Who but a young lady from America would dare arrive in Regency London at the height of the season - and promptly announce her express intention of marrying for wealth and position?
Who but this outrageous beauty would keep two of the most eligible bachelors in the realm on tenterhooks, while defying the wishes of the arrogant, incomparably attractive, immensely rich Lord Northover himself?
Who is quite the most captivating heroine of this or any other season ? Who else but - Lydia.
Clare Darcy was an author who wrote Regency Romances in the 70’s, and on the covers of her books are comparisons to Georgette Heyer. I think this might be mostly due to the timing since there were not many authors writing regencies at that time, but I was curious to try her out. So far I had read Eugenia and Victoire which I thought were average, and Regina which I actually liked. But I liked Lydia even better.
Miss Lydia Leyland, her brother Bayard and their grandmother Mrs. Leyland come to London from America. Mrs Leyland is English but after her marriage she and her husband went to America, since her father had lost most of his fortune even had to sell the family country home. Mrs Leyland sister, Letty, dies and leaves some of her jewellery to her sister. These are the only funds the Leylands have, unless and until Lydia can catch a rich husband. Lydia is a very attractive young lady, with elegance, manners, wit, charm and has no difficulty being a hit in society, adroitly managing her many suitors and admirers. She is also energetic and very capable, looking after and managing the problems of her brother (he falls in love) and her grandmother (she looses big sums on cards). She also tries to coax and persuade the very rich Sir Basil (aunt Letty’s widower) to make Bayard his heir, and also has to deal with Mr Pentony, the villain of the book, a great-nephew of Sir Basil’s who would very much like to inherit that fortune himself. Needless to say Lydia is pretty busy! But she does an admirable job on all fronts, and I have to say she is sharp as a needle, one of the cleverest and more intelligent heroines I have met. She is so far removed from the innocent, naïve, shy and helpless miss as possible, a very big plus for me.
The hero Christopher Broome, Viscount Northover was a captain of Dragoon Guards, until he unexpectedly inherited the title from his great uncle. He has a rakish reputation, and is seen as confirmed bachelor. He also very intelligent, quite sarcastic on occasion and derives great amusement watching Lydia making a dash in society. These two were a perfect match for each other, and they were very entertaining. Lydia is without doubt the star of the book but Northover is the perfect partner for her.
The book overall was very enjoyable, the people, atmosphere and language had a real regency feel to them, plus everyone is addressed correctly. It really felt like a ‘proper’ regency romance! As for the comparisons to Georgette Heyer, the style is different but for entertainment value it does very well indeed!