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Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: The Twelfth Night Wager by Regan Walker + Author's Notes

Format: .mobi (provided by author in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: November 3, 2013

It was a dull day at White’s, the day he agreed to the wager: seduce bed and walk away from the lovely Lady Leisterfield, all by Twelfth Night. This holiday season, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, planned to give himself a gift.

She was too proper by half—or so was the accusation of her friends, which was why her father had to find her a husband. But Lord Leisterfield was now gone a year, and Grace was at last shedding the drab colors of mourning. The house felt empty, more so during the coming Christmastide, and so tonight her coming out would begin with a scandalous piece of theater. The play would attract rogues, or so promised her friend the dowager countess. It would indeed. The night would bring about the greatest danger—and the greatest happiness—that Grace had ever known.

Christopher St. Ives, the Viscount Eustace has just agreed to a wager with his friend, the Marquess of Ormond. Christopher must discreetly seduce, bed and walk away from Grace, the widowed Lady Leisterfield by Twelfth Night or he must pay his friend 1000 pounds.

Grace is finally shedding her mourning clothing and is intent on starting a new life that doesn’t include being the subject of a wager. Or being blackmailed over a secret her deceased husband had.

The Twelfth Night Wager is yet another lovely holiday novella by author Regan Walker that not only introduces a new couple but gives fans a chance to revisit with Hugh Redgrave, the Marquess of Ormond and his wife Mary from Racing with the Wind, the first book in the Agents of the Crown series. The Twelfth Night Wager doesn't involve spies, so there are no spy games here but rather a passionate romance that sneaks up on two unsuspecting lonely souls. Even as Christopher seeks to win, he finds himself truly falling for Grace, who is already aware that she is the subject of the wager and has no intention of allowing Christopher to win.

Regan Walker once again succeeds in adding danger to the novella without depriving readers of a full fledged courtship and romance. Christopher and Grace are solid characters who have just enough personality flaws to connect with readers; I enjoyed the both of them. I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance where the hero is a redhead, and it took a while for me to stop picturing Christopher as a dark haired figure. He’s a charming character and it was easy for me to see what it was about him that attracted women. He was never cruel to them, treasured them for the short time they were with him and never made promises he wasn’t going to keep. Grace was lovely, she gave off the vibe of a tragic heroine but in reality she made the best out of her marriage and even maintained a close relationship with her stepson. Plus, she's a dog person, I love dog people!

All in all if you enjoyed Regan Walker's previous holiday novella (The Holly & the Thistle) or even if you're looking for a short holiday read to warm up those winter days and nights, be sure to add The Twelfth Night Wager to your e-reader this holiday season!

Author's Notes regarding The Twelfth Night Wager
Men in aristocratic Regency London loved to wager, and the betting books at White’s and Brook’s clubs are famous for the often ridiculous subjects that led to the exchange of considerable coin. It is not, therefore, inconceivable that two peers would wager on the seduction of a certain unnamed lady.

The playbill for the San Pareil Theatre (later changed to the Adelphi) really did read Bachelor Miseries that opening night in October 1818. And it was to be appropriate as Eustace was to learn.

As with my other stories, many of the characters are real persons: Lord and Lady Hardwicke, Baron Alvanley, Sir Alex Abercromby, and by mention William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, Richard Tattersall and Lord John Russell. Some of these are also characters in my other stories. Interestingly, neither Alvanley, Sir Alex nor the 6th Duke of Devonshire ever married.

Those who have read Racing With The Wind, first in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, will recognize Hugh and Mary, Lord and Lady Ormond and Griffen and Elizabeth Lambeth. Lady Claremont, the Dowager Countess of Claremont was introduced in Against the Wind, and appears in my short stories.

Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire (pictured on the cover) is an actual, historic estate that can be visited today. In 1818, it was the home of Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke and his wife Elizabeth. I like to think the house party in my story might well have occurred that fall and included fox hunting and pheasant shooting. The entrance hall floor tiles actually date from the Victorian era but I could not resist including them, particularly since they feature the Hardwicke motto, so appropriate to Lady Leisterfield’s emotions at the time.

The perfidy of Lord Pickard and his blackmail mischief were suggested by actual historical events, though the murder of a peer was my own creation as was Viscount Pickard himself.

If you’d like to see what happened that same December when Lady Claremont invited a certain Scot named William Stephen to her party where he met the violet-eyed Lady Emily Picton, you might like to read The Holly & The Thistle, my short story from that same December that features all the traditions of a Regency Christmas. Because it was a short story, I did not include the ton’s response to Queen Charlotte’s death, should you wonder why the characters are not all wearing black.

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1 comment:

  1. Adria, I didn't see this when it appeared but want to thank you for the lovely review. I really appreciate it! Will be sure and send you Wind Raven when it comes out early 2014. A pirate Regency!


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