With His Ring
With His Ring is part of The Brides of Bath series. The setting was enjoyable, the plot was silly, and the characters were alternately endearing and infuriating. It was a textbook example of “Regency Lite;” pleasant enough but altogether forgettable.
Glee Pembroke is a beauty who has received many offers of marriage but has turned them all down. She is very attracted to Gregory “Blanks” Blankenship, her brother’s best friend. Glee has known Blanks for years, and likes him very much. Now that her brother is happily married, Glee would like the same happiness for Blanks – and for herself too.
But Blanks has sworn never to marry. His mother died in childbirth when he was just a baby, and his stepmother has been cold and censorious. Blanks has a deep fear that if he marries and his wife becomes pregnant, she might die, and so has vowed to stay a permanent bachelor.
But when Blanks’ father dies, his will has one of those clauses. Unless Blanks marries before his 25th birthday, all the money will go to his stepbrother Jonathan. For a while it seems like Blanks is willing to give up his inheritance, but Glee has other ideas. She can’t abide the idea that Blanks’ stepmother will gloat over her own son getting the money, so she compromises Blanks. They have to get married.
Blanks makes it crystal clear that this is a marriage with no sex. Glee agrees, reluctantly, but she is not about to be shut out of sharing her life with her husband. She dresses in fashionable, provocative clothing, dances with all the gentlemen at assemblies (even with the most notorious rake), and tools around Bath in her new red high-perch phaeton. To further disconcert her husband, Glee acts like just one of the boys, and hangs out with Blanks and his buddies after dinner while they smoke cigars and drink. She even dresses up like a boy to follow them to a prize fight, then has girly hysterics when one of the fighters draws blood. Poor Blanks. He may have wanted a marriage of convenience, but Glee is becoming a most inconvenient wife.
With His Ring is silly. The language is marked by way too much ’tising and ’twasing by all the characters (for a while I thought I was in medieval land). There are Misunderstandings, and a failure to communicate all through the book. The conflict between Blanks and Glee is cleared up by a hot bout of lovemaking and a frank talk. Most of this book was really rather forgettable, with the exception of the spunky heroine. There was something so endearing about Glee. She was a woman who knew her mind, knew what she wanted, and went out and got it. She also knew Blanks better than he knew himself and in ways both subtle and not so subtle, got exactly what she wanted out of him.
Silly as it was, I smiled a lot through With His Ring. Still, I’m not about to check out the rest of the Brides of Bath series. And yet I think that fans of lite and frothy historical romances with a Regency setting may find it a suitable read.