I’ve mentioned that one of the greatest things about writing a book is that it inevitably leads you to meet people that you would not have met otherwise. That continues to be true for me and is really a great joy. This particularly true when you meet cool people, who also happen to write good books.
The person to whom I refer, of course, is Heidi Ashworth (although I am confident that any number of my other friends will be publishing in the near future as I have met some wonderfully talented folks). Many of you beat me to the punch and have already read Heidi’s historical romance, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind.
If you haven’t, you ought to. Set in the Regency period (think Jane Austen), Miss D is a delightful way to spend several hours.
Barring some Austen and Bronte, I have never read a historical romance (or a contemporary romance, for that matter) before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Ashworth is skilled enough as a writer that this book didn’t feel like a romance. It felt like a good book about interesting characters that had some romance in it—which is one reason why I think Austen is such a good writer.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was that it felt authentic to me while also being familiar enough to enjoy. Ashworth put in enough details. time-period terms, and conventions that I felt I was there. At the same time, she made the book accessible to a contemporary reader.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the underlying sweetness in the book. The characters, even when they are flailing through love’s misfortunes, are never hateful, either to each other or just inside. They are sympathetic, if flawed. Consequently, they can be brought around to falling in love by being made vulnerable and slightly softened, not humiliated.
The heroine is, as one would expect, witty and plucky. Her problem—which is a big problem in high society—is that she’s too frank and candid. But she’s not obnoxious. The hero, likewise, has a flaw—he’s too mannered and composed. But he’s not a fraud. I liked both of these characters at the beginning—by the ending, I loved them both and was cheering for them to get together.
Finally, I thought Heidi was quite deft and skillful in the way she slowly but surely wore them down and put them in situations where we could see that these weaknesses were changing gradually, in credible ways. Oh yes, and the other great thing is that this book is quite clean.
This really is a lovely book. I understand that Miss Delacourt 2 will be coming out at some point in the future and I shall look forward to that day. Until then, if you have not yet read it, pick this charming book up and enjoy some pleasant hours. You may purchase it here. I understand that many libraries also carry it.
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