Shortlisted for Book Of The Month
"...A sophisticated read. The story takes places in a short space of time and that concentrates the action... leaving the characters to themselves long before any unrealistic happy ending"
The Duke of Gracechurch lives mostly in London, going to balls and assemblies, spending time at his club, Whites, and passing time with friends. The life of a typical Regency bachelor. Problem is, the duke isn't a bachelor but has a wife and two children tucked away in the country with a third just about to leave Harrow to join the student body at Oxford. His mistress is dead and a visit with a friend shows him the family life he never realised he was missing.
The duke collects his son from Harrow and takes him home and sees how his family have learned to live quite happily without him, arranging the house to suit them and the timetable of their day running to their own choosing. The duke finds himself a stranger to his own house and family. He wants to make amends, to get to know the children and his wife, but will they be willing to give up the life they've forged in his absence, and can he now adapt to consider others and not only himself?
A sweet little love story that starts from an unexpected place - a man who is already married, has been for the best part of twenty years, trying to make his wife fall in love with him. It is otherwise a fairly typical Regency romance so you know what you're getting when you start and it doesn't fail to deliver. What is does do it step back just in time before melodrama sets in and rescues itself from being too sickly as many in this particular genre don't, so it is a more sophisticated read. The story takes places in a short space of time and that concentrates the action. Leaving the characters to themselves long before any unrealistic happy ending is also in its favour. We know it will all work out in the end but we close the door and walk away to let them get on with it.
The attention to historical detail is very good, lots of little touches that show Ms Kullman has researched hard but these are woven in so they blend and don't grate. An accomplished short novel that will certainly satisfy lovers of Regency romantic fiction.
© Nicky Galliers