Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Rake's Redemption; Donna Simpson

I found this at my local UBS in their dwindling traditional regency section. I love TRs & I really wish they weren't passe. It's too late for that I suppose, but I feed my fix every once in a while by hunting for some "new to me" titles at my favorite UBS. Ms. Simpson currently publishes under the name Donna Lea Simpson. I thought I had some of her longer work in my TBR, but apparently I don't. Neither have I read or kept anything of hers, so she's a new to me author. Her most recent book, released in April of this year titled Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark is set in Georgian England.

As the title implies, ARR is all about that old regency maxim 'reformed rakes make the best husbands'. LOL :) ARR is also one of my personal favorites: wounded protagonist must be nursed to health by member of opposite sex. For me these romances often work in a similar fashion to cabin romances: the protagonists are forced into close & repeated contact by the circumstances of the illness/injury etc. So the reader can watch as their feelings grow and change as each person must deal with the other, even when they'd rather not.

Phaedra Gillian is an older, spinster daughter living in quiet isolation with her elderly father, a retired clergyman. One morning Phaedra, clad only in her wrapper & nightie, discovers (alerted by her maid) Lawrence Jamison, Earl of Hardcastle, beaten near unto death in the road not far from the Gillians' cottage. As 'Mr. Lawrence' slowly recovers, nosy neighbors reveal that the handsome man stuck abed upstairs is actually Hard Hearted Hardcastle himself! In the flesh. Devious seducer that he is. You know, while he's stuck in bed hoping he doesn't have kidney damage. LOL :)

As Hardcastle recovers, he and Phaedra's father play chess and have philosophical conversations in the evenings. The old clergyman spoon feeds Hardcastle newfangled thoughts about the role of love and women and fatherhood and what it really means to be an adult on your own terms. This is what I really really appreciated about this book- Hardcastle changes on his own with a push or two from Rev. Gillian. Yes, he lusts after Phaedra, but primarily the accident causes Hardcastle to be reflective in a place where a mature man can give him guidance.

An excellent little read, well worth your time if you order one or find it in a UBS near you.

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