Crippled by a devastating stammer, Alfie would prefer to hide himself away in the audience of London’s theaters. But as the perfect Georgian gentleman, it’s his responsibility to find a husband for his ward Eleanor. The pain of having to converse with strangers is lessened by the appearance of the kind-hearted Lord George Caldwell and his cousin Lieutenant Markham, who is far more interesting than any character Alfie has seen on stage, and far more intriguing than any man he’s ever met in person.
Review by Jess Faraday
This was a lovely, gentle romance. I enjoyed every minute of it.
With a deft hand, the author weaves intimate knowledge of the social intricacies of the period into a subtle story. This requires not only research, but also synthesis of what one has researched. It was not the case, as in so many stories that I’ve read, that the rules of the time and place were bent to accommodate the story, but rather that the plot complications arose from the author’s knowledge of those rules. This is one of the things that separates costume drama from historical writing, and Wiley does it very well.
In addition, it’s just a jolly good read. The prose is lively, the plot subtle, and the characters both realistic and sympathetic. The main character, Alfie, is particularly well drawn. His life and self-image have been handicapped by a stammer, but when push comes to shove, he can reach within himself to find the strength and confidence he needs to get the job done. He is flawed, but, like everything else in this book, it’s handled subtly and without the mawkishness that a less skilled writer might resort to. There is sex, but it fades to black at the bedroom door. It seemed very natural given Alfie’s shyness and inexperience, and given the understated nature of the story itself.
The only fault–and it’s not really a fault–is that the story was so short. It was so well written and so enjoyable, I wanted it to go on and on. It left me with a smile, and I’m certain that most readers will have the same reaction.
Buy at Torquere Press