’t say that any of the intense feelings she ought to be (and was!) experiencing came across to me. A lot of this was frustrating to me. I’m not a huge fan of angsty heroines, but with the sort of tragedies sweeping through Jane’s life, I wanted to feel her pain more intensely than I did.

If this sounds negative, it’s because there is an unusual and powerful story here that struggled to escape the unemotional tone of the writing. Perhaps other readers can fill in the gaps between what was written and what was beneath the surface, but I found it too difficult. There were moments when the emotion reached me, but mostly it was submerged. The writing was also marred by proofreading errors, with a lot of wayward punctuation, and a few anachronisms (no teddy bears in the Regency, for example). Speers has written some amazing books, but this one was an interesting read that just didn’t quite work for me. I still recommend it, and the whole series, for anyone who’s tired of the usual Regency tropes. Three stars.


Review: The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Isobel by Susan Speers

Posted March 22, 2021 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

Susan Speers is one of my favourite authors, not because she’s the World’s Best Writer (she has her faults, like most writers do), but because she always takes me by surprise. I just never know from one book to the next what I’m going to find. More than that, even within the book itself, I never know where it’s going. With most Regencies, once the characters are on stage and the circumstances are laid out, it’s generally easy to predict what will happen. Not the details, but the general flow. Not with a Speers book, and there’s an edginess to that that’s almost entirely lacking elsewhere in the genre. Mary Balogh had it in some of her early works, but it’s rare. One reviewer described this book as thrilling, and I can see why. I find it unsettling, but it’s still fascinating, as all Speers’ books are. I’ve varied in how much I’ve enjoyed each one, but I would never dream of missing one, and now that Amazon has stopped telling followers about new releases, she’s the only author where I regularly check to see if there’s a new one out.

Here’s the premise: Isobel is an orphan living with her stepmother and two stepsisters. Her guardian is away in India and has been happy to let Isobel’s stepmother run the estate and look after Isobel, but in the nature of stepmothers, this one is bent on squeezing out Isobel in favour of her own daughters, and taking possession of Isobel’s mother’s collection of jewellery, intended for Isobel. Unable to stop her, Isobel resorts to stealing her own jewellery, and when that is discovered, borrowing and replacing it, just to appease her own sense of injustice.

Into this difficult setting comes the mysterious Earl of Drayton to buy a silver presentation box, part of Isobel’s fortune, being sold over her head. He has his own objectives, but his path runs alongside Isobel’s for a while, so when she runs away from home to avoid an unwanted marriage or the threat of an asylum, he scoops her up to protect her.

Or so he says. I have to say that the earl came across as rather a dark character to me. He very creepily turns up wherever Isobel happens to be. Is he watching her? I was suspicious of him almost to the end, and when he started kissing Isobel in the moonlight, I feared the worst for her. He dumps her on a friend of his, and I was suspicious of her, too! What are these two up to? The friendly Eudora with her mysteriously missing companion and her willingness to take in a random stranger just because Drayton asks her to had me silently screaming: run away, Isobel! Quick, quick!

After this brief interlude of cosseting in London, the book veers off into road movie territory, with a series of stops with various people where Isobel has to pretend to be Eudora’s companion (replacing the mysteriously missing one), Eudora takes malicious delight in bossing her about and the earl continues to leap out of dark corners and indulge in moonlight kisses. It’s this latter habit that inevitably gets them into trouble and leads to a fake engagement. Or is it fake? Hard to tell what the earl is feeling or thinking, frankly, and Isobel, to whose thoughts we are privy, is such a jumble of contradictions that there’s no making her out, either. Eudora was not much easier to understand.

Along the way, there are a number of adventures that don’t seem to be much connected but are quite entertaining anyway, a rather clever denouement that I enjoyed and a satisfactory resolution to the romance. These two were not the most passionate of couples (apart from when struck by moonlight!) but they felt like a good fit, to me. The sex is mentioned but it’s not graphic in the slightest. As far as historical accuracy goes, nothing jumped out at me, although I was thrown by the earl’s estate being called Blackpool (which is a very famous town in Lancashire), but I don’t think it was meant to be anywhere near the town. Another house mentioned was called Blessings, an oddly unBritish name. With all the travelling around, I never had any idea where they were, most of the time. I’d have liked some idea of locations just to get my bearings (it’s very dislocating, as a Brit, not to know where the characters are and which way they’re travelling). As usual with Speers, a final edit wouldn’t have gone amiss. There were a number of typos, and the punctuation was terrible.

