A fun confection with a romantic spirit and droll English characters.
You forget yourself, your lordship. You have no rights to allow or disallow anything I may choose to do. You have, in fact, no claim over me whatsoever – a circumstance for which I thank the Lord on a daily basis! I am neither your ward nor your dependent, and I will not allow you to talk to me in that odiously overbearing fashion!
High-spirited Artemisia Grantley, niece of the Duke of Wentworth, has never made any attempt to conform to the feminine ideal expected of a lady of quality, nor has she ever had the benefit of an unfavourable opinion formed against her. But when the Marquess of Chysm enters her life, it seems to her that his lordship is always at hand to witness her shortcomings and bring them to her attention, inciting her temper and leaving her flustered.
As she reluctantly embarks upon her first London Season, a scandalous family secret and a conspiracy that stretches all the way to Napoleonic France threaten to entangle her with the one person she could happily throttle.
I have always been a creative creature at heart, with a passion for storytelling. But, by some mischievous twist of fate, I found myself studying engineering (the driest and most analytical of subjects) and followed that up by working in the construction industry for ten years. What possessed me, you might well ask! But eventually the call of my creative inclinations proved too demanding and I started to write.
If it wasn't for the wonderful reviews I have received from my readers, I may have never continued my writing journey, so a huge thank you to anyone who has left me a lovely review!
Artemisia Grantley, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, adored her idyllic and quite life in the country; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world without experiencing the thrills of a London Season. Polite society and the haut ton don’t appeal to Artemisia, she much rather spend her days shooting and riding horses around her uncle’s estate. But her Uncle Timmy, the Duke of Wentworth, has decided that is time for Artemisia to receive “a little town polish,” experience public life, and finally come out into society. Despite her aversion to the plan, Artemisia must trade in her borrowed breeches, coarse lawn shirt, and slouchy hat and don modish walking dresses and fashionable ball gowns…
Guiding and chaperoning Artemisia through her first season is the beautiful, wealthy, and widowed Lady Lubriot, half-sister to the Duke of Wentworth’s close friend the Marquess of Chysm, a single, eligible, and wealthy man who most decidedly is not in want of a wife! While Lady Lubriot’s youthfulness, lively spirits, and kindness easily win the affection and cooperation of her young charge, Lord Chysm, with his proclivity for giving offense and pointing out Artemisia’s flaws, raises her ire and continuously tries her temper. With the help of these two and her uncle, Artemisia attempts to make her societal debut without any mishaps, but it seems that scandal, intrigue, and her mother’s dubious past continuously threaten her chances of success.
What an utterly delightful novel! I was quite enamored with our hero and heroine and their tumultuous relationship! Due to terrible first impressions, their relationship began with an instant and intense dislike. Most of their conversations contained little civility and much contention, as they both repeatedly challenged each other with verbal sparing matches and set downs. In addition, they were both so skilled at repressing and fighting their feelings for each other, that they easily misunderstood and misinterpreted every look, word, and action! (Loved seeing these two fall in love against their will, against their reason, and even against their character!)
The hero and heroine weren’t the only characters I adored in this novel, each character (main and secondary) was colorful, comical, and well-drawn. Furthermore, I took great pleasure in discovering how some characters shared similar traits and familiar personalities with various Jane Austen characters. Aunt Ophelia, with her particular attention to food and decided opinions seemed like a cross between Mr. Woodhouse and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lively, boyish, principled, yet naïve Artemisia felt like a delightful blend of Elizabeth Bennet and Catherine Morland. And Lord Chysm, with his disinterest in marriage, aloof appearance, yet hidden honorable nature and heroic actions, definitely reminded me of several classic Georgette Heyer heroes. I don’t know if these similarities were intentional or accidental, but I greatly admired these cleverly crafted characters!
My one small quibble for this novel was that the French conspiracy and spy/informant business was a little hard to follow. Since the reader doesn’t learn everything all at once and Lord Chysm’s work is slowly revealed, I felt a little confused at times. (But this might be because my knowledge and understanding of Napoleonic France isn’t much to speak of!)
