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Royal Regard Paperback – November 23, 2014
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When Bella Holsworthy returns to England after fifteen years roaming the globe with her husband an elderly diplomat she quickly finds herself in a locale more perilous than any in her travels the Court of King George IV As the newly elevated Earl and Countess settle into an unfamiliar life in London this shy not so young lady faces wicked agendas society s censure and the realities of a woman soon to be alone in England Unaccustomed to the ways of the beau monde she is disarmed and deceived by a dissolute duke and a noble French migr with a silver tongue Hindered by the meddling of her dying husband not to mention the King himself Bella must decide whether to choose one of her fascinating new suitors or the quiet country life she has searched the world to find
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At first it appears that Myron is still strong in heart and mind – if not strong in body and that he is the capable husband who will be able to watch over and protect Bella from the shark infested waters aka fortune hunters that begin circling once it is assumed he has only a short time to live. It appears there are two sharks who are persistent to say the least. I’ll refer to them as the dark duke and the good duke, although neither have pure motives.
The dark duke is Adolphe Fouret, the Duc de Malbourne, come to England after the Revolution killed off family and stole the family’s wealth. The good duke is Nick, Duke of Wellbridge, . Both dukes are practiced seducers, but whereas Malbourne wants Bella only for her wealth, Nick wants Bella only for his bed. He has a reputation as a seducer of other men's wives and Bella is next on his list.
Okay, I had some issues with the storyline and I can't or won't go into all of them in detail because it would wind up being a short novella so I think I'll do something I rarely do and that's list them. Please note, there be SPOILERS AHEAD!
1. Was Bella attractive or UGLY? Nick, who was a practiced seducer and obviously could have had most any woman, married or not wanted Bella more than he had ever wanted another woman – this was before he fell head over heels in love with her. She was commonly described as being ugly by most of the people in the book. Humdinger...
2. After reading the prequel, I found it very difficult to believe that Bella, who may not have loved Myron in a passionate way, but did live with him for 15 years and was pregnant with his children six times – having miscarried all six babes – indicating an active sexual relationship, would actively carry on flirtations with both Malbourne and Nick while Myron remained out of Society due to his health and work.
3. This same Bella had traveled the seas and into foreign countries for 15 years – with Myron – while both acted as ambassadors on behalf of Prinny, now the King of England. During that time, she was considered a favorite of foreign Kings and an active participant in Myron's business with these persons wherever they traveled. Even Prinny often valued her opinions above that of Myron's. During those 15 years she traveled on a vessel full of uncouth sailors. Yet, she is put forth to the reader as a type of "close to a virgin" innocent as a babe as she relates to the dukes. This woman who could and did use foul language, could dish it out right and left, knew how to protect herself with a knife, had traveled on land and sea for years, had miscarried six babies, rode astride like a man – basically lived in a man’s world for 15 years. Oh, and lest I forget grew up under the heavy hand of her wastrel father and two brothers. Yes, John wasn’t as bad as her father and Jeremy, but he did very little to protect her. Point being, she was not a naïve 12 year old girl, but as soon as she gets around the dukes, we are expected to believe she’s an innocent? Give me a break, please!
4. The real life Bella would never in a thousand years been taken in by the dark duke. Honestly, I was so frustrated with her dalliance with the jerk, when he kidnaps her, I’m thinking – “At long last, she will learn what he is.”
5. She was in love with Nick but she treated him like the crud beneath her feet except when she was trying to get him to finish the job he began in his study while her husband lay dying. This part I didn’t like. Then when Nick goes to her rescue and sits by her bedside while she recuperates, the first thing she does when she comes back to consciousness is reject him. Great time to begin acting like a wife who loved her first husband.
6. Last, because I can’t go on forever. What in the hey with John, her dud of a brother coming on the scene at the 11th hour and acting like the big almighty soldier there to protect his baby sister?!*!! Somebody help me out here please. I could not believe the rest of the story.
It's 1820. The heroine Bella Holsworthy and her husband, wealthy middle-class businessman/world traveler Myron, who is perhaps twice her age, are back home in England after spending 15 years abroad exploring, doing business and making money for the Crown. There is talk that Myron, a favorite of Prinny, now King George IV, will be made an earl and promoted to the peerage.
A problem is that Myron is old and in very precarious health. He worries about what will happen to his 30-something wife Bella. She needs to be thinking about remarriage after his death and he wants to manage all this beforehand. There are men already hovering around Bella, who will be a very rich widow. Two of them are dukes and both are handsome, worldly, suave, debonair womanizers in their forties. Bella, rather shy in her interactions with men, finds herself interested in and attracted to both.
One duke is a French emigre and the other is British. Both seem to be quite serious about Bella, but is it serious as in having her as mistress or as wife? And if as wife is it for her money or for herself? And that is basically all there is to this story, so it seems reasonable to expect it to be of a reasonable length for a Regency.
Unfortunately, such is not the case. This book drags out the plot to the point where I became quite impatient with it all and with the erratic behavior in particular of the heroine and the inability of the lovers (Which duke, you say? I'm not saying but the better man will be quite obvious as the story progresses.) to speak rationally and not at cross purposes. This needed some editing to get rid of repetitive actions and some of the most annoying reactions of the protagonists. Too bad because this is well written and has good dialogue. There is, however, just so much misunderstanding and repetition of thought and action that I can take, even if it's all nicely packaged.
I'm not giving up on this author. I see from her author's page that there is a series in the works. I'll give at least the first one a try, whenever it comes out.
Bella and Myron have finally come home after 15 years of traveling the world. Myron, the much older husband, is not well and wants to ensure Bella's future and happiness. He sets about choosing her next husband, which fascinated me. I can't think of another book that had that particular story line.
The story moves very quickly and left me wanting more at the end. I am hopeful that Mariana continues with this series!
Most recent customer reviews
Although this is Book #1 in the series Sailing Home, I highly recommend reading the prequel Shipmate.Read more
Bella Clewes, Baroness of Holsworthy was never considered a pretty woman and people enjoyed telling her so.Read more