TBR Day. Lady Beware / Jo Beverley. 2007

Jo Beverley has been an auto-buy for me now for several years. I’ve read most of her back list and I think she really is one of the better romance authors writing today. Her books often take an unusual twist and she’s not afraid to take a risk. She has a reputation for being meticulous in her research. She manages to convey a fine sense of time and place without dumping too much information.

So how come this book sat in my TBR pile for nearly a year? It was released last June and I remember buying it the week it was published. But for some reason I kept putting it aside.

Ms. Beverley has built her own Regency world through her “Company of Rogues” series, books that tell the stories of a group of friends who formed a club of sorts when they were boys together at Harrow. The book previous to this one, To Rescue a Rogue, completed the Rogues’ stories. So where to go from here? Well, she took a character who had a small, but significant role in TRAR, and gave him his own book. Horatio Cave (pronounced Cah-vey), now Viscount Darien, had also gone to school at Harrow with the Rogues, but was someone looking in from the outside and hated that school boy club. As an adult he witnesses something that happens to Lord Darius (the Rogue hero of TRAR) at Waterloo and by speaking up he would clear Dare of negative suspicions over Dare’s actions in the battle. Darien does the right thing in TRAR and Ms. Beverley uses Lady Beware to tell us about Darien and why he chose to do the honorable thing when he could have kept silent in revenge for the mistreatment he’d felt as a young boy. (Yes, Dare and Darien. Very confusing.) Darien himself comes from a family that left scandal in its wake and it’s amazing that Darien is at all “normal” given his upbringing. Darien wants to restore his family’s good name and become accepted by London society. Given how he’s been treated through his life, it’s surprising that he’d want this, but he does have his reasons.

It’s an interesting premise that I have to say just fell a little flat for me. LB opens at the ball where Darien confronts Dare’s sister, Lady Thea, and basically threatens Thea by saying he WON’T tell what he saw unless she agrees to become betrothed to him. Thea reluctantly agrees, Darien says his piece and leaves the ball. Dare’s grateful family takes Darien under their wings and even Thea goes to the Rogues and enlists their help to restore Darien to society. Thea even manages to convince Darien to keep silent about their betrothal agreement at the same time the two of them become attracted to one another.

Darien gives up the betrothal agreement rather easily and also seems to accept help from the previously hated Rogues just as easily. And I guess this is why it fell flat for me. It was all rather easy. Instead conflict comes in the part of a fellow army officer who causes mischief in other ways. I think the internal conflict of resolving long-held resentments and dealing with one’s attraction to a woman who is the sister of the person who sat at the center of those resentments would have been far more interesting.

Ultimately I can only give this a qualified recommendation. Fans of the Rogues’ series should read it (and probably have already). If you’re new to Jo Beverley start with some of her other books—most of them are really excellent.

Comments

  1. This was the first JoBev I ever read (I graded it a C) but I liked her style of writing so I picked up a few of her back list. I also recently read A Lady's Secret, which I enjoyed a lot more. :P

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  2. Phyl, do you read all the books listed in your monthly reading list? ;)

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  3. Hi Jace,

    Yep. I'm a fast and compulsive reader. And I don't sleep much. Every time I finish a book I add it to the reading list. I keep meaning to blog more, but then I wouldn't be able to read or sew!

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  4. Oh wow ... I'm impressed! I'd be lucky if I could get in 6 books a month!

    Perhaps you could add your rating of each book into the list as well? That way, even if you couldn't blog, your readers would still know how you liked them. :)

    How did you like Shadows Of The Night ~ Lydia Joyce and Enchanting The Lady ~ Kathryne Kennedy? I've read all of Joyce's and am wondering if I should read this one?

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  5. I will say that I don't finish books I'm not enjoying and if I don't finish them, they don't make the list.

    As to Shadows of the Night: I had a mixed reaction to this one. First, I find Lydia Joyce to be a refreshing change of pace and worth reading. This one, though, won't go down as my favorite, but it was rather different and I'm glad I read it. As usual for Joyce, it's very well written. I had a hard time accepting that the changes the h/h both experience could happen in the 5-6 short days covered in the book, and become lasting. While the h/h also question the enduring nature of the changes, it seems resolved rather quickly. Still, I'd recommend it because it's Lydia Joyce and different.

    Enchanting the Lady was also different because of the paranormal aspect of aristocratic England. But I wasn't as satisfied by this one. It's a little unfair to comment because it's late in my time zone right now and I don't remember what specifically disappointed me. I did like the romance part of it, but the heroine is being manipulated by some of the secondary characters and that aspect of the plot just seemed over the top. If you only have time to read 6 or so books per month, I think there are some other ones out there that are better choices.

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  6. Thanks for your feedback, Phyl. :)

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