A final installment from the Lords Trilogy, In Which We Meet a Viscount in Love with Lord X, Gossip Swirls, and a Marriage is Forced
Badass: Ian Lennard, Viscount St. Clair – on the surface he’s a libertine with a wandering eye, but underneath lies a painful past, strong convictions, and a distinguished record of service to his country that it will take a VERY “tart-tongued, self-righteous spinster” to unmask.
Falls For: Lord X – no, it’s not m/m. Gossip columnist Lord X is really Felicity Taylor, society architect’s daughter and penniless wielder of London’s most notorious pen. She may be more of a badass than Ian. Pen mightier than sword, etc.
Brought To You By: Sabrina Jeffries, in The Dangerous Lord (2000) (re-issued 2009)
Hangs Out In: 1820’s London, where he has returned after a decade or so as an expat and (of course!) brilliant spy for His Majesty’s government.
Likes: Keeping secrets secret; covering up his distinguished service record; triplets; Spanish endearments — querida — inexplicably slip out during intimate encounters.
Dislikes: Being forced to find a wife in order to gain his inheritance (but he’ll suck it up and make it happen once he encounters feisty Felicity.)
Badass Annoying Moment: Forcing Felicity to the altar.
Badass Hero Moment: Forcing Felicity to the altar. She’s actually kind of annoying in staunchly and ridiculously insisting that marriage to Ian would be The Most Awful Thing. Ever.
(too) Frequently Described As: Brooding.
Casting? I dunno, but don’t you think the 2009 cover picture looks almost exactly like Tom Brady? That’s just weird.
Is it a Badass Read? This is the final book in a trilogy of Lords, and I was distracted by the appearance of the other two heroes, whose stories I had not yet read. My bad, for reading out of order. That aside, it was an enjoyable, quick read, buoyed by SJ’s characteristic deft and funny dialogue. Although these are not characters that will linger everlastingly with me once I close the book, Felicity is slightly more memorable due to her bullheadedness. Both are variations of the Regency rake and bluestocking. Honestly, I had a hard time remembering details about what Ian likes/dislikes to do with his time, other than the usual gentleman’s pursuits. The most memorable characters in the book are the housekeeper Mrs. Box (and isn’t that the perfect name for a housekeeper?!) and Felicity’s younger brothers (think slightly older versions of the manic triplets from Brave!).
I quite like the rake/bluestocking trope, and I liked the attention devoted to conveying something about Felicity’s writerly craft. She was the equivalent of an influential blogger with 1000’s of followers, and/or a power Twitter user. As a new book blogger and super newbie Tweet-er, I found myself quite sympathetic to her near-constant worry about finding sources (access) and material for her next post, er… column. While at the same time it’s clear she really loves her work and her writing.
What do you think? Are you up to here with rakes and bluestockings? Do you think this match-up is eternally popular with readers for transparent yet genuine reasons having to do with growing up bookish in a culture that celebrates beauty…?
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Sabrina Jeffries is an amazing writer. I’m currently looking forward to the launch of her new series, The Duke’s Men. So excited!
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Hmmm, I wonder if Gisele knows that Tom Brady is moonlighting as a romance novel cover model? 🙂 I like your phrase ‘transparent yet genuine reasons’ when musing about the beauty/brains question. Just as the rake always ends up faithful and in love – so does that mousy heroine somehow blossom into a beauty by the end of the book. The hidden but ‘true’ personality waiting to burst forth is one of the many standard conventions of fairy tales found in romance. You could say the pattern in fairy tales has to do with anticipating escape from awkward adolescence into adulthood, a promise that you will grow into your destiny, etc. In romance – ok, its corny but aren’t there studies showing that people in love rate each other as more attractive than they really are? Or when you are really happy you look better – the glowing bride stereotype and all that. So romance novels, while escapist in their extremes (the governess who is really a well-brought up heiress – also borrowed from the princess in disguise motif) are genuine in their emotional underpinnings. Its how we want to see things play out – a desire to be appreciated just the way we are.
Lovely analysis, HollyC! I think you are spot on that the rake (beast) and bluestocking (brain, but really standing in for/evolving to beauty) tropes have their foundation in fairytale/mythic archetypes. Your blue stockings are showing!
As for the cover model here, had to chuckle to see this about Tom/Gisele – a Beauty and the Beauty couple if there ever was one – in the news today: