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In the first novel of Maya Rodale’s stunning new series, an American heiress must learn to navigate London society and an infuriatingly irresistible rake . . .
Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England’s most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.
Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand—but thwarted—plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.
It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing . . . and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget’s diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all—a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.
The London Weekly
By A Lady of Distinction
All of London is talking about one thing and one thing only: the arrival of the seventh Duke of Durham. His Grace, we are told, hails from America, of all places in the world, which begs the question of how this came to be.
Older readers—or younger readers who bother to visit their aged relatives and actually listen to them speak of scandals from days of yore—will recollect the Great Scandal of 1784 in which the sixth duke’s brother, the Lord
Harry Cavendish, beloved rake, absconded to America with the duke’s prize horse. This horse-thieving younger brother had done a stint in the army, as second sons are wont to do, especially when they are so obviously unsuited to clergy. Whilst stationed in the colonies, he happened to fall in love with an American woman. It was a love so great that he would forsake family, country, membership at White’s, and a voucher for Almack’s.
After extensive sleuthing this author has been able to determine that Lord Harry Cavendish established a farm in Maryland where he bred and trained racehorses, raised his family and refused to use his title. His son, the new Duke of Durham, followed in his footsteps.
So yes, dear readers, a horse farmer from the colonies now holds one of the loftiest titles in England. His arrival is expected any day now and this author has it on excellent authority that he is bringing three sisters of marriageable age. Let there be no conversations about a dull season, for this one is sure to be most entertaining . . .
Publisher and Release Date: Avon, February 23, 2016
Time and Setting: London, 1824
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
Maya Rodale’s lovely opener in her new Keeping Up with the Cavendish series is very much a re-telling of Jane Austen’s most popular and beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. From actual names – the hero’s name – to situations including Darcy’s infamous initial snub to the insipid relative, Mr. Collins, this is a treat for Austen fans to spot all the references. But Ms. Rodale puts her own stamp on the tale and creates an original and colorful love story.
As did Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, both Lord Darcy and Lady Bridget come to realize that neither were as they thought at their first impressions.
As she usually does, Ms. Rodale takes many a liberty with both the language and the proprieties of the Regency era, but her writing and storytelling is so refreshing, engaging, and charming that I find I cannot complain. For example, she uses the word moron, a word that didn’t come into common usage until the early twentieth century. Of course, this will probably disturb most purists but if you can suspend some disbelief, you will be thoroughly enchanted and entertained.
He was one of those distant, imbecilic relations one despaired of.
Part of the charm of Ms. Rodale’s writing style is her humorous observations and interjections at unexpected moments. She effectively lets us into the thoughts of her characters and tells it like it is, with delight and lots of heart.
Handsome Man smiled. It was like sunshine. And fireworks.
Darcy’s younger brother, the lovable and carefree Rupert, is a homosexual in an era when it was a hanging offense while Darcy, the heir, has had to always do the proper thing, brought up to care for a great estate and to avoid scandal and censure. As such, he has never learned to have fun or enjoyed life as freely as Rupert has. Yet Darcy is very protective of his younger sibling and the love between the two brothers is very apparent and well portrayed.
Initially, Bridget is attracted to Rupert’s good looks and affable charm, much like Elizabeth was bedazzled by the deceitful Mr. Wickham. But Rupert is (thankfully) no Wickham.
Most of the time she found him insufferable, except for when his clothes were wet and she could gaze wantonly at his body.
To add to the amusement and interest, there are mentions of several characters from Ms. Rodale’s past novels, including the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and the Duke of Ashbrooke. Even the tongue-in-cheek scandal paper The London Weekly and its correspondents reappear, as they have a been a clever and appealing thread through all of Ms. Rodale’s novels.
As an American heiress, Lady Bridget Cavendish has very modern notions and is new to the ways and etiquette of the aristocracy. She is belittled and snubbed by Lady Francesca, Lord Darcy’s intended, much like Elizabeth and Jane were by Bingley’s snobbish sisters. After being whisked off to England with her two sisters and brother, who has inherited a dukedom, Bridget doesn’t see why she should marry at first, until it becomes apparent the family will remain.
If that was all a woman could aspire to with marriage, then Bridget began to wonder…was it really worth suffering through a reducing diet for? Or biting her tongue or cultivating friendships with influential but despicable ladies? Spinsterhood began to sound appealing. She could have a cottage by the sea and eat cake for breakfast.
The relationships between Bridget and her siblings–as between Darcy and Rupert–are heartwarming, realistic, and hint at future stories in the series. Though I have to admit I find the love talk between Darcy and Rupert highly improbable and unlikely; men just don’t talk like that among themselves.
Ms. Rodale’s writing sparkles and shines with energy and emotion. I smile, laugh, and melt whenever I read her books. If an author can do all that, it’s a winner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.