Mrs. Julien’s #CBR5 Review #60: The Lady’s Tutor by Robin Schone

Enough with reviewing sweet and lovely romances. Let’s take a look at something awful and absurd: Robin Schone’s The Lady’s Tutor, a Regency romance of the “sexual tutor” variety. If you want to read a good book featuring this trope, proceed immediately to Sarah MacLean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, consciously ignore the jejeune titling, and have at it.

The Lady’s Tutor fails on many fronts, but there was one aspect of the book, one word actually that sums up everything that is wrong with this fornicaterrific novel. That one word does not encompass the story elements that include

  1. Villainy smeared with sexual deviance and a dollop of you-have-got-to-be-kidding.
  2. Prejudice that the “exotic” man knows the sensual arts by virtue of being foreign.
  3. The fact that The Lady’s Tutor includes concepts like “the sensual arts”.
  4. A hero so well overly-endowed as to be simultaneously laughable and alarming.
  5. The hero’s mother advising the heroine to relax her throat muscles to accommodate her son’s aforementioned equine resemblance
  6. The hero sharing horrific and devastating personal information during coitus.

… but it comes darn close. The one word that sums up all that is wrong with this fornicaterrific novel is “pubes”. The Lady’s Tutor, a Regency romance by Robin Schone, includes the word “pubes” not once, not twice, but three times. PUBES! THREE TIMES!

Why are you still reading? I can’t possibly add to or augment that one salient detail.

The (Shameful) Tally 2013

This review is also posted on my tiny little blog.

Mrs. Julien’s #CBR5 Review #59: The Runaway Duke by Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long has written a classic historical romance, What I Did for a Duke; two excellent ones, A Notorious Countess Confesses and It Happened One Midnight; a rather delightful novella, To Love a Thief; and an assortment of very enjoyable books in her Pennyroyal Green series. The Runaway Duke is one of her earliest novels and I read it for back catalogue completion purposes only.

Through a convenient and maguffiny series of Napoleonic War events, Conor Riordan, fifth Duke of Dunbrooke, has shucked off his title and is living incognito as an Irish groom at the home of the novel’s rather young heroine Rebecca Tremaine. In The Runaway Duke, the two take it on the lam when the  villain mistakenly compromises the wrong Tremaine sister, Rebecca, and she is going to be forced into a reputation saving marriage. Hijinks ensue.

I mentioned in a review of another author that I often find a writer and think that she shows promise only to discover that she has already published a lot of books. That is not the case here. I knew going in that this would not be of the current quality I expect of Julie Anne Long. The Runaway Duke has issues including heavy plotting, an unbelievable false identity (no one would volunteer to be Irish at that time in British history), and the story does goes on a bit; however, all of the elements that would develop into Long’s signature style are present: wonderful humour, clever writing, charming central characters, and, yes, the fact that maybe, sometimes, I don’t know, I’m just saying, she can be a skooch twee.

One of the things that people suggest when trying to save me from the ignominy of reading so much romance is that I should write one. It’s as though all of the shame they think I should feel for my reading choices, and that they feel on my behalf, would be washed away under the cleansing justification of “research”. There is nothing like reading an early effort by a talented author to intimidate any writing impulse right out of me. I am far too lazy to write a book in the first place and far too impatient to be willing to write several before I have the chance to be even remotely as good a novelist as Julie Anne Long now is.

The (Shameful) Tally 2013

This review is also posted on my tiny little blog.

Mrs. Julien’s #CBR5 Review #58: The Lady’s Companion by Carla Kelly

I use the word “lovely” a lot too much in everyday conversation. I try to be more creative and thesaurusy in these reviews, but lovely really is the best word for this novel. Carla Kelly writes sweet, gentle, sincere Regency romances and The Lady’s Companion is no exception. Kelly does not reinvent the wheel. She follows her romance tropes and brings everything to a happy, satisfying ending. I have read four of her books in rapid succession, thank you Rochelle, and I have another one waiting on my Kindle. Unlike Kelly’s novels that I reviewed previously, this book goes beyond “just kisses”, while maintaining its oblique decorum in the love scenes.

Originally published in 1996, The Lady’s Companion is the story of Susan Hampton, a genteelly impoverished lady whose marital and future hopes have been dashed on the rocks of her wastrel father’s gambling addiction. Where, oh where, would romance novels be without shiftless male relatives casually ruining women’s lives? After moving in with her aunt, Susan recognises that unless she does something, and right quick, she will disappear into the role of servile relative for the rest of her days. She finds an employment agency and gets hired as a companion to Lady Bushnell in the Cotswolds.

Lady Bushnell is not happy to have yet another unnecessary companion and Susan must find a way to make herself useful. The farm is being managed by Lady Bushnell’s bailiff, David Wiggins. David served as a sergeant under Lord Bushnell in the Napoleonic Wars and has a debt of honour to the family. He is what The Dowager Julien would describe as a “nice-nice man”, gentle, kind, and loyal. Susan is out of his reach socially, but since David doesn’t care about such nonsense and Susan has no use for the so-called social superiority that ruined her, they have a chance to carve out a life for themselves on their own terms and defy the conventions that would seek to limit them. Everything proceeds towards the happy ending at a calm and reasonable pace, free of melodrama, but not of challenges. Kelly’s writing is not only strong when showing Susan and David’s growing relationship, but also wonderfully evocative in terms of the setting and time period.


The (Shameful) Tally 2013

This review is also posted on my tiny little blog.

Katie′s #CBR5 Review #18: An Elegant Madness by Venetia Murray

Title: An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
Author: Venetia Murray
Source: library
Fun Fact: In Regency England it was considered a great honor to be invited to watch the fashion icon Beau Brummel get dressed.
Review Summary: The tone is straightforward and factual, but the information included is fascinating and engaging all on its own.

Regency England was a time period that technically lasted from 1811-1820 and which you might recognize as the setting of the genre known as “regency romances”. An Elegant Madness is an impressively thorough discussion of the time period, with chapters on everything from clothes to dinners, to society and scandalous sex lives. Although the author’s tone is fairly scholarly and dry, the topics and first hand accounts make for some fascinating reading.

Read more at Doing Dewey…