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Friday, May 30, 2008

Review: Substitute Bride

by Laura Lamperd

When Miss Emma Napier helped her friend, Abby, escape an arranged marriage, she little thought she would meet the dashing Marquis of Desborough. His lordship was looking for a wife so he could gain control of his inheritance. Emma seemed the perfect choice.

A gay and frothy Regency romance, packed with lively incidents and dramatic situations.

From time to time in our modern world where a woman is supposed to be “Jill of all trades and GOOD at all”, Regency novels are a dose of delightful medicine for gaining one’s balance again. I love them!

SUBSITUTE BRIDE by Laura Lamperd takes the reader to a time when women were valued for their appearance and social graces and considered of little value in other areas. Emma Napier manages to circumvent many limitations of the regency era as she proves her loyalty to her life-long friend Abby Derries.

Abby, afraid her uncle with whom she lives will force her to marry a man she hardly knows and who is much older than she is, seeks Emma’s help to escape her situation. Thus begins the adventure for two young women who have been reared in the country, far away from the intrigues of both the “high-born” and the “low-born” of London.

On their way to London, Emma is forced into a compromising position by the Marquis of Desborough who is known for his womanizing and wicked ways. Since her brother with whom she had planned to stay in London is out of the country, she goes to her great-aunt Matilda and asked if she and Abby may stay with her a few days.

Lady Matilda Langridge, delighted to have Emma and Abby for the season, arranges a social life that takes the two young women into a society they have only heard about. The reader gets to experience colorful balls, elaborate tea parties set in discreet parlors, and all the things wealth and privilege offered in the regency period.

Along the way, the squalid side of London comes into play for short intervals adding to the tension Ms. Lamperd creates as she shepherds not only Emma and the Marquis through a maze of intrigue and obstacles but also brings a happy-ever-after to secondary characters whom this reader found absolutely delightful.

SUBSTITUTE BRIDE is refreshing and laced with humor—a story to enjoy.

Review by Camellia