What a smashing debut novel for D.G. Rampton!!! On the cover it very aptly states: “A Regency novel in the tradition of Jane Austen.” The inspiration from and homage to Jane Austen and traditional Regency romances is abundantly clear on every page. I highly recommend this novel and author to readers who love Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and traditional Regency romances!
What a witty, delightful, engaging book! And how refreshing to read a book where the author claims Georgette Heyer to be an influence and the book to actually feel Heyer-like! I have been disappointed more than once recently by reviews claiming a book to be Heyer-like only to find the book nothing of the sort. I am glad I didn’t let the somewhat demure cover deter me from reading this light-hearted, fun romp!
I can't believe this book went undetected by me for so long; I thought I had thoroughly scoured all potential Regency authors! In any case, I'm so happy I finally found this one. It was the most delightful read I've had in a while.
The first point in its favor: it was a clean Regency (hence the title, "a Regency romance in the tradition of Jane Austen"), which can be so hard to find nowadays. However, there was plenty of romanctic build-up and sexual tension. It was positively zinging off the pages!
There were some blatantly modern-feminist ideas possessed by Artemisia, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment at all. She was absolutely delightful in her eccentricities and joie de vivre. Her fiery personality was fun and refreshing.
Meanwhile, Jared, Marquess of Chysm. Le sigh... Serious hunk material. British spy, lord of the realm, wealthy, handsome, debonair, sarcastic, witty, intelligent, protector, take-charge type -- need I go on? A perfect match for Artemisia's brand of fire. Or mine... But I digress.
This was very well done in the Heyer style of romance, including wit and escapades, and probably less like a Jane Austen than the author indicates by the title. The inclusion of a good mystery in the background of the romance was a great touch to help round out and lend an added element of danger to the novel.
I can't recommend this too highly for Regency lovers. A lovely surprise after thinking I had read all of the good ones. I can't wait for D.G. Rampton's next novel and hope she writes many more.
Meanwhile, Lord Chysm reminded me of Matthew Goode throughout the book - if they adapt this to the screen, I hope they cast him.
Maybe if this novel didn't come with such an ambitious headline - a Regency romance in the tradition of Jane Austen - I would have enjoyed it more. But, as expectations often shape impressions, I was mildly disappointed with the pacing, characterization, and certain plot twists in this story.
The writing style is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer, and it's most noticeable in the dialogue. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on personal preference. Despite its vague resemblance to the witty repartee of the Bath Tangle, which never fails to amuse me, the verbal sparring between the hero and the heroine didn't quite do it for me in this story. Primarily, because the heroine was immature and impulsive. Her good intentions aside, she tended to get into scrapes she could have easily avoided if she'd take the time to think things through.
Her sniping back at the hero, when his reprimands were entirely justified - especially after he'd had to save her from getting injured or committing a faux pas - felt childish in the extreme. Combined with her "irregular" birth, unconventional upbringing, and lack of social polish, she seemed like an odd choice as a love interest for the hero, who was a sophisticated man about town thirteen years her senior and a spymaster extraordinaire. To that effect, the metamorphosis of the hero's feelings from general exasperation to affection toward the heroine took me by surprise. In fact, I didn't see much chemistry between the protagonists until the closing scene. Other characters remarked upon it, but it must have been too subtle for me to notice.
But, unlike the hero, I saw no impediment to their union and had trouble following his reasoning for avoiding the attachment. It might have been a "confirmed bachelor not fit for marriage" or as a "spy with blood on his hands not good enough for a pure young innocent" schtick, I'm not sure which. Neither rationale painted him in a particularly favorable light because both are contrary to the inherent selfishness of human nature. Consequently, it made for a flimsy obstacle to the couple's happiness and was set aside when it suited the author's purpose.
Another issue was that the culmination of the underlying spy plot required accepting a significant contrivance at face value, and all the action got crammed into the last two chapters of the novel. Until then, the pacing of the story was rather slow, and as a result, the ending felt rushed.
