Miss Lacey's Last Fling
This humorous Regency Romance features a country heroine come to London to kick up her heels and have fun and it is for the most part enjoyable. Rosalind Lacey is a delightful young woman, the story moves at a brisk pace and features incidents that are by turns humorous and touching, and the supporting characters are all quite wonderful. But I had one big problem with the book – I simply could not see what attracted Miss Lacey to Max Davenant, the hero of the story.
Rosalind Lacey is the responsible member of her family. Her mother died when she was a young woman and her grieving father turned over the household responsibilities to Rosalind. For years Rosalind has managed her father and siblings and they all thought she was content to do so, but now she is acting odd. Rosalind has announced that she is going to London to stay with their scandalous Aunt Fanny and she is going to have a Season and have fun!
What is behind this sudden show of independence? Well, Rosalind has been having symptoms like those her mother had before she died. The local doctor confirms them, and Rosalind does not want to die without having had any fun – so she makes a list of all she wants to do and takes off for London.
Rosalind arrives at her Aunt’s home looking all drab and mousey (to Aunt Fanny’s dismay) but before Fanny can say anything, Rosalind tells her that she is tired of looking drab and wants to go shopping. So before you can say Regency Fashion Emergency, the modistes and hairdressers have worked their magic and Rosalind emerges as a strikingly attractive young woman.
Rosalind is a hit. She is soon known in Society as The Lacey and has men buzzing around her constantly. She goes to balls, parties, suppers, exhibitions, and crushes. She races curricles (and wins) and even dares to waltz at Almacks without getting permission from the Lady Patronesses. Her most devoted swain is Max Davenant, the second son of an earl (Max’s father was one of Aunt Fanny’s lovers). Before Rosalind came to London, Max was suffering from such boredom that he contemplated suicide, but seeing the social Season through Rosalind’s eyes renews him and he recovers his joy in life.
Max was a big problem for me. He was handsome, charming, rakish, rich, and Rosalind’s devoted swain. But so were a lot of other men. There was nothing particularly outstanding to recommend Max, other than the fact that he makes Rosalind’s toes curl when he kisses her. To me, Max remained jaded and brittle, his declaration of love did not move me, and I could easily see him becoming bored in the future.
It is the charming Rosalind that makes this book a slightly above average Regency. She is no romping, silly Miss, but a young woman who has stifled her natural instincts for a long time, and now is out and enjoying herself. It is a pleasure to see her play, and it’s no spoiler to say that she is not going to die. All ends happily, but the future looked cloudy for this reviewer.
Other readers may not have the same problems with Max as I did, but I can’t see any reader not liking Rosalind. She is a lovable character who deserves someone better than Max.