"A historical romp"

Alice Jessup, daughter of a vicar, is a paid companion to Lady Clara Langly, a spoiled, selfish society bitch. At her mistress's insistence, Alice switches places with Clara and attends the masquerade on her behalf, where she meets the man to whom Clara was supposed to be introduced--Nigel Farnham, Earl of Romney, the man Alice couldn't help but be attracted to.

Meanwhile, Nigel is also captivated by the woman he thought was Lady Clara, especially by her unusual green eyes. Though Alice repeatedly asserts that she isn't Lady Clara Langly, he wouldn't believe her, until the day Clara and her aunt reveals the truth and heaps all blame upon Alice's head. But by that time, Alice is gone from London...

Counterfeit Lady promises to be a fun historical romp, as evidenced by the back cover summary, and I expected a lot of delicious misunderstandings to arise between the main characters due to the situation. But sadly, it didn't quite live up to its promise.

Owing to her upbringing, where her mother died early and her father is a non-understanding, stern, strict vicar, Alice pretty much had it hard in her life. When her father offered her a choice between marrying one of his parishioners, a much older man who was looking for a helpmate to take care of his sheep farm, and being paid companion to Clara, Alice chose the lesser of two evils. However, Clara is a bitch and didn't make Alice's life easy by eloping with a womanizer and leaving her to face the heat.

It should have been easy to be sympathetic with Alice, given her situation. She kept a cool head all throughout Clara's disappearance and gave the servants directions on how to proceed. Yet, it was hard to feel connected to her and empathize with her, even before she was being such a martyr.

When Clara finally returned, obviously ravished by a womanizing lord, Alice voluntarily decided to leave her employ. However, it was what she said next that flabbergasted me. Alice delivered herself up to be a scapegoat for Clara's mistakes, even teaching Clara what she needed to do and say so that she wouldn't need to reap the consequences of her behavior.

If Clara were a beloved sister who had been led astray, I can understand Alice's actions and even empathize with her. But no, Clara has brought her nothing but misery, and since Alice has decided to leave anyway, she should just have left Clara to her own devices. After all, she didn't owe Clara anything.

I like kindness in a heroine, but this is too much.

The story's saving grace is probably Nigel Farnham, who was steadfast in his love for Alice, despite the discovery of her real station and despite her many refusals to let him into her life. He pursued her back to her hometown and even allowed himself to be shot at by her father. His persistence should have touched her, yet it only raised more questions and doubts in her as to his real intention. The author really put the characters through all sorts of hell before she lets them have their happy-ever-after.

Reviewed by Silver Winters
Posted December 17, 2009


But Alice could—and did. Against her better judgment, she allowed herself one night at a masquerade ball, playing the role of her mistress. When else might she, daughter of an austere Methodist minister and a servant, sample the pleasures of the ton? She had but one obligation: deter the coxcomb and would-be suitor, Nigel Farnham.

She vanished in a swish of buttery silk and left behind the scent of sweet clover and violets. Mischievous and bold, Lady Clara Langly was a chit who desperately needed to be taken in hand—but she had left Nigel abruptly, fled into the night, and he’d had no chance to see her pretty face unmasked. If he was right, and dancing was nothing but making love to music, their quadrille was just the beginning….

Genre: Historical Romance, Regency


Counterfeit Lady
by Dawn MacTavish

Dorchester (Leisure Books)
October 1, 2009
Available: October 27, 2009
ISBN #0843963212
EAN #9780843963212
320 pages
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