Wait For Me!: Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister
by Deborah Devonshire
Published by John Murray Publishers Ltd
Deborah Devonshire is a natural writer with a knack for the telling phrase and for hitting the nail on the head. She tells the story of her upbringing, lovingly and wittily describing her parents (so memorably fictionalised by her sister Nancy); she talks candidly about her brother and sisters, and their politics (while not being at all political herself), finally setting the record straight. Throughout the book she writes brilliantly about the country and her deep attachment to it and those who live and work in it. As Duchess of Devonshire, Debo played an active role in restoring and overseeing the day-to-day running of the family houses and gardens, and in developing commercial enterprises at Chatsworth. She tells poignantly of the deaths of three of her children, as well as her husband's battle with alcohol addiction. Wait For Me is enthralling and a total joy, full of the author's sympathetic wit (which she is not afraid to use on herself).
Goodreads (print book review):
A bit of a cheat here, since I've already reviewed the print book, but I just wanted to add in a quick note that Penelope Keith narrates this one beautifully. Strangely the explicit scenes and language that the back cover of my CD box warned about didn't mean there was anything in there I hadn't read or listened too before. Maybe other people are more easily shocked by the doings and sayings of the aristocracy than I am.
The Pirate Hunter's Lady (Regency Pirates, #2)
by Jennifer Ashley
Published by JA / AG Publishing
James Ardmore is hunting the pirate who killed his brother's family, and nothing will stand in his way. Not the English who want him dead, and definitely not Diana Worthing, a beautiful woman he takes the opportunity to abduct while he's busy rescuing an American spy. Diana knows the secrets of an island called Haven, which James is determined to find. But both James and Diana are unprepared for the sparks that fly between them.
The Pirate Hunter’s Lady is the second, revised edition of the original print title: The Pirate Hunter. New in this edition: New first four chapters detailing Diana and James’s first meeting. Revised, edited body of the book. New epilogue.
The story opens with a kidnapping. Which comes as a sort of relief to our bored heroine, who would rather be anywhere than at a party with her obnoxious husband. Kidnapping aside, James is a not totally unworthy hero and definitely appeals to the side of me that prefers anti-heroes anyway. Quite a big cast: both the new characters and those who return from the previous book in the series, but overall a fun romp, and Diana's daughter is a lovely portrayal of a character using sign language before it was common, much less standardised.
The Bird Of Night
by Susan Hill
Published by Hamish Hamilton, London
ISBN 13: 9780241022580
"This story handles the heights and depths, the splendours and miseries of madness and friendship. Francis Croft, the greatest poet of his age, was mad. His world was a nightmare of internal furies and haunting poetic vision. Harvey Lawson watched and protected him until his final suicide. From his solitary old age, Harvey writes this brief account of their twenty years together and then burns all the papers to shut out an inquisitive world"--Container (from: http://worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n50-35171).
Not an easy read, for all that it's a short book, but moving nonetheless. Francis was mad, and perhaps some of that rubbed off on Harvey, or perhaps the world simply wore him down with continual clamour to know more about Francis. Worth tracking down.
Maiden Lane (Richard and Rose, #7)
by Lynne Connolly
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
"Life is cheap. So is death." With Rose expecting again, it should be a joyous time for her and Richard. Yet old enemies and new come out of the woodwork, seemingly intent on using whatever means possible to destroy their happiness. Not only is the legitimacy of their marriage called into question, a young man steps forward claiming to be a by-blow of Richard's dark, wild past. Closer to defeat than he has ever been, Richard musters all his friends and allies to defend against this attack on his own ground. However, no amount of incandescent lovemaking and tender care seems to keep Rose out of harm's way. Then a mutilated body turns up on their doorstep--and all fingers point at Richard. Rose has no choice but to emerge from his near-smothering concern to do what she must to save the love of her life. Even if she must appear to work against him. As she lays her heart on the line, Richard fights to keep the violence that marks his past from claiming her life. For if he loses Rose, with her will go his humanity. "Warning: Rose gets her mad on, and Richard gets turned on. Contains married love, married sex and married fooling about. And pink coats with lace ruffles. And swords. And wicked goings-on."
This was utterly smashing and my favourite of the series so far. With various villains up to their usual tricks, and Rose rather distracted by pregnancy and the troubles of her various young relatives, it's almost inevitable that she's going to get kidnapped in this one. On the other hand, I didn't see some of Gervase's moves coming, and now I love him more than ever. Shall be reading the final book in the series very soon, and hoping they all get a send-off as thrilling as the events in this book.
And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake (Rhymes with Love, #2)
by Elizabeth Boyle
Published by AVON BOOKS
Daphne Dale never could have imagined that when she answered an advertisement in the newspaper that she would find true love. Now she has the opportunity to meet her unknown suitor, but it means traveling to Tabitha’s wedding, and into the heart of her family’s sworn enemies. Everyone knows the Seldons are terrible rakes and bounders, but Daphne will risk anything to gain the happiness she is certain is right around the corner.
Lord Henry Seldon is aghast at the latest addition to the house party guest list—one would think after the unforgettable scandal Daphne Dale caused at the duke’s engagement ball, she wouldn’t dare show her face at the duke’s wedding. But here she is, poking her nose where she shouldn’t and driving Henry mad . . . with an unforgettable passion that will turn enemies into lovers.
Another adventure in love for the ladies of cursed Kempton and the men brave enough to fall for them. This time Henry is doubly brave since his family and Daphne's have been at odds for centuries over a dispute that should have been easily settled at the time. Since neither family's reputation matches at all the personality of the letter writer on either side, many misunderstandings ensue, encouraged by the parties themselves, their friends and even eventually total strangers. There's even an epilogue that meets with my approval (a rare thing indeed).