31 August 2014

Springtime Pleasures by Sandra Schwab

Hello readers,

Today I’m going to be doing a review of the book I’ve been loving the most this week. Before we get started on that, however, I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who read my first post. I was seriously amazed by how many of you did and it gave me warm happy feelings so thank you!

The Book:

Caught between duty ...

George Augustus Griffin, Viscount Chanderley has to marry - fast: His father has ordered him to find a suitable wife this very season. Alas, the only woman Griff has eyes for is the very unsuitable Miss Carlotta Stanton, who is not only unbecomingly tall but also wears the ugliest spectacles in all of England. Still, Griff is utterly bewitched by her intense green eyes. Yet however much he feels drawn to her joie de vivre, duty and honor demand that he stay far away from Miss Stanton.

... and desire

Dubbed "the Giantess" because of her unfortunate height, Charlie Stanton finds the London season far less glamorous than she had thought it would be - not the least because she is consigned a place among the wallflowers. But then she becomes acquainted with the very dashing Lord Chanderley, whose life is overshadowed by a terrible tragedy in his past. Ever ready to help others, Charlie is determined to rid him of his Sad Melancholia - even if it means taking on wild boars and highwaymen. However, the biggest challenge might be the elusive viscount himself and his belief that he is beyond all redemption.

My thoughts:

I loved this book! Now I might be a little bias because after discovering Sandra Schwab a little over a month ago I have become a tiny teeny weeny bit obsessed and may have brought her entire back catalogue on Amazon... you know it is a perfectly normal reaction when finding a new author. Having said that Springtime Pleasures is my new favourite romance by her: it had everything I was looking for in a regency romance. It was humorous, it was heartfelt and it had some truly horrible relations. They are basically a requirement of any historical romance.

The story begins in Scotland with Charlie Stanton and her friend Emma-Louise being bid farewell from St Cuthbert’s Academy for Young Ladies before they return to London and secure husbands. From the very beginning this story had a light-heartedness and playfulness that I loved, as a romance it didn’t try and take itself to seriously. One of the my favourite lines from the book comes from the opening scene when a messenger announces that the bestial boar is back in the village. Miss Pinkerton’s (headmistress of St Cuthbert’s) reply is:

‘Nothing like seed cake to revive the constitution, mark my words. And now, my dears -‘ She looked from one young lady to the other, and smiled. ‘- go and get the guns’.

Throughout the book Charlie carries the spirit of St. Cuthbert’s school with her and in my personal opinion it serves her rather well against the mean-spirited world of the Ton. Now if you’ve read any regency romance books you will know the Ton is not a forgiving place for those who are different or slightly, eccentric shall we say. The Ton in Springtime Pleasures is no different. Yet part of the reason I loved the romance between George and Charlie was because he loved her for her differences rather than in-spite of them. Part of the initial attraction for him is Charlie’s vitality, her enthusiasm for life rather than her appearance.

She looked alive, brilliantly so. More alive than any other person he knew. Certainly more alive than he himself had felt in a long, long time.

Although so far I have emphasised the humour of this book and its light-hearted nature as this quote suggests the world created by the author is not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact George and his family (particularly his sister Isabella, who I would love to get her own book) have experienced tragedy in the form of his older brothers death and Isabella becoming disabled, but I won’t say anymore for fear of ruining the book. At the start of the book George is wallowing in this tragedy, letting it nearly consume him, and one of the main story lines running throughout the novel is Charlie attempting to free him from his past. Basically in case you hadn’t noticed by this point I loved both the main characters, and reading the story of how they fell in love and especially how that love overcame the external obstacles of George’s family, Charlie’s family and Charlie’s Past was extremely enjoyable and at times emotional.

As I myself hate learning about spoilers before reading something I don’t want to give away any more information about the main romance between Charlie and George. Instead just a quick word on the secondary characters. I basically loved all of them but my favourite had to be Aunt Burnell, or The Crocodile as her nephew kindly calls her. Words can’t express how much I loved this character, she was quite simply amazing. If any of you have read Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series you may be familiar with Lady Danbury, well Aunt Burnell from Springtime Pleasures reminds me of her and that is definitely a good thing! Mrs Burnell is a champion of the wallflowers or the forgotten, she’s forthright but not unkind and her backstory only makes you love her more.

Considering this book is only just over two hundred pages long all the characters are extremely well-rounded and unlike some short romances I’ve read I felt like Charlie and George were given enough time to fall in love without resorting to insta-love.

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!