If you’ve followed me, you probably know I like to travel. Sometimes I travel in the real world. (My list has only 15 countries, so I have a ways to go.) Sometimes I can’t, but that doesn’t stop me. I ramble off somewhere just about every day in my imagination or in other authors’ books.
This week I had the most lovely ride through Hyde Park on a crowded Sunday in July. Loretta Chase made it so vivid in her novel Ten Things I Hate About the Duke, that it was easy to ride along on Rotten Row where carriages (except for the sovereign’s) were forbidden, but congestion still made it difficult, if not hazardous, for horses. After describing all the “dandies, military men, MP’s, lords, esquires, bumpkins, and what seemed like every clerk in London…” she goes on to describe the women. It tickled me. Then “…the scores of riders who had no business anywhere near a horse, the maladjusted horses who had no business being ridden…and the children and dogs—all of this taking place in the heat and dust of a July afternoon.”
I’ve actually walked in Hyde Park. This was much more fun. I leave to readers to discover her delicious prose about the adventures, arguments and amorous moments between a heroine determined not to be hurt by an unreliable suitor, and a duke determined to win her anyway. If you’re asking, “Who won?” you’re out in the weeds. In the end there are no losers.
Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does. Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them. The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting. The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.