Lady Silence has an interesting premise, a very busy plot, and a hero and heroine lacking in chemistry. The opening chapter grabbed me instantly, but the book never regained momentum.
When Damon Farr is about to leave and join the Army, his butler comes to him with a problem. A pretty young girl has come to the house. She’s lost, cold and cannot speak. Does Damon wish to take her on as a servant, or shall they send her to the workhouse? Befuddled with drink, Damon tells the butler that she doesn’t look like she’ll eat much and to find her something to do. Then he goes off to war.
When Damon returns six years later, he finds his mother ensconced at his home and the young woman her much loved companion. The staff all love the young woman as well and call her Katy Snow. It’s obvious that she is a lady, or at at least a gentlewoman since she can play the piano, embroider exquisitely, and read Latin and Greek. While she can write, Katy refuses to write her name or anything about her past. Damon is at first angry, then intrigued by this beautiful woman.
Matters come to a head when Damon and his mother plan to visit his brother Ashby, the Earl of Moretaine. The neighbors are the Baron Oxley and his wife and when Katy hears their names, she is overcome with dread since they are the reason she ran off as a child. Though Katy is fearful of breaking her long silence, Damon and his mother insist she must go.
I’ll not go into the reasons behind Katy’s flight and her true identity since they would be very big spoilers. I will say that they are exactly what I thought they’d be when I read the first chapter, and there are no big mysteries here. Although the plot is not original, it is fairly exciting and kept me hooked for the whole book. The secondary characters, especially Damon’s mother, were engaging and delightful. But as for Katy and Damon – they were not a romantic pair.
Damon varies between lusting after Katy and blustering at her. He takes her on as his secretary/librarian when he realizes she can read Latin and Greek, then he ogles her, yells at her, lusts after her, has tender feelings for her and then goes back to ogling, lusting, and so on till he decides he loves her. Katy’s refusal to speak until late in the book does not allow for her and Damon to have much meaningful interaction, and for me, neither one was very likable. Katy was a feisty little minx for almost all of the book, and I can’t say I ever warmed up to her until she finally spoke – by then it was too late.
So here it is at mid-year, and I have yet to read a really good 2005-published Regency Romance. It’s a sub-genre I love and yet it seems to be on its last legs, what with Zebra announcing the cancellation of its traditional Regency program. Almost all my favorite Regency writers have gone on to other things, and whenever the urge hits me to read a good trad, I find myself searching through older books. It’s a good thing that I’ve kept so many of them.