This is one of my favourite Regency books. The dialogue is witty, the romance believable and the heroine is sensible – which I suppose could be seen to be an insult but I definitely mean it as a compliment.
The book blurb isn’t very forthcoming:
While traveling to her first post as a governess, Helen Denville is drawn into an adventure with the infamous gamester Mr. Darcy. While helping him recover an item that is of great value, she loses her heart to him. Once he recovers that item, will he offer his heart to her?
so let’s see if I can expand on this a bit more. Firstly, Helen is actually on her way to take up a role as a companion when she is apprehended by Mr Darcy who mistakenly believes her to be a fugitive he has been tracking.
Once disabused of that notion, he sees another way to use Helen, which necessitates a fake marriage. Although the reasons behind the fake marriage have always seemed a little vague to me, I do appreciate the way Ms Andresen writes and so I’m willing to suspend belief for a while.
Unlike many other regency mystery / romances the mystery takes a back seat for much of the book which is nice. I am a bit sick of so-called romances where I have to guess at why the heroine and hero fall in love – here they spend much of the book together and it is possible to see their romance developing nicely.
With that said, there’s perhaps a bit too much time spent on the commedianti but that is a small negative in the overall scheme of things.
There’s some humour in the book too – mainly from the secondary characters but also between Helen and Mr Darcy. The scene when Vincenzo accuses Mr Darcy in front of Helen of seducing his sister is classic. At this point Helen and Mr Darcy are pretending to be married and her reactions are priceless.
All in all, as I said at the beginning – definitely one of my favourite books.