Friday, July 19, 2013

The Miss Delacourt Series by Heidi Ashworth

A very good friend of mine told me about this book she had just read, Miss Delacourt Speaks her Mind. She told me that I just had to read it.  So, I went away and bought the book straight away and I am really glad that I did. I read, and loved, the first book and then I found out there was a sequel! Since reading the first two stories a Christmas short and another novel have come out; here are my thoughts about all 4 stories.

Miss Delacourt Speaks her Mind

"When the dowager duchess of Marcross insists he accompany her niece, Ginny, into the country for the day to execute a special task, Sir Anthony is appalled, to say the least. Ginny, who thinks little of the fashionable Sir Anthony, is as eager to be done with the chore as he, but before they arrive at their destination they are stranded by highwaymen and launched into adventure.
Forced into each other’s company, Ginny begins to sense the passionate nature beneath Sir Anthony’s mask of ennui, while his exasperation with the forthright Ginny turns into admiration of her wit and charm. Then beautiful Lucinda Barrington and Lord Avery, a poet, come onto the scene, sparking Ginny’s imagination and revealing a way to unmask the true man behind Sir Anthony’s frivolous facade. Meanwhile, the dowager duchess has plans of her own for this pair, and her special task turns into a battle of words, wills, and wit."

I am very glad I was put onto this book. It was a fun, light-hearted, funny, romantic (but clean) and a refreshing regency romance. Will the head-strong and out-spoken Miss Ginny Delacourt be able to discover the man behind the mask of the overly-polite, but dashing, Sir Anthony Crenshaw?

With great characters, interesting twists in the plot, lots of mishaps and misunderstanding, I leave you in suspense of duels, games of "hide the slipper" that turn into romantic confusion, wrong turns that end in books being thrown at heads, heroines nearly falling out of windows, "betrayal", masquerades, headstrong comments answered with takes-the-heroines-breath-away kisses, soliloquies that reveal pent-up feelings, weeping poets, run-away couples, stolen roses and lots of comedy and confusion!

It is definitely worth a read;
I think it was the fastest I had read a book in a while when I read it. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down as I had to see what was going to happen next.

Miss Delacourt has her Day

"Ginny Delacourt felt the course of true love could not have run smoother. After all, it required only a fortnight, a pair of highwaymen, a pox quarantine, a sham betrothal, and a masquerade ball to bring Sir Anthony up to snuff. When her beloved suddenly becomes the heir to his uncle, the Duke of Marcross, protocol dictates that he drop the "Sir" from his name. It's his uncle who insists Ginny, daughter of a lowly vicar, is not the proper bride for a future duke. Lucinda and Lord Avery arrive on the scene to stir up trouble, and Ginny's normally manipulative Grandaunt Regina seems helpless to arrange anything, least of all a frowned-upon wedding. It's up to Anthony, with help from his fussy valet, to see to it that Ginny has her day. The road to true love just got  a little bumpier."

This was a lot of fun! I think I prefer the first one, because it is all about the courtship of the lovely Sir Anthony and Ginny, but this sequel is still wonderful and a great read!
With many of the original characters making another appearance, as well as some unwelcome new additions, it all adds to making this a lovely sequel with a very interesting, and at times worrying, plot! When Sir Anthony's Uncle, the Duke of Marcross, hears of his attachment to a certain Miss Ginny Delacourt, he calls Anthony to him as he is not the least bit pleased! Will Anthony be able to over-come the objections put forward by his scheming Uncle by completing three impossible tasks?

So whist trying to fathom out his uncle's real motives behind his strange requests, working out how to accomplish these impossible tasks, as well as facing the disapproval of his choice of bride from many, and importantly from his mother, and when a past love, Lady Derby, comes onto the scene, recently widowed and not without the hope to marry again, will poor Anthony be able to pull through everything and marry his, rather doubtful, Ginny?

I will leave you in suspense of boxing matching and bruised hands, fainting maidens, dances with the wrong ladies, (and right ladies!) mud covered coats, drowning boys and rooms covered from top to bottom with torn up fabric and thousands of feathers!

Lady Crenshaw's Christmas

"Ginny and her beloved Anthony, Lord Crenshaw, are finally married and have spent the bulk of their first blissful six months of marriage in the country. However, Ginny must now hostess a Christmas ball at Dunsmere, the estate of the dowager Duchess of Marcross. How is a mere vicar's daughter to carry off such an event with no experience and little exposure to the ways of the ton? And how is she to meet the expectations of her Grandaunt Regina, earn the good graces of Anthony's uncle the Duke of Marcross, endure the spite of the duke's new wife, manage the hysterical escapades of Lucinda, Lady Avery, and find the perfect gift for her husband, all while expecting a babe? All these questions and more are answered in Lady Crenshaw's Christmas, a short story follow-up to two full length novels, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and Miss Delacourt Has Her Day available via Montlake Romance."

This was a cute little story showing Ginny and Anthony's married life, but it is not all plain sailing! I loved how certain characters made a reappearance from the other two novels, adding many humorous scenes! The story was very fun and it was a nice little Christmas story with two of my favourite characters (which is always fun to see when you have got to know two wonderful characters over two brilliant novels) which was nice to curl up with during the holiday season!                   

