TBR Day. The Rebellious Ward / Joan Wolf. 1984


This month's TBR theme is "Recommended Read." I couldn't find anything specific that really fit with the theme. What I do have is a pretty nice pile of old Signet Regencies that I bought thanks to years of participating in the Regency Yahoo email loop. I must admit that these days I just skim the messages, but there was a point when I was a regular participant in the group and I jotted down all kinds of recommendations and then went off to the UBS or eBay to see what I could find. Joan Wolf wrote a couple of Regency trads that to this day remain favorite re-reads: The American Duchess and His Lordship's Mistress. Fortunately much of her back list is now available in e-format. Today she writes for the Christian market.

This particular book is one of her earliest books. Here's the blurb:

Only a girl as captivating as Catriona Maclan could have overcome the scandal of her birth to shine as the most sought-after young lady of the London season.
Only a girl as daring as Catriona would have played with the fiery attentions of suitors as different as the eminently eligible, handsome and proper Lord Wareham and the notoriously worldly and wicked Marquis of Hampton.
Only a girl as stubborn as Catriona would have persisted in adoring the one man she could not have — the brilliant and iron-willed Duke of Burford, the guardian who saw her every fault and was so blind to all else…

As these things often are, the blurb is over-the-top and misleading. The Rebellious Ward is about Catriona, the illegitimate second cousin (Or is it first cousin, once removed? I never get these terms right--the Duke's grandmother is Catriona's great-grandmother.) of the Duke of Burford. She is orphaned at age 9 and brought to live with her great-grandmother. Edmund, the Duke, is 13 years her senior and takes her under his wing as a big brother might. Catriona grows up and despite her social status is taken to London for a Season. Catriona is 17 now and realizes she is in love with Edmund. Believing he intends to marry someone else she becomes engaged to the Marquis of Hampton, a known rake.

Fortunately this book is mercifully short, just over 200 pages in a fairly large font. There's way too much tell and not enough show. The entire book is from Catriona's POV. I liked the Marquis better than the Duke and wish he'd been hero instead of the Duke. Nonetheless I thought it was written well enough that I wanted to keep reading. Wolf was still developing as a writer and if this wasn't a great book, it was nowhere near the level of awfulness that her first book was. Fans of her later work might enjoy this one, although at $3.99 on Amazon it seems a little pricey.

Comments

  1. Shame this one didn't work out! Joan Wolf is kind of hit or miss for me. Her good books are really excellent, but there are also a few out there with way too much telling/not enough showing, stories that sag in the middle, etc...

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    1. Fortunately, Lynn, I've read several of her good books, so I don't mind so much that this didn't work for me. I have at least one or two more around here that I still very much want to read.

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  2. Oh dear, "mercifully short." Glad I picked a different traditional Regency. Better luck next time!

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    1. willaful, I'm glad you picked a different one too! I now have it out on the table so I can read it next. I'm looking forward to it.

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  3. Hi!
    Hum this book doesn't seem that good...I haven't tried the author but I've loved "Lord of Ice" by Gaelen Foley, it's also a story with a ward and her tutor and it's wonderful, my favorite of all the books I've read by Foley. Do you have more recommendations on this theme, something you really enjoyed?
    Thanks!

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    1. S., Wolf has some other very wonderful titles that might be worth trying. In the last week since you left your comment I've been trying to remember some other titles involving guardian/ward and none are coming to mind. Yet I'm sure I've read some. They must not have left much of an impression, lol. I did read Lord of Ice ages ago; I remember liking most of the books in that series very much.

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  4. "Mercifully short" does say it all :)

    This is always the danger of going back and reading very early books by authors with long backlists - especially when they've been writing for 20-30 years! The genre evolves, it changes, and likewise readers evolve and change. Glad it wasn't a total stinker and that you could appreciate it within the context of the author's development as a writer.

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    1. And now that so many authors are making their backlists available it's very tempting to pick them up. I need to have some restraint. I can't read them all, and I suspect my own tastes have indeed changed as you suggest.

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