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?