After reading two lackluster Regency romances this past week, I was happy to find Artemisia on my kindle. I read Aphrodite by DG Rampton last year and loved it. So unsurprisingly I found this book to be absolutely delightful. Artemisia is a free spirited young lady, largely raised in the country by her Duchess grandmother and after her passing, her indulgent Uncle Timothy, the current Duke. Her mother and father were never central figures in her life. She reluctantly goes to London for a season under the sponsorship of Lady Marianne Lubriot, the young widowed sister of Lord Chysm who is a close friend of the Duke. There are so many fun scenes and witty lines that I laughed out loud more than once. There’s also a bit of mystery and action with a surprising villain. The characters are well drawn and the writing is engaging. I didn’t want to put this book down. I highly recommend this for fans of Regency romance, especially Georgette Heyer fans.
I liked this one. It had a fun storyline with a light mystery. Artemisia was a fun character, full of spunk. Lord Chysm was likable, for the most part. I liked his character, I didn't like how he treated Artemisia at times (hence the lower rating). The story moves along nicely and I thought it was well written. It kept my attention and thought it had a good regency feel to it. The mystery was pretty subtle, it wasn't hard to figure things out, but still fun to see how everything unfolds.
As for the romance, overall I liked it, but I wanted Chysm to have to do a little more wooing. I think he took Artemisia and her feelings for granted. I wanted a BIG public gesture from him, especially considering how he had been treating her for practically their whole relationship. I would have loved for him to really prove his love. How it plays out was nice, but I wanted a little more. I thought how they first met was fun and they had some fun moments together. I like that Artemisia wasn't afraid to stick up for herself and could hold her own with him. They were good together. I loved that it was clean!
Overall, a fun regency and one I'd recommend. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Rampton.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! Our main character Artemisia loves her boyish pursuits, her country home with her uncle who can't deny her anything and wants nothing to do with a London season, new dresses or suitors. However, when her uncle the Duke of Wentworth asks Lady Lubiot (the half sister of his friend Lord Chysm) to sponsor his niece, she is thrown into a society she can't get along with and a challenge to her unladylike ways. Artemisia and Lord Chysm are constantly at each other throats and yet he finds her anger and debating a refreshing change to all the green girls in society. She makes him angry and he gets defensive and controlling over her which she resents. Neither are interested in love and marriage although time and chemistry will work to bring them together. The arguments made me laugh, the proposal was hilarious and the side stories with Lady Lubiot and the Duke of Wemtworth was adorable. A good read indeed!
Super fun. I just love these kinds of books... And a new word I'd never heard before..."chary"...her word usage throughout was actually really clever. Jane Austen/Georgette Heyer types are hard to do, I applaud her!
I can believe that the author loves Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer (who doesn't ;-) ) But she has a long way to write like these masters. Yes, the historical accuracy and language were satisfying (compared to many others of the genre). But there was no Austen's characters study, there wasn't Heyer's wit and language. And what also was bad for the book - there was no pace/action/sparkle one can find in less historically accurate examples of the genre.
I read only around 20% of the novel, so I can't tell what was later. But I was too much bored to want to read more. Still, I am not abandoning D.G. Rampton. I will try her other books someday. Perhaps she developed after this debut.
DNF - Last update: I'm 32% done with Artemisia: There's something rather squicky about the hero being best mates with and is two years older than the heroine's uncle. 13 year age differences are really pushing it for me but where you can feel the age gap? hmmm... no likey.
This was very well done! It was witty, humorous, romantic, engaging, and intelligent. It had all the right elements and made for a compelling read from beginning to end. This novel proves that a romance does not need smut to keep one's interest. The chemistry between Artemisia and Lord Chysm was palpable. Her friendship with Harold was sweet in its innocence. The attachment between Artemisia's uncle, the Duke of Wentworth, and Lord Chysm's half-sister, Lady Lubiot, while expected was still sweet and developed at a nice pace. I appreciated that this was not a sappy romance novel but had sufficient action and intrigue by way of espionage to make it a well-rounded storyline. This held my interest and I could not put it down until I finished. A very satisfying read. I look forward to further novels from this author.
A talent for ironic wit and good writing make this an entertaining novel. It plays on the usual Regency tropes, with a clever twist in the plot. I’m sure that her debut experience will impact on her next novel with more nuanced characters. Rampion is clever but I hope to find a little more heart in her next. An excellent debut.
