- File Size: 971 KB
- Print Length: 224 pages
- Publisher: InterMix (September 11, 2012)
- Publication Date: September 11, 2012
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007P7ESAY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,358 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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Libby's London Merchant: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
It is clear from the start of the novel that the rather bumbling Dr. Cook is completely enamored of the oblivious Libby. Libby and Nesbit meanwhile are becoming enamored of one another through their forced intimacy and Nesbit's growing appreciation for Libby's intervention in his life. The conflict in the novel stems from competing romances: the handsome and charming Nesbitt is the bigger prize, but is the hardworking and kind Dr. Cook the better catch? Or would a relationship with Dr. Cook, who has a wretched father and who is spread rather thin from his work, be too difficult?
Much of the criticism that other reviewers levy towards this book stems from a disconnect between the burgeoning romance between Lydia and the Duke (and the novel title) and the competing romance with Dr. Cook. If you don't start reading the book with a preconceived notion about who Libby picks, I think that you, like me, will root for Dr. Cook, who is an adorable character. He may not be a handsome, smooth-talking duke, but it is also clear from his characterization that his feelings for Libby are deep and abiding and that he is a fundamentally good person.
I've avoided Carla Kelly for awhile because while I liked The Wedding Journey, I didn't think it was awesome. It had way too much interior dialogue from Jamie, but now after reading several Kelly novels, I've realized it works for me in some of her novels and it is a little annoying in others. Libby's London Merchant is a novel in which the interior dialogue worked for me because we get to see the heroine Libby grow and her feelings gain depth and evolve in what I think would be a confusing situation for any young woman. I don't think everyone will agree with this assessment - I lent the book to my sister and she didn't like it because of the attention spent on Libby's perspective.
I would definitely recommend this novel for a bittersweet and realistic romance that involves real people with real feelings. However, if you like light romances with the stereotypical hero and you don't enjoy too much introspection, this might not be a good fit for you.
She exceeded my expectations with Libby's London Merchant. I couldn't put it down. I have read a few other books recently that pulled my heartstrings, but I actually had tears in my eyes at more than one point in this one. I don't want to write "spoilers". Let me just say she kept me in suspense until the final pages regarding who Libby would finally end of with. Both men were worthy in their own way, but I had my definite favorite from the beginning.
Libby is wonderful creation. Strong but not abrasive, sweet but not cloying, oppressed by societies' rules but not a victim. There were times when her future looked bleak. Carla Kelly was able to tie it all together in a way that avoids all the Happily-Ever-After clichés. Her final decision is based on wise considerations that were satisfyingly realistic.
That said, there were a couple of times when I thought the title of the book was not the best and/or perhaps she had begun writing the story and changed her mind as to the direction. Or that at some point the characters had taken control from the author and led her to write a different book than the one she set out to write. I still love this book. It's an evolving story, very adult, with some thought provoking situations regarding war, PTSD, survivor-guilt, brain injuries mixed with 19th century British class rules and expectations .
So I began slowly, and then I could hardly put it down. This is one of the best romances I've ever read! Carla Kelly is a genius. It is no accident that this book is a 5-star Desert Island Keeper on All About Romance.
At the request of his best friend, Benedict Nesbitt, Duke of Knaresborough, agrees to disguise himself as a chocolate merchant and travel to Kent to inspect the bride that the friend's father has picked out. He stages a carriage accident near the lady's home, but it goes awry and Nez is injured rather seriously. Libby, the intended bride, and her mentally damaged young brother rescue him and send for Anthony Cook, the local doctor. Several things quickly become apparent. Anthony is in love with Libby, but she sees him as just a sweet but clumsy and overweight neighbor. Nez is an alcoholic, who drinks to forget the horrible things he witnessed in the Peninsular Wars. Libby is not wealthy (although her cousin Lydia is). Nez falls in love with her and decides to cut out his friend and marry her himself.
I can't discuss this any more without spoilers, so if you like Carla Kelly and you haven't read this book, don't read any farther in this review. In fact, don't read any reviews. Just get the book. Right now!
HERE BE SPOILERS. CK has written that rarest of Regency romances: a true love triangle where the reader finds herself as torn as Libby does. Nez is handsome and flirtatious, and even disguised as a merchant he cannot completely hide his air of command. Dr. Cook personifies the Hippocratic oath. He is kind, generous, dedicated, gentle, self-effacing and determined to free Nez from his addiction. Libby aids him in this mission, sitting day after night with Nez while he suffers the awful symptoms of withdrawal. After sobering up, Nez becomes even more appealing, and Libby begins to think that perhaps a merchant would not object to her lack of a dowry. Meanwhile, we see what a remarkably wonderful man Dr. Cook is, but Libby rejects his proposal.
Inevitably, the big reveal comes. Libby and Anthony find out that Nez is a duke, and Nez discovers that Libby is the penniless offspring of a disinherited soldier and a tobacconist's daughter. Then Kelly pulls off another outrageous stunt: Nez behaves exactly as a man of his station would behave. Although he truly loves her, he immediately decides that he cannot makes this woman his duchess, so he offers to make her his mistress.
What will Libby choose? A glittering life of luxury with a man who loves her but cannot give her his name or a life of quiet dedication married to a doctor whose patients will always come first (and whose father, by the way, hates Libby and her little brother)? END OF SPOILER
This review really doesn't do justice to the story, largely because I'm not as good a writer as Carla Kelly. Not even in the same universe. There is humor and tragedy, and the horrors of war are never far from the surface. (Libby's mother followed the drum until her husband died). The characters are all beautifully drawn and totally believable. The plot hums along, and there are several curve balls that I haven't even mentioned.
Although Kelly does not write series, Nez appears in One Good Turn: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix). I strongly recommend reading this one first, though.
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