This is not my favourite Speers, but I still enjoyed it a lot and galloped through it in a couple of days. It unsettled me not to know whether any of the main characters were heroes or villains or some combination until the very end. Combined with the jumping about from place to place, that keeps it to four stars for me, but it was still a very worthwhile and interesting read. Now on to J… Jane? Juliana? Jennifer?


Review: The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Harriet by Susan Speers

Posted November 25, 2019 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 1 Comment

Susan Speers is one of my must-read authors, and although her books vary from the electrifying to the rather dull, they are always different. I just never know what’s going to turn up next, and that’s a large part of what makes this series so fascinating. This one veers slightly to the dull end of the spectrum, but it’s still a fine read, a cut above most Regencies and well worth the more than a year’s wait since Georgette.

For those who enjoyed Felicity, this is a direct follow-on to that book, showing what happened after the death of Laurence (Laurie) Dashiell. Felicity herself has only a minor role, since the focus here is on plain Harriet Welles, the vicar’s spinster sister, and Peregrine Dashiell, the new heir to Lavender Hill, Laurie’s home. Perry is an American, raised to poverty but taking to life as a country gentleman with surprising aplomb. In fact, the major problem with this book is that the main characters are just too good – there are no flaws to be worked out, no conflict between them and, to be honest, no real obstacle to their romance. This is the dull part of the story, and although it’s pleasing to watch them realise their feelings and the resolution was lovely, I would have liked a lot more ups and downs before they reached that point.

Fortunately, there is an array of more interesting characters to liven things up. Harriet’s sister, Jewel (Julia), for instance, Peregrine’s African friend and the Romany child all added some welcome spice to the otherwise bland plot. And I very much approved of the author’s resolution for the villain of Felicity, Dart, which was both creative and showed a deep understanding of human nature, as well as being very satisfying. The subplot with the brother was a little too predictable, however, although I enjoyed it.

A couple of historical hiccups that I noticed. The vicar’s financial difficulties were a recurring theme, but in England, once a living is given to a clergyman, it’s his for life and the income comes from fixed tithes from the parish. The local landowner has the gift of the living (ie the right to bestow it on a man) but he doesn’t actually pay the incumbent. The other point concerns the maid who’s a slave. Slavery had been abolished in England by the Regency and technically a slave is free the moment he or she sets foot on English soil. However, that would have to be settled in the courts, and I actually preferred the solution the author arrived at. Both these points are very trivial and didn’t spoil the story for me in the slightest.

The real downfall for this book is the terrible punctuation, and this is a recurring problem in the series. There are a few editing errors and Americanisms, although these were not major issues, but the wayward punctuation was a constant irritant. If the author could bring herself to let a proofreader loose on the final draft, these books would be enormously improved. Without this, I’d have given the book five stars, but as it is, I can’t really give it more than four. Now on to I (Imogen? Isobel? Irene?) and let’s hope it’s less than a year to wait for it.


Review: The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Georgette by Susan Speers

Posted October 16, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

After the success of Felicity, I was nervous about this, since the author’s history in this series is wildly variable. But this is another success. It lacks some of the dazzling originality of previous books, returning to the well-trodden Regency style of drawing room manners, but it is so polished a performance that I have few quibbles. The romance is credible, the writing is stylish and there’s a surer hand than before with the plotting. An excellent read.

Here’s the premise: Georgette Sinclair is in the doghouse for jilting a perfectly acceptable suitor just two weeks before the wedding. To allow time for the scandal to die down, she’s sent to Rosborough Hall to provide company for a distant relation, a young wife suffering from depression and migraines. The wife, Allegra, turns out to be a flighty piece, not at all happy with her staid husband, Sir Edmund Rosborough. She neglects her child, Patricia (Pippa), and only comes to life when surrounded by cicisbeos. Her husband, meanwhile, is miserable too. Into this strained household is dropped Georgette, equally troubled and vulnerable.

The difficult relationship between Allegra, Edmund, Georgette and Pippa forms the backbone of the book, and there’s a slow and intricate build to the inevitable crisis which is both beautifully written and compelling. I don’t want to spoil anything by revealing plot details, but there were several twists that caught me by surprise, but in the best way, such that you can see the inevitability of it when it happens and it doesn’t just come out of left field.

A few quibbles. The final few chapters descend almost into farce, where the characters keep bumping into each other in the most improbable way. There are some continuity errors, so that Georgette says at one point that a kiss is her first, yet she clearly describes an earlier kiss with her almost-husband. There are a very few typos and some wayward punctuation.

But none of this was a problem for me. I enjoyed this enormously, the writing was effective and beautifully evocative, and I was thrilled that the protagonists behaved well despite temptation. Hooray for characters with moral backbone. Five stars. I can’t wait to find out what the letter H has in store.


