Author: Jane Myers Perrine
Publisher: Beyond the Page
First Published: April 1, 2002
Genres: Historical Romance
Aphrodite Herrington has always been the prim and sensible member of an otherwise outrageous family—her parents frequently display an unseemly amount of public affection, while her siblings must forever be rescued from their own compromising situations. And as much as she loves them, she’s grown weary of being their keeper and wishes only to find a steady man with whom she can have a calm and quiet marriage. Thankfully, the very staid and predictable Frederick Horne has made just such a proposal to her.
Thomas, Viscount Warwick, is everything Frederick is not. As one of society’s most scandalous rakes, Warwick has a reputation for openly moving from one flirt to another without a care for their well-being. With a bemused smirk he’s vowed never to fall in love himself, but happily joins his cousin Frederick at their family estate to celebrate the forthcoming announcement of Frederick’s betrothal to Aphrodite.
But Warwick and Aphrodite share a secret from their past, a chaste yet meaningful kiss that broke her heart and left him wanting more. As Aphrodite’s family descends on the estate in their usual chaotic fashion and all the partygoers strike up new and surprising liaisons, a suddenly love-struck Warwick and passionately awakened Aphrodite must decide whether to throw caution and common sense to the wind to embrace the promise of a true love they’ve found in each other.
Aphrodite is the family’s black sheep: she is the only member that is level headed, responsible, and cares at all about polite society. Parents that are constantly displaying affection publicly, a sister who is a mindless flirt, another constantly wearing revealing clothing, and to round it out a mischievous younger brother always playing pranks. She finds herself falling for a rakehell and realizes that maybe she’s not as prim and proper as she believes herself to be, and she might just be more like her family than she ever thought possible.
I honestly really struggled with this novel, while it was lighthearted and humorous, I found myself rolling my eyes more often than not. I expected the characters to act outside of societal norms for the era, there was nothing about the novel that felt like a regency. There was no intelligent, fast-paced dialogue and the story oozed sex. Aphrodite’s fertility is a point that is constantly brought up by Frederick and his mother.
“Polite society gaped politely, of course, behind fans and over padded shoulders, but, nonetheless, they gaped.”
The plot was predictable and the antics of the characters were more grating than charming. I honestly wondered where the chaperones were because they were nonexistent. Terpsichore lives by herself flaunting her body and Athena is notorious for sneaking off to kiss men, and it’s all just accepted. The characters only “mature” after receiving a stern lecture from their parents late in the novel and it was just laughable. Suddenly they care about being proper and making sure their children don’t ruin their reputations? Give me a break.
It is obvious by the end that the author is making commentary on the importance of finding passion over worrying about what is proper. This book felt like a modern romance in a historical setting that just didn’t click with me. I’ll give it points for the writing being clean and for some legitimately funny moments, but I have to say that in the end, I felt misled.