Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca (1957), eBook, 400pg
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Rank, wealth, and elegance are no match for a young lady who writes novels...
Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has exacting requirements for a bride. Then he meets Phoebe Marlow, a young lady with literary aspirations, and suddenly life becomes very complicated. She meets none of his criteria, and even worse, she has written a novel that is sweeping through the ton and causing all kinds of gossip... and he's the main character! (from Goodreads)
Sylvester: a dude who wants to get married because it’s about that time or something. He’s not in love with anybody and wants his mother to make the decision. He has villianous eyebrows and he’s ALL ABOUT nobless oblige, which can be a huge problem when it makes you unable to relate to people.
Ianthe: Sylvester’s brother’s widow. She is terrible! She only cares about clothes and money and people thinking she’s great (protip: she’s not). Her son is Sylvester’s heir and nephew.
Sir Nugent: Ianthe’s boyfriend. He thinks he’s a pink of the ton but, spoiler: he’s not. This makes him so ridiculous it’s close to slapstick. Sylvester hates him. (So does everyone else.)
Phoebe: a lady who wants to be an author and live independently and write books! She’s terrorized by her step-mother and has a best friend named Tom. She’s not afraid to tell Sylvester that he’s being terrible, which creates about half the conflict between them.
Tom: Phoebe’s brother from another mother. He’s noble and kind! And very much put-upon.
Lady Ingham: Phoebe’s grandmother who is a kick-ass old lady despite having a fear of the ocean or something.
Misunderstandings caused by eyebrows and haughtiness!
The Plot Part II
Sylvester realizes he’s been horrible and has done unkind things and he apologizes and Phoebe tells him off some more and somewhere between the fighting and the dancing and the kidnapping of Sylvester’s nephew they fall in love!
The Plot Part III
Phoebe does not grow a backbone re:her stepmother, but I can only assume that was an oversight.
The Blogger’s Reaction
I love it to bits! I love how complex Phoebe and Sylvester are; they aren’t perfect people, and they cause themselves a lot of problems. But it all works out in the end, after they’re forced to actually talk to each other. Yay! I also love how Sylvester has some typical romance tropes built into his character, but that he’s forced to either change them or work through them somehow. For example, he originally tries to woo Phoebe for revenge, because she didn’t like him. He acts very alpha male-ish and is very charming, and it all backfires SPECTACULARLY. (Read the book to see how.)
I love how terrible and silly Ianthe and Sir Nugent are! They’re the villains of the book, though they’re actually just vain and selfish and not really worth bothering with. They were fun to root against, for sure.
The actual story was pretty predictable, especially after reading a bajillion Georgette Heyer books this year. BUT it was also exciting and lovely, and it’s definitely going on my to-reread-list!
Read: January 22-23, 2014