Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review - 'Courting Miss Lancaster' by Sarah M. Eden

I enjoy books that are set in the Regency period of England in the early 1900th century. I love the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester and the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.

I'm also a sucker for a good love story.

On an aside, isn't it curious that if a book has a love story but the writer is a woman, it's a romance? Yet if a book has a love story but is written by a man, it's drama or adventure? The Bourne series by Robert Ludlum is absolutely a love story (much more, I know, but at the core it's a love story).

Regency romances (see this article) are actually a romance subgenre and include styles reminiscent of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I have Austen's complete works and am slowly accumulating Heyer's (either in paper or audio format). There's something fun about reading one of these books, and there are times when they're just what I need.

I was reading a post at the beginning of the year here where Shanda posed the question of which book she should read next. Courting Miss Lancaster was on the list of options, and several people commented on how much they enjoyed the story. Of course I checked to see if my library had it. It was on hold, but I only had to wait a few days before it was available.

The story is set in 1806 and involves the Little Season (coming out) of a Miss Athena Lancaster, who has this fortunate opportunity because her sister Persephone married a very rich and titled gentleman, Duke Adam Kielder. The Lancasters are well bred but not wealthy, so Adam takes the younger siblings under his wing and even bestows a substantial dowry on each of his sisters-in-law (though it will be some years before the two youngest girls are old enough to go through the marriage mart).

Now Adam is a serious grump (and one of my favorite characters in the book) and hates to go to all the ridiculous dances and parties involved. He has a good friend Harry Windover who is also well bred but poor. Harry loves to socialize and attend parties, so Adam decides to enlist his help by being responsible for escorting Athena to these events so she can meet eligible, prospective husbands.

Harry only agrees because he is in love with Athena and, while his own poverty rules him out as a suitor, he can at least make sure Athena finds a man worthy of her.

There's a lot of humor in this story, and the love story is very sweet. I enjoyed how Eden slowly helps us to know and understand the various characters. In the George Heyer and Jane Austen books, we see how hard it was to be a poor woman, but in Courting Miss Lancaster we're shown that it was hard on the men, too, who were of a certain station yet with very limited options.

The reading is less stilted than Heyer or Austen, so it goes very quickly. I ordered my own copy of it, and I'm reading it aloud to my husband.

I recommend this book and look forward to getting my hands on Seeking Persephone, since it's been accepted for publication.


  1. i've been wanting to read this book. i'll have to get it! thanks for your review!

  2. Sounds like a good book. Will have to add that to the list.


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