by Regina Scott

December 2001
ISBN: 0-8217-6992-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

What a cool regency. Regina Scott fully emphasized the lack of control a woman had over her life back in those days but still gave the heroine, Cloe Renfield a stubborn mind of her own. Add to that her childhood companion Leslie Petersborough, the newly titled Marquis of Hastings, and you have an interesting pairing as they get into one scrape after another.

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The Irredeemable Miss Renfield is as much about Leslie coming into his own and becoming a man that readers can swoon for as it is about Cleo finding love and happiness. I must admit that initially I was a bit disappointed by Leslie. As his godmother said, he was more a follower than a leader. Not at all likely to come up with ideas himself but always willing, if occasionally grudgingly willing, to follow through with the plans another had come up with. In this case the planner was Cleo and she led them into a great many scrapes that I found rather enjoyable to read about. When Leslie finally did begin to show that he was able to think for himself and not just a mindless follower, I was quite pleased. It was a relief to see him evolving, as he had proved himself to be delightful in other ways. I had very much wanted to like him but one of the most important characteristics of a good hero is that he have a will of his own. One of Leslie's better qualities from the very beginning was the way he treated Cleo, which was unlike the way everyone else treated her. He fully grasped that although young, she was a woman with a head on her shoulders and a mind of her own and therefore not one to be dictated to.

Cleo was a little less interesting as a character as she didn't grow a great deal in the story but she was still enjoyable to read about. Ridiculously innocent, it was easy to see how she got herself in one scrape after the other.

One of the things I would have liked to see was the much deserved set down of the story's villain, as well as the comeuppance of Cleo's sisters who thoroughly irritated me throughout the book. Since without them as a catalyst the book would not have made any sense, I can't wish that they had been left out, but I can wish that I had been able to read about them getting their just desserts. And I would have been more interested in reading a bit more about their husbands as they were mentioned several times, but at no point did they actually made an appearance in the book.

All in all, by the last page I was willing to concede that this book had kept me entertained. I finished it in one sitting and I cannot wait to read more of Ms. Scott's work. In fact, as it had been referenced a few times in The Irredeemable Miss Renfield, my very next regency purchase may very well be Ms. Scott's The Unflappable Miss Fairchild, where Leslie made his first appearance as his best friend, Chad Prestwick, found the woman of his dreams.

Reviewed in January 2002 by JaToya.

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