Papa johns rowan and 54

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papa johns rowan and 54

Lady Wesley’s 'lendable' books on Goodreads (54 books)

Ive read two books recently with a blind hero/heroine, so I thought it would be interesting to contrast this book with Mary Baloghs The Arrangement and Gayle Callens Surrender to the Earl. Both of those were 3.5 stars for me, but Im giving this one a full four stars.

All three books did very creditable jobs portraying the difficulties faced by a blind person in early the 19th century, particularly the nagging, yet sometimes unrealistic, desire for more independence. But Joanna Waughs depiction of Lady Fortuna Morleys life was especially evocative. Lady Fortunas cousin Letty is her constant companion, but at a house party Lord Granville pairs Fortuna with his Irish wolfhound, and the dog becomes her guide. One morning she takes the hound out into the garden and sits down while he attends to business.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so utterly alone. It felt like heaven not to have Letty or one of the servants hovering nearby. If only Papa could be convinced to release some of her income, she could purchase a cottage with a garden like this one. A place in which to enjoy precious solitude like an ordinary person.
But that aloneness isnt always so wonderful, such as when Fortuna is in her bedroom at an inn and hears noises in the parlor. She panics, thinking that someone has broken in, only to realize shortly that its Lord Granville. Nevertheless, She’d never felt so alone, or so vulnerable.

As described in the blurb, the plot is a battle of wills between Fortuna and Lord Granville, who is courting Fortunas silly young cousin Felicity. Fortuna knows Granville to be arrogant, cold, and heartless, and tries without success to dissuade her cousin from entering into the marriage. Felicity, however, sees only a handsome, rich marquess who can elevate her status and fulfill her every desire. Fortuna is her opposite -- a devotee of Mary Wollstonecraft, she does not aspire to marriage, even though her handsome dowry likely could have attracted some gentleman willing to take on a blind wife.

Granville is indeed arrogant, cold, and heartless, at least on the surface, and he keeps his finer qualities well hidden. Very well hidden. He is not one of those dark heroes who suddenly becomes wonderful. He is unwillingly intrigued by Fortuna, but that doesnt mean that hes nice to her. And at times, even when hes trying to be nice, he inadvertently insults her.

In addition to the strong, resourceful heroine, and the intriguing hero, there is a fully developed cast of secondary characters who contribute to the overall richness of the plot. Toward the end, however, there were two things that kept this from being a five-star read for me. (view spoiler)[ Young Viscount St. John falls hopelessly in love with Felicity, but that happens very quickly. Moreover, Felicity is so unlikable that its hard to believe. And then, when Granville realizes that hes in love with Fortuna and wants to marry her he delays making a declaration until hes extricated himself from the expectation that he will marry Felicity. This seemed unduly cruel, and Fortuna suffers because of his failure to make his wishes clear. Finally, theres one curious thing: when Fortuna and Granville eventually make love, Fortuna seems to know exactly what to do. Thats not an unusual situation in Regency romances, but my question is how did she know? It isnt like she had read a naughty book or seen the barnyard animals mating. Well, thats a small nit. (hide spoiler)]

This is Joanna Waughs only book, and it was published five years ago. I hope shes planning to write more, however, for she is an excellent writer with a thorough grasp of the manners and customs of the Regency period. (Although -- she does flub her titles occasionally when she refers to Lady Fortuna, an earls daughter, as Lady Morley. Grrr.) The pacing, plot, and characterization of this book were all first-rate. In addition, she has illustrated her book with a beautiful Pinterest board showing people, houses, furniture, artwork, gardens, and other scenes from her book. What a wonderful idea to help the reader visualize as shes reading.

Highly recommended.
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Published 27.12.2018

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