Penniless Julia Marsh and Sir Carey Fitzhugh met in Vienna, at the Congress, where Julia was governess to her sister’s children. When they met again, Julia was stranded without money or luggage, and had taken a job in a Bavarian inn. Sir Carey had been jilted, and needed a wife in order to claim his inheritance. He proposed a marriage of convenience to Julia.
Written by: Marina Oliver writing as Sally James
First published: 2008
We first meet penniless Miss JULIA MARSH as she is preparing to seek out a new position. Her sister offers Julia a position as governess to her two daughters, accompanying them to the Grand Congress in Vienna.
Wealthy, handsome Sir CAREY EVELEGH is also on his way to the Grand Congress, perhaps romance is in the air? There’s only one problem – he’s already engaged.
So what did I like about the book?
After my complaints in “Miss Lacey’s Last Fling” about female fighting in Regency romances it was nice to see a loving, albeit unequal relationship between the two sisters. Although very different in temperament, it was obvious they had a strong bond.
Sir Carey is an absolutely lovely hero and I love how he isn’t a ‘rake’ and doesn’t need ‘redeeming’. He’s a genuine human being who does the right thing and is rewarded for it.
And Judith is my favourite type of heroine – romantic (obviously!) but not silly or stupid. She’s a sensible woman who uses her brain and thinks things through calmly and logically.
There’s a slight mystery to the book which is easily solved but doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of watching the unfolding romance.
So what did I not like about the book?
I really did not like the secondary plot between Julia’s sister Fanny and her husband Frederick. He was an absolutely horrible man and I do not know why so much time was spent on their story. It almost seemed on occasion as if it was padding out the main plotline, and I felt annoyed every time I was forced back into the Fanny and Frederick soap opera.
I also felt there was too much information at times but that’s probably because I’ve read so many Regency Romances now. For example the paragraph:
“Even some of the formidable patronesses of Almack’s, those leaders of the ton, whose approval was so important in securing the success of any debutante, were rumoured to have been less than faithful to their husbands.” gave, in my opinion, too much information about the patronesses’ role in Society.
But if you are a new reader to this genre, then that type of information is extremely handy and I applaud Ms James for explaining items like this so clearly.
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 and wasn’t at all rushed.
- The misunderstanding made sense and I really liked the way Julia dealt with the Angelica situation. It was consistent with her overall character and very believable.
- Whilst I wasn’t really left with a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling, I did very much enjoy the book and look forward to reading other books by Ms Oliver / James.
Overall, Recommended for people who like sensible heroines; believable misunderstandings; and a very slight mystery.