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Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Suspicious Affair / An Angel for the Earl

A Suspicious Affair/An Angel for the Earl by Barbara Metzger. Historical romance.

I got this 2-in-1 Regency romance volume, signed, in a charity auction some time ago. I don't remember which one.
  • ****½ A Suspicious Affair.

    When this story begins, a duke is murdered in his carriage, where he'd been trysting with his mistress. His very pregnant wife, Marisol, is the prime suspect.

    The neighbor, Lord Kimbrough, is also a suspect, because he'd been arguing with the victim over a piece of land on their adjoining estates. So to clear his name, Lord Kimbrough decides to get to the bottom of things.

    He and Marisol initially distrust each other, but as they get to know each other, they fall in love.

    What really makes this story stand out, though, is that it starts out in the POV of Jeremiah Dimm, the Bow Street Runner investigating the case. Dimm isn't just a plot device, though, he has a distinct personality, and he plays a major role in getting the hero and heroine together. He's also a major source of the humor in the book, as he finds jobs for his large extended family, one by one.

  • ****½ An Angel for the Earl.

    This is a rather unusual story, in that the heroine spends nearly the entire story in a coma. I think I can see why these two stories are combined, besides being originally released in the same year: they're both unusual Regencies.

    Lucinda is an overprotected young lady whose father is set to marry her to an old man. She very naturally elopes with a scoundrel, and when he attacks her after she discovers his true nature, she very naturally defends herself, inadvertently killing him. On her way home, she falls off her horse and ends up in a coma.

    If she dies, she's destined for hell (for self-defense killing? maybe for disrespecting her parents and eloping in the first place?), but if she can reform the rakish Lord Stanford before she dies, she'll go to heaven.

    Kieran, Earl of Stanford, inherited a pile of debts and a peculiar household. His mother has apparently taken up with a smuggler; his aunt regularly holds conversations with her long-deceased husband; and his one remaining servant has the shakes so badly he's mostly incompetent.

    Lucinda's attempts at fixing his life are both sweet and funny, and all the more believable because they sometimes work and sometimes don't.

    As in the previous story, they fall in love slowly, developing an appreciation for each other over time.

As always, you really cannot go wrong with Barbara Metzger. Even though these stories are 13 years old, they're still fresh, and fun and definitely worth reading.


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