Saturday, January 30, 2010

For You, a Book Review

Just finished Linore Burkard's THE COUNTRY HOUSE COURTSHIP and enjoyed it very much. Here's my review--I give it four stars (five's my max and I don't do halfsies unless I'm REALLY conflicted):

ISBN # 978-0-7369-2799-4
Harvest House, January 2010

Genre: historical romance (Regency)

Beatrice Forsythe is guilty of the sin of envy. Her sister Ariana is happily married to Philip Mornay, “The Paragon”, a gentleman of ton with extensive properties. All Beatrice wants at age seventeen is a husband as rich as her brother-in-law, who can give her all the same material benefits The Paragon offers her sister.

To a wintertime house party at the Mornay estate arrive a husband-candidate with a sister in disgrace, plus a worthy but wary applicant for the vicarage in Mornay’s gift. Mr. Barton, the ideal society husband, has his own agenda—the Prince Regent wants to ennoble Mornay with a viscountcy, and it’s Barton’s job to get Mornay to agree, and quickly! At Aspindon, the Mornays’ country home, guests with secret agendas, well meaning relations, Beatrice-on-the-husband-prowl and a dangerous fever making rounds among the locals, make a dangerous and exciting brew. Beatrice finds that the prime candidate for her affections is not all he appears to be...

Ms. Burkard’s historical romances are new to me. I felt the novel’s opening was a bit slow, but the quality of the writing made me dismiss this as merely a matter of style. Ms. Burkard uses Austen-era literary conventions to make THE COUNTRY HOUSE COURTSHIP read very authentic to the time. I loved the parenthetical explanations and mental squirming written in, even within dialogue. It added a fresh dimension to a story that could have felt predictable, but was not. The ending was neither rushed nor drawn out too long. The secondary love story was somewhat thin, and at times I itched to slap Anne into some of Beatrice’s backbone. She has plenty to spare despite her early lack of maturity. I was very pleased with Beatrice’s character development, for she felt shallow in the early pages. I also liked the fact that the house party took place in winter—so many authors ignore the fact that the English of other eras had to find some way to entertain themselves through a cold season!

Ms. Burkart’s backlist is now on my TBR list, and I look forward to reading future titles from this very able author. If you’ve never read a Regency romance before, this is the book to start with.

Four stars.

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