Lessons in French Author:Laura Kinsale She is, after all, Lady Callista Taillefaire, jilted three times in spite of her fortune and her father’s best efforts to find her a husband. Now her greatest desire is to win the silver cup at the agricultural fair with her gigantic prize bull, Hubert. But when Callie’s only old flame returns from his long and mysterious absence in ... more »France, her quiet spinster life turns upside down. Dark-eyed, elegant and a magnet for trouble, Trevelyan d’Augustin has given Callie lessons in more than his language in the past. Her father put a harsh and humiliating end to any dreams of romance with a French émigré scoundrel, however, and Callie never thought to see him again. Swallowing his pride, Trev has finally come home to care for his failing mother, but his secrets and misdeeds follow him. Callie soon remembers that nothing is ever peaceful with Trev around. The enormous Hubert vanishes into thin air, one of her former jilts comes back to woo her in a most determined manner—and her bull takes the town by storm! In the midst of these misadventures, Callie finds herself falling in love again with the worst possible man for her…« less
I havent read a Laura Kinsale novel in years. She hasnt written one in years either. Her book Flowers from the Storm was one of my favorite reads back before I overdosed on long, angsty, historical romance novels. Ive taken a very long break from historical romance but I think Im ready to slowly delve back in with this here book.
Lady Callista Taillefaire (Callie) is cute and has a tremendous fortune but because she is painfully shy shes been left at the altar three times. She has always had a problem making chit chat with men and now at 27 she has given up on marriage and is content to remain a wallflower, move in with her younger sister and continue her quiet life contentedly breeding her prized bulls. As shes doing her best to disappear into the woodwork at a society event in walks her childhood friend/crush Trevelyan Davis DAugustin (Im calling him Trev from here on out) who she hasnt seen since they were young teens and her father scared him away. Hes been off in Paris attempting to secure the family dynasty (or at least thats what he wants people to believe) and has grown up to be quite the hunk. When she sees him she tries even harder to disappear but it doesnt work. He spots her and immediately heads straight her way and sets her heart all a-flutter with his charm. She is surprised that she can still talk to him without struggling to find the right words now that hes all grown up. Hes come home to nurse his mom who is dying and Callie offers up her assistance once she learns about the dire situation.
When they were teens Callie took French lessons with Trevs mom. Callie and Trev were on their way to becoming way more than friends when her dad put an end to it. No daughter of his was going to be soiled by the likes of Trev. Now that hes back all wealthy and sexy Trev appears to want to pick things up right where he left off so many years ago. Will she be able to resist? Seriously, did I just ask that question?
Anyway, this book is pretty charming so far as Ive read. Its fluffy and light with likable characters and witty dialogue and it is not annoying or boring me. Im actually disappointed whenever I have to put the book down to get back to reality. In the beginning its a somewhat slow moving book focusing in on its characters instead of a rip-roaring adventure or crazy-ass subplots (though we get a few of those later on). It may not be for everyone but its working for me. I can see that even though Trev has a shady past that is following him and that he is probably going to keep secrets for far, far too long, he really is a big softie when it comes to making Callie happy. And Callie deserves happiness. Shes a likable heroine, with a sly sense of humor who enjoys nothing more than working on the farm and caring for her bulls. Actually, her love for one of her bulls nearly brought me to tears a time or two. Trevs arrival changes everything up and Callie soon realizes just how much she missed having her adventurous trouble-prone hunky best friend around.
I was sorry to see this book come to an end and I dont say that kind of thing often being the crab that I am. Trev and Callie were fabulous together; two truly likable characters that were meant to be together despite all of the obstacles and everything the ton had to say. There were moments when they mistrusted each others true feelings and where they withheld things that should have been said. Trev was also hot-heated and impulsive but these things didnt annoy me as they usually do because you get to know them both so well that their faults, doubts and insecurities are understandable and forgivable. If I didnt have such a huge and forever growing tbr pile this book would definitely be reread often. I may even dig out another historical romance from the pile soon.
Lessons in French was light, funny and sexy. While the main characters both experienced difficult lives, there are no tortured heroes here (as is often the case in Laura Kinsale's novels). Callie, the heroine, is a shy wallflower who thinks of herself as plain. Whether she is actually plain or no, her personality makes her sparkle, even on the page. It was easy to picture her in my mind and I really liked her sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude. Trev, the hero, is handsome, confident, funny and wealthy. Really he would be the prototypical romantic hero, except he has a hidden criminal past that is much less grand that the lies he has told his mother and everyone else. His impulsive, reckless actions and mischievous nature made him seem more real to me. I could understand the attraction between Callie and Trev--it was more than just infatuation or physical sexual attraction. The banter between them was amusing yet still authentic for the time period. The humor and snappy dialog between them reminded me of old black & white romantic movies like "It Happened One Night."...sigh...I loved it!
This is the first book I've read by Laura Kinsale. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to the library today and look for more. I hope they're all this fun and engaging. The characters have a relationship that was easy for me to picture. They were childhood friends and provided support to one another against the obstacles they both had to face in their lives (he had an insulting and harsh grandfather; she had her extreme shyness and plainness). Their personalities are opposite in that he is daring and outgoing and charming and gorgeous, while she is quiet and introverted and timid and plain, but they bring out the best in one another. He is able to coax her into all kinds of shenanigans and she is able to provide the loyal and faithful support that he seeks but cannot find at home. The dialogue is witty and funny and the story is fun to follow. I had a hard time putting it down, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
Jennifer Blake, bestselling author, said it is a "wonderful romp, presented with wit, style, and LK's trademark heart-stealing characters. I smiled my way through it, loving every word." I agree. The main characters are loveable and charming, especially when they are together. And I'm sure the "goats" would agree. (You'll have to read the book to know what that reference means - smile).