There is a new voice in historical romance, and her name is Tessa Dare. Her debut novel, Goddess of the Hunt, is a stellar example of all that we love about the Regency, with none of the redundancy. Never once do we read about a London party, Almacks or Hyde Park. They are all still there of course, but Ms. Dare prefers a more rural setting for her novel. In fact, the heroine has never been to London at all.
Lucy Waltham is overdue for her debut, but the continued confinement of her sister-in-law and lax attitude of her brother and guardian have made it impossible for her to gain town polish. She is happy in the country, hunting and fishing with Henry and his friends. While she would like to visit London, it is not nearly as important as her current mission – to marry Sir Toby Aldridge. There is just one problem. Toby appears smitten with another houseguest, and Lucy must do something soon, or they will be betrothed and she will be bereft. She needs to practice seduction, and there is only one other single gentleman in the house.
Jeremy Trescott, Earl of Kendall, is not pleased to be on the receiving end of Lucy's lesson. She is his best friend's sister, and has been a thorn in his side for years. She loves to poke at him, and using him for kissing lessons is too much! He doesn't want to upset Lucy, but Toby is ready to propose to Sophia and her cause is lost. He is definitely not someone Lucy should be kissing anyway. It is all Henry's fault! He should have taken her to town. Then she would be married by now and not kissing him in his bedchamber at two in the morning.
Ms. Dare gives us some really fine characterizations in this novel, and the plot is perfect for drawing together two unlikely lovers. Lucy, while immature, is not missish, and she is like fresh air throughout the book. Jeremy has the most baggage, and it takes a while for Lucy to get past all his defenses to find the warm loving man she knows is inside. There are plenty of humorous moments, although none of them are contrived. I look forward to more by this talented new author.