When Christian Bancroft, Viscount Berkeley, flees the stuffy ballrooms of London for his Scottish hunting lodge, the last thing he expects to find ensconced before his fire is an incredibly beautiful woman. But the plight of lovely young Sarah Highgate, who has run away from an unwanted betrothal, inspires an eminently practical exchange. He’ll safeguard her reputation with the ton while she advises him how to best attract a proper bride…
As the undisputed belle of the season, Sarah has enchanted plenty of suitors. Still, she isn’t interested in marriage, especially not to the pompous bore her father has chosen for her. But her hasty escape seems reckless now that she’s estranged from her family and has no one to count on besides Christian. Turning the luckless lord into such a catch has another unplanned consequence for Sarah: Has he run away with her heart?
The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides #6) by Valerie Bowman
You might like to check out the review at All About Romance:
My review is going to sound terribly negative. So I want to start by saying that – as someone who hates topless man covers – I actually think this cover is creative and interesting and full of emotion, and I like it.
Goodreads tells me this is the fourth Valerie Bowman book I’ve read – all in this same series. There’s a reason I keep coming back to Bowman’s work – she’s one of those authors who has a talent for writing lively scenes that keep you turning the pages.
I did not end up finishing this one.
Now, the author markets her book as “Regency romps”. They’re anachronistic, they’re more Disney than Austen, and they’re also great fun. I know what I’m going into before I begin. Even if this one flew right out the Regency manners window with the heroine eating breakfast with the hero – alone and in her nightclothes – only a few hours after meeting him, I might still have continued.
Even though the “I’m not like other women – I’m better!” theme was started to wear on my feminist sensibilities, I might have continued.
This time, though…
Firstly: I simply could not get over the fact the heroine’s guardian was called “Mrs Goatsocks”. I thought it was a joke. I thought it would turn out this creature with the ridiculous name was a pet dog or something, but no…
Yes, there’re some English surnames that sound funny to foreign ears. However, there is a big history to them – the name evolved that way for a reason. It was almost offensive to use such a stupid, made-up, non-historic name, just because the English are “so cute!”. Just in case, I Googled, and searched, and Googled some more, and all searches for “goatsocks” turned up were pictures of socks with goats on them (who knew that was something people bought?!).
The main issue? Sometimes there’s one thing in a book you just can’t overlook. One comment, or one mistake that’s too big for me to want to go on reading. For example, I’ve been known to DNF books that use any variation of the comment ‘dumb blonde’.
In the case of The Legendary Lord, it’s a combined language and research issue.
In this case? The offending word: biscuit.
An American “biscuit” versus what that word means to the rest of us:
These are biscuits:
As are these:
This bread-like, crusty, doughy thing Americans call a biscuit? I’ve never seen one in the decades I’ve lived in the British Commonwealth and Britain itself. I only know what they are from reading books set in the US South.
If Bowman had had her characters preparing and eating sushi, it would have been more believable – at least that’s a food you can find in Britain today! “Biscuit” wasn’t just a wrong word; it was a wrong THING. A wrong culture, a wrong country, and when it became a big theme in some sixty pages of scenes, mentioned eighteen times just in a few chapters, I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Both author and editors should know better if they’re setting books in Britain.
The heroine cooked them. The hero dipped them in meat sauce and also tore off the “crust” (“cookies” don’t have crusts!) and fed them to the dog. The hero cooked them. The heroine ate them. And on and on it went for the whole “getting to know you” multiple-chapter section of the book.
Also: why in the world would the daughter of a Regency earl know how to cook??!!
Look: many of my favourite historical romance writers have grammar/terminology errors in their books. I’m willing to overlook a few Americanisms in a book set in England if the story is good. However, this one became such a focus of the story, I just could not ignore it.
As I said: it wasn’t the only issue. There were a lot of severe anachronisms, and the vague misogyny was a little irritating.
This book is getting fantastic reviews. However, a little while ago I saw an English reader mention that some British historical romances are not written for a British audience, that they are full of mistakes and play on stereotypes to sell a quaint version of Britain that has never existed. It was a statement that really resonated with me, because THAT is exactly the problem I have with a number of books in this genre. And this is one of them.
I’m sure if you know very little about the country or the era, you will enjoy the sparkling writing. Unfortunately for me, I cannot overlook the massive behavioural and language mistakes. Instead of enjoying the dialogue, I was obsessing over the hero dipping his dessert in his meat stew.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.