Dear Ms. Chase,
When you started publishing again, I breathed a sigh of relief since it meant I didn’t have to hoard my supply of your trad regency books amymore. Sometimes I almost envy Cassie Edwards’ fans the huge backlist they can look forward to reading.
FROM DISTRESS TO DISASTER
“Catherine Pelliston simply would not abide by her father’s wishes and marry
the slovenly Lord Browdie. But her escape through the streets of London only seemed to lead her from bad to worse. First, she was robbed. And then, her supposed “rescue” by a kindly old woman stranded Catherine in a bordello–where the handsome Viscount Rand was intent on sampling her wares!
A dire predicament indeed–especially when the dashing aristocrat decided to assume full responsibility for the ravishing runaway by taking her, quite against her will, into his home. But little did Catherine know that her struggle to preserve her virtue had inflamed the debauched gadabout’s heart…and might well net her a husband worth desiring!”
Another bit of delightful, fun fluff from you, this is the prequel to “The Devil’s Delilah” (but I don’t think they need to be read in any order). I really enjoy your witty, smooth writing, excellent plotting, timing and characters.
I like how Catherine is a woman of regency England. She’s not out horseback riding in breeches or other such nonsense. She gets into some wild situations but it’s not because she’s out trying to be feisty. Catherine does a stupid thing at the end of the book but…haha…realizes she did it and figures out how to get herself out of the situation. She had practically saved herself by the time the hero showed up (though he did do his bit).
We’re told that Max is mad, bad and dangerous to know. Actually I felt that was more a description for the heroine! Max rebels against the fate his life will take (inheriting the title after his older brother’s death) but is really a decent, kind at heart hero. He blusters a lot but you can see that Catherine will have him well in hand for life.
The evil villain really is disgusting. And we’re not just told that. We get to see him during the course of the book being awful. I will admit that I’m getting tired of English villains being dumped on America at the end of romance books. Let them keep their own perverts!
The tie in with Devil’s Delilah is its hero, Jack who is Max’s friend and another suitor for Catherine. He’s sweet in Vagabond as well but I never got a sense of it being a real love triangle among Jack, Max and Cat.
I did enjoy Max’s sister, Lady Andover and her husband, Edgar. Funny, witty dialogue between husband and wife but it still shows how much they love each other without going overboard into treacle.
So, Vagabond is delicious with a sparkling style but without padding. The plot is slowly spun out. I can see some stuff coming but you don’t do some of it just when I think you will but wait to heighten the payoff when it comes. Another winner for me.
Note: This was reprinted with Devil’s Delilah in 2004. ISBN for reprint: 0451212231. ISBN for original: 0802710468