The Second Lady Emily
The Second Lady Emilyis a Regency Romance with a twist – it is also a time travel/mystery/ghost story that kept me up reading till I finished it. While this could have been a totally satisfying read, there were enough flaws to make it simply somewhat better than average. Still, while I enjoy Regencies, I enjoy them much more if they are out of the ordinary and The Second Lady Emily was most definitely not a mundane Regency Romance.
Cherlynn Cardington is in London following a nasty divorce that has left her emotionally drained. At Christie’s, she impulsively buys a title and is now the Marchioness of Broadbanks. Cherlynn does this just for a lark, but to her surprise, her title is very real indeed and she is swept off to Buckingham Palace, given British citizenship and is now a member of the British nobility.
Cherlynn does some snooping and finds that the Broadbanks are a cursed family. She goes off to the ancestral home to do a little research and is pushed into a stone fireplace, knocks her head and wakes up in the year 1812 in the body of Lady Emily Clifford who died after a similar accident.
Cherlynn finds herself in a strange situation. She “knows” from Lady Emily’s spirit that she has to solve the mystery behind the curse of the Broadbanks line and that she will return to the 20th century when she does. Cherlynn is resourceful and smart and manages to fit into regency life fairly easily – she claims amnesia from the blow on the head to cover any mistakes in behavior.
Gradually Cherlynn puts together the pieces of the puzzle and in the process falls deeply in love with Drew, the current heir to the title. But when she finally does solve the mystery behind the curse of the Broadbanks, how can she stand to return to her own time and leave Drew behind?
The Second Lady Emily has a wonderfully complicated plot with lots and lots of interesting characters but I was very bothered by the fact that a man as intelligent and well-read as Drew was in love with a woman as seemingly frivolous and silly as Emily. When Drew and Cherlynn first meet, as a matter of fact, he is quite pleased to find out that the blow to her head has somehow increased her intelligence. Emily was a silly little twit without a thought in her head, although not really through any fault of her own. Emily’s mother is a willfully ignorant woman who thinks intelligence is a bad trait in a girl and she and Cherlynn have some big fights about it. The question remains – while I can understand Drew loving the intelligent Cherlynn, why did he love the silly Emily?
Also, I know that is is a regency and they are not noted for strong love scenes, but this was a little too restrained. Cherlynn and Drew were both such strong and passionate characters that I wanted to see more of a show of love on their part.
When you come right down to it though, I was intrigued enough by The Second Lady Emily to go out and find more of Allison Lane’s books. She has a knack for showing the characters interacting in the context of their Society, and the book was different and original. I’m looking forward to reading more.