Known as a Corinthian, Lucien Hammond enjoys betting with his fellow depraved aristocrats, but loathes asking his mother to advance him money when he loses. Luke does not understand why his deceased father failed to give financial control of the estate to him. Luke's mother is at the end of her rope with the constant need to pay off her sons' bets. Her financial manager, Jane Douglas tells her she should test Luke by allowing him to run his finances for one month. If he successfully manages his money, she should give him full control of his inheritance. Luke's mother agrees with the stipulation that Jane be his fiscal advisor.After recovering from the shock of learning he has a female business advisor, Luke finds himself heeding Jane's advice. He wonders what is wrong with him that he should listen to a mere female. He begins to fall in love with Jane, who has loved him from the first day his mother introduced her to Luke. Even though he cares for Jane, he cannot avoid betting, especially with his rival Sir Rodney Moncton. If he is not careful, Luke will find he made one wager too many and it will cost him Jane.After too long an absence from writing, Elizabeth Mansfield returns to the regency sub-genre with a tale that is her best to date. The story line may stay within normal genre lines but it has a captivating plot that brings the era to life. Jane is an atypical woman of the era as she excels at math and supports herself and her self-indulgent mother and sister. Readers who enjoy a fun loving historical novel will want to read MISCALULATIONS because the entertaining tale is very appealing.Harriet Klausner
MiscalculationsWhat an apt title for a book about a female mathematical wizard, and the various turmoils in which she finds herself, usually as a result of a miscalculation--either hers or that of someone else. Jane Douglas, for some reason, demonstrated a decidedly mathematical bent at a very early age, thoroughly disconcerting her parents. After the premature death of her father, Jane is compelled to be the 'man of the house,' carefully tending the small inheritance, to care for her now-invalidish mother and younger sister. To supplement this small amount of money, she finds work as the secretary/companion/financial adviser to Lady Kettering, at the local castle. Lady Kettering has one son, whose own inheritance was left him in a sort of 'spendthrift' trust--Luke may not have the entirety until his thirty-fifth birthday, unless he first demonstrates to his mother than he can properly appreciate his financial situation. As a typical member of the ton, of course, he is subject to frequent wagers, especially against Lord Moncton, who has been observed to cheat. And then there's Luke's ladybird, and the upkeep on his horses and townhouse . . . When Lady Kettering decides that just what Luke needs is a new 'man-of-business', and that this new 'man' will be none other than Jane, she has no idea what she has wrought! Suffice it to say that 'all's well that ends well' with happy endings all around, at least for the good guys. Some of the behavior of Jane or other characters may seem a bit outré to readers who are devoted to the Regency genre, but then, there have always been those persons who specialized in non-conformity. As much of a stickler as I am, I didn't find this to be all *that* outlandish. It's another good solid example of the craft of Elizabeth Mansfield, except that it's new--rather than a reissue. Hurrah for that, I say!
Jane Douglas reluctantly agrees to help her employer's wastrel son learn to manage his inheritance. The son, equally reluctant to receive advice from a woman, tries to solve his own problems by way of foolish wagers that only get him deeper in debt. As they get to know each other, a romance develops between Jane and Lucien. But how can a logical, intelligent woman like Jane ally herself to a "degenerate" aristocrat? Or is she simply being naive and prudish and altogether too particular?My primary criticism is the lack of depth of the secondary characters and the reliance on the "love at first sight" that just didn't seem convincing to me. But aside from this flaw, I found this book very enjoyable. It's nice to see a strong, intelligent woman making her own decisions in spite of the prevailing societal prejudice of the time, and a hero who--although far from being a wimp--is willing to grow and mature under her guidance.
I've long been a fan of Elizabeth Mansfield. Her PHANTOM LOVER and REGENCY STING have resided on my "keeper shelf" for many years now. When I heard she had a new book out after far too long an absence, I was delighted. I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, MISCALCULATIONS is not one of her better efforts. The plot is thin and, worse, the hero seemed morally weak, jumping to the villain's tune like one of Pavlov's dogs. I will continue to buy and read Elizabeth Mansfield, but I hope she quickly returns to her earlier form.