Loretta Chase is easily one of the the funniest of the historical romance writers. If you like to read a hero and heroine trading quips back and forth, with a lot light-hearted banter, almost like a 40s movie, her books may be for you. Reading about the "Episodes of Stupidity" (as the hero's father calls his son's amorous adventures) will keep you smiling. Alistair, a hero returned from the Peninsular Wars, is a dandy, obsessed with clothing, which helps him keep a handle on what appears to be a case of post-traumatic syndrome (only they hadn't identified or named it back in those days). Mirabel, the heroine, is a capable, smart, busy woman who's forgotten that she's actually quite pretty and attractive. They come together over plans to build a canal. Some of the strife over the canal (he's for, she's against) drags a bit. But these people are endearing and funny and make it worthwhile.
Janet reviewed Miss Wonderful (Carsington, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 8
Due to his history of expensive romantic entanglements, Alistair Carsington now has six months to find either a useful occupation or a wealthy heiress to wed. To prove he is not an idle fop only concerned with sartorial pleasures, Alistair agrees to help his old friend, Lord Gordmor, by traveling to the wilds of Derbyshire to convince Gordmor's neighbors to support the nobleman's proposal to build a canal. Upon arriving, Alistair, a famous war hero and eligible bachelor, finds everyone couldn't be nicer, everyone except for respectable, practical, spinsterish Mirabel Oldridge. The last thing Mirabel wants is for her tranquil little corner of England to be destroyed by a noisy, nasty canal, and she is prepared to use every weapon at her disposal--including her disheveled coiffure and unstylish wardrobe--to stop Alistair. RITA Award-winning Chase presents a splendidly written tale of two people trying desperately not to fall in love. Chase's beguiling blend of deliciously complex characters, potent sexual chemistry, and sparkling wit give this superb romance a richness and depth readers will treasure.
Miss Wonderful manages has put her life on hold in order to manage her father's estate since the death of her mother, dressing down so that the men of the local will not be tempted to flirt, but rather treat her with respect. When she meets Mr. Carsington, she wonders why she is responding as a woman interested in a lover. She has to keep telling herself that they are enemies. I think the story line was good, but it was too drawn out.
Mirabel and Alistair's story is wonderful! Chase takes the time to develop the characters fully and you really understand their motivations and their actions. The relationship between Mirabel and Alistair is very well done and very realistic with just enough dreaminess for comfort. A great book and I will definitely read more in the series.
Simply charming. Characters are true. Plot interesting with just enough drama to add spice to the romance. All in all I an delighted to have discovered this author. I am now reading the second in the series!
I think Loretta Chase is Miss Wonderful herself. Her books are wonderful and her writing is brisk and engaging. I love her characterization of Alistair and Mirabel. Mirabel is a great character and is another strong heroine. Their romance had a nice pace and the love scenes were warm and sweet.
On the negative side, Alistair is written as such a self-centered, superficial dandy it is hard to imagine why anyone, and especially Mirabel, would give him the time of day. It is all resolved and explained in the end - but his personality as the rather vain and somewhat feminine-sounding (in his deep focus on fashion) is off-putting for me. She balances it with his physical injury and war heroism, which is the only way you could get away with a character like this, but I was still troubled by him.
the hero in the story is a dashing rake who always seems to get in trouble with women. he goes to a backwards county where he meets a woman who drives him crazy just by the horrible way she dresses. horrible as in horrid taste in clothes.
Alistair Carsington really wishes he didn't love women quite so much. To escape his worst impulses, he sets out for a place far from civilization: Derbyshire--in winter! There he hopes to kill two birds with one stone: avoid all temptation--and repay the friend who saved his life on the fields of Waterloo. But this noble aim drops him straight into opposition with Miss Mirabel Oldridge, a woman every bit as intelligent, obstinate, and devious as he--and maddeningly irrestible.
Mirabel Oldridge already has her hands full keeping her brilliant and aggravatingly eccentric father out of trouble The last thing she needs is a stunningly attractive, oversensitive, and overbright aristocrate reminding her she has a heart--not to mention a body he claims is so unstylishly clothed that undressing her is practically a civit duty.
Could the situation be any worse? And why does something so wrong feel so very wonderful?
From an Amazon reviewer: Fans will enjoy this wonderful romance that takes the issue of environment vs. development back to its roots in early nineteenth century England. The story line is crisp as Mirabel and Alistair debate the merits and demerits of the impact of a canal on the locality even as both fall in love. The secondary cast adds depth to the debate so that the audience receives a terrific historical tale with modern day implications
This was a fun first book of a series. I really enjoyed the storyline and the very strong female character. She was sassy and had a great diabolical mind! LOL
The hero was very engaging, and very likable. I enjoyed how open and honest he was about his past and how he is handling it.
Things I loved:
~ Chase's wonderful sense of humor as displayed in the characters banter - wonderfully, delightful!
~ Alistair - he is such a fun and interesting twist on the regency hero. He is a dandy (although there are deep
seated reasons underneath.) He lets his emotions rule him - often to his detriment. He also embraces
those emotions and doesn't try to squelch all feeling as most are written to do in this era.
~Mirabel's quirky inattention to style, her horrible fashion sense and unruly hair that never stays in place.
Things I disliked:
~ Mirabel's obnoxious behavior in every reference to the canal project. Even when Alistair works to find
alternate solutions that would make her happy, she refuses to even consider and continues to fight blindly
and for no apparent reason other than to be disagreeable.
~ Again, Mirabel's antics - in reference to the steam factor. Her behavior just didn't ring believable (finding a
ladder, climbing into his bedroom, throwing herself at him when she barely knows him, hmm????)