Locating Her Is Only Half The Battle…
Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight, and she’s nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all…
The Lady Meets Her Match isn’t *quite* the perfect historical romance, but it surprised me so much with its original plot, interesting characters and believable setting (Georgian, not Regency or Victorian) that I couldn’t put it down. It has the world’s trashiest and most misleading packaging, and the blurb hardly tells you the first thing about what a complex story it is.
Book two in a series, and I couldn’t tell at all. It is a total standalone read, but I’m definitely interested in investigating the author’s other books now.
First, I have to address this: the cover. It has nothing to do with the characters. Claire is supposed to have astonishing white-blonde hair that nobody forgets because it’s so rare. Cyrus is supposed to be a man from the mid-1700s (and frighteningly big). That means long hair tied back, not modern-day Captain America! I was given the impression this was going to be a silly, flimsy read, and it turned out to be a serious and slightly dark story set in London’s less than rich and elegant areas.
The Cinderella aspect of the story is dealt with in the first chapter or two, and then there is much more going on. The world of Georgian London was captured beautifully, and the author has well and truly done her research (but why they were cooking with apples that weren’t invented for another century – and in Australia at that! – I do not know).
I was glued to this book, and especially the two lead characters. I loved that Cyrus’ size was considered a bad, not a good thing. That the attitudes from the aristocracy were more in line with the past. No anachronistic nonsense of 18th century women liking the same physical characteristics women tend to today.
I liked that the heroine was beautiful and independent, but that this brought her other issues.
I loved that the hero had period-appropriate attitudes to gender differences. That the conflict began because he wasn’t prepared to rent to a woman running her own business. I liked that the problems they faced were from the times, not modern-day issues.
I LOVED that they actually took the time to fall in love. I believed it.
However, one of my absolute favourite things was the attitude to women and the connections between the female characters:
The best surprise from making her way in London was discovering the friendships of women.
I wish all romance authors could write like this instead of pitting women against each other!
My criticism of the book is that the author makes a lot of errors with her language. It’s not even that she uses American terminology (there is a little bit of that), but that she makes the common mistake of assuming working class people from England speak the same way working class people in America do. The odd grammar (the lack of adverbs, for example) and expressions had me thinking of Tennessee, not rural Britain!
It was distracting because everything else was so good. This is a problem I have with another favourite author: Madeline Hunter. In fact, Gina Conkle’s writing isn’t the same, but I like both their books for the same reasons.
I just really, really enjoyed this book. The only thing that could have made it a better read for me would be if someone with a better grasp of British English had done some proofreading and made some adjustments.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.