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  • Regency romance with wit and charm

    I have previously read and reviewed all four of the books in this delightful, witty and romantic box set. The Dream of a Duchess: In this first book of the series, Ms. Sande has once again piqued my interest in how the rest of the plots would unravel. There were, in fact, two stories intertwined, both romantic, but the story between Isabella and Octavius progressed a little more slowly than that of David and Clarinda. The book is well written with humour and some sadness and there is also a mystery to be solved. After having witnessed the death of her mother, Isabella rides through the night to David Fitzwillim on her mother's instructions, to take refuge in his brothel. Not being the kind of place a lady of quality should be hiding out in, he calls in Octavius to assist him in secreting Isabella away. One has to have sympathy for Octavius as the high spirited, opinionated young lady upends his home, the servants, the stables and Octavius himself. However, despite rattling the butler's sense of proprietary, with time Isabella wins the whole household over and Octavius reconsiders his vow to his late wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the romance that played out between the young girl and the more mature Duke, as well as the ancillary characters. The Vision of a Viscountess: In this delightfully entertaining Regency romance, I found myself not wanting to miss a word. There is humour, adventure and romance as the reader is taken along for the journey. I identified very closely with Marianne and her myopia, having had similar problems growing up. In an era when spectacles were heavy and clumsy (even in the nineteen fifty's) a small child was teased unmercifully by classmates and on the playground. The history of spectacles that was woven into the story is interesting and I was fascinated by the origins of the earlier models. I was reminded of one crazy foray into wearing something different when I chose a pair of perfectly round specs. My experiences were exactly as described by Marianne. There were a couple of stories that ran parallel, which added to the enjoyment and kept me wanting more. I loved Jasper’s loving care of Marianne and the way in which he dealt with her insecurities. Marianne’s irrepressible spirit and pleasure in every aspect of life was a delight, as was the commentary on archaeological digs. Having traveled in the area when I was younger, I also enjoyed the flashbacks of my visit to Sicily. The book is very well written and I have a feeling that I’ll be coming back to it again in the future because it left me with such a good feeling. The Conundrum of a Clerk: It took me a bit of time to get into this book as I wasn’t sure whether I was reading a comedy or a tragedy. Once I chose to view the book as a comedy, I actually did find it enjoyable. Theodore and Daisy are both wounded warriors finding their way in society once again after the war was over. They had scars and were living with the aftermath of their war experiences. The story did jump around a bit for me, as characters from previous books were drawn into this one. The love stories of other characters were also included. Nevertheless, this is a well written, gentle romance and it has a happy conclusion. The Charity of a Viscount: The hero of the novel, Viscount Lancaster has something of a Walter Mittie complex and gets lost in his daydreams, sometimes leading to unforeseen events. Lady Charity has had her fill of bounders and rakes and is reveling in her freedom, even though she is living in borderline poverty. Taking up a position as a matchmaker in order to earn some “pin money” - i.e. much-needed finance - Charity gets wrapped up in the lives of the servants in big mansions as she attempts to find them marriage partners. Marcus has loved Charity from afar for years but because of his bumbling, almost loses his chance to make his feelings known to her. There were laugh-out-loud moments and also some cringe-worthy events but all in all I did enjoy this book. I received a copy of this box set as a gift and this is my honest and voluntary review.

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