28 April 2010

Reading Romance: In for a Penny, by Rose Lerner

I get most of my romance reading recommendations from All About Romance, which has some of the best written and objective reviews on the web. Sure, I have a list of auto-buy authors, but I usually buy the books of debut authors used or borrow them from the library. While I want to support the romance genre by buying new, I also hate to waste time and money on poorly written or plotted books. So I carefully read reviews before trying new-to-me authors. Anyway, All About Romance highly recommended a book by debut author Rose Lerner and so I decided to buy it new.

If you like romance that focuses on character development and the relationship between the hero and heroine, then In for a Penny may be for you. It has all the hallmarks of the best traditional Regencies, focusing on what's going on in the heads of the characters, rather than on their nether regions.

The plot revolves around Penny, a young Cit heiress, and Nev, the impoverished lord who weds her for her fortune. These characters are sympathetic, believable, and fundamentally decent human beings. I liked spending time with them.

Most of the action takes place after Penny and Nev wed. They return to his ancestral home and find that the entire district has been impoverished and is likely to rise in rebellion. Unlike a lot of romance novel plots, which feature evil villains, In for a Penny uses the upset caused by the Corn Laws to create part of the tension and suspense. The rest comes from the growing pains in the relationship between Penny and Nev.

In for a Penny has all the period detail, relationship development, and sweetness of the best trads. I look forward to reading Lerner's next book in January 2011. And, oh yes, I'll be buying it new.

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