Lost in Almack's
Lost in Almack’s by Lesley-Anne McLeod is a very short story published in ebook format – the publishing house calls it “A Regency Romance Byte”. It’s not without promise, albeit a bit uneven, but what really shocked me was the price when I looked it up after I’d read my ARC. To shell out three dollars for all of 18 pages of text on my Acrobat Reader? That’s steep.
Lady Genevra Haven is very short-sighted and about to make her debut at Almack’s during her first season. Unfortunately her mother doesn’t want to risk her daughter being seen in public with spectacles, so she simply confiscates the offending item as they arrive at Almack’s. In spite of seeing next to nothing, Genevra enjoys the evening until she finds herself left behind by some friends in the ladies’ withdrawing room. It’s up to her now to find her way back to the ballroom.
First of all, I liked both the story’s writing style and the idea of delving into Almack’s backstage area. Lesley-Anne McLeod’s voice sounds true to the period and has a quiet charm, and this setting is fairly unique.
However, there were several aspects of the story that did not convince me. For one thing, being myopic is not automatically the same as having no sense of direction whatsoever. You do see doors, and get the outlay of a room or a corridor, even if the boundaries are blurred. In addition, the story was not quite sure whether it wanted to be a comedy (beginning and ending) or a Gothic with manifold threats to the heroine’s virtue (middle). Third, the romance element was given very short scope.
All in all I can’t really recommend Lost in Almack’s, although I might look up something else by this author at some point. And to whoever decided that $2.99 is an adequate price for 18 pages of text: It isn’t.