Title: The Lord and the Wayward Lady
Author: Louise Allen
Copyright: 2010 (Harlequin); 283 pgs.
Series: Harlequin Historical #996; Regency Silk & Scandal #1
Genre: Historical Romance
The Lord and the Wayward Lady is the first book in a multi-authored, Regency series from Harlequin. Two of my favorite Harlequin Historical authors, Louise Allen and Christine Merrill, wrote books for this series. The over-arching plot deals with uncovering the truth behind the murder of a nobleman, and whether or not the man hanged for the crime was actually guilty — and who was the true murderer if he was innocent.
The long-buried scandal comes to forefront again when Nell Latham delivers a package meant for the Earl of Narborough. The earl was a friend to both the victim and the man who was accused. Since the murder took place in his garden, and he saw one friend standing over the body of the other, the earl’s testimony helped seal his fate. Even so, he has had to live with the possibility that he may have sent an innocent man to the gallows.
Nell had no idea what was in the package, nor did she know the identity of the earl. More precisely, she didn’t know the family name. Her mother had long taught her to hate the name of Carlow. Marcus Carlow, Viscount Stanegate, blames Nell for his father’s turn of health. He knows she’s hiding something, even if she’s as innocent as she claims to be. Nell can’t tell him the truth because he’ll never believe she was an unwitting pawn in the intrigue.
A good start to the series. Ms. Allen sets the stage with Marcus and Nell. Because of the number of players and story lines this series will have, if you plan to it, it would be a good a idea to keep track of who’s who and how they’re related.
Though Ms. Allen is one of my favorite Harlequin Historical authors, I haven’t read one of her books since 2007. I’ve liked her heroines because she usually writes strong, rational females. Nell is no exception. She’s a survivor, in a sense. Both her parents are dead, the family disgraced and what money they had ran out. Nell has no idea what happened to her brother and sister — Nathan disappeared and they lost with Rosalind. Nell has to make her way as best she can. She has no illusions that she’ll have to work for a living for the rest of her life.
Marcus was a little frustrating. Wants her to trust him, but wont give her the same courtesy. Plus, he’s a bit of a bully at first– used to getting his own way and refused nothing. He gets along well with his younger siblings, cares deeply for his parents, and has a friendly relationship with his sisters’ companion, Diana Price — his ally when it comes to the management of Lady Honoria and Lady Verity. His declaration of love to Nell is reminiscent of Darcy’s initial confession to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice — and goes just as badly.
I want to comment on the series North American covers: I love what Harlequin has done with this mini-series. I really like how Nell’s yellow gown stands out against the purple background.
Start: 25 January 2011
Finished: 30 January 2011