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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The rake's progress!

The Chaperone’s Secret (Classic Regency Romances #19)   by  Donna Lea Simpson


I felt like I was reading a version of the Cinderella story with Cinders being Amy Corbett and her charge Rowena, the ugly stepsister. Amy has been snaffled away from her kind employer by Lady Rowena's autocratic father, the Duke, to chaperone his daughter during the coming season, and to ensure that Rowena finally marries. Failure is not an option. He really is a very unlikeable man. Unfortunately, Amy in accepting the employment that is, well 'fait accompli' is at the mercy of the Duke and his daughter. 
Lady Rowena is disdainful of others and solely concerned about her impact on men in particular. Her shallowness and meanness is breathtaking.
Lord Dante Pierson sees a vision go by late at night when he's sprawled in the gutter with two helpful 'ladies of the night'. Cupid's arrow pierces his heart. He's in love and determined to mend his dissolute ways and pursue the fair, unknown lady. That fair lady being the outwardly angelic Rowena, whose sweet countenance harbours a petulant inner self.
Now this all makes for a whole lot of heartache for Amy's position as chaperone.
I liked the way the characters were presented. Rowena was a fright, as was meant to be.
Amy is disturbed by the effect Rowena has on Pierson. She foresees nothing but disaster for the relationship. There is nothing she can do about it.
This novel had huge potential. There were a couple of interesting surprises towards the end but to my mind the storyline devolved into a fairly predictable melodrama. 

A NetGalley ARC


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