This book made me laugh so much! It is light and fluffy and a bit predictable, and it was exactly the tonic I needed this month. I loved it.
I especially loved that it surprised me. Because I kept fearing that the author was just going to throw in some dumb misunderstanding to keep Frederica and Alverstoke apart for the rest of the book, which is a common device in romantic plots, and one I abhor. Deeply. But she never did! I was extremely pleased. In fact, I think I liked this better than her book Lady of Quality, which I read last year and also laughed a good deal over.
Lord Alverstoke never cares about anything but his own amusement. He loathes being bored. But he's almost always bored. That changes when he meets his distant relation Frederica and her siblings. Their parents are dead, and Frederica convinces Alverstoke to pretend her father left them to his care so that he can sponsor her sister's debut in the London "marriage market" and assure she'll make a comfortable match.
Frederica considers herself a spinster because she's in her mid-twenties and has spent years raising her younger siblings. Alverstoke thinks this is ridiculous of her, but she ignores him. The two of them develop this hilarious, teasing relationship that's just adorable. And the way Alverstoke relates to her youngest brothers is wonderfully funny.
Yes, there's romance, but mostly there's lots of witty banter and wry observations about society and family relationships. Also, there are hot-air balloons and steam engines and early bicycles, as this takes place somewhere between the First and Second Industrial Revolutions. And there's a very rambunctious dog, a Baluchistanian Hound, that delighted me to no end.
Particularly Good Bits:
"I am seven-and-thirty, ma'am," said Alverstoke, somewhat acidly, "and I should perhaps inform you that I am never of use to anyone!" (p. 31).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for a lot of mild swearing, mostly from Alverstoke, and a sequence of danger to a child.
This is my 32nd book read off my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020.