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Felicity’ by Susan Speers

Posted March 17, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 2 Comments

Finally! After five books in the series where the author’s talent almost shone through but was drowned out by misfiring plots, a scattergun approach to punctuation and (in one case) sheer dullness, here she gets everything right. Fascinating characters, an engrossing story, a villain unmasked and a heart-warming romance – this one works on all fronts, and the editing is excellent, too.

Here’s the premise: Felicity Debenham has been passed from one distant relation to another, and given the most desperate jobs, treated with contempt, cheated of her pay and accused of stealing. Cast out on the streets with no other recourse, she turns to an old friend who now runs an employment agency. But it isn’t the sort of agency that supplies respectable maids, companions and governesses, and Felicity is forced to consider learning a new, and less respectable, trade.

She’s rescued by a most unlikely circumstance. Hervey Godbold is looking for female companionship to bring some cheer to the last Christmas of his dying friend, Laurence Dashiell. Unable to find any respectable woman willing to travel north with him, he’s forced to try less reputable sources. Felicity, of course, is happy to help, and so these two set off on their journey together.

Hervey is a most unusual hero for any romance, for he’s a big, blundering sort of guy, not terribly bright but good hearted, and very gentle with Felicity, treating her with the utmost respect, even though he’s effectively paid for her services as a whore. Laurence, Hervey’s soldier friend who’s dying from his wounds, is another gentle soul. He calls Felicity ‘Happiness’, and Hervey calls her ‘Fliss’, and I loved both names for her, which spoke volumes about the two men. Of course, there’s a villain, Laurence’s cousin Dart, who is only waiting for Laurence to die to take over his estate. And he’s been defrauding Laurence, somehow, but no one can quite work out how.

There’s never any doubt as to how things will turn out, and if I have a complaint at all about these books, it’s that the characters fall too rigidly into the good or bad side. There are no shades of grey here, only black and white. But the story is lovely, the romance is charming and the few sex scenes are appropriate and unusually realistic for the genre (by which I mean that the heroine doesn’t fall into instant ecstasy the moment she gets her kit off).

The whole series is interesting, but this one excels. Highly recommended for anyone looking for something different from the usual unfeasibly handsome dukes behaving badly and improbably beautiful but wilfully independent young ladies. Five stars. And now the wait begins for Miss G. Gladys? Gertrude? Gillian?


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Edwina’ by Susan Speers

Posted March 17, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

The fifth of this series, and yet again a completely different story. Not for this author the constant reworking of one threadbare plot over and over. Not all the books are totally successful, but they’re all intriguing, and the hope of uncovering another gem keeps me reading on through the alphabet.

The spinster this time is Edwina Howlett, or Garrett as she calls herself for much of the book, for reasons that never made a great deal of sense to me. She’s been the governess/companion to spoilt, wilful Louisa Hart, who was one of the potential brides invited to the house party in Abigail. I really like that these books are loosely connected in this way, without the artificial constructs of an array of brothers or sisters. Now that Edwina’s charge is betrothed and shortly to marry, she’s no longer needed and takes up a position as a school teacher with a family friend, first in Bath and then in London. But it soon becomes clear that a great deal went on behind the scenes during Edwina’s time at Hartfield.

Edwina herself is a very likable character, very sensible and down to earth, yet holding steadily to her one true love. I never got much sense of her appearance, and I couldn’t tell you whether she was plain or pretty, tall or short, or whatever. Maybe it was all in there and I just missed it, I don’t know. Her love interest, however, I can see very clearly.

He doesn’t come out of this too well. Sir Geoffrey Hart is the father of the girl Edwina was governess to, and therefore an older man who ought to know better. He’s thrown Edwina out of his house, in harrowing circumstances, and immediately betrothed himself to an unpleasant woman of his own age, and although his reasons for this gradually become clear, it is still utterly reprehensible behaviour in a gentleman. Inevitably, despite the apparent permanent parting, he ends up bumping into Edwina at every verse end, whereupon he blows hot and cold and is generally thoroughly annoying. At odd moments he becomes seriously heroic, only to abandon Edwina without a word immediately afterwards. Honestly, I just wanted to slap him upside the head. The contrast with the steadfast and devoted Captain Palfrey in Daphne is striking. Not all heroes need to be the same, but they need to have some redeeming qualities besides the heroine being in love with them.

The author provides an attractive alternative suitor in Mr Richard Ravenscroft, who is a totally nice man, independently wealthy, handsome and pleasingly devoted to Edwina. But he never really develops beyond this sketchy outline, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because Edwina is besotted by her flaky older man. There are some subplots going on in the background, but essentially they are just feeding the romance plot.

