by Julie Beard

April 2001
ISBN: 0-515-13039-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Can a rake rescue a maiden in distress? Can a penniless lawyer sweep a young lady off her feet? Can Jack Fairchild even mention the word “marriage” without throwing up? Julie Beard addresses all these questions in the delightful Very Truly Yours, where the distress of the maiden is actually boldfaced blackmail on the part of a really disgusting villain, Lord Barrington. The maiden, Liza Cranshaw, is very intelligent, but trapped in a situation not of her making, and it’s almost too late for handsome Jack Fairchild to extricate her from her difficulties.

Both Jack and Liza shine like stars in this lovely tale; Jack is the impecunious rake whose flighty flirtatious manner hides a good heart and the savagely sharp mind of a very bright lawyer. Liza, on the other hand, is opinionated, intelligent, and given to going after what she wants, no holds barred. When she and Jack realize what it is they want – look out world, it’s one sensual afternoon!!! Jack’s intervention revolves around his very bad habit of reading other people’s letters – accidentally at first, but later.... well, if it has to do with his beloved Liza, it’s got to be important.

This is an accurate glimpse into the Regency where debtors were tossed into the Fleet prison, yet could enjoy the luxury of a pint or two if their friends tossed some coins into the right hands. Others died of starvation, or were transported, just for stealing bread. Inequities like this drive Jack Fairchild to offer what help he can, and it’s that social conscience that makes everything Jack does seem logical and caring. He’s a delightful hero, one we can all admire and cheer for. On the other side of the coin, however, is the revolting Lord Barrington. If Jack is the perfect hero, then Barrington has to be the perfect villain. He’s lecherous, amoral, and violent and makes no secret of any of it. He want’s Liza’s dowry, and if he can get his pleasure out of her at the same time, well, so be it. He is manipulative, harsh, and clearly has a very ugly soul – if he has one at all. If he was a character in a play, the audience would drown his dialogue with boos and hisses every time he set foot on the stage.

So it’s easy to see that this book possesses all the ingredients needed for a good romance – lovely ladies, handsome heroes and an exciting plot! If you’re ready to slip on your paisley shawl and spend a few hours reading in your own country home (or apartment), then I recommend this novel – Jack and Liza will charm you and you’ll relish the downfall of a truly great villain.

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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