Lady Charlotte Featherington is entering her first London season, where she attracts the attention of several men, including the handsome and flirtatious Lord Markham, and the widowed and mysterious Duke of Hartington. She is certainly capitvating—if a little vapid and immature. However, this is Regency romance, where all the best girls were married off at the age of eighteen, so it’s not surprising that she’s that awkward teenage mix of shallow and insightful.
Charlotte is determined to marry for love.
Her parents (for reasons I didn’t quite understand) choose the widowed Duke for her. Yes, he’s a much better choice than Markham, who is the typical sophisticated and disreputable Regency rake. But he’s friends with Charlotte’s brother, which leads her to think he’s a worthy suitor (yes, immature. Although perhaps her brother should pick his friends more carefully …).
The Duke of Hartington is certainly captivated by Lady Charlotte, despite her outward resemblance to his late unlamented wife. (She might have been more lamented if she hadn’t been quite so obvious about her extramarital activities.) This did lead me to wonder why Hartington was attracted to her—I’d have thought he’d have sought a wife who wasn’t attractive enough to be tempted to wander.
The result of this was that I found the first half of the book a little confusing. But the second half was much better as we (and Lady Charlotte) get to know the Duke of Hartington better. We see his observation and consideration—he’s the only person who notices she doesn’t like champagne and brings her lemonade instead. We also see Charlotte’s character develop, which I liked.
There are three strengths to Carolyn Miller’s writing. First is the historical accuracy.
I’ve read two novels recently where the heroines travelled north to get from Bath to London. Even the most inaccurate map shows London and Bath are roughly east-west. If you’re travelling north (or south), you’re going the wrong way. Simple errors like this pull me out of a story, but I had no such moments with The Captivating Lady Charlotte.
Second, I love Carolyn Miller’s witty dialogue.
Like most readers, the two authors who introduced me to Regency romance were Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer (of course, if Jane Austen ever put a genre to her writing, she would have called it contemporary romance). Austen and Heyer are both known for their intelligent female characters, and their witty dialogue. Carolyn Miller is a worthy successor.
But the main reason I love Carolyn Miller’s novels is because of the way she naturally integrates the Christian faith into her novels.
Hartington has an active Christian faith which is important to him—which is one of the reasons his first wife’s betrayal hit him so hard. We see him live his faith, and we see Lady Charlotte observe him and see there is more to Christianity than the cultural aspect of being seen to go to the right church.
The Captivating Lady Charlotte is the sequel to The Elusive Miss Ellison. It can easily be read as a standalone novel, although those who have read Miss Ellison’s story will enjoy seeing more of her story—especially the way she and her husband influence both the Duke and Lady Charlotte.
Overall, recommended for those who enjoy Christian Regency romance.
Thanks to the author for providing a free book for review. A real book, which she posted to New Zealand!