In the end, Edwina begins to cast off her very convincing impression of a doormat and starts to stand up for herself, and her love interest finally comes good. And about time too.

These books are so frustrating. On the one hand, the stories are fresh and different and very well grounded in the Regency era. On the other hand, the editing is pretty dire, with commas, quote marks and capital letters randomly added or missing, and far too many choppy sentences and clunky dialogue. The plotting is clunky, too. To give but one example, Edwina meets Richard Ravenscroft accidentally at an inn while they are travelling in different directions. They’ve barely got past the awkward introductions (he’s bathing in the river at the time) before he’s spilling his life history and asking her advice, at great length. To describe this as implausible doesn’t begin to do justice to the random let’s-just-throw-them-together nature of it.

And yet, despite all my grumbles, here I am reading steadily through the series. I already have Felicity and I’m pretty sure I’ll go on to G (Geraldine? Georgiana? Grace?) and H (my money’s on Harriet) and right through to Z (Zinnia? Zoe?). I would love to see the author slow down her production schedule and put a bit of polish on these, with decent covers and some solid developmental editing and proofreading. Then they could be something really special. This one is closer to a three star for me, but it tackles some serious issues and is so original in other ways that I’ll round it up to four stars.


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Daphne’ by Susan Speers

Posted March 17, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

This series is a real mixed bag. Abigail was delightful, Belinda a little less successful, Cecily a powerful and absorbing read. But this one is just dull. The focus is a children’s Nativity play, there are a couple of nasty characters with no redeeming qualities, and a hero who’s just a very nice man. The heroine doesn’t show much character, either, and absolutely nothing of interest happens. The slowness isn’t helped by dialogue that covers every word spoken between the characters.

Here’s the plot, such as it is: Daphne (who’s supposed to be a chatterbox but we never really hear this) lives in genteel poverty with her elderly aunts. She’s courted by retired sea-dog Captain Palfrey and a cousin, clergyman Gideon Spicer. The clergyman is resolutely dogmatic in insisting that she marry him, and I longed to box his ears every time he refused to take no for an answer. Daphne was far more restrained in her refusals than I would have been. There are some struggles with money issues and a problem for Captain Palfrey which Daphne gets involved with and that’s about it, really.

There are fewer editing issues in this book than in books 2 and 3 in the series, but there are still far too many punctuation errors and one or two sentences that just made no sense. There are some implausibilities in the plot, too. Even so, I still enjoyed the romance, and especially the ending which was very satisfactory. Three stars. I’ve already downloaded Edwina and Felicity, so I’ll probably read on and hope for better fortune.


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of A Regency Spinster: Cecily’ by Susan Speers

Posted March 2, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

The enjoyable aspect of a series like this is that every book is different. It’s like a box of chocolates where you don’t know until you try it whether you’ve got the strawberry cream or the caramel or the nutty one. I loved Abigail, was ho-hum about Belinda and now Cecily is perhaps the strongest story yet. But be warned – for sensitive souls, it’s a bit of a weepy.

Here’s the plot: Cecily has endured some heartbreaking years, but at last she’s found a sanctuary of sorts in the small seaside village of Daggers Bay, acting as companion to the invalid daughter of a neighbouring family. But then into this quiet life comes a man from her past – Lord Hawley, heir to an earldom.

I’m not going to spoil the read by revealing too much of what follows, but suffice it to say that both characters have to learn to live with and accept the past, and change enough to have a future together. These are two strong-minded people who share an unbreakable bond of love, and I wept buckets as they gradually came to their happy ever after. A great love story. There is a sex scene, but it’s nicely done and felt in character.

There are some fine minor characters, too, especially Laurel, the invalid, and I think we’ve met the Daphne of the next book. There are a few caricatures, too, especially amongst the villainous characters, and I do think Carlton was way too easy on his mother – I’d have been spitting fire about it. The historical accuracy level is high, although Viscount Hawley would always be addressed as Lord Hawley, and never as Viscount. Dukes are the only nobles ever addressed by their rank.

So why only four stars? It’s because the editing is terrible. Speech marks are left out here, there and everywhere, there are extra or missing words, there’s confusion over lie and lay, and Laurel becomes Lauren at one point. And if the author could have brought herself to use the past perfect tense (using ‘had’) many passages would have been greatly improved. It’s such a shame, because the book is well-written and emotionally very powerful, but such sloppiness lets it down badly. Four stars and on to Daphne.


