Martin's delightful departure (billed as the first lesbian Regency novel) is more in the vein of Jane Austen than contemporary romance novels. The social intricacies of the era are observed: the heroines know each other for months before addressing each other by first name; gossip spread at public balls in the Herefordshire countryside can ruin reputations; and the villains of the story are an arrogant, overbearing brother and propriety rather than some dastardly foe with a complicated scheme.
Amid this simplicity, it was wonderful to read about the growing attachment between new neighbors Lady Joanna Sinclair and Lady Diana March. Who could help but love the unconventional Diana, a woman who is free in her speech, exotic in her attire, and who was once hauled before a court in Alexandria 'on charges of drunk and disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer of the law, liberating a trader's camel, and soliciting the English Ambassador for prostitution'? Joanna's playfulness with her daughter and repressed talent for painting endears her to readers and to Diana.
The slow-building attraction between Joanna & Diana is charming. The secondary characters are suitably amusing. I only wish the happily ever after had given us more time with the heroines, showing readers what their life was like as a family with Joanna's daughter Molly. All in all, a delightful read.
A pleasant, romantic tale of blossoming love between two women, set in Regency England.