Clad in spectacles and plain dresses, Joanna Patterson would make no impression at all on Lord Sedgewick Wylie, if she didn't keep running into him...literally.
The great arbiter of fashion for London society, Sedge had the reputation of caring more about the cut of his coat than the feelings of others...a fact made all too clear to Joanna by his reaction to her. Exasperated by her clumsiness, Sedge insulted her in public--but in private could not forget her shapely figure and the deep chocolate brown of her eyes....
Author Allison Lane crafts an enjoyable, funny Regency romance that seems more a short story than an actual novel. Bearing a great deal of similarity to Julia Quinns The Viscount Who Loved Me, Lanes novel pairs plain chaperon Joanna Patterson with the dashing rake Lord Sedgewick (or just Sedge), the arbiter of fashion in England. They go together like sequins and sand, but the storys Beauty and the Beast like plot rolls merrily along.
Lane uses many terms that were unfamiliar to me, but were common during the time period that Regency romances cover. A dictionary might be helpful if this is your first Regency romance. Also, the dialogue between Joanna and Sedge crackles and sparks, and its the best part of this novel. Joanna and Sedge are forced into a marriage of convenience after running into each other (literally) a few times and exchanging words. Found in a compromising position by societys worst gossips, they wed quickly and quietly, but love surpasses the separation of classes in Regency Englands haut ton.
Interestingly, the character of Lord Sedgewick first appears in another of Lanes novels, A Bird in Hand, which provides more backstory than this novel. Sedge is a dandy to be sure, but underneath his heroism and kindness are notable. Id love to see what happens to Sedges brother Reggie (Lord Ellisham), who appears to be pining for Joanna when Sedge marries her.
Joanna herself is a strong, complex, intelligent, likable character. She and Sedge both seek something deeper than the shallow world of high society London. I like Lanes complicated plots and complex characters. I also liked her realistic portrayal of Regency England and its social issues. I loved her dialogue. Shes an author I will be reading much more of in the future.