Impeccable history, beautiful detailing, characters that make me hoot out loud. I especially liked Lady Lubriot. A nice balance of humour and romance. I look forward to reading Ms. Rampton's next regency!
Wonderful story! Very Heyer and Austen-like! I loved the characters and the storyline, it's been a long time since I've read a regency that did not disappoint. I can't wait to see more from this author.
Artemisia Grantley, niece of the Duke of Wentworth, likes nothing better than to romp around her uncle's estate dressed as a boy with her best guy pal, much to her uncle's dismay. The Duke is determined to get Arabella a Season before she comes into her full inheritance and gets into mischief. He asks his political friend Jared, the Marquess of Chysm to enlist the aid of his sister Marianne, the lovely widowed Lady Lubriot to help. Unfortunately for Artemisia, her first meeting with Lord Chysm was less than stellar and now she's convinced he is her greatest enemy. Marianne wins over Artemsia and helps the girl adopt a few social graces in preparation for the Season. Artemisia is determined to do the Season her way, which means clashing with some of the leaders of the ton, especially Lord Chysm. His interest in the girl excites the gossips of the ton for everyone knows Lord Chysm is not the marrying sort. As Artemisia becomes a greater success, the more the gossiping tongues wag and the more Artemisia feels peevish and the more she and Lord Chysm disagree about her behavior. She still has no plans to marry... unless she falls in love and the man she loves can love her back. As for Lord Chysm, he could care less about debutantes, he's just doing a favor for an old friend and his beloved sister, or so he tells himself. He's more concerned with finding out what happened to his spies carrying news from France. It seems there's a leak somewhere in the War Office but who is it?
This book states that it is in the tradition of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. The influence of these two wonderful writers is clearly seen, especially in the opening paragraph. The opening is worded similarly to Northanger Abbey. There's also a scene with Michaelangelo, the spaniel pup and a poodle in the park which is reminiscent of a scene in Frederica. It's not quite as zany or funny. Overall, the writing is decent and the author soon develops her own style of writing. The relationship aspect of the novel also resembles a Georgette Heyer novel. It develops OK but the constant fighting got on my nerves by the end of the book and I didn't feel there was anything romantic about it. The 13 year age difference between Artemisia and Chysm made her seem childish at times. The mystery gripped me and I couldn't put the book down until I found out how it all turned out. I wasn't surprised at the identity of the villain/s but how it all came together was a bit of a surprise.
Artemisia is a likable heroine, for the most part. She doesn't want to grow up and chafes against the prescribed gender roles of her time. She longs to be free to do what she really wants. She longs for adventure and travel, which are not possible for an unmarried girl, especially during war time. I felt bad for her that she had nothing to really look forward to or goals available except marriage. She does seem rather childish at times though when she fights with Chysm. She also shows her naivete at times which causes her to do stupid things. I think she could have been made more likable by making her older and a little less stubborn.
Chysm is likable for the most part. He's a strong alpha male who has a strict sense of propriety regarding unmarried women and he knows how the ton will tear apart Artemisia for being unconventional. I almost felt bad for him that she willfully misunderstood him and continued to fight with him long after they should have been friends.
The secondary characters are very good too. Marianne is charming and sweet. I couldn't help but like her the way Artemisia did. She knows just how to handle stubborn young ladies who don't care what other people think. I liked the close bond between the two women and how they supported each other. Uncle Timothy is a Mr. Bingley sort of character. He's very amiable and not dashing or romantic but kind and good. I liked his story though it was very predictable. Artemisia's gentlemen friends are largely unmemorable and not worth mentioning. The villains are truly despicable in their actions.
If you like the Signet and Zebra Regency romances of the 90s, especially those by Regina Scott you will enjoy this one. I would be willing to read more from this author. If you don't like Bath Tangle then this book is probably not for you.
Wow! This is a delightful Regency romance with wonderful characters. I didn't find it particularly humorous, but I did find the story to contain all of those elements I didn't know I wanted to find but really enjoyed.
Artemesia Grantley was raised by her grandparents; after their passing, her uncle, the Duke of Wentworth became her guardian. A chaperone is obtained to steer Artemesia through her Season, a Season Artemesia does not want. She would prefer to remain in the country, riding her horse while wearing trousers, rescuing injured birds from trees and the like.
