When 17-year-old Susan Fyfield is engaged to the dashing man-about-town Beau Eversley, it should make her the happiest girl in England.
After all, Beau is everything she could wish for: handsome, charming and from a good family.
The trouble is, in announcing her betrothal to her aunt and sister, she has made one small oversight.
With typical impetuosity, she has neglected to tell Beau himself.
Susan is surprised when Beau actually agrees to the plan: to help her out of the situation in which she has landed herself, not only will he consent to the pretence but will also allow her to break off the engagement whenever she chooses.
But then a revelation about Susan’s past casts a shadow on the history of her parentage and she realises deception is all around.
Will she ever discover who her real mother and father actually were? Can she be destined to marry the man she truly loves?
A page-turning historical romance from a true mistress of the genre, which fans of novelists such as Georgette Heyer will surely enjoy.
I hesitate to call this a five-star read, and yet that’s what I’m allocating it on Goodreads, just because I enjoyed it so much, and because it was such a wonderful mix of Jane Austen-style Regency romance and the more modern Regency romances of today.
Written in the 1960s, The Clandestine Betrothal has a feel to it that is much more “historical” and authentic than books now, and it is all so very, very BRITISH in its feel that it seemed like I really had been transported to the early 1800s.
Some modern readers might be a bit freaked by the heroine’s youth (seventeen), but this was a book that would not have worked any other way, and many an Austen female character is no older than that.
How wonderful to feel like you’re really in Regency England. The manners, the thoughts and actions… I’m sure more Regency authors today could capture this mood. Some already write in a similar sort of way (I’m thinking Madeline Hunter), and it makes a world of difference.
This is such a lovely book. It seems like a bland thing to say, but if I’m not reading darker historical fiction, I want to be reading historical romances like this one. It left me happy and wanting more. It’s witty and entertaining, and the aristocrats actually act like aristocrats.
Were there issues? Absolutely. If the reveal of the allegedly orphaned heroine’s parentage was supposed to be a surprise, the author failed miserably. There’s one point in the book where it’s all so bleeding obvious it’s almost embarrassing!
However, THIS is what I’ve been missing from historical romance. I don’t want or need a sex-fest, and especially not a premarital sex-fest, as most historical romances are now. I don’t like crazy, stupid antics being committed by my historical romance characters, but here was a situation where the heroine’s youth helped to make it believable.
I also think that, apart from one particularly spiteful character, this author is kinder to her female characters than most authors are now, fifty years on.
I was so happy to read this book, and will be looking for more like it.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.