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REVIEW: Harley Street by Lynne Martin (aka Lynne Connolly)

Dear Mrs. Connolly,

Even if I have to wait for the next two new books about Richard and Rose, I’m so glad that Mundania will be releasing the entire series to some new fans. “Harley Street” takes up where the third novel in the Richard and Rose series, “Venice,” left off. The series follows the courtship, marriage, honeymoon and now first months of married life back in London of Richard Kerre, Lord Strang, heir to the Earldom of Southwood and Rose Golightly, a young woman of no great distinction from Devonshire, England.

In book one, “Yorkshire,” the two met and fell instantly in love much to the distress of their families. Richard was a well known rake and philanderer while Rose was a provincial nobody. Add to that fact that Richard was betrothed and Rose had a young curate who fancied her as a step up in their society and you can see why neither family was pleased. But the couple persevered and we watched the lead up to their marriage in “Devonshire” and their honeymoon in “Venice.”

All along, they’ve had to deal with a society who thinks Richard will soon begin to cheat on Rose, family members still unsure of the match, society eager to witness any faltering and the two poisonous people with whom our hero and heroine were first matched. Julia, the wealthy heiress to whom Richard was betrothed and Steven the young and handsome curate who cold blooded wanted to use Rose. They have joined forces against our young couple and are determined to make life difficult for them. In “Harley Street,” the battle is brought back to London and involves some episodes from Richard’s dark past which have come forth to haunt him and test the strength of their love. While Rose begins to navigate her new life in Georgian high society, she and Richard must see that a murder is solved, an old wrong is righted, and escape the nets of viciousness with which Julia and Steven try to entangle them.

If you got anything wrong in your research, it didn’t stand out. The love scenes are passionate without being purple and the characters well drawn. I got a real feel for being in Georgian London, presented at Court, living among the ton and having to watch my back to avoid the more dissolute members of that world. I enjoyed watching Rose gain confidence while she moves into her new life and both gain strength from their love for each other. The secondary characters are nicely done though some are more in the background of this story as befits the fact that Rose is moving on into her new life.

Where the book falters a bit is in the fact that I’m getting a little tired of the two villains and their schemes for revenge. I would have thought that Richard and his family would have had enough power and means to squash these two by now. Perhaps we won’t see them in book five or six.

I do like the fact that you have the gumption to allow a secondary character to have a fate that is more in keeping with the times and not forced into a Cinderella Happily Ever After. You’ve done some things with your stories which I don’t think conventional publishers would have allowed and it’s a refreshing change. This one gets a B. While I think that readers could probably pick up any of these books and enjoy them without having read the previous ones, it definitely enhances the experience to know what has happened before. I know that you’ve already written books five and six in the series. Dare I hope for more?

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

4 Comments

  1. Robin
    Oct 24, 2006 @ 23:42:03

    Jayne, are you trying to torture those of us who still can’t get these books? Because you’re doing a good job of it, at least as far as I’m concerned!

  2. Jayne
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 06:18:25

    Bwahahahaha! I’m feeling very Dom now. ;)

    No, really I’m just trying to keep them in the back of your mind for when they are (hopefully? finally?) released. I keep checking Mundania Press for any news of these books but so far….no joy. As a reader who’s eagerly awaited/looked for books I want to read, I can feel your pain.

  3. Katharina
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 11:23:44

    You know, I can’t wait for the release of this series. Every review about this series sounds better than the last ;-)

  4. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 03, 2006 @ 21:01:39

    Thank you!
    These books were a joy to write, because for most of my youth I was dragged around all the Stately Homes of England, first reluctantly and then with increasing enthusiasm.
    And Richard Kerre was just one of those characters that just appear, fully booted and spurred in his first scene. I wanted a nice, quiet minor peer who could solve country house mysteries, but oh no, I get a flamboyant leader of society!
    I do give Mundania gentle reminders, but I don’t know when the books will be out. And yes, after books 5 and 6 which are already written, I have two more planned, one of which is half written.

    Then I plan to give them a rest, but they might return, when I have something interesting to say about them. Meantime, I have to be honest, most of my time is taken up with the new Department 57 series, which has taken off with a bullet, much to my delighted surprise. But I haven’t forgotten Richard or Rose, or Gervase for that matter. They’ll be with me always.
    If you’re into paranormals, try the Department 57 series. I never do anything the easy way, it seems, so I have shapeshifters, vampires and sorcerers, all together. I wanted to know – if you have a lifespan of 500 years, if the woman you fall in love with is going to die 400 years before you do, how do you cope with that? If you live for 500 years or more, how do you keep it fresh, stop from going insane with depression? How do you hide your very existence from the human beings infesting every corner of the planet?
    Well, I’m still asking questions, and I hope Richard and Rose will be back soon! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for remembering them!

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