Hero Too Weak, But Some Good Parts to the Story
I found this Regency to be a refreshing change from the typical. What young woman of the era would not want to go on a Grand Tour? Why should the young gentlemen have all the fun? That is not the only difference between this and other Regencies. The heroine is actually American by birth, the daughter of an English earl who has chosen to live his married life in Georgia so his wife may remain close to her family. But now that Cecilia, the heroine, is of age to secure a good match, her father wants to take the family back to England so she can find a suitable husband, preferably a titled one chosen by him. Lady Cecilia is able to convince her father to allow her a six-month Grand Tour through Italy before she settles in for a London season. While she is in Rome, with her mother and companion, she happens to meet two young Englishmen. One is Lord Frederick Williamson, who is there with his friend, Lord Haverstock. These two young men have been enjoying life on the continent, escaping responsibilities that they both have at home. Frederick, the hero, has been ducking his mother’s more and more urgent missives to return home.
Frederick and Cecilia have a natural affinity for each other that Cecilia’s mother is happy to encourage, though she is not sure if she should because he may not be of high enough rank for her husband. (In a fun subplot, the companion gets a little romance, too.) But Frederick has been hiding a big secret, one he is not sure how Cecilia will respond to. When his mother succeeds in calling him back to England, he does so in haste, not giving proper leave to Cecilia.
I thought the hero and the heroine were well drawn, though a few things did seem odd. First, I find it hard to believe that Cecilia was truly so meek before–that her boldness and the spirit that she showed in Italy is so different from her previous “true” character. She did seem to be that sort of person before, so it wasn’t really new. I liked that Frederick was at first the typical aloof Regency hero but quickly became something more as Cecilia lifted his spirit with her kindness and forthrightness. What I didn’t like about him was how weak he became when confronted by his mother. Seriously, why couldn’t he have stopped and talked to Cecilia before fleeing back to England? He was just going to do his mother’s bidding and take off on the first boat? That seems so different from the way he thought about his mother previously and how he swore he would act. And when they got face-to-face, he changed completely. He actually became pretty weak, and I didn’t like that . . . another did Lady Cecilia. Not good for a hero to become weak when he must confront his mother!
The book was oddly structured in that what the called the epilogue was really part of the main story. If the book had ended before, where the epilogue started, it would have been a very incomplete book. That said, I still thought the book ended rather abruptly, and I actually do love a true epilogue that gives is somewhat of a glimpse into the couple’s future.