Dear Ms Grange,
Despite at times feeling as if I’m “Regency’d” out, a good one can still pull me in, entertain me and leave me feeling good. Your book has lots of elements I look for such as believable lead characters and period detail yet avoids obvious historical mistakes and makes use of Brighton instead of London. Yet with all that going for it it, I sit here the day after finishing and it and have trouble remembering it clearly. It’s just sort of dull. [There's nothing horrid but nothing great.]
Miss Cassandra Paxton is a likable heroine. She works hard to provide for her younger sister now that their parents and older brother are dead. She keeps her head in a crisis, wants to do right and fix any problems her feckless, idiot, spindthrift brother created (though her idea of bringing any fallen barque of frailty who her brother might have ruined to live with her and her young sister is silly).
Justin Deverill is like any other nobleman out to ‘help the crown’ root out traitors. He’s noble, patriotic, feels an obligation to help Cassie and does so. Only he’s poor — which is really the only thing about him different from countless other heros like this I’ve read about. I was slightly bemused in the scene in which he tells Cassie all because he kept protesting and announcing to her he didn’t want to say anything. And she’d just say “tell me” and he’d spill enven more information or she just looked at him and his face would give it away. I don’t think much of his resistance to interrogation.
As for the villain — I knew him the minute he stepped into the story. I can’t say why but I just said to myself, “yeah it’s this one.” When “all was revealed” I shook my head and stared at the book, thinking “this is it?”
The secondary characters are fine. No one is too much a ‘character’ though Maria and Harry (Cassie’s friends) kind of come off as hangers on. They’re always accepting invitations and exclaiming over everything. Sort of like parvenues or nouveau riche.
There’s lots of “Brighton” things stuck into the story — sort of a Brighton version of usual London scene: the Prince’s tacky Pavillion, Steyne, sea bathing, Castle Inn dancing, and the racetrack instead of Almack’s, Astley’s and the other usual things we see in Regencies. But in the end I was left with the usual feeling I get during those sorts of descriptions– slight boredom combined with slight skimming to get back to the action.
As I said, there’s nothing terribly bad about this story but nothing to make it stand out in any way from countless others. It’s just sort of there. And I was disappointed by the epilogue which negates the only things that were really different about the story. C