Title: An Unusual Courtship
Author: Katherine Marlowe
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 242 Pages
Category: Regency Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
At a Glance: An Unusual Courtship is a solidly pleasant, purposefully heartfelt read that remains faithful to all the conventions of the Regency era Romance.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Percival Valentine is delighted by the arrival of new neighbours in the sleepy provincial town of Linston. Swiftly befriending the fashionable trio of Londoners, Percival sets out to court the elegant Miss Bolton, but soon comes to realise that he is being courted instead by the charming but secretive Mr. Everett.
As Percival begins to uncover the circumstances behind his new friends’ arrival in Linston, he is drawn inextricably closer to Mr. Everett and his secrets.
Review: I feel I can say with no small amount of confidence that if you’re not an avid fan/reader of Regency Romance, and all the tropes and customs and proprieties that go along with the subgenre, An Unusual Courtship very probably won’t land on your faves list. Author Katherine Marlowe has an affinity for the polite parlor talk and social graces of the time, and her characters never once veer off track into modern anachronisms to suit her contemporary reading audience.
An Unusual Courtship offers readers two heroes in Mr. Percival Valentine and Mr. Frederick Everett, and two allies in Miss Hermione Bolton and her brother, Horatio. Miss Bolton plays the part of the spirited young woman in the story, who knows exactly what and whom she wants, and she dares to pursue her chosen future husband much to the detriment of Percival’s invitation to court her. His offer to Hermione is gently and politely refused, which turns out not to be a hardship at all, as Percival is caught off-guard by the Boltons’ dear friend Mr. Everett, not only by the man’s handsomeness but by the overwhelming attraction Percival feels for him as well. He finds himself quite besotted with Frederick, which sometimes comes at the expense of poor Percival’s dignity, and with some awkwardly amusing results.
This is a novel of manners, through and through, laced with what can only be deemed a sweet and earnest courtship that evolves much to Percival’s surprise, and watching him bumble his way through things, not knowing what to believe and scandalized by the slights he hears against Frederick’s otherwise seemingly impeccable character, leaves him hand-wringing and fumbling his way along rather than having those all-too-important conversations that would clear the air, but I also appreciated the contrast between what was deemed polite conversation and the whispered gossip and dubious rumor that were fair game amongst society folk, the sort of gossip and rumor that might, say, cause a man to be cut by his peers, the most vicious of social weapons.
The fashion, the social gatherings, and the genteel people of high society are all present to further ground readers in the historical setting. The awkwardness of one simply not using someone’s first name—before, during, or after sex, apparently—until invited, still calling each other Mr. Valentine and Mr. Everett, comes off as odd from a casual modern perspective, but I suppose it fit the propriety of the time and the uncertainty of Percival and Frederick’s budding relationship despite it seeming weird.
There is also a very slight “mystery” to the story that allows readers to watch Percival figure out the secret even as we’re all in on it from the get-go by virtue of our powers of deductive reasoning, so not a true mystery, more an innocent subterfuge, really. But in the end, issues are sorted, the charm is cast, the Misters Everett and Valentine proceed to their sweet happily-ever-after, landing An Unusual Courtship in the solidly pleasant, purposefully heartfelt read column.
You can buy An Unusual Courtship here:
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