It’s time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse! We gather once a month and discuss the best books we read this month and what we loved about them.
This month I started reading way too many books all at once, and I ended up only finishing one. I will feature it here today, but I’ll also tell you about some other books I’m reading that I think will be even better. I should warn you, though—they’re all regency romances. I’m on a regency kick at the moment.
Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen is the story of Hannah Rogers, a clergyman’s daughter with a secret forcing her to leave her home and become a companion to the wealthy, yet haughty, Lady Marianna Mayfield. As the story begins, Hannah is travelling into the country with Lady Mayfield and her husband, Sir John, when the carriage crashes, and they are all plunged into freezing water. Rescued by a kindly doctor and his wife, Hannah awakes to the name “Lady Mayfield.” Confused and disoriented, Hannah assumes that she is Lady Mayfield. Once taken to the Mayfield home, she begins to remember her real name and situation. She is told by Dr. Parrish that the traveling companion drowned and that Sir John is in a bad way. Every opportunity she has to tell the doctor that she is not Lady Mayfield is in some way thwarted, but when Sir John begins to recover his wits, Hannah knows she will have to fess up and risk prosecution for fraud.
I loved the first half of this novel. It was suspenseful and it kept me guessing what was going to happen and wondering how Hannah was going to get herself out of this mess. The characters were colorful, well-developed, and authentic. As so often happens in a novel, however, the last third of the book was a little too long and drawn out. There were some courtroom scenes that took forever, and I became irritated, thinking—“just tell me what happens!”
The ending wasn’t as satisfying as I would like. Although unexpected, I felt it was a little too convenient. Overall, I liked the book, and I would recommend it to one who enjoys a regency read with an unconventional twist.
I have also started reading Heartless by Mary Balogh and I’ve enjoyed it very much (I’m only halfway through). Luke Kendrick is the hero who has been betrayed by family and his fiancee. Ten years after all of that, he's back to claim the land and fortune that is rightfully his. Yet the hard blows to his life have left him incapable of love. He marries Anna Marlowe, only to find that she's not the innocent he thought. Even so, he agrees to remain married to her as long as she will bring forth heirs. As time goes by, love begins to bloom in her heart for him, but he does not return her sentiment. We are left to wonder if they'll ever have a meeting of the hearts...
The novel is rife with themes of the nobility, marriages of propriety, family lineages and peerages, and lots of rakish men getting themselves into all sorts of trouble. If you like that sort of thing, this is a well-written and intriguing book.
Finally, I started reading A Heart's Rebellion by Ruth Axtell. I just started this one two days ago, but it is set in 1815 during the London season. Jessamine Barry, jilted by the man she truly loved and wanted to marry, now leaves her quiet English village to venture into London for the infamous season. Even though she is initially unimpressed with the balls and parties, she soon meets Lancelot Marfleet and learns his family is very well known throughout society. Through this route she is introduced to more people, and apparently (although I haven't gotten there yet), she falls in with a rakish sort of gentleman who is all too happy to lead her down the path to rebellion.
So far I've really gotten into this book. I love reading Jane Austen-ish novels that deal with manners and society. I can't wait for the rake to come on the scene. I always love the rakes!
So that's what on my reading plate at the moment.
Tell me what you're reading right now, then check out some of my fellow bloggers and their reads for the month.