The deduction of one star is in no way a reflection on the quality of the story but rather a protest against the number of errors.
Loved this book, reminiscent of Georgette Heyer, very funny! I got a little bogged down in the spy drama part of it, but not too badly. If you’re a fan of clean Regency romances, I recommend this book!
This book was such a pleasant surprise! It's been a long time since I read such a smart and enjoyable Regency romance. The dialogue is clever and witty, and the plot was far more intriguing than the standard fare one typically finds. The characters were all well drawn, with hardly a stereotype in sight (except for the henchmen/thugs perhaps, but no one really cares about them). It seems every Regency novelist is billed as comparable to Georgette Heyer or (laughably) Jane Austen, but Rampton has come closer than most to the sparkling dialogue, delightful wit, and sheer fun of Heyer's novels. If you are looking for steamy sex scenes, look elsewhere. Rampton has created the same sexual tension you'd find in the best of Heyer with little more than a kiss. This is where her skillful character development comes in to play; it is far more effective than the current crop of explicit novels, and in the end, much more satisfying! I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Aphrodite.
I found the first half of this novel to be a fun, charming, light-hearted read. There's very good set-up for our characters and the over-arching storyline and the romantic pairing, not to mention the witty dialogue is clearly inspired by Jane Austen, so I greatly enjoyed that. The author does not make much effort at going any deeper than surface level when it comes to exploring regency society or the human condition like Austen does in her novels, but Artemisia is clearly not intended to be a social commentary novel, and that's perfectly fine. As far as the first half is concerned, the story does exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it well.
I was not, however, impressed with the second half. First, I found the pacing to be far too fast. At about the halfway mark, Artemisia attends what is only her second society party, and she not only finds herself in an awkward position involving Chysm and the secondary villain, but then immediately afterward, is sexually assaulted by an entirely different person. Apart from 'pushing' Chysm towards her by making him jealous then forcing him to come to her aid, I could not understand why these two events needed to happen at the same party. One, the misunderstanding that arises between them because of the secondary villain is never resolved at any point in the story, and Chysm never apologizes for his disrespectful behavior. Two, the reader is put in the uncomfortable position of having to overlook said rude behavior because Chysm has just saved Artemisia from being raped.
I did not like this.
The pacing issues only continue after this as Mr. Breashall (secondary villain), having only had two conversations with the female lead in total at this point, chooses to immediately jump to kidnapping and forced marriage. This plot twist feels completely unnecessary to the story, and I did not find the way it played out to be the tiniest bit believable. For one thing, I refuse to acquiesce to the idea that Artemisia is so naïve as to follow a random street urchin through the streets of London because of a scrawled note saying 'Chysm here. I'm in dire straits, and apparently, you're the only one I can ask for help, so would you mind stopping by?' Nor do I think her feelings for Chysm were strong enough by this point to compel her to rush impulsively to his aid without thinking through her decision. We know that Artemisia is impetuous and head-strong and used to getting her way. We also know that she is naive to the ways of the world/society at large. But there has been nothing to indicate that she is also utterly stupid. Surely she would find it odd that he would ask Her for help when he must know so many more suitable people? Not to mention, there's an entire house full of people right behind her that Artemisia trusts and whom would be much better equipped and far more knowledgeable on how to handle such a situation, so why would she not run to one of them for help? I must simply conclude that this event was only included to again 'push' the leads together, which left me rather incensed on Artemisia's behalf, because it made her look unfairly dumb.
This is where the book began to fall apart for me.
After this (unsuccessful) kidnapping, Artemisia's long-absent and unknown father chooses to re-appear in her life. There's not much more than a surface-level amount of time spent in the book on Artemisia pondering after the identities of her mother and father and the reason for their abandonment of her, and this hampers any genuine development in her potential relationship with her father when he appears. As such, they only meet two or three times before he immediately determines that that is more than enough time to have appropriately ingratiated himself with her in order to manipulate her into doing his will.
His will specifically being turning Chysm into a pawn of sorts for Napolean (or something along those lines; I really didn't understand what this sub-plot was about).