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Belinda’ by Susan Speers

Posted February 2, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

I loved the first book in this series, Abigail, and immediately plunged into this one, which featured one of the intriguing side characters from the first book. Sadly, it is nothing like as resounding a success as the first one. Large parts of the plot are, not to put too fine a point on it, a hot mess.

Here’s the premise: Belinda is the epitome of a poor relation. She’s passed around from one branch of the family to another, as she might be useful. Eventually, she washes up in London, at the home of elderly Millicent Anstruther, to whom Belinda is to act as companion. Millicent, we are given to understand, is a dragon, who chews up companions and spits them out.

And here is the first of several problems. Millicent is a little brusque, but she’s never less than kind to Belinda. She gives her light secretarial duties, fits her out in stylish clothes and takes her along to every grand society event. The hostile person in the family is Millicent’s niece Fleur, who fits neatly into the spoilt, wilful but beautiful debutante category. She treats Belinda as a servant and is unfailingly rude to her. Millicent, the supposed dragon, ticks her off for these insults, of course, pointing out that Belinda is family.

The central plot revolves around a collection of archaeological artifacts, which Fleur and scholar Edward Fortescue, a friend of Belinda’s from book 1, are cataloguing. This is where everything unravels, because very little of this made much sense to me. I found it impossible to believe that the honour of the family hinged entirely on the collection, and there were so many coincidences and lucky breaks as to defy credibility. I’m still not sure who set the fires, or what became of the visits to His Grace and the Earl, which Millicent’s brothers were to undertake. Nor could I believe for one moment that spoilt, selfish Fleur, surrounded by titled suitors, would run away with a penniless man. Hot mess, the whole lot of it.

And here’s a complaint that I don’t often have to make these days — this book was riddled with typos. Not so much spelling errors, but missing or extraneous words, poor punctuation and even a wrong name (Millicent is called Mildred at one point). This is so disappointing, because the first book was very much cleaner in this respect, and it’s so sad when a fine writer’s work is let down in this way.

But the main romance was lovely. The hero was a delightful character that I was rooting for all the way, Belinda’s growing feelings were perfectly understandable and the misunderstandings between them actually made some sense. All their scenes shimmered with romantic fairy dust, even when Belinda herself wasn’t aware of it, there was no gratuitous sex scene this time (unlike the first book), and the ending was delightful. So, despite the hot mess (which may just be my brain not working well) and the typos, I’m going to give this three stars and hope for better in book 3, Cecily.


Review: ‘The Difficult Life of a Regency Spinster: Abigail’ by Susan Speers

Posted February 2, 2018 by Mary Kingswood in Review / 0 Comments

A delightful book that almost made it to five stars. This is the first of a series focusing on Regency spinsters, those not born to great beauty or wealth or connections, who must eke out an existence as best they can. Miss Abigail Grey is a little-regarded step-daughter of her mother’s second husband, and, with her mother long-dead, has a difficult future ahead of her. But when she accompanies her wilful half-sister to a house party for the Marquess of Southey to choose a bride, Abigail recognises him as the impoverished soldier she rejected seven years earlier. There’s never any doubt as to where this is going, but the journey is entrancing.

I liked the Marquess very much, a sensible, thoughtful man, doing his duty at his aunt’s behest. A lesser writer would have had him rushing into a betrothal with the half-sister before realising his mistake, but no, he courts Abigail very determinedly, if discreetly, and never allows himself to be drawn in by the young ladies vying for his hand, or their scheming mamas. And Abigail behaves with (mostly) propriety, and has good reason for continuing to resist the marquess. And thereby lies a minor grumble – it surely wouldn’t have been too difficult for her to explain to him the reason for her refusal. It would have saved a great deal of difficulty.

The other characters are lightly sketched in, but I’ve been pleased to learn that some of them turn up later in the series. I didn’t detect any historical inaccuracies, and the writing avoided the pitfall of anachronistic manners or dialogue. Some aspects felt very Heyer-like (the wilful young ingenue and the callow youth, for instance, and perhaps the marquess falls into the world-weary older man role so beloved of Heyer, although happily without rakish tendencies). In almost all respects the book was the greatest pleasure to read.

The exception, and the reason for the loss of a star, is the gratuitous sex scene in the conservatory. I have no problem with sex in a Regency romance, but this felt utterly out of character for both parties. I would have loved a detailed proposal scene at this point, with the marquess spelling out how his feelings have deepened over the years since their brief earlier meeting, and how well-suited they were. Passion can be expressed just as well in words as in horizontal action.

Apart from this blip, the book was well-nigh perfect for me, I inhaled it in a day, and am going straight on to Belinda. Four stars.