We have a small used book store in my community. I love to frequent local merchants and being in a book store is nearly as divine as being in a library. Surround me with books, and I am a happy woman. One of the things I like about this store is the proprietor keeps copies of some of the more traditional Regency writers. I chose Kate Huntington’s book simply based on her name. I am from Huntington, West Virginia, so the lady’s name caught my eye. I originally bought His Lordship’s Holiday Surprise and A Rogue for Christmas to read over the holidays. I enjoyed both so much that I returned for several more of Huntington’s titles.
Book Blurb: A Desperate Fortune Hunter: Vanessa Whittaker must become betrothed by the end of her first London season – or else resign her fate and that of her family to the poorhouse. Encouraging the sole attentions of well-heeled elderly men, the raven-tressed beauty scorns the most handsome young noblemen Society has to offer, including wounded war hero Captain Alexander Logan. But it isn’t long before Vanessa’s resolve slowly crumbles under this dashing rogue’s irresistibly wicked spell!
A Daring Captain: Against his father’s wishes, Captain Alexander Logan intends to return to his regiment, even if it means wooing a pretty fortune hunter. Surely then his father will hasten to send him away to the military. Yet, Alex has not reckoned on taking so much pleasure in matching wits with the delectable Miss Whittaker, who is determined to ignore his amorous advances. But two can play on the battlefield of love. Soon, Alex sets out to teach Vanessa a lesson and reap his own rewards from a sham courtship that is quickly laying siege to two unsuspecting hearts.
The Captain’s Courtship by Kate Huntington (A Zebra Regency Romance – Kensington Publishing Company – copyright 1999)
Okay, if you are not old enough to remember Regency romances without “sex,” this book may not be for you. I am no prude. Some of my books contain sex scenes, some contain references to possible sexual interludes, and some have none. I do not write sex scenes simply to include one. That is probably because I spent much of my time reading books like Ms. Huntington’s. There is still sexual tension. Plenty of it, in fact.
Although Huntington’s use of the “fake engagement” is a tried and true entanglement in Regencies, this novel has a bit of a twist. It seems fresh. The dialogue is realistic – as if it was one that a person might overhear. Although there are several contrived plot twists, the storyline develops logically. It is well-crafted and, generally, follows the traditional format set by Georgette Heyer. The characters are fully developed and are worth rooting for. Both the hero and the heroine exhibit noble intentions: he for saving her family and her for not trying to “milk” him for his fortune.
There were some points that bothered me. For example, I do not understand why the family chooses to repair a house that cannot be theirs. Captain Logan gives Vanessa 2000 pounds to portray his betrothed. There are only females in the family. She and her sisters return home to save an estate that they cannot inherit. Secondly, using Sir Gregory Bainbridge to ruin Vanessa’s reputation made sense as a plot device. It did not make sense to have Bainbridge and Robert Langtry, her childhood sweetheart, being friends at the end of the book.
I did love the scene on the docks when Vanessa rushes to Logan’s side before he sets sail for the Continent. It was sweetly done and very satisfying.
Only one of Ms. Huntington’s titles are currently available in an eBook format. To Tempt a Gentleman has a 2005 copyright. The rest of her titles are available from used book outlets. Yet, they are worth checking out if one wishes to read a Regency with more plot than steam. I give the book a 4 out of 5 stars.