Oh, did I not mention that Chysm has had his own side-plot going where he gathers through his own little spy network seemingly unmeaningful information about the on-goings of people we never hear about for purposes we never learn about, and even he himself says that what he does isn't really all that important, so why are we reading about it???
I won't spend any more more time on this other than to say that I really don't think it added anything to the overall story, and it's rather boring to read as well, since so little of interest happens around it. The only seeming reason Chysm has a spy network and gathers all of this meaningless information is so that Artemisia's father can show up and try to use her to use him.
The problem with this angle is that Artemisia has known her father for such a short amount of time and as I mentioned before, has spent seemingly very little of her young life thus far thinking about his existence to have developed any real feelings for him outside of mild curiosity. So when her father reveals his ultimate plan (in true 'I'm a villain, and I have to detail for you Exactly what I'm planning, because reasons' fashion), I just laughed. Give Artemisia an open window and her father's back to it, and he would be gone.
And that's our two villains. They're both incompetent, cartoonish, ineffective, and not for a moment frightening, and I didn't care a twit about either of them.
What I really liked about the first half of the novel was how well the author built a foundation upon which the romantic leads could eventually fall in love with each other, and I wish she had spent more time on that in the second half. It's made very clear early on in the story that Chysm has no patience for young, silly girls, and there's much work done to show the reader that while Artemisia may be impetuous and naïve and unexperienced, she certainly isn't frivolous or vapid or stupid. She's not concerned with impressing others and being a delicate flower. She wants to travel, learn new things, experience the world. She just needs a little gentle guidance.
But once Artemisia enters society, the author chooses to spend the second half of the novel turning her into exactly what Chysm does Not like; a young, silly girl. She never becomes enamored by all of the glitter and frivolity and society ways, but her naivete goes from the inexperience of youth to just plain stupidity, and I couldn't understand what exactly Chysm was supposed to be falling for.
Chysm's behavior, on the other hand, while mild enough to be forgiven in most cases, was still often rude and controlling yet played off as romantic. He makes snap judgements about Artemisia's behavior and character based solely on his own feelings rather than any objective truth or examination of the facts, and he never apologizes for mischaracterizing her. I certainly would have been willing to believe an apology if we, the readers, had been provided one, but instead, our leads get to ride off into romantic bliss at the end of the book via another unfair argument where he accuses her of 'crimes' she has not committed. I did not find this to be a fitting, romantic ending for this couple.
I think this book probably does exactly what it was intended to do, and there is an audience for what this book does, so I won't say that no one should read it, but I doubt I'll read it again.
(One final thing that irked me in the second half was the choice not to clearly separate the letter from Artemisia's mother from the rest of the novel's text. There's nothing done to make the reader aware that they are about to read this letter as the text blends in with the rest of the chapter. This is obviously, a superfluous issue at this point, but it feels so very obvious to me.)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This was just okay. I had high hopes since it was reviewed so highly. It is well written so I will give it that.
I did like the heroine, she was fun and intelligent but I just could not see the chemistry between her and the Hero.
They bicker and argue a lot, that’s supposed to clue us in to their strong feelings for each other. Everyone else can see that they are falling in love (even the villain sees it from the start) but the main characters didn’t have a clue.
Part of the plot is that the Hero is a spy/agent, But early on in the story one of the characters reveals this to the heroine. The Hero denies that he is one (of course) but he doesn’t take extra precautions 🤷🏻♀️ nor does he question the heroine much to find out her source. I just felt that the Hero, except for meeting with some of his associates, was not convincing as that kind of character, however the author needed it to tie in with the villain in the end.
Other things which bugged me. The heroine was the beloved, indulged niece of a wealthy Duke, but there are characters in this book who attempt to snub her or try to assault her. Really! I would not have thought anyone would have dared, especially as the Duke is still young and single, everyone would have been kowtowing to him.
Also for such an indulgent uncle at the start, when the heroine gets to London, her indulgent uncle is suddenly neglectful…🤷🏻♀️ And we are supposed to believe that the niece of a Duke is so lacking in the refinements of the time like dancing and running a household? Especially when she was the only female in his establishment until she was 20?
