A Wedding in Springtime
When I started A Wedding in Springtime, I thought it could be a fun, light read. The comic timing of some of the scenes was delightful and I enjoyed the repartee between the leads. However, things got way too silly for me partway through, and the story dragged more than it should have.
Miss Eugenia Talbot ruins her chances in Society at the moment of her debut by laughing as she is presented to the Queen. Speaking to William Grant, the known rake who made her laugh, does not help matters. Eugenia’s stern aunt is less than amused by these goings-on and determined to marry Eugenia off at once. To do so, she turns to her own daughter’s soon-to-be in-laws, the Duke and Dowager Duchess of Marchford.
It appears that the Dowager Duchess and her mysterious companion know of a matchmaker called Madame X, and Eugenia’s aunt decides to pay for her matchmaking services. However, it appears that William (perhaps overcome by guilt?) is also working to help Eugenia find her way again in Society and hopefully find a husband. And from the charming dialogue between them, it’s obvious from the very early chapters to all but Eugenia and William who that husband really should be.
If A Wedding in Springtime confined itself to Eugenia’s antics in society, and the interplay between the Duke, his grandmother and her companion, this book would have been light, fun and quite witty. Unfortunately, the author expands the story into a whole host of characters and subplots, including one featuring the dreaded Adorable Urchin. I honestly wish more Regency heroes and heroines would just get puppies and kittens if they feel the need to have a pet. Most plots involving heroes/heroines making pets of a favorite street child or two come off hackneyed at best and sometimes at worst they even seem very patronizing of the poor and uneducated. In this particular case, the street urchin plot seemed more saccharine than offensive, but it still took more away from the story than it gave.
In addition to the Adorable Urchin, we also get something of a suspense subplot that really didn’t need to be part of the story. Eugenia and William are actually a very fun couple, and would have done well without the extra intrigue. Both of the leads seem to be clever, and they have a definite chemistry between them. In addition, the secondary romantic plot was a lot of fun. It’s obvious that there is something afoot with the Duke’s betrothal to Eugenia’s cousin, and unraveling their secrets makes for an entertaining and ultimately rather sweet story.
And then there was the Dowager Duchess’ companion, Penelope Rose. Penelope is sensible and intelligent, and she’s a character who definitely deserves a book of her own. While the overall book didn’t entirely work, the author has an entertaining style. Her characters speak very well for themselves, so if she would let them have their romantic adventures without adding in the subplots, her books could be a lot of fun. As it is, the added intrigue with its sometimes cliched twists, made this only slightly better than average read overall.