The Captain's Courtship
Ah, the Regency period. When men were dandified fops or brave redcoats. When ladies were trim and prim and bonneted. When the gossips and tattle-mongers never slept. When the power of love campaigned against the necessity of rich marriages. Or, as in this case, against a desire to return to the battlefield.
Captain Alexander Logan is cooling his heels in London. Having recovered from his wounds, he wants nothing more than to return to the fray. However, his father, Lord Stoneham, tries to promote Alex’s political career and is pulling all manner of strings to keep his son safely out of battle. What would change his father’s mind, Alex wonders? Maybe something like courting, even proposing to, the most notorious fortune hunter around, Vanessa Whittaker, whose desperation for a wealthy match is well known? Faced with the prospect such an unsuitable daughter-in-law, surely Lord Stoneham would move heaven and earth to get his only son and heir out of her greedy clutches? So, Alex and Vanessa set up a fake courtship and a fake engagement. Things happen according to plan, except that they didn’t expect to fall in love along the way.
Alex and Vanessa are a standard regency fare. He is brave, patriotic, and able to kiss her until her toes curl in her dainty slippers. She is pretty, innocent (in spite of malicious rumors), and has a heart of gold. Fortunately, Vanessa is also smart enough to accept the reality of her situation without turning into an argumentative vixen over what cannot be avoided.
There were a couple of twists to the story that, if they didn’t surprise me, at least managed to keep my interest. For instance, Alex does return to the continent, and the real tension is focused on the events after his return. Beyond the book being extremely commonplace plotwise, Vanessa’s falling in with Alex’s plan didn’t ring true to me, nor did her and her sister Lydia’s sloppy handling of their spendthrift mother. And why do all Regency heroines have to push their little hands ineffectually against the hero’s chest when kissed?
There is nothing wrong with the story, but it doesn’t truly sparkle either. It’s your basic “McRegency” – a label I do not mean to sound derogatory, but I think sums up the averageness of the read. I spent a couple of pleasant hours on The Captain’s Courtship, after which I put the book way with no regrets. If you have some time in which to squeeze in something light and easily forgotten, there are worse reads around.