I am not a fan of romance novels but decided to challenge myself and read this one for Rosie’s Book Reviews. I did enjoy this book.
Miss Tavistock’s Mistake reminds me strongly of a Restoration play by William Congreve – The Way of the World – in that it is an examination of the social conventions of love and marriage at the time, with wit, banter and disguises, seasoned by delicate impropriety – in other words, a comedy of manners. This book is perhaps more light and frothy.
The story takes place a century later than Congreve’s plays, during the Regency Period, the decade between 1811 and 1820, a time of particular manners and fashions and of authors such as Jane Austin and Sir Walter Scott.
Feodora Margaret Tavistock, an orphan from America who comes at age nine to live with her uncle, the Duke of Trent. At age nineteen, she wants nothing more than to live in London for the ‘Season’, the time when unmarried young women meet prospective husbands at a series of social events.
Gabriel Rempeare, the Duke’s nephew, who comes to little Miss Tavistock’s rescue when she first arrives. He becomes a captain in his Majesty’s Navy and is betrothed to his cousin Margaret, as she wishes to be called now, by the wishes of both their deceased parents.
Mrs. Filbert, Miss Tavistock’s older lady companion.
The Duke of Trent, a widower who loves his niece and with the right incentive will give refuse her nothing.
Lady X, a mysterious woman who is reputed to be the Duke’s mistress.
Captain Rempear has not seen Margaret in ten years when he returns after being decommissioned from the Navy due to an injury and the loss of his ship. An unfortunate confrontational meeting between them before being re-introduced causes Miss Tavistock to identify herself as Lady X, a woman identified in the newspapers as the lover of her uncle. She finds the Captain infuriating and vows not to marry him.
The plot only becomes more twisted from there, as Miss Tavistock is allowed by her uncle to go with Mrs. Filbert to London, where she herself up in an independent household, maintaining her identity as Lady X. Captain Rempear, unable to find his cousin but nevertheless determined keep his word to marry her, also goes to London, where he finds himself increasingly drawn to Lady X. Secrets, lies, misdirection and misunderstandings created by Miss Tavistock make the reader wonder whether Captain Rempear, with whom she falls in love, can ever forgive her – if he finally figures out who she really is.
The author must have done a god job creating Miss Tavistock because I became infuriated with her continuing lies and deceptions and wanted to whack her upside the head, as they say here in the South. Captain Rempear is suitably handsome and charismatic and I was compelled to feel sorry for the way our heroine toyed with him.
The author’s command of Regency vernacular (which sent me to a computer!) and the period manners, dress and furnishings is excellent and give the story a historical richness.
This book will appeal to historical fiction aficionados and especially to readers who enjoy wholesome, romantic stories laced with comedy.
About the author:
Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite, and hopeless romantic. An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first novel (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Besides historical romance, Linore writes contemporary suspense (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard), contemporary romance (Falling In), and romantic short stories (ie., Three French Hens). Linore has a magna cum laude English Lit. degree from CUNY which she earned while taking herself far too seriously. She now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, where she turns her youthful angst into character or humor-driven plots.
You can find the author
On Twitter: @LinoreRBurkard
Miss Tavistock’s Mistake can be found on Amazon: