The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

A historical romance featuring two people who are desperately in love and desperately terrified by it, The Luckiest Lady in London is by turns enjoyable and discomfiting, but always entertaining.

Felix, Marquess of Wrenworth, is ironically named. He is not happy, although he is in control of his world and has fastidiously created a public persona for himself that both he and Society refer to as the “Ideal Gentleman”. Felix is objectively perfect: smart, rich as Croesus, handsome, polite, athletic, and debonair. It is a beautifully crafted shell hiding a wounded heart.

Given a hero named Felix, I chose to look into the meaning the heroine’s name and I learned that Louisa means “renowned warrior”.  It’s appropriate. She needs her battle skills and instincts for self-protection. Too old to be a debutante, Louisa nonetheless has one Season to land a husband who can provide financial security for her family, including an invalid sister. Like Felix, she has meticulously fashioned the image she presents to the world: bright, relaxed, and winning. She has a realistic view of her charms and prospects, and she conducts herself accordingly. Louisa is not necessarily conniving, just extremely pragmatic. Felix is not even on her list of suitable husbands; she has set her sights on two appropriate men and while she does not expect to marry for love, she will not martyr herself for her family either.

Louisa and Felix first meet at a soiree and instantly recognize the truth, and its danger, in each other:  they are kindred spirits with carefully maintained facades. When their acquaintance expands and Louisa’s best prospects are found to be wanting, she and Felix begin their dance. They spar and tease even as something much more potent lingers beneath the surface. Felix and Louisa are intellectually fascinated, sexually volcanic, and emotionally fearful of each other.

My previous forays with Sherry Thomas have resulted in “I just can’t” as I usually find her books too heavy and serious. The usual sobriety is still present in The Luckiest Lady in London, but it was couched in such delightful writing and sincere characters that it did not get in the way for me this time. My only carp is that the angst did indeed make me writhe (and not the good kind of writhing I look to these books for) and that when the denouement proceeded, I felt it moved a little too close to cutesy given the tone established by the rest of the book.  But never mind that, I would still recommend The Luckiest Lady in London to readers looking for entertaining, slightly intense, and well-written escapism.

 The (Shameful) Tally 2013

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