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review 2018-02-07 15:00
Dancing Bears and Reverie: His Lordship's Last Wager
His Lordship's Last Wager: A Regency Romance between Bitter Enemies - Miranda Davis

A million years ago, I picked up The Duke's Tattoo by Miranda Davis because I read some sniggering reviews about it: get a load of this. And it's true, and funny, that the opening action is one of the heroine sedating and then permanently inking a certain peer's unmentionables, and then how their rivalry and his revenge turns into love, &c &c. Oh, and all of this takes place in a Regency romance, I believe in Bath. It's pretty much the best. Sure, whatever, none of that is likely, but neither is getting lucky in a barouche, and that happens in Regency romances all the freaking time. 

 

a four wheeled horse drawn carriage which seats two, open, but with a sort of umbrella over the passengers

 

Seriously, you're not getting laid in this comfortably even in modern clothing, let alone the yards of fabric those poor assholes had to wear in the Regency. 

 

Anyway, Davis's almost overblown prose -- she has an excellent vocabulary and isn't afraid to use it -- and sideways sense of humor completely won me over.

 

But then came the The Baron's Betrothal, which, while written in the same winsome prose, was a tiresome will-they-won't-they that I didn't appreciate. Admittedly, I almost never appreciate a will-they-won't-they, but then The Baron's Betrothal also was thin with the humor that so radiated from The Duke's Tattoo, so I don't think it wasn't just my predilections talking. Fast forward several years, and Davis's newest book, His Lordship's Last Wager, pops up on one of my if-you've-read-this-then situations, and I figured I'd give her another go. I mean, even the book I didn't like wasn't bad, per se.

 

Boy, but I found His Lordship's Last Wager charming. The set up is ludicrous, again: a zesty young woman gulls a lord-type into helping her transport a trained bear to Ireland. Look, I'm not going to explain how such a situation comes to be, partially because I can't remember exactly. Like the lord-type, the reader finds herself wondering what the hell happened to result in a trip through the aqueducts and canals of England of yore. I was super into it, because, wait, lemme tell you a story. 

 

My great-grandmother, the one I'm named after, was born in the US just months after her parents stepped off the boat. (I think assholes would call her an anchor baby.) Though we don't know for sure, my family suspects that great-great-grandpa knocked up the neighbor girl in a small town in Wales, and due to the fact that he was an inveterate alcoholic (ah, the Welsh), the families sent them on their way to America. She managed to have another child, a boy, before she succumbed to Industrial Revolution Pittsburgh. Great-grandma and her brother were settled into an orphanage -- her father being too drunk to care for them -- but not after the family in Wales entreated her and her brother to "come home". The trans-Atlantic voyage was too scary for a young girl, so they stayed.

 

Fast forward many moons, and my mother took that faded correspondence, and tried to find our living relatives in Wales. Several things hampered this: the family names were Jones and Edwards, which are about as common as you can get; the family wasn't Church of Wales, which would be the establishment church, but Baptist; and the Baptist church in the area burned down in the early 70s, so all the records were ash. We found the house on a trip to Froncysyllte when I was a teenager, and the current owners were kind enough to let us look at the deeds (which corroborated pretty much all of the family lore), but it was a dead end.

 

But we were in the area, so we touristed around for a while. One of our more memorable visits was to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is still functional, a crazy waterway strung between high Welsh hills. Observe: 

 

a black and white photo of a large aqueduct being drained

 

Though I don't think our intrepid Regency lovers plied this waterway, much of the action of the novel takes place on the canals that crisscrossed Britain, moving goods and people just like the railroads. Davis notes that there is little contemporary description of the canals in their heyday in the 1800s, as they were largely commercial. Who writes stories about truck stops or container ships? So too, back then. But they're fascinating places, and it was entirely enjoyable to read a Recency romance that took place on the rough waterfront instead of the cultivated lawn.

 

Obviously, this is still a romance, so it's not going to get too icky or realz. And that's fine. I'm not usually reading Regency romance for the articles, and I don't need some big bummer to prove the situation serious. That said, this novel was charming and lively, funny and unusual, and totally worth it for the reverie about my lost family alone. 

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review 2015-01-30 22:20
I can't love you the way you deserve, book
The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Regency Romance - Miranda Davis


I think this is one of those times where it is truly "It's not you, it's me."

I just cannot jive with the cadence of the author's writing; I like the humor but seem to grow weary of it as it does not sustain for the whole story.  William and Elizabeth were great characters and I quite enjoyed the beginning of the book but the middle and ending dragged on and on with the will they or won't they.

Looking at ratings of my friends on here, everyone loves this book. If you're looking for a fresh take on historical regency and some witty left of center characters, then this could be a good series to start. For some reason I just can't connect with the writing throughout the whole book and I think I'm going to bow out of the series.

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review 2014-10-31 03:44
Miranda Davis' "The Duke's Tattoo" (#1 in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series)
The Duke's Tattoo: A Regency Romance of Love and Revenge, Though Not in That Order (The Horsemen of the Apocalypse Series) - Miranda Davis

 

Enchanting, sexy, funny Traditional Regency novel updated for the 21st century reader. Loved the Duke and his nemesis Miss Prudence Haversham.  Loved the Duke's dogs, especially Attila, who is about the size of a Great Dane and has a very definite doggy mind of his own. Really enjoyed the hilarious encounters between Prudence and the Duke, and between the Duke and his buddies, the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

 

Miranda Davis has certainly done lots of research into Regency Britain - the fashions, social mores, the layout and appearance of cities like London and Bath at that time. and even the sights on the main road between London and Bath!  My only niggles are small: a) there were no chipmunks in England in 1816 (and I don't think there are any now either) and b) the London "Season" (in caps) was in the spring, not in August. 

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review 2013-08-23 00:00
The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Regency Romance (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #2)
The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-... The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Regency Romance (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #2) - Miranda Davis 3.8 rounded up. Regency romances that are just plain funny are delightful! Not as good as the Duke's Tattoo but....
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review 2013-06-05 00:00
The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-... The Baron's Betrothal: An On-Again, Off-Again, On-Again Regency Romance (Horsemen of the Apocalypse #2) - Miranda Davis This was me while reading this book:You know the feeling when you read something, and you absolutely love every single sentence in the whole book?That's how it was for me.What you need to know about the book:The writingThis was one of the most refreshing books I've read in a long time, only one other comes to mind that's so different (Tangled), and I just can't praise the writing enough like it deserves.It's witty and funny and romantic and a bit angsty and a perfect blend of everything!The humor is what especially worked for me, I was giggling and laughing and squeeing all through it.So yes, I will definitely read whatever this author writes :))))The storyI think this would be more fun if you don't know too much about the story, so I won't go into detail :DWhile returning to his estate, Lord Clun meets a strange woman asking for help, which of course he can provide :DLady Elizabeth has run away from home (well she actually ran away from an arranged marriage) and is currently living in a cottage on Lord Clun's estate. She of course doesn't know that, thinking Clun an ordinary man and wishing she could marry someone like him.What comes next is a load of fun, full of bickering and fighting, romance and falling in love, and a wonderful happy end :))))Clun and ElizabethClun is a man who doesn't want a love marriage, knowing it could bring heartache like it did to his parents.Elizabeth will have no other marriage but one for love, so of course, that brings problems to both of them.She won't settle for anything less, he won't agree to anything more.Poor Clun...He never stood a chance :DDDDDThey are both lovely characters, perfect for each other, I don't know what else to say except that I adored them
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