I think I always had a thing for Regency. And don't think it was just that wet shirt scene with Mr Darcy in the TV version of P&P. But, well, I liked to dramatised versons of stuff, and read very little of it, for some reason. But when I was delving into indie authors many a year ago, I came across Daphne du Bois and her repertoire of Regency romance. Thank the gods.
I read first, and loved, His Wayward Duchess, in The Lady Adventuress series, and wondered how the hell I hadn't got into Regency novels earlier. So, next up was The Scoundrel’s Secret Siren. Fun, not too heavy, but a forthright heroine and smouldering hero, I hammered through it. Lorelei is witty and bold, and always eager for adventure. Deciding to scandalously head off on her own to hunt ghosts one night in the country she comes across the dastardly lord of this book, Alastair, Earl of Winbourne. From that moment on there is no escaping the man, and their unconventional romance dips tantalisingly through all the things that incite gossip in the Regency period. It was fun to return to the adventuring and delightful silliness of the author’s characters, lined with passion and sheer romance of the period. I really loved Holly's journey in His Wayward Duchess but I felt Lorelei with her bluntness and wry humour is way closer to how I imagine I’d be in that era (and indeed today!), and at that point was a firm favourite. You gotta stick with your own.
So, book two then, the sequel, with Lorelei's sister Constance. Lorelei is married now to her scandalous earl, and Constance is about to have her paintings shown at the Royal Academy. Talented, confident and unwilling to compromise her future, Con was a wonderful heroine who never lost her draw, and the dastardly lord of the piece, Athelcroft the rake, unwound into a severely likeable hero. After he is given her space at the RA for his work instead, Con dares to insist that he return it. He agrees...with conditions. They must falsify a romance and engagement to fend off his pushy mother's insistence of a wife.
Fun and frolics follow, and normally straight as an arrow Con is turned secretive and sneaky, while Athelcroft's non-committal attitude is turned inside out. I don't read a massive amount of modern (or otherwise) Regency romance, so I rarely have a basis for comparison. But who cares, these are completely to my taste already. If you've never tried, or maybe never liked, a book in this genre pick up one of Du Bois'.
The author’s love of the era shines through, vibrant and eloquent, and the flawless shift through stubbornness, romance, heated passion and downright fun makes for a pleasurable romp in Regency society that hits all the right spots – make of that what you will.