Title: First Season/Bride To Be (two novels in one book)
Genre: Classic Historical Romance, Regency
Author: Jane Ashford
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Oct. 6, 2015
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 3/5
Description from Amazon.com:
Two classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season
FIRST SEASON (originally published in 1983) Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.
That blurb neglects to mention Anabel’s three precocious children, William, Nicholas and Susan. They are really the stars of this book and help to focus the story. I truly enjoyed this book because so many of the current romance novels don’t feature children in pivotal roles, it was a welcome change. The bad guy doesn’t seem all that bad until toward the end, the good guy is rather wimpy at times and Anabel is indecisive most of the time. That leaves the children to do their best, in childish ways, to rectify the situations. Kudos to Anabel’s mother for being the only mother in Romance Novel history to hold her tongue and let her daughter decide her own fate. That Georgina, Anabel’s cousin, had to lose weight to be accepted was rather sad but I suppose true of all eras. Deet’s Rating: 4, Sexy Rating: 3.
BRIDE TO BE (originally published in 1999) Emily Crane is the toast of the ton-and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…
This is very much a Mystery/Historical Romance. It appears that life threatening near misses may be actual murder attempts on Richard’s life. At least that is the notion that Emily decides and Richard poo-poos. Soon Richard comes around to Emily’s ideas and since they have been compromised into a betrothal they will work together to figure out the mystery and then go their separate ways.
I enjoyed this romance novel. Again the premise was quite original yet believable. There is a feisty heroine, a paranormal medium, quirky artist parents, a stuffed shirt Duchess and sons, not to leave out a handsome hero and his weepy mother. My only negative is there was too much time spent running away toward the end of the book. Deet’s Rating: 4, Sexy Rating:5.
Deet’s General Impression: Both of these books are very entertaining and original, more so than many contemporary offerings. It would do all of us die-hard Historical Romance fans to delve into the back-lists of authors and I’m sure we will find hidden gems like these two.