Lady Cynthia's plans for the annual Kellynch Christmas ball are going splendidly ... until her father, the Earl of Glossingley, threatens to ship her off to Barbados. The only alternative is to marry a wealthy lord, and Glossingley has just the man in mind: Viscount Kendrick.
Unfortunately, Cynthia's never met him, and to make matters worse, she's falling for someone else!
Cynthia must make a choice. She must move with her father to Barbados or marry the next heir to his estate if she wishes to stay in England. Her decision is put on hold, however, when the Duke of Hawksmoor arrives requesting her assistance in recovering his ward, Miss Adelaide Forsythe.
Neither Cynthia nor the Duke are your typical regency aristocrats, as neither feel comfortable in society. Cynthia is always making social faux pas, while the Duke is unsure of himself in society since he succumbed to a war injury, leaving him with a bad leg. I really liked that they are both so socially awkward. It’s a trait we get a lot in contemporary romance (though more so on the heroine’s side than the hero’s), but I haven’t seen it done so well before in regency stories. It made both characters very endearing and meant that their attraction to each other was that much more believable.
Cynthia and Hawksmoor are all the more likable as while both are so lacking in self assurance, neither are willing to stand down when it comes to the welfare of others, which we see playing out in the story line of the Duke’s ward. Of course, despite their willingness to protect others, it is their lack of self confidence that means neither can quite believe the other might share their feelings. Lingering looks and caring comments are misconstrued as quite the opposite, until this pair can realize what is right in front of them.
With this pair’s easy going banter and mutually confused attraction, this is a really fun read and sweet romance. Beyond the immediate romance, I also loved the clever little references to other romances, scattered through the story. I love it when authors put in little allusions to my favorite novels and fans (like me!) of the classic Austen and Bronte romances will love the references that they are bound to stumble upon in The Lady’s Choice, as they fall in love with Cynthia and Hawksmoor.
What about the rest of the series?
I started the second in this series, The Lady's Maid, almost as soon as I finished the first. I couldn't help myself! Cynthia's maid Millie is a really colorful character in The Lady's Choice, so she is the perfect heroine for the sequel. I believe this will ultimately be a three part series, so I am intrigued to see who will be the heroine of the third... perhaps the Duke's ward? Either way, I can't wait to read all of them. More reviews of this series to come!
The Lady's Choice by Celia Swift was published on December 24, 2013, by Soaring Hearts Press, and is available from Amazon.