TBR Day. Love for Lucinda / Gayle Buck. 1996

Last month while I was out in California to spend Christmas with my in-laws, I had the great pleasure of meeting up with our TBR coordinator, SuperWendy. She took me to an awesome used bookstore with a whole room full of romance. As I write this I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of the Room of Awesome. Anyhow, while I now buy pretty much only in digital, there were some titles I was anxious to buy to fill in my print keeper collection. I scored about a dozen of those. There was also a little section of old Signet Regencies. As I browsed through, I picked out this book by Gayle Buck (no website found), an author I had enjoyed reading before. This was one I had not read.

So even though it had only been in the TBR pile 4 weeks, I picked it out because it was short (this month's theme) and in honor of my visit with Wendy.
Love for Lucinda is the story of our heroine, a recent widow who had a brief, unhappy marriage to a libertine. Lucinda's late husband kept her exiled in the country and now that her period of mourning is over, she is determined to return to London to resume the social life that was interrupted when her husband banished her. As a young widow with a modest fortune, she attracts a lot of attention. There's her wastrel cousin who wants her money, a match-making mama who wants Lucinda for her son, an acquaintance from the country who is courting her, and her husband's cousin who is her friend-- to name a few. I think this book would probably be called a "Regency Romp" because of the humorous situation of all of these men after Lucinda.

This book is all Lucinda and her return to society. With the exception of some odd sentences here and there, the POV is Lucinda's. The rigid structure of polite society is a major part of the story. Lucinda is careful to have a companion so that all of the proprieties are observed. She also ends up helping her late husband's sister come out into society. There are so many parties and balls as well as all of the men in her orbit that somehow the romance is left until the 9th page from the end. It was kind of obvious who the hero was going to be, but just to be sure I cheated and read the last page when I was only about 15-20% into the book. By the time I was 75% in, I was frustrated because Lucinda and her hero spent so little time on the page together. It is hard to consider this at all a romance just because two people end up together at the end. Actually, 3 couples end up together as both the companion and the sister-in-law find true love as well. All neatly wrapped up and mostly off the page. Lots of telling, little showing.

So sadly, this book was a bust. Still, it's a nifty souvenir of a wonderful morning spent with a kind friend who knows all the best places to go. Thanks, Wendy!

Comments

  1. Great review. I have a few trad Regencies in my TBR, but haven't picked up any of them yet. This isn't one of them thankfully. While the setup interested me too (and I tend to like that sort of romp), it's too bad that the execution fell short. Still, a fun memento of your trip, as you say :-)

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    1. Thank you! And yes, the setup was why I picked this one out to buy. Oh well. Definitely still worth the trip though!

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  2. I adore Regency romps though I'm not sure I'll pick this one up. I'm all for concentrating on the heroine, but I do want some interaction between the couple in my romances. Where was this wonderful Room of Romance? I'm thinking I need to do a road trip somewhere...

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    1. Jennifer, the store is called Books on Broadway in Costa Mesa. It was extremely easy to get to. Next time I'm out there I'm taking a picture of the Room of Romance.

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  3. @willaful & @azteclady I sure hope you get your chances to visit Wendy! She's a very fun person to hang with :)

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  4. Yes, yes - everybody should come visit me! That used bookstore recently changed ownership and going with Phyl was the first time I'd been there in a while. I was nervous that maybe the "room of romance" was gone - but no! Still there! Huzzah!

    So what a bummer this wasn't great! Because I read the opening bits of your review and the romp aspect sounds positively delightful. But yeah - I would be so frustrated with the couple not spending a lot of "on page" time together. Also, the proprieties stuff seems - weird? As a widow wouldn't our heroine have a teensy, tiny bit more leeway on that front? Asks the girl who isn't a huge stickler for Regency norms and behaviors in her romances. The real glaring anachronisms stick out for me, but the subtle stuff.....not so much.

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    1. Lucinda was a very young woman and it came across that she wanted to mingle in very high society. So while you'd think she had more leeway, the book didn't lean that way. I think anyone who is a stickler for Regency details would like this book. It was well-written and somewhat fun. Just a total fail in the romance department.

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  5. Phyl, lucky you to visit Wendy and go to a UBS with a "room of romance." What fun! And, I love Signet Regencies! But, what a disappointment. I like the Regency details you mention above, and the romp sounds fun, but what's the idea if the romance is a fail? I hope you found other treasures in that Room of Awesome. :)

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    1. I did find some other treasures! There was an early Liz Carlyle I'd never read and then I bought some of Jo Beverley's early Rogue books. I have a bunch of the more recent ones, but not all of the early ones. It was a very fine day :)

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