Lady May's Folly
Donna Simpson’s first Regency Romance, Lord St. Claire’s Angel was one of the strongest debuts I have read in a long time. Her second one, Lady Delafont’s Dilemma had problems with pacing its story, but it did showcase one of Simpson’s strengths – her marvelous characters. The last book in the trilogy, Lady May’s Folly, does not suffer from story problems. It is able to concentrate totally on the relationship between Lady May von Hoffen and Etienne Roulant Delacourt. Both are strong characters in this character driven book.
Lady May von Hoffen is 23 years old and living on her estate, Lark’s Head, part of her inheritance from her late father. In Lady Delafont’s Dilemma May had been abducted and almost raped by one of her promiscous mother’s slimy aquaintences. She was rescued by Etienne Delacourt who is under suspicion of trying to kill his relative, Baxter Delacourt, the Marquess of Sedgley. Etienne is missing and presumed dead.
While May is riding one day, she decides to visit the folly – a small ornamental castle on the estate. To May’s astonishment there is a man in the folly and not a tramp. It is Etienne, wounded and suffering from blood poisoning.
From then on, Lady May’s Folly can best be described as a sort of Regency Cabin Romance. There are men in the village looking for Etienne (he did try to cosh Baxter Delafont after all) but May believes in him (he did save her from the rapist after all), so she keeps him hidden in the folly while trying to treat his wound and care for him.
May – the daughter of a promiscuous woman – is afraid of men, and afraid of sex, but has a warm, loving and passionate nature which frightens her as well. She can’t help but be drawn to Etienne, first out of gratitude for saving her from the rapist and then for himself although she is afraid of the feelings he causes her to have. Etienne is a kind and loving man, who understands May and her confused feelings and their growing relationship is depicted with warmth and emotion.
I suppose that all the obstacles to May and Etienne’s relationship are swept away all too easily at the end, but frankly I did not stop to analyze the whys and wherefores. This was one book that caught me in right in my emotional center and did not let me go. At the end I wanted more – much more.
If have one complaint, it’s that the Regency Romance format does not allow Donna Simpson the scope she needs to display the emotional depth of her writing. Lady May’s Folly is very warm for a Regency Romance and the love scenes, short though they were, reminded me of Lisa Kleypas. I would love to see Simpson tackle a full length historical set in the regency period.
You don’t need to have read the other books in the trilogy since Donna Simpson does a good job of summarizing the events, but I’m sure you will want to. If you like Regency Romances with emotional depth, Donna Simpson is exactly the writer for you.