"Delicious and Delightful Regency Romp"
The saying goes "A boy chases a girl until she catches him -
an apt description of A Merry Chase, a delicious, and
delightfully funny Regency romp as the hero "gambles" on
love and wins more than he had ever dreamed. The hero and
heroine are well matched for intelligence, wit, and
passion. No unrequited love, no gross misunderstandings,
neither party has any desire to marry as the game begins.
The moves and countermoves are well thought out and often
hilarious. The reader will appreciate early on how
wonderfully compatible this couple is (even though they
don't realize it themselves for sometime). This novel is
very different from Ms. Malvey's previous works and I think
it is her best to date.
Royce Van Cleef, Earl of Tewksbury, is happily unattached
and disgustingly lucky at games of chance. He finds his
friends' clumsy efforts at courtship highly entertaining.
Wooing a woman is a simple matter he states. A gentleman
must simply approach it in a logical fashion. His
recommendation: studied observation and a touch of
intrigue. The friends find his attitude a bit cocky,
especially since his own heart is not currently engaged.
They devise a grand scheme, a wager, to bring him down a
peg or four! The object is for Royce to win the hand of a
lady of their choosing, using his own advice. Royce agrees
with the stipulation that the lady must be suitable for
him. Their choice is accepted with relief. She is Lady
Laurel Simmons, who meets all Royce's criteria for a
compatible mate except ...................
Laurel has no wish to marry. Ever! She has studiously
avoided the attentions of men, having suffered the scandal
of being jilted by her fiancé, after he had received an
unexpected inheritance. She had been truly devastated to
realize that she'd been wanted primarily for her money,and
had vowed never to risk her heart again.
Royce however is stunningly clever. His methods appear to
be successful, for Laurel is intrigued in spite of herself.
After only a few days have passed, Royce feels Laurel is
ripe for the plucking. The friends view the earl's
continuing good fortune with consternation, and plot to
complicate matters a smidge. They discuss the wager
openly, with the intent of being overheard by Laurel's best
Laurel, now twice burned upon discovering that she is
simply the prize in a wager, and that her wooing has been
likened to a "fox hunt", decides to turn the tables on her
smug "suitor". She refuses his proposal and counters by
spreading the rumor of the wager to the ton leaving out
the name of the young lady to be won. The debutantes are
all atwitter at the thought of being Royce's chosen one.
Before long he is plagued by scores of young ladies, all
hoping to win his favor. Sadly the only one he is truly
interested in won't give him the time of day anymore.
Much too late Royce realizes that the game is up and that
he has much more to lose than a mere wager. Somewhere along
the way, his heart and soul had become engaged. He realizes
now that his mechanizations may have lost him the only
woman he could ever love. Royce is determined to win back
her trust. He will be her friend and use only honest
methods to win her over. His greatest fear is that it will
be too little and too late.
The game becomes more complicated as Royce's mother, a
scorned debutante, and the former fiancé - low on funds
once more, will do anything to keep the pair apart. Can
Royce convince Laurel that his love for her is genuine
before it's too late?
Copyright © 2001
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 22, 2001