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The Reluctant Guardian Mass Market Paperback


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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Regency Pr (December 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 1929085060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929085064
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,818,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gentle Regency is replete with period charm. Handsome Isaac Rebow leads an easy gentleman's life until fate in the form of a country cousin intervenes. Mary Martin's hapless father, Matthew, has disappeared, leaving Mary and her sister without a guardian's protection. Isaac squires the girls through a London season and falls in love with innocent but spirited Mary along the way. Matthew, it turns out, has unwittingly eloped with a harlot, whose homicidal brother threatens mayhem; Isaac must extricate his beloved's family from disaster. In a fresh voice, Manning captures not only the manners and modes but also the mores of the era with charm and accuracy; notably, she shapes characters who appeal to 20th-century sensibilities, yet who respond to life in distinctly 19th-century ways. Throughout her debut novel, Manning delivers a hearty serving of the genre's delights: a lively but comfortably predictable story, set in a world rich with fascinating detail and utterly unlike our own. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Irritated at having his carefree bachelor life interrupted by a missive from his overbearing mother demanding that he do something about his uncle's having disappeared and left his two daughters "unprotected," Col. Sir Isaac Rebow reluctantly takes over their guardianshipAwith lively and romantic results. A likable but combative heroine and an emotionally wounded hero who is trying to do the right thing are joined by an uncommon cast of secondary characters, including a few you-love-to-hate types (e.g., a mean-spirited, selfish mother, a wicked other woman, and some truly unsavory London lowlifes) in this unusual Regency, which does not always take the expected path. Featuring lively dialog, a dash of danger, and a somewhat irreverent flair, this story may appeal to readers who like their Regencies on the different side. Although she has written short stories and novellas, Manning is a relatively new Regency writer; she lives in Florida and reviews regularly for LJ. Note: Librarians may be interested to know that this book is available in both mass market paperback and large print formats.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Historical Novels Review on July 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Colonel Sir Isaac Rebow, a war veteran, country gentleman, and budding politician, is vexed by a missive from his manipulating mother. She commands Isaac to curtail his carefree bachelor existence and apply himself to caring for his cousins, Mary and Sally Martin. Mary and Sally's absent-minded father has taken them to town and deserted them on Isaac's doorstep. Isaac reluctantly attempts to bring these two young women from the country to the notice of London society. Although only nineteen, Mary had run her father's household competently ever since her governess left three years earlier, and she has no intention of letting Isaac wrest control from her hands. Mary had worshipped Isaac as a child, while at the time he scarcely noticed her. She now resents his sudden interference in her family's affairs after months of neglect. When Mary's father resurfaces, relief gives way to dismay as the family learns he has married a fallen woman. This is only the first of many obstacles the headstrong heroine and duty-bound hero must overcome as they work through these family difficulties. Many of Ms. Manning's characters are taken from the letters of Mary Martin Rebow, an 18th century gentlewoman. Ms. Manning has moved the characters to the Regency period, infused them with life and charm and constructed her engaging tale around them. The fast-paced plot is full of twists and turns, and the dialogue is lively. Although she is a published author and reviewer, this is Jo Manning's first full-length novel. Fortunately for us, she is already working on two other Regency period novels.
Nan Curnutt, for the Historical Novels Review
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "rosemary748" on May 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jo Manning is a refreshing new voice in Regency romance. The plot of the book is already detailed on this site, so I won't go over it again. Suffice it to say that THE RELUCTANT GUARDIAN is beautifully written in a unique voice with characters that will draw you into their world. That the story idea was gleaned from actual events added to my enjoyment of the book. A job well done, Ms. Manning.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on July 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Based on a series of letters that Jo Manning (the authour) came across many years ago, this (completely) fictitious accounting of the real romance between Mary Martin and Isaac Rebow, had me devoutly wishing that this authour had written a lot more Regency romances than she actually has. What a find this novel (and authour) was! "The Reluctant Guardian" is definitely one of the better romance novels that I have read so far, and I'm really puzzled as to why Jo Manning is not being more loudly touted as one of the better authours in this genre.
When Sir Isaac Reblow receives a missive from his dragon of a mother demanding that he see to his two abandoned cousins, he is quite irked. Apparently his loose crew of an uncle (Matthew Martin) had left his London house in the middle of the night, without leaving his daughters, Mary and Sally, any kind of missive at all. Isaac realises that what his mother wants is for him to pack the two girls home so that they can play nursemaid to her crochets. However, upon seeing his two cousins, and realising that they are two rather pretty and accomplished young ladies, Isaac decides to sponsor them to a Season instead, while he searches for their father. What Isaac refuses to do is to admit to himself that he has fallen violently in love (at first sight) with the delectable but strong minded Mary. For Isaac has suffered from being the only child of a deeply unhappy marriage, and doesn't believe that there is such an emotion love at all.
Mary, on the other hand, has been in love with her cousin Isaac for as long as she can remember. And now here he is, summarily ordering her about and insisting in running her life! Who would have thought that her beloved Isaac could be so cold and autocratic?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an old-school traditional Regency. The plot is not unusual, nor are the characters, but the writing is better than average, so this is worth the read. Also, the author has taken care to be as authentic to the period as possible. Speech and behavior are not anachronistic and there are many references to real historical events, places and issues. (And some interesting information about beekeeping.) I found the characters to be lacking in dimension, especially for the first 70% of the book, and that kept my star rating a bit low.

Jo Manning did not write many Regencies. I think this one and Seducing Mr. Heywood: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) are the only ones. At the beginning of this book, BTW, the hero has a rather amoral mistress who at the time of their affair is married (for the 3rd time) to a wealthy older man. She had been assuming the hero would marry her after she is widowed for the 3rd time and her nose is severely out of joint when he picks someone else (our young and lovely heroine).

The interesting point is that Manning takes this rather unsympathetic character and makes her the heroine of Seducing Mr. Heywood: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix). That book is the better read of the two, but reading THE RELUCTANT GUARDIAN helps put everything in perspective about her.
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