I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A True Taste of Regency: The Aristocrat’s Lady by Mary Moore

When Regency come-out Lady Nicole Beaumont meets sought-after Jared DeVale, Lord Devlin, on a dark terrace, neither is interested in marriage…which makes them perfect candidates to be friends. Together, they enjoy all the offerings of London without the complication of any romantic expectations. Still, despite their best intentions, their friendship deepens into the potential for something more. But Nicole hides a secret, a disability which she’s kept hidden from all but those closest to her. And when Devlin learns the truth, her betrayal may be more than he can forgive. Can he, with God's help?

Mary Moore’s The Aristocrat’s Lady is a true Regency romance. It's full of all the things many readers love about stories set during the era: the London Season, balls, carriage rides, dashing lords, social mores, and witty repartee. I loved the cant, or slang, peppered throughout the book, something I’ve found sadly absent from a lot of Regency-set books. The language and era-appropriate word choices here add just the right flavor to enhance the setting.

The characters may also seem familiar to readers of the genre. Devlin is a satisfying Regency hero—elusive, a bit jaded, yet (like Austen’s Darcy) drawn to the heroine’s quick wit. He’s sworn off marriage, however, because of his deceased wife’s deceitfulness, and has a difficult time with trust and forgiveness. Likewise, Nicole has been scorched by a cruel partner; her fiancé called off their engagement because of her secret disability (the term used on the back-cover blurb, so I will use it here).

It’s that secret, more than her fiancé’s fickleness, which holds Nicole back from seeking a life of love, with Devlin or anyone else. Nicole’s insistence on hiding her disability from friend and stranger alike is both brave and (dare I say) morally tricky. While her motivation is understandable, hiding her disability could be viewed as a sin of omission—Nicole doesn’t straight-up lie, but she doesn’t divulge the truth, either, and she relies on others to assist her keep up a pretense.

Naturally, when he learns what’s going on, Devlin’s feelings of betrayal are all the more intense because of his past history. While neither he nor Nicole wish to hurt anyone, both are hurt, and neither are blameless, a real-to-life fact that's well-handled by Moore. Forgiveness is not as easy as a simple snap of the fingers.

I also appreciate another theme of the story, of friendship caught fire. Devlin and Nicole's relationship is sweet, slow, and celebrates the foundation friendship plays in a growing relationship.

Debut author Moore writes a well-crafted story which is sure to appeal to fans of inspirational Regencies. The Aristocrat's Lady is a September release from Steeple Hill: Love Inspired Historicals, and is available on Amazon or at your favorite retailer.

I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of review. A positive review was not expected in exchange.

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