If I had to place Seducing Mr. Heywood into a theme category it would have to be ‘role reversal.’ Readers of Manning’s The Reluctant Guardian will recognize Lady Sophia Rowley. She appeared in the aforementioned as the other woman. In this book, however, Sophia is the not-so-traditional heroine in a not-so-traditional regency romance.
Lady Sophia is widowed for the third time and thrown over by her latest lover. It is time, she decides, for a change. Though the wilds of Yorkshire is not idyllic it is the dwelling place of her two sons. Not to mention the move will relieve her of the London gossips.
Charles Heywood, the local vicar, was appointed by Lady Sophia’s late husband to care for her two sons. He is immediately attracted to Sophia but knows he must quell those feelings. Their ideas are different. He cannot have an entirely sexual relationship without marriage and she has finished with marriage. At the core of this attraction thrives a relationship between two people who bring out the best in each other. Charles and Sophia seem meant to be but when obstacles from Sophia’s past intervene, will the chance for more to develop between them survive?
Jo Manning’s Seducing Mr. Heywood is a fine story with good ideas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to its potential. The first meeting of Sophia and Charles is wonderful. I’d hoped for more of that humor. I like Charles. He is the perfect match for Sophia. Readers may not always like Sophia, but everyone will be cheering for her to be with Charles by the end of the book.
Jo Manning has taken a bit of a risk with this novel. Those who are adamant about keeping with the formulaic may want to stay away from this book. If you are looking for a different type of regency heroine then look no farther than Seducing Mr. Heywood.