I have an odd para-social relationship with Alexis Hall’s books. On one hand, I love the sarcastic, self-deprecating mess that is Luc O’Donnell and his uptight, organized partner Oliver Blackwood from both Boyfriend Material and Husband Material. The books have such a gay Bridget Jones vibe that I adore them to pieces. However, I was not a fan of Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. As much as I did love Harry Dobson in the story, Rosaline herself was just a person who was content to just float along in life making one awkward mistake after another. It was a good book but it didn’t blow me away.
So when a book club I’m in suggested A Lady for A Duke, I was hesitant. Hall is such a varied author with the cavalcade of genres he writes but the idea of a regency romance caught me off guard.
I enjoy a good regency romance, depending on the subject matter. I enjoyed the first Bridgerton book, we all know my obsession for Pride & Prejudice variations and in the past, I’ve read some interesting regency style romances. But still, Hall, writing a regency? It seemed to…milquetoast a genre for him.
Oh how wrong I was.
The story opens with Viola Carroll, a lady’s maid for the new Lady Marleigh. Her employer (and sister-in-law) decides they need to travel to Northumberland to rescue the young Miranda from her disconsolate older brother, the Duke of Gracewood. There is only one problem with this, Justin, the Duke of Gracewood, was the best friend of Viola and one of the reasons he is despondent is due to her death on the battlefield of Waterloo.
Confused? Trust me, it’s all explained in the first paragraph. I went from eh? to Oh! in that short amount of time.
The remainder of the story reads like a typical regency romance. Viola and Lady Marleigh attempt to bring the young Miranda out as a young lady for her first Season in London. Miranda would rather dress like a gothic heroine and read Mary Shelley than be tightened and corseted and paraded around the marriage mart.
There wasn’t one person in this story I didn’t fall in love with. From Badger, the second son who is now Lord Marleigh and has absolutely no idea what to do with it to Lady Marleigh’s close friend, Lady Lillimere, a rich, titled woman who does what she wants and could run circles around Gentleman Jack only in a dress.
The romance was just a romance, with Gracewood and Viola growing closer as well as confronting their past. There’s romance, intrigue, gossip, love, debauchery, and all-around interesting fun.
I’m marking this in the “Yay” column for Hall’s books.
The first month is down friends, winter is half over and there are so many books to read.
Visit again with me next week when we talk about whatever comes to mind. Until then, make sure you take time for yourself.
Get your favorite drink and curl up with a good book.