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REVIEW: Mr. Harding Proposes by Catherine Dove

Dear Ms. Dove,

Mr. Harding ProposesWhat a delightful traditional Regency romance you’ve written. You have a good feel for the period and seem to have done your research. I enjoy friends turned lovers stories and hope that we hear from you for a long time.

I like how you’ve made Mr. Richard Harding adhere to the standards of regency conduct without turning him into either a rake or a stuffed shirt. And he’s not a Duke! Yippee! He’s
not even an aristocrat. He’s just a landed gentleman. He’s also not the most handsome, the tallest, the one with the widest shoulders, etc. Ah, bliss.

Georgiana is a breath of fresh air as well. Not a hoyden, not the most beautiful nor a wall flower either. She’s smart and outgoing but she’s also smart enough to respect and obey the conventions of her day. She also doesn’t go against her mother’s wishes in regards to furthering a friendship with the now widowed Lady Shipton just to kick over the maternal traces. Georgie thinks about what she’s doing and realizes that only a few high sticklers, such as her mother, don’t receive the former actress, while the rest of society is pleased to entertain her.

I enjoyed your secondary characters and the way they added to the main love story without diverting too much attention by trying to set up any future books in a series. Even the secondary romance adds to the progression of Richard and Georgie’s. I want to note the servants you have in your story. They’re not pals or buddies of the gentry but working people with dignity who take pride in their jobs yet have a strong feeling of loyalty for their employers.

I appreciate the humor you spread throughout the book. I found the scenes when
he’s working himself up to propose marriage to his childhood friend to be wonderfully humorous. But what really impressed me was how you show us things with just a few words rather than trying to tell us with many. “Ribble’s expression was a rebuke,” “His butler opened the door with haughty dignity.” I can *see* these scenes and actions.

Yet, despite all that I enjoy about “Mr. Harding Proposes” there is one niggling problem that demands to be mentioned and that did, reluctantly, lower my grade. How could Georgie, only 20 years old herself and unmarried, have been considered an acceptable chaperon for her younger sister’s come out? Or even partial chaperon? This is one instance when their flighty, overly dramatic and supposed to be a high stickler, mother would have to have gotten off her daybed before noon and done her duty instead of leaving it to her eldest daughter.

Lots of chat groups have bemoaned how publishers seem to be abandoning the traditional Regency book genre. They don’t sell, only old ladies read them, they have boring covers and any number of other reasons are proposed by publishing houses to justify this. Maybe ebooks will offer a way for authors to still sell these stories and for fans to get their ton and Corinthian fixes. I’m happy to give you a B for this book and look forward to what you’ll offer us next.

~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.

5 Comments

  1. Jennifer
    Jun 09, 2006 @ 11:26:57

    This book sounds delightful – I love friends-turned-lovers stories too. Too bad the book isn’t available – is there anywhere to get a copy? Will it be published by another publisher soon?

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  2. Jayne
    Jun 09, 2006 @ 12:10:07

    Jennifer, I was so upset when Scheherazade closed their publishing doors and wish that we had posted this review earlier. If anyone knows how to contact Catherine Dove, please let me know. I would love to learn that someone else is offering this book and any others she’s written.

    One thing I forgot to mention about Richard is that he knows Georgie. Knows her at her best and at her worst and still wants her as she is. A cute repeating theme is how all his servants know he’s working himself up to propose and how they’ve all got their fingers crossed for his success.

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  3. jaye
    Jun 09, 2006 @ 20:51:45

    I, too, would love to get my hands on this book. Thanks for the review. I’ll keep an eye out for an update regarding where/if we can buy this book in future.

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  4. Catherine Dove
    May 13, 2009 @ 18:36:57

    I am the author… and I discovered this review about 5 minutes ago, completely by accident. God, I am SO thrilled. Jayne, you’re absolutely right – although Georgie’s age alone wouldn’t exactly rule her out as a proper chaperone, her unmarried state does, and even married, it wouldn’t exactly work. Huge mistake, and one which I’ll never make again!

    After Sheherezade closed its doors, I went to Reader’s Eden. The link is:
    http://www.readerseden.com/product.php?productid=784

    I also have the book in print form at Lulu:
    http://stores.lulu.com/scribblerkat

    It’s amazing to me that anyone is interested! I am blushing, because although it didn’t look as if I set up for a sequel, I have written one… OK, two… both of which are still being edited. (With a 4.5 hour commute and a tough job, my writing is very much back-burner until I retire.)

    I want to thank you very much for an excellent review. I wish I’d had you as a beta reader!!

    Kat

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  5. Jayne
    May 13, 2009 @ 18:45:28

    How wonderful to hear from you and that the book is available again. This seems to be “Regency” day at Dear Author with lots of people looking for these gentler style books. I’m delighted that people can get to read this one again and love the cover it has now!

    ReplyReply

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