Publication date: September 21, 2013
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This is a charming Regency romance written in the style of traditional regency romance – but not without sexual tensions between the lead characters.
The heroine is Miss Lorelei Lindon, a young lady of modest means who is tired of living in the country and yearns to experience the bustling town life. She lives vicariously through the novels she reads, adventurous tales of highwaymen and pirates that take her away from her dreary life. When her maid tells her of a legend of a ghost lady known to haunt a particular road at night, she decides to indulge in her first and last adventure – by ghost hunting – before entering the marriage mart in London as a debutante. Lorelei’s adventure turned out more than she expected when instead of a ghost, she encountered an earl who took not only her first kiss, but also her mother’s pendant.
Alastair Tilbury, Earl of Winbourne, did not expect a masked young lady coming to his rescue when his carriage overturned on a dark road, nor her laughing eyes and teasing smiles. The jaded earl was intrigued by his “siren,” and managed to take a memento from her before she rode off after assisting him. When the Season began, he once again donned a cynical mask of disdain as more debutantes are paraded around him, until he recognized Lorelei as his midnight siren, who refused to acknowledge their prior meeting…and then, the game was on.
Although this story employs numerous tropes familiar in historical romance, such as the cynical lord who was crossed in love; the innocent love-seeking heroine who is no match for the hero’s games; the hero and heroine are drawn to each other despite themselves, etc., the author nonetheless crafted an entertaining story that is both original yet familiar. While Griff’s cynical demeanor shattered Lorelei’s fantasies of him as her dream-hero, Lorelei did not give up trying to understand him, and eventually came to realize that his coldness was a mask of self-protection against love and genuine affection. In that, I greatly enjoyed seeing Lorelei grow into a mature woman mentally and how her love for Griff transformed the reticent earl into admitting to his own love. But precisely as the book was more heroine-focused, Griff was more like a stock character – albeit interesting enough in his own way – in his act of swearing against love after one heartbreak, a matter of some ambiguity as neither his backstory was explained in depth, nor his past character given enough lightness of character to effect such a drastic change in demeanor after one event. It was not as if the past Griff was a youth who believed deeply in love to begin with, so it seemed odd that the current he would be so against it.
Aside from this issue, his interaction with Lorelei was highly amusing and while he may not have deserved her love for the greater part of the book, in the end their love by itself was a great enjoyment to read. I am extremely grateful for the author seeking me out for this book, as it was a wonderful read, and I will surely anticipate her future works.
Rating: 4 tulips
*Review copy provided by the author for an honest review