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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lady in Green/Minor Indiscretions

Lady in Green / Minor Indiscretions by Barbara Metzger. Historical romance.

I got this 2-in-1 volume of Regencies, signed, in a charity auction--I don't remember which one at the moment.

  • ****½ Lady in Green. A heroine who runs away from being forced into a marriage she doesn't want sounds like a pretty ordinary Regency romance plot. But it's a Barbara Metzger story.

    Annalise Avery takes her old nurse and her ex-highwayman husband with her and absconds to her aunt's house--only to discover that her aunt is on the Continent and the house is to be let. With nowhere else to go, they pretend to be servants--Annalise the housekeeper, Nanny Henny the cook, and her husband the groom.

    Things get worse when Lord Gardiner rents the house specifically for assignations, and Annalise, in disguise as his ugly housekeeper, ensures that none of the ladies end up staying.

    The "lady in green" part comes about because Annalise takes a ride on her beloved horse (also disguised) every morning, dressed in a green riding habit and mysteriously veiled.

    This is not a story to be taken seriously. It's a madcap comedy, with one funny situation after the other--mostly the efforts Annalise makes to get rid of Gard's paramours, but also her efforts at disguising herself and her horse, and Nanny Henny's tactics of showing her disapproval via the food.

  • **** Minor Indiscretions. This is a bit of a Cinderella story.

    Melody, the heroine, takes on the Cinderella role when she returns home from school to find that her mother and sister are on the brink of financial disaster. Her mother is a widow who has long supported her family with the funds she receives for taking in "orphans" at the foundling home she runs. But nearly all of her patrons have stopped sending funds, and all of a sudden, nobody is receiving her in society.

    And here's where the story loses a lot of my sympathy. Instead of trying to solve the problem, or even tightening their belts, Melody's mother and sister blithely go along buying new dresses and criticizing Melody when she tries to help. I really wanted to tell them both to take a flying leap.

    The "orphans" are the illegitimate offspring of prominent members of society, who couldn't acknowledge the children, but also want to make sure they're well cared-for. The funds have dried up because it seems someone has been blackmailing the parents.

    Enter Lord Coe, who's determined to put a stop to it, and who instead finds himself falling in love with one of the suspected blackmailers.

    Despite my dislike of the Cinderella plot, it's still an entertaining story, and the children and the glimpse we get through them of life behind the ton make it worth the read.


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