A new Regency romance series by author Kieran Kramer pits four “Impossible Bachelors” against each in a hilarious race to avoid the alter.
In Book One, When Harry Met Molly, Lord Harry Traemore is confident his mistress will win when he’s drafted into a contest to find London’s “Most Delectable Companion.” The winner will get a reprieve from marriage for a year, after all, and Harry wants to win – badly. Then his mistress abandons him at the last minute. Desperate to find someone to take her place, he crosses paths with Lady Molly Fairbanks, Harry’s childhood nemesis. Molly has no intention of helping Harry, until her own circumstances force her to consider his offer. Their only intention is to win the contest – because they hate each other. Right?
In Book Two, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right, Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes has no intention of ever getting married. She’s quite happy to remain a Spinster, thank you very much. But gentlemen continue to insist upon proposing to her, so she invents a fake fiance, the Duke of Drummond, to ward off unwanted suitors. The plan works – until the real Duke of Drummond shows up and insists upon honoring their “engagement!” The Duke, better known as Nicholas Staunton, secretly works of a clandestine government agency and needs a fiance as part of his cover. He believes an engagement to Poppy will be the perfect ruse. Little does he known Poppy has a flair for adventure – and trouble.
Kieran Kramer has created a delightful circle of friends and acquaintances in her debut romance series. Far from being a typical Regency romance, Kramer adds her own touches to bring these characters to life. In particular, her books are filled with humor and fun, adding a lightness to the story. Whether Molly is trying valiantly to maintain her virtue in the middle of a mistress contest or Poppy is enthusiastically embracing the work – and risk – of a government spy, Kramer’s outlandish circumstances and situations work because they’re funny.
The hero and heroine of each book are well-developed and well suited to each other. In Harry and Molly’s case, for example, Kramer makes you believe in their childhood antagonism and makes you believe that they’ve grown up and changed. Meanwhile, Poppy, who tries so hard to hide her true feelings to others, is perfectly matched with Nicholas, who – as a spy – is trained to see the things others don’t.
Kramer’s focus on plot and main character development does leave the books open to weakness in other areas. Some of the situations Kramer creates seem anachronistic with the historical world she’s writing about. It seems highly unlikely, for example, that a young unmarried woman like Molly would simply be able to disappear with a bachelor for a full week and still have no one the wiser. Moreover, the endings of both books felt a bit rushed and abrupt, as Kramer has a tendency to resolve conflicts with the “pull a rabbit out of a hat” approach. And the villains, who never seem like genuine threats, don’t get any kind of truly satisfying comeuppance to balance out the happy endings.
Still, if you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted, enjoyable Regency romance, definitely check out Kieran Kramer’s Impossible Bachelors series. Book Three, Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage will be published in May 2011, while Book Four, If You Give a Girl a Viscount, will be released later in the year.
Both of these books were read as part of Historical Tapestry’s 2011 Historical Fiction Challenge.
[Photo Credit: Kieran Kramer's website]