Miss Rosalind Lacey has spent all her 26 years in the country, quietly managing the lives of her widowed father and five younger siblings.
When she learns she has contracted the illness that killed her mother, she decides to spend her last few months doing all the things she’s never had the time or opportunity to experience.
With the help of her worldly and notorious aunt, the simply country miss is transformed into a dashing Town sophisticate who cuts a wide and wild swathe through London Society. Since she won’t be around to face the consequences of her behaviour, Miss Lacey does and says exactly what she pleases, even becoming involved with the infamous rake, Max Davenant.
It is an exciting and heady time for the one-time country mouse, until she receives a fateful letter bearing news that turns her glittering new world upside down.
Written by: Candice Hern.
First published: 2001
We first meet MISS ROSALIND LACEY (Rosie to her family) as she is preparing to leave for London for as she puts it “a bit of a holiday”. There’s obviously a mystery about this as she has apparently not left home since her mother died 12 years previously; missing out on her own Season as a result. She’s also going to stay with the black sheep of the family, which her sister claims will doom them all.
MR MAX DAVENANT is 36 yrs old and bored, bored, bored with life. He is also very good friends with Rosie’s aunt (the black sheep) who asks him for his support in chaperoning Rosie.
And so the stage is set…
So what did I like about the book?
I liked the fact that Rosie is not described as a beauty. Stunningly beautiful heroines who are destined to be Diamonds of the First Water are far too common for my liking in Regency romances – it is nice to have an older heroine (26!!) and one who is more ‘handsome’ than beautiful. Though she does become beautiful after a classic makeover which kind of ruined it for me.
I loved Aunt Fanny, who was chosen by Rosie to “help her loosen those tight laces that had bound her for so long.” Her desire to live her life as she wished is unusual even today, I can only imagine the courage it took to do so in Regency London.
I also enjoyed the way Rosie sought to grab enjoyment from every experience – there’s definitely a message there for us all; you don’t have to be in imminent danger of dying to enjoy every day to the full.
Ms Hern’s writing is a delight – you can really feel the romance developing between the two main characters and sense the despair when the ‘big misunderstanding’ occurs.
So what did I not like about the book?
I really wish romance writers didn’t always pit the heroine’s female family members against her. In this book it is Rosie’s younger sisters who use her as unpaid help (although she is fortunate enough not to actually live with them) and do not support her desire to go to London.
Also Max’s constant internal harping on whether Rosie was innocent or not got pretty old pretty fast. Just let the woman enjoy herself for goodness sake without wondering if you can bed her!
Max’s lack of a title also puzzled me – his father is the Earl of Blythe so by rights he should have been called The Honourable Max Davenant rather than Mr Max Davenant. I don’t usually get too hung up on historical discrepancies but this is a pretty obvious error for an experienced writer like Ms Hern to make. And so it did annoy me.
How did I feel at the end?
That’s really the important thing isn’t it? Did I feel the HEA was right? Did I feel happy or disappointed by the misunderstandings? Was I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling or wishing I could get my money back?
Let’s take those questions in order:
Yes I felt the HEA was right though it felt a bit rushed ultimately.
The misunderstanding made sense and I could emphasise with Rosie’s decisions – they made sense given her behaviour.
I was definitely left with a warm and fuzzy feeling, mainly due to the way the book ultimately ended.
Overall, Highly Recommended for people who like ‘older’ heroines; believable misunderstandings; and some humour – best served with a glass of red wine and some chocolate I believe.
Want to learn more about Miss Lacey’s Last Fling? Visit Ms Hern’s website to get behind the scenes information and more information on the Regency references in the book.