The second in a series of sub-Georgette Heyer Regency romances about the six daughters of a country vicar. This one is actually much better plotted than the first, depending far less on increasingly unlikely events and a very stupid heroine. Not that the heroine here is a paragon of thoughtful intelligence; she's actually pretty silly, and selfish and small-minded to boot, not to mention immature, and frankly it's hard to see what the hero sees in her, apart from the big blue eyes and blonde hair.
So the plot, such as it is, consists of the heroine
marrying her sister's fiance's best friend because she's in love with
said fiance and wants to get her hands on him, somehow, and spite her
sister at the same time. The best friend then sets out to gently and
indirectly win her affections with a great deal of subterfuge. And of
course things go wrong along the way, problems which would be resolved
in a moment if the hapless pair would simply talk to each other. But
this is all part of the game with a book like this. The romance genre
would practically disappear overnight if ever it became compulsory for
hero and heroine to explain things to each other.
I enjoyed this
one a lot better than the first in the series. I actually felt sorry for
the heroine at some points, and wished she would just burst into tears
and show the hero how much he was upsetting her. She wasn't a
particularly likeable character, but she had to grow up very quickly.
The hero was fairly charmless, as well, behaved quite stupidly at times
and neither of them had any outstanding qualities, apart from being very
beautiful, of course, but I felt they deserved each other. Big downside
of this book is the author's habit of dumping her research into it
wholesale. I can see the point of details about costumes and furnishings
and the like, but entire paragraphs about the historical or social
background, devoid of plot relevance? Not interesting, and a big
irritant. So I didn’t have to wrestle with my conscience over whether to
give such a piece of fluff more than three stars.