Mostly Betty Neels old favourites including: A Winter Love Story, Year’s Happy Ending, A Girl To Love, A Kiss for Julie. I hesitate to say that if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, but it is almost true. They are incredibly comforting books set in a world that never really existed where capable young women with no qualifications get jobs advertised in The Lady and rich professors and doctors marry them. Falling in love is as likely to happen after marriage as before. They are books which are wholly free from POV considerations and she meanders happily from head to head. Usually, though, we get very little insight into the hero’s perspective so that we remain almost as clueless as the heroines right up until the penultimate page. Betty Neels wrote the trad Regencies of contemporary romance – no sex, not even a hint, not even after marriage. I am not precisely sure why, but I also think her characters live in the same world as Jilly Cooper’s.
I also read a dreadful Regency freebie novella, The Winter Wish by Jillian Eaton. Everything I most dislike about historical novels – inattention to period detail, language and most of all, social conventions. Also an extremely irritating heroine. If you have been in love with someone for seven years without so much as plucking up the courage to exchange two words with him, you do NOT deserve your happy ending. Ugh. And to add insult to injury, the author thinks that the correct spelling is ‘per say’. I have no idea whether this book had a copyeditor or not (it’s not self-published), but that is inexcusable. It’s no longer free, and I would say that this is not worth its current price of 77p.
Inspired by my trip to London last week, I also re-read Abby Green’s wonderful Bride in a Gilded Cage. I love the tango scenes in this book so much.