Lord Haversham Takes Command

"Lord Haversham feels as if he is always running, first from Lord and Lady Avery, his foolish parents, then from the consequences of a schoolboy prank gone awry. Now a secret service agent to the young Queen Victoria, he has run back to England from traitors who seek his life. Little does he know he is running into danger of a different kind; the perceptive, sapphire-blue gaze of his childhood love, Miranda Crenshaw. How is he to win her heart without giving away his secret and endangering the life of the Queen?

Mira's parents, Sir Anthony and Lady Crenshaw, had always assumed their daughter would wed her lifelong friend, Harry. However, when he returns to England after a long absence, gone is the boy they had known and loved. Instead he is Bertie, a silly fop exactly like his flibbertigibbet parents. As such, her parents feel obliged to wed her to George, the young Duke of Marcross, whom Mira despises. Instead, she dreams of the man Harry was meant to be. When she catches a glimpse of him beneath his silly facade, she must find a way to persuade her parents he is the man for her--before he once again runs out of her life."

I enjoyed this.  It was fun to read more about the characters I have already read and loved in three previous books and it was nice to see so many of them return, whether in a good way or bad! The new characters were also wonderful, especially Harry the hero! The story was fast flowing and very interesting as well as being full of humour. It was nice to read another Miss Delacourt adventure :)

The Lord Who Sneered and Other Tales: A Regency Holiday Anthology 

These three short stories are a wonderful addition to the already wonderful Miss Delacourt Series and they give a nice insight into some of the characters we already know and love as well as introducing some fun new characters.

"Three touching, inspirational tales that evoke the essence of what we love most about the cold weather holidays.

The Lord Who Sneered: Christmas 1818. Debutante Lady Sophie Lundell has been warned away from the Marquis of Trevelin by her father, but why? When she meets the infamous Marquis at her first ball, she is fascinated by his scar, one that causes his mouth to be drawn into a perpetual sneer. So determined is she to learn how he came by it, she follows him out onto the veranda and insists on hearing the story from his own lips. Her curiosity transforms into a profusion of emotions when she discovers there is more to the Marquis' wicked reputation than his injured mouth. When Christmas day dawns, she learns that the best of gifts are bestowed only by the heart.

Ghosts in the Graveyard: October 1816. When Sir Anthony's cousin dies, a grieving widow is left behind, one no longer wanted when her father-in-law, the Duke of Marcross, sires a new heir. She is welcomed to Dunsmere by the Dowager Duchess; she has a plethora of empty bedrooms now that Sir Anthony and his bride, Ginny Delacourt, have moved from the premises. When Lady Avery claims she saw a ghost in the graveyard attached to the church on the Dunsmere estate, Anne, with help from Baldwin, the gardener, and handsome stranger Mr. Williams, attempts to unearth the meaning behind the eerie happenings at the Duchess' estate. Will they solve the mystery of the ghost before the cantankerous Dowager Duchess sends Mr. Williams away and all of Anne's hopes with him?"

The Lord Who Sneered:
I was very much looking forward to reading this story was the heroine was called Sophie! I was also intrigued by the premise of the story.   It was a very sweet story! I loved Lord Trevelin, the hero of the story. The story he told was very sad and his emotions seemed so deep – I was surpised that in so short a number of pages I felt I really knew him well and the emotions described were powerful for so short a story. It's astonishing! I am normally weary of novella's because everything happens so fast but not this one. It felt right. I was not let down by Sophie, the heroine, and I could relate to her in some respects, which is always a bonus.

Ghosts in the Graveyard:
This was a cute little story with a bit of mystery.  Mr Williams, the hero, is very much the gentleman. Anne, the heroine, was also great and she had great character, and together they are great.  The story was all a bit of fun as they go on a ghost hunt around the house and grounds, asking anyone if they have seen this ghost!  There was also a brilliant ending which was very fitting and unexpected!

A Rose for Christmas:
This story touching. It was fun to see some background to Grandaunt Regina and her love of roses. It was also nice to see a young Ginny Delacourt and a glimpse of the handsome young Sir Antony. I really like the character of the gardener, Baldwin, who first appearing in Ghosts in the Graveyard. The morals behind this short story were great.


Your affectionate friend,
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  1. What a beautiful blog! I love it! And thank you so much for the lovely and thorough review of my Miss Delacourt books!

    1. Thank you so much! You are welcome for the review - they are such wonderful books that they deserve them :) Thanks for the comment :)

  2. Heidi is right, this is a beautiful blog and I'm so happy to see another generation join the Janites!

    1. Thank you! I am an avid Janeite :) I fell in love with her work when I was 15 :)

  3. Wonderful spot on review - it takes talent to review so masterfully ~ delightful read in it's own right and surely if I hadn't already would definitely put Heidi Ashworth to the top of my 'To-read' list!

    1. Thank you so much! You have no idea how strongly felt your words are. That is so kind! It is one of the nicest comments I have ever had said to me. You have really made my day, no, made my month!


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