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A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

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Finally a Regency Romance where the author actually makes an effort to go for period authenticity. We have a heroine who’s very much “of her time” but also relatable to modern readers. The hero is all that we could want in a hero: rich, titled, intelligent, tall, good-looking, well-connected and a bit arrogant – which of course gets knocked out of him by the end.

Readers may perceive parallels with Pride & Prejudice but the vibe is quite different. It’s more akin to Georgette Heyer’s Arabella.

Plot summary: Kitty, the eldest of five orphaned, penniless, indebted sisters, from the marriage of a aristocrat and a courtesan, goes to London to bluff her way through the Season and find a rich husband to save her family from destitution. She sets her sights on a young noble but his elder brother – Radcliffe, the title-holder – tries to put a spanner in the works. But he then agrees to help her with her plan, if she agrees to stay away from his younger brother. Naturally he eventually falls for her.

Names, manners, places, mores are all pretty solid here, at least from what we understand of the Regency period.

If I’ve got one tiny criticism, it’s that there could be a bit more sexual tension. Kitty’s and Radcliffe’s interactions aren’t very sexually charged, compared with Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, where despite the constraints of the period, Elizabeth and Darcy’s bickering is very much so. There are some moments between Kitty and Radcliffe later on, but while their friendship builds very well, I didn’t feel much if any passion between them.

Fans of Georgette Heyer should greatly enjoy this. Highly recommended. Hopefully this will be the first of many Regency romances by this author.