Loving Becky marks the debut of author Kim Lewis. The book is set in Georgian England, and this author has crafted a fine first effort in her meandering story of a young merchant-class girl’s coming of age story, and her love for the handsome second son of an earl.
Through an unfortunate wager by their fathers, Becky Tallant and Alex Hunter find themselves betrothed. The catches? He fancies himself in love with another, and she does not believe herself ready for marriage.
Of course, they are perfect for each other, as is evidenced by the slow and sweet development of their relationship. The secondary characters, including Squire Tallant, Becky’s father, Alex’s alcoholic but keen-witted brother Brad, and Lady Felicia, the woman Alex thinks he loves, all add great texture and tone to the story, all the while reminding us of how good Alex and Becky would be as a couple.
Through Brad, Felicia, and Felicia’s father, we see the emptiness of Society and the flaws in primogeniture. Through Squire Tallant we are reminded that hard work and familial bonds are what make people happy, not the dissipated and wasted lives of the gentry class. We see through Becky and Alex the goodness of honesty, earnestness, hard work, friendship, etc.
Not that this book is as dull as Sunday school. On the contrary – for the most part it is quite delightful, although there is not much action involved, nor much plot. I strolled through the first 200-plus pages as though taking a walk in an English garden. But after that I began to wish for something to happen. While a big fan of the “nothing” story a la Seinfeld (as brilliantly evidenced in Julia Quinn’s Splendid), I’m afraid that in this instance, the author couldn’t quite carry it off. While I can enjoy watching Seinfeld and his pals wait in a Chinese restaurant for 30 minutes, a few hours of Loving Becky were a bit too much.
Because this book is basically a character study, we are allowed to see the progression of their relationship in a manner not usually seen in romances – they become friends first. Both characters are beautiful, kind, funny, the sort of people anyone would want to be friends with. Becky’s tomboy-ish quality makes her well-suited to Alex – after all, she does save him from robbers by punching one of them out.
Also because this book delves deeply into characterization, Brad and Lady Felicia become more full-fleshed. Their parts in the plot are what create the drama that does exist. They are not villains, but their actions create the conflicts that Becky and Alex must resolve in order to be together happily.
Other than the over-done meandering quality of the book, I had one problem with the plot. Although Becky dearly loves Alex, she is unable to tell him, even after he has told her he loves her more than once. My question is, why? There is no reason for her not to tell him, other than that it would end the story about 50 pages earlier. While Becky’s admission is well done, clever, and sexy, the author could have offered it earlier and I would have appreciated the story more. As it was, I wanted to tell her to stop being such a dope and just be happy that she had such a wonderful man in love with her!
Overall, I am pleased that there is a new author of such potential making her way into the world of romantic fiction. I look forward to reading her next book, which I am sure will include a bit more substance, plot-wise, while retaining the more realistic course of true love than is usually read in romance.