What tickled me: Honest, forthright heroine. Though I’d have liked it more if everyone wasn’t always telling her how honest and forthright she is.
What ticked me off: Pretty stereotypical depiction of India and Indians. On the other hand, racism comes into the plot in an interesting way.
Who might like it: Readers looking for an undemanding Regency that isn’t frothy.
I’m not quite sure why this was on my TBR — probably because my friend Janet W gave it 4 stars. It does have one of my favorite tropes, Separated Lovers, Big Misunderstanding, but then it has a mystery element. A mystery in a Regency romance is like a roach in my pudding, but this wasn’t too bad as they go.
Ben and Tavy fell in love in India, but their relatives came between them, convincing Tavy that Ben was just playing with her and Ben that Tavy was fetishizing him because he’s half Indian. (Something that apparently happens to him quite a lot.) Seven years pass, and Tavy comes back to England with her family, expecting to make a respectable marriage. But she can’t avoid Ben, now a Marquess since the mysterious death of his family.
Tavy is very likeable. She’s kind of a lonely soul, missing her life in India terribly, and with much of her adventurous spirit tamped down by heartbreak. She’s trying to make a life for herself as best she can, and she’s not an idiot about it, for the most part. Unfortunately, this kind of emphasizes how douchey Ben is. He doesn’t do anything all that terrible by romance hero standards, but considering she was only 18 to his 23 when they fell in love, I think he could have given her some benefit of the doubt.
But there’s a lovely yearning between them. The writing is standard for this kind of story, albeit slightly odd at times, but the romance works. I’m not sure I’d ever be driven to read Ashe again, but there’s an interesting secondary character, the former fiance of Ben’s dead brother, and I might check her book out.