This is Joan Smith’s first book (Dec 1976) and you can see that she is just getting started in her trademark style – there’s the banter between the main characters; the slightly dim male friend; and finally the independent heroine.
From the book blurb on Amazon:
The Marquis of Claymore had been rejected by the Beauty of the Season and he was determined to marry the first beautiful woman he could find to assuage his pride. There were the Wanderley twins, with Wanda as gorgeous as could be, and her twin, Ellie, obviously not in the same class. But Wanda was almost engaged…
In my opinion the plot of the story was heavily influenced by Georgette Heyer’s Friday Child – there’s certainly some very similar elements, but it is definitely it’s own story.
What did I like?
I liked the (initially) strong heroine and fact the hero wasn’t overbearing (I get sick of Alpha males in Regency romances after a while) – in fact he made quite a few mistakes and admitted to them! I also liked the humour provided by Giles’ friend Rex, as well as the fact there’s more romance in this book than in many of Ms Smith’s later books.
Giles (the hero) does show signs of maturing through the story though it is odd just how often he resorts to getting drunk – probably not the most mature way to deal with adversity to be honest.
What did I dislike?
I really disliked Giles’ mother’s attitude towards him. There’s no explanation for her behaviour and although it is a major plot point it seems forced and unnecessary.
There’s also no real understanding of how the heroine and hero fall in love – in fact at one stage Ellie herself questions this “They had not been often together, and when they had, it was mostly Wanda he was paying attention to. So when had he fallen in love with herself?”
Having said that though, this is a fun, light-hearted Traditional Regency romance that, whilst not my favourite of Ms Smith’s books, is definitely one I am happy to dip back into now and again.