Back to the villain, this character was not developed at all, the readers encounter him at the last 20% of the story and he does the classic villain monologue explaining all his evil motives to the Hero 🙄 plus his idea to have the Hero and heroine marry to bring them under his control, was a stupid and implausible one.
Not to mention, the villain’s identity which is supposed to be the big reveal at the end, was easy to figure out and is another far fetched detail which bugged me.
Humorous romance? It was simply mildly amusing at some parts.
Miss Rampton has a charming style of writing that instantly draws the reader in and takes it captive. I was so glad to have quite a bit of the story to read in this excerpt, but I began to wonder if it was going to go far enough to give everything away and then I wouldn't have much of the actual book to read once I get my hands on it. Not so! This excerpt is just long enough to get all the pieces in place and all the questions raised- and then it stops. Nothing revealed, curiosity piqued, and the characters having thoroughly worked their way into your heart- leaving you wanting more, needing answers, and wondering about so many different aspects of the story. Georgette Heyer came to mind a few times, when I read snippets reminiscent of her style and wit. I look forward to reading this novel in it's entirety, and giving it a full review.
As one who loves Regency Romance in the style of Georgette Heyer, I am happy to say that this author (DG Rampton) captures the spirit of Heyer in Artemesia. Full of great dialogue and beautiful descriptions of dress, stately homes, and balls, the storyline is not forgotten and is even more interesting than the ordinary RR storyline. Of course, there's a rake and a stuffy love interest, but the author was good about keeping it interesting by throwing in curveballs here and there that pique the reader who has read a lot of RR books. As stated before, this is in the style of Heyer, so there is no steamy stuff, just a lot of great writing and wit. Recommended to anyone who loves Heyer and Regency era England. Enjoy!
had to dnf this book at pg 114. I was trying so hard to get into this book and to get to what I was hoping would be a good part, but between the age difference, the perspective changing at random times, and not really sure what’s going on half the time, I just really couldn’t get into it
It's been awhile since I've read a high quality (traditional) regency romance and so this was such a delight. I'm a very picky reader so usually I end up disappointed by what's on offer in the clean RR space. This is now one of my all time favorites in the genre. It is filled with elements I love– a self-confident heroine, a mysterious and seemingly aloof hero, an enemies to lovers arc, and actually witty and intelligent banter (which every RR claims to have but very few actually do!). Honestly, the dialogue and narration are the stars of this novel and make it a pure joy to read. The author writes with a very a sarcastic style that is nonetheless erudite, elegant, and grounded in the period while remaining accessible (love Heyer but sometimes there's just too much slang to keep up with- I don't want to have to keep a big glossary handy while reading guilty pleasure books okay!).
It didn't just deliver on wit, however; the characterization is also excellent. I loved discovering slowly and subtly how Artemisia and Lord Chysm, people who on the surface seem to have very little in common, actually prove the perfect fit for one another. I can see how some other readers might find Artemisia irritating due to her headstrong nature and naïveté, but I honestly thought she was endearing. For the first few chapters she did annoy me, but as the story progressed, she succeeded in winning me over. Notably, she developed more self-awareness and a willingness to be critical of herself and learn from her mistakes. As for Lord Chysm, he's a highly intelligent and handsome English lord-spy, need I say more? I also loved the colorful cast of secondary characters, who weren't spared attention to detail.
If there is one element that is slightly lacking here, it's the plot. I enjoyed the spy mystery immensely but felt that the pacing was a bit imbalanced. The author piled a bunch of revelations on to the latter third or quarter of the novel, making it challenging at times to keep all of the details straight. The big reveal also seemed highly improbable, but this was less bothersome to me because I'm very used to putting aside a certain degree of believability when reading RR, particularly those in the vein of Heyer with lots of wild hijinks. They are what make these stories fun, even if sometimes they go a bit overboard, as I felt was somewhat the case here. Spreading out the latter part's action over a few more chapters would have also given us more time for a proper reunion for the main couple because as it was it did feel very rushed. They were shouting at each other until what felt like the last five seconds of the novel.
Despite my few qualms, all in all, a really excellent read that kept me on my toes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.