An Escapade and An Engagement

An Escapade and An Engagement

eBook - 2012
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"Richard, Lord Ledbury, has had his fair share of adventure on warring battlefields, but even this seasoned soldier isn't prepared for the outrageous escapades going on in London's ballrooms! Lady Jayne Chilcott is under orders to find a husband, and Lord Ledbury has caught her eye. But nothing is simple when courting under the glittering spotlight of the ton. Richard has always risen to any challenge, but Lady Jayne might just be the first to get the better of him ... . Let the games begin!"--Publisher.
Publisher: Don Mills, Ont., Canada : Harlequin, c2012.
ISBN: 9781459233706
1459233700
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Summary: "Richard, Lord Ledbury, has had his fair share of adventure on warring battlefields, but even this seasoned soldier isn't prepared for the outrageous escapades going on in London's ballrooms! Lady Jayne Chilcott is under orders to find a husband, and Lord Ledbury has caught her eye. But nothing is simple when courting under the glittering spotlight of the ton. Richard has always risen to any challenge, but Lady Jayne might just be the first to get the better of him ... . Let the games begin!"--Publisher.
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FindingJane Mar 25, 2017

I’ll admit there was a time in my life when I got impatient with Regency romances, specifically those written by Barbara Cartland. Her stories featured a constant stream of insipid blue-eyed blondes or Titian-haired maidens whose knowledge about sex could fit inside a kitten heel. They were inevitably paired with a rake or gent of distinction, a man who’d bedded enough women to rival Casanova. The women were bores and the men only slightly less so.

The sexual innocence of the women palled. I understood the mechanics of sex when I was a tender adolescent virgin; it seemed impossible to believe there was a time when women were as ignorant as newborn babes about the subject—idiotic and tedious to read. So I was eager to turn to books where sex, genuine sex, was very much a vibrant component of relationships between healthy, consenting adults. Only gradually did I realize that these books, by introducing sex, had ruined other aspects of mature relationships.

Have you ever seen romantic movies where the couples are so eager to get between the sheets that they skip out on conversation, foreplay, kissing? They just rush straight to the sex which is so hurried or frantic, you wonder what all the fuss was. A lot of romance novels I’ve read are like that, too. That may be why I find myself once again preferring romances set in previous eras, one where a woman’s virtue was considered a prize given only to a male who was worthy—i.e., willing to wait until they were properly married.

Without sex, there is talk between such characters, actual conversation in which they try to hash out their feelings, lifestyles, goals and ideas. There is kissing, that soft, slow, wet kissing that Kevin Costner talked about in “Bull Durham”. There are all sorts of delightful misunderstandings and confrontations that lead up to the Big Moment.

There is all that and more in this novel by Annie Burrows. I also realized there is a certain amount of humor as well. It’s hard not to be amused when you read about a lady so determined to save her maid from committing a ghastly mistake that she creates a rope, shimmies out a window and plops down on a gravel path. She contends with the male romantic lead in arguments that sound almost like sitcom bickering (although they avoid the attendant ridiculousness). When he has sex with her with his boots on (!), she finds it funny and so did I.

The two also discover that there is a great deal of commonality between them. Indifferent caretakers, a lack of real friends in whom to confide, the loss of parents who cared about them and the pressure to find someone, anyone, to marry give Lady Jayne Chilcott and Lord Richard Ledbury ample grounds to draw close to each other. They become friends first, which is wonderful and unexpected, before they ever become lovers.

There are secondary characters that fill in the story in surprising ways. Lady Jayne has a female guardian who is strict but fair, understanding of the needs and desires of young ladies and willing to help Jayne enjoy herself a little rather than be hemmed about with constant rules and regulations. The enterprising Milly is an army brat with a jovial sense of humor, a taste for the finer things in life and cunning enough to seize what she wants. She is a joy to read rather than being a mere foil for the other characters.

When the sex finally happens, Jayne and Richard are both ready and wild for each other and the novel ends on a surprising note of humor instead of the usual epilogues where couples are married, expecting their first child or holding a newborn infant. I think I like Ms. Burrows’s way of writing and am going to seek out her other wares in the very near future.

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