Title: Not Quite a Lady
Author: Loretta Chase
Published: 2007, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
The last Carsington brother! How sad. ;)
Lord Lithby is worried because his daughter, Charlotte, is nearing 30 with no signs of wanting to get married. But Charlotte’s reasons for not wedding are not the usual ones; she is beautiful and intelligent, well dowered and agreeable. Unlike most young ladies who spend the majority of their time trying to get married, Charlotte spends most of her time trying not to get married. It turns out that Charlotte has a skeleton in the closet: she was betrayed by a Vile Seducer at the tender age of 16, and had a child who she had to give up to save her reputation. She fears that any husband she had would make an unpleasant discovery on their wedding night. The problem is that she wants to be a dutiful daughter, and she even wants a family of her own, but she's afraid of hurting her father (who thinks she’s the perfect daughter) or her stepmother (who helped her hide the truth those many years ago). The situation is getting desperate when Darius Carsington comes to stay at a neighboring estate, and when Charlotte meets him, she has trouble staying as cool and unentangled as she has always been able to be in the past.
This book was just charming. Chase does honest emotion so well—never overwrought, but highly affecting all the same. I even teared up there at the end, and I hardly ever cry while reading books. Charlotte was lovely. Chase’s heroines are always intelligent, and Charlotte has a sweetness that is rare for Chase (at least of those books of hers I’ve read).
The whole scorned lover side plot felt a bit flat, but I didn’t really care. In fact, there was really little plot at all, wasn't there? LOL. Lots of little conflicts to the relationship, and they were all sorted out fairly easily. But the characters' problems were all so believable that they felt all the more real and engaging to me. That, along with the humor and great dialogue, really made the book for me.
One technical thing that bothered me was the time stamps in the book (I'm putting blog lingo onto fiction now--heehee). "Sunday night 23 June" "later that evening" I didn't see the point of them and it was distracting by making me think that it was somehow necessary to my understanding of the plot to know exactly how many hours/days have passed since the previous action. I think they should only be used for big time jumps or otherwise it seems like the author was too lazy to put those time clues in the text. Anyway, a tiny annoyance, but it just seemed odd to me.