by Kristina Cook

November 2004
ISBN: 0-821-77778-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Kristina Cook 'Unlaces' a delightful Regency heroine and creates a perfect hero for her in this charming book. Lucy Abbington is not your usual debutante, swanning her way through Almacks and the Marriage Mart. In fact, she’s in London under duress, not seeking a husband, but instead an education in the subject nearest to her heart - the welfare of animals. Yes, Lucy wants to be a vet, but her gender prohibits her from actually training in the field.

Henry Ashton, Marquis of Mandeville, is surprised at his attraction to this ineligible woman. She certainly shouldn’t be making his heart beat faster, or arousing other portions of his anatomy. He has goals, clearheaded political goals, and needs to marry appropriately.

And yes, of course they fall in love. It’s a challenging journey to their destiny, however, as secrets are revealed, burdens shed, and some interesting and intricate plot twists surprise the reader. The characters are well drawn, and aside from the occasional attack of male stupidity on Henry’s part, both function in a realistic and believable way given their circumstances.

My only difficulty was in accepting the jump from Regency mores and manners into a smolderingly sexual interaction between Henry and Lucy. This slight unevenness in the narrative was more than offset by the well-thought-out plot, however, and the assortment of colorful secondary characters. This is a delightful ride through the elegant world of the Regency, and will please fans of the genre. I recommend this book for those who would like a trip back in time…Ms. Cook’s vision of the Regency is definitely one to be shared.

Reviewed in October 2004 by Celia.

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