Lord Trenchard's Choice
Lord Trenchard’s Choice has a delightful heroine and a hero who is quite wonderful until he gets all pouty at the end. The plot is filled with telling not showing, but chugs along nicely. It’s not the easiest book to find, but might be worth the effort.
Lord Ivo Trenchard (I love that name!) is a captain in the Hussars. A few months before the Battle of Waterloo, Ivo became estranged from his family when Charlotte Gurney, daughter of the family from the neighboring estate, tried to entrap him into marriage and Ivo’s father believed her. Bitter at the lack of his father’s support, Ivo cut himself off from his family. His only contact with them has been with his aunt, Lady Frances. After Waterloo he visited Lady Frances’ home and met her goddaughter, Joscelin Morley. Jossie is an only child whose father raised her as a boy. She has a boy’s name, dresses in breeches, and does her best to please her father, who constantly puts her down because she is a girl. Jossie has been promised to Peter Radstock, the neighbor’s son, and they have grown up as boon companions.
A man doesn’t go through an experience like Waterloo without some changes, and Ivo takes stock of his life. He goes to meet his father, and they reconcile. Meanwhile, Jossie’s engagement to Peter falls through when he falls in love with someone else. To add to Jossie’s problems, her father plans to marry Peter’s fiancée’s mother. Poor Jossie takes refuge with Lady Frances and after she pulls herself together, she plans to go to London and try her luck there. Ivo, his father, and Lady Frances all have grown close to Jossie and off they all go. All the while this is taking place, Ivo visits his good friend Adam, a former confirmed bachelor, and sees how happy he and his wife are. Ivo also is very happy when he is with Jossie and considers whether it’s time to re-think his aversion to marriage.
Jossie is quite the best thing in this book. Normally, I am not fond of young, breeches-wearing heroines and find them too much stereotypical feisty chits. But Andrews paints Jossie in stronger colors. She is a vividly alive character and one whose emotions run deep. She is how she is because of how she was raised. But she doesn’t stay a romping tomboy. Jossie changes because she has insight into herself and knows she must change, a little, at least, in order to fit into Society. But the core of Jossie – her intelligence, her bravery and her kindness – don’t change. I liked her very much.
Ivo is almost as good a character. He begins as a cynical rake, but age and events change him. His reconciliation with his family begins to soften him, and that continues when he befriends Jossie and sees how happy Adam and his wife are. Toward the end, Jossie and Ivo have a misunderstanding and he acts like a total idiot, but that was triggered by his memory of how his family had not trusted him before, so it was at least understandable.
Lord Trenchard’s Choice is an enjoyable traditional Regency with a good mixture of darkness and light. I read this in the paperback version but only the hardcover version is available in the U.S. unless purchased direct from Harlequin/eHarlequin (your library might have the hardcover). If you enjoy trads, especially those that are a shade darker in tone, you might consider this one.
2003 Mills & Boon release but available via eHarlequin (only) as a Harlequin Historical from September 2004