Lady Elizabeth Randolph had always been a rebellious young woman, but when her scheming guardian threatens to marry her off to a grotesque stranger, she finds her gumption truly tested. Escaping to London disguised as a young man, Elizabeth discovers a new world of gambling, duels, cruelty and love. Railing against the limitations of her gender and with her best friend, William, by her side, Elizabeth sets out to win her freedom.
Publisher and Release Date: Anna Reader, April 2015
Time and Setting: 1790s London
Heat Level: 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Lizzie English
Lady Elizabeth “Bet” Randolph leads a sheltered life following the tuberculous that claimed the lives of her parents when she was just a child. Her guardian, Lord Worthing, does not allow her out of his sight, and her only companion is William, a young boy she meets in the woods surrounding their estates. Bet is as carefree as her life can allow; a woman ahead of her time, she loves to shoot, wants to learn and is curious about everything. Her world is turned upside down when she finds out that Worthing wants to marry her off to a grotesque man – who also happens to be his cousin. This is the last straw for Bet, and she dashes off a letter to William, explaining her plan to live the life as a man so that she escape her fate and seek out her mysterious uncle.
With the help of William and her uncle, Elizabeth appears as Charles Bellamy. Nobody suspects anything, although society at large can’t help but think what a handsome man he is. As Charles, Bet goes to balls, clubs and even manages to get a job within the first few days of her change of identity!
Lucky Bet. is a fairly short novel, in which the entire story takes place over a period of a few weeks. While dressed as a man, Elizabeth never forgets that she is a woman and is still cautious in her ways, but thoroughly enjoys her freedom as a man, jumping at every opportunity that comes her way, opportunities that would never have been open to her as a woman. It’s an enjoyable read, as the reader can’t help but laugh and can’t figure out what Bet is going to try next.
The romance in this story doesn’t kick in until the last hundred pages or so, which makes sense, as Elizabeth spends all her days and nights living as a man. But when William comes back to London and Bet sees him dancing with women at a ball, she yearns to get closer to him, and realizes that maybe she has been in love with him for a while.
There are numerous plotlines in the book, and almost all of them are resolved. The thing that doesn’t – which is rather irritating – was the issue surrounding Bet’s guardian. It would be nice to see a sequel to this novel as I’d like to see how Bet’s life proceeds after all her adventures.