Lord Fenmore's Wager
Lord Fenmore’s Wager has charming characters. Diana Hamilton is lovely and Julian, Lord Fenmore is charming and handsome. If their relationship lacks a bit of spark – well, I have no problem with a nice, sweet story at all.
The Hamilton family is a good one, but they don’t have a lot of good fortune. When Anthony Hamilton loses the family estate to Lord Fenmore, he isn’t too upset at all since he has no love for it, and Fenmore promises to buy him a commission in the Army. However, Anthony’s sister Diana comes with the estate.
Although he has a rakish reputation, Fenmore does not plan on having his wicked way with Diana. Instead, he offers her a position as governess to his two nephews and companion to his mother. Lady Fenmore turns out to be a kind, sweet woman and Diana quickly grows fond of her and fond of Fenmore’s two high-spirited nephews. Everyone treats her like a member of the family and she is very happy. Even the arrival of Fenmore’s snobbish relatives, the Sutcliffs, doesn’t spoil her happiness. As time passes, Diana’s feelings toward Fenmore grow warmer, but he remains polite and a bit aloof.
Diana receives word that a relative has left her a comfortable legacy and her godmother Lady Sinclair wishes her to come to live with her in Bath. Diana, looking forward to being independent, goes to Bath and settles down happily with Lady Sinclair and re-aquaints herself with Sir Max Sinclair. Diana has known Max as a friend for years, but it seems as though he is looking at her in a different manner. Then Lady Fenmore comes over to visit her friend Lady Sinclair, and she is accompanied by her son, who served in the army with Sir Max.
Lord Fenmore’s Wager is sweet and very charming. There are no real villains in the book and no big conflict. It’s a story of two people who fall in love, played out against the backdrop of Regency society. The book contains lots of Regency atmosphere, but it never seems like the author was writing this with a cant dictionary at her elbow. I liked the leisurely style and the descriptions in the book very much.
Diana is the stronger character. She made her bow to Society when she was 18, shy, and gawky. She had a couple of offers but turned them down to care for her ill mother. Now she is 25 and grown into a poised and confident woman, but she still sees herself as the gawky, unattractive young debutante. I think most readers will identify with Diana. Most of us, looking back on how we were in high school, will probably shudder at the thought of being presented to a group who will judge our every action, since most of us are not particularly poised at that age. Diana is nice without being insipid, strong without being anachronistic, and a very likable character indeed.
Lord Fenmore is a fine hero, but he isn’t as well-drawn as Diana at first. The author tells more than she shows about him. He’s a younger son who was ditched by his fiancee in favor of a wealthy peer. This betrayal has caused him to mistrust women, but he is no woman-hater and always treats Diana with respect. Fenmore is more in evidence in the latter part of the book at Bath, and he comes across as quite the honorable gentleman.
Fans of Regency romances who like their books with lots of descriptions of Regency society will love Lord Fenmore’s Wager. In the real Regency period, much of one’s life was lived out in public, and this book reflects that very well. It is filled with secondary characters who actually play a part in the story and are not just there to hang around and periodically say something colorful. Fans of Regency romances will enjoy this book very much. I know I did.