A Simple Lady by Carolynn Carey
Publisher & Release Date: Avon, October 27, 2015
Time and setting: 1818, England
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Length: 268 pages
Heat Level: 1 Sweet Heart
Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns
When her parents, the Earl and Countess of Ravingate, inform Elizabeth that her father has made arrangements for her to marry the embittered Marquess of Kenrick, she knows she must try to explain to the marquess that she is not the person her father has portrayed her to be. In other words, she is not simpleminded. But unforeseen events not only prevent her from enlightening the marquess but also conspire to convince him that she is, indeed, a simpleton.
Following a horrendous betrayal by his late wife, the Marquess of Kenrick has vowed never to wed again. And he would not have done so had his father not reached back from the grave to force his hand. Facing a deadline, not of his choosing, he agrees to marry and provide for the Earl of Ravingate’s simple-minded daughter after being assured that she will never make any demands on his time.
To Kenrick’s disgust, his new wife turns out to be anything but a simpleton, leaving him with no alternative but to assume she’s a liar and a manipulator. Furious, he installs her in a small cottage in the country and tells her he never wants to see her again. To his chagrin, his mother has other ideas.
Forced to spend time in each other’s company, Kenrick and Elizabeth discover a growing regard for each other. However, misadventures, misunderstandings, and the machinations of Kenrick’s cousin and heir presumptive threaten the tenuous trust that has been building between them. Can their fledgling love survive when each is asked to believe the very worst about the other?
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I have read several regency books by Carolynn Carey, and have enjoyed them, so when I saw she had published a new one, I immediately downloaded it through the Kindle Unlimited program. A Simple Lady sounded intriguing because while it is a traditional plot for a regency, it has a twist. I am not going to do a synopsis since the book description is very clear.
A Simple Lady starts out very well. I love the heroine from the start, and she pulled me into the story immediately. The pacing is excellent, especially in the first half of the book. When the hero is introduced, I did not expect to like him, but as the story unfolds I found him to be an excellent hero.
Elizabeth Ashford is the perfect heroine for a regency. She’s kind, considerate and has a heart of gold. With the situation with her parents, it’s astonishing she turned out so well. Thank goodness for the nurse and the neighbors! One thing about her character that didn’t sit well with me was her easy acceptance of what the cousin told her regarding her husband’s character. I would have liked her to question it a bit more, at least internally.
Jeremy, the Marquess of Kenrick, is a bit more complicated than initially meets the eye. He definitely has reason to mistrust women after what happened with his first wife. As the story unfolds, he proves to be honorable and caring. He wants to have affection for Elizabeth, but he allows his past to influence his attitude toward her. I would have liked him to not run so hot and cold with Elizabeth.
Now, I dearly loved several of the secondary characters. The little boy Billy is a sweetheart, and I loved her cat Apollo. I also liked Jeremy’s mother. Her determination to see her son’s marriage work is commendable. The cousin Gerald is a villain I can appreciate. I always love a story with an antagonist, determined to thwart the romance.
While the plot weakens a bit as it unfolds toward the end of the book, I enjoyed this well-written tale of love. If you are looking for a traditional regency with a sweet, naïve heroine, then you will enjoy A Simple Lady. Happy reading!