16 November 2015

Talk of the Ton by Eloisa James, Julia London, Rebecca Hagan Lee and Jacqueline Navin

Hey everyone,

I actually brought Talk of the Ton by Eloisa James, Julia London, Rebecca Hagan Lee and Jacqueline Navin during my travels around Canada. I completely fell in love with the bookshops in Canada and the incredible romance sections they had! I even started reading Talk of the Ton in Canada, but only finished it a few weeks ago... 

The book:
Nothing sets tongues wagging like a scandalous dalliance...

In the salons of the ton, no tidbit is more delicious than a rumour of amour - the more outrageous, the better. Rakes and rogues, ladies of high station and low morals are all choice fodder for society’s gossips. Now, four of today’s most popular Regency authors titillate the ton with tales of how untoward talk can fan the flames of passion...

My thoughts:

A Proper Englishwoman by Eloisa James tells the story of Emma  Loudan and the Earl of Kerr (Gil) who have been engaged since childhood. Yet in those years of engagement Emma has hardly ever seen her finance, but boy has she heard about him. In particular she’d heard about his love of French woman. So what does any scorned English woman do? Why pretend to be French of course! More specifically pretend to be a French lover from her husband’s past. Not to win Gil’s heart, however, but instead to win control and force him to finally get married.

“I have to win the challenge,” Emma explained, “because otherwise Kerr will see no particular reason not to continue in his indifferent ways. I think it best to take him in hand before we marry.”

Gil isn’t against marriage but he’s always found more important things to do. Yet as soon as he ‘reconnects’ with a mysterious French woman from his past his opinion on love and marriage start to change. I think this story worked for me because I enjoy the mistaken identity trope and I love unrequited love stories. This wasn’t quite unrequited love but at the start the feelings between Emma and Gil are definitely imbalanced. I also loved the ending! 

The Vicar’s Widow by Julia London was probably my least favourite story in the Talk of the Ton anthology. As the title would suggest the heroine is a widow of the local vicar and she catches the eye of eligible bachelor Darien. The relationship felt lacklustre, I didn’t feel the connection between the hero and heroine. Everything was too ‘nice’ and superficial for my liking.

Darien stood there until he could no longer hear the sound of her shoes.
He’d just kissed the vicar’s wife. A bloody rotten bounder, that’s what he was. Idiot.

Also the main conflict revolved around a jealous young woman spreading rumours among the local gentry about the widow. It was both completely ridiculous and uninteresting. I couldn’t even find humour in the way the gossip was spread. Anyway moving on!

I really enjoyed Clearly A Couple by Rebecca Hagan Lee. I found the character of Lady India fascinating because of what she suffered and how she survived it. She never let herself be a victim and was always fighting for her freedom. I also loved how realistic she was about her new place in English society. A fact only highlighted by the hero’s completed disregard for societal opinion as well.

“I’m about to throw caution to the wind and relieve the sultan’s eunuch of his responsibility and escort Lady India Burton on her triumphant return to London. He titled her face up to his, then leaned down and gently covered her lips with his own

The hero was hot as hell. I felt the main couple had great chemistry and although their romance developed quickly it felt believable. I loved how he doesn’t treat India as a novelty because of her time in the Sultan’s Harem. Instead he comforts her over the trauma she suffered.

Finally we have my favourite book in the entire anthology Miss Jenny Alt’s First Kiss by Jacqueline Navin. I adored the heroine Jenny. I loved that she was bookworm. I loved her kindness, her affection for her family and the development she underwent during the course of the book. Being the ‘poor relation’ Jenny has always put the needs and wants of her cousin before her own. Yet when she meets Miles the chemistry is instant.

The thought that he was mocking her rankled.
“Too bad the entire business is not conducted as it is at Tattersall’s,” she said before she could stop herself. “It would make it so much simpler. One could simply look them all over and strike the deal in one afternoon”.

The interaction like the one quoted above are why I loved reading this story. Miles and Jenny connected intellectually and emotionally. They had the same priorities in life, the same humour and view on society. To me they seemed like the perfect couple and although I’ve never read this author before I definitely want to now. Despite only knowing the couple for a short time I was definitely routing for them!

This was a hard anthology to rate but the highlights where definitely Jenny Alt’s First Kiss and A Proper Englishwoman. I’ve given it 4 stars because I really enjoyed three out four of the stories and it felt mean to drag down the overall score because of one story.

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!