Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Review -- The Golden Season

The Golden Season
By Connie Brockway
Publisher: Onyx
Release Date: February 2, 2010

The Golden Season is my very first Connie Brockway book. Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t know why I haven’t read her books before (except to say that I already read a lot of authors), but I am so glad I have now. Her writing is exquisite and the romance is one of the most beautiful I’ve read in a long time.

Lady Lydia Eastlake is quite the celebrity in Regency London. Yes, she is extremely beautiful. Yes, she is insanely wealthy. And yes, she is the epitome of respectability. But it’s the combination of those plus her independence that makes her so popular. Born to parents whose marriage was met with scandal (it was considered taboo by many for a widow to marry her brother-in-law), Lydia enjoyed an extravagant, globe-trotting lifestyle during her childhood. Upon her parents’ sudden death, Lydia came to England to live with a guardian until her godmother, Eleanor, Duchess of Grenville, took her under her wing. From the moment she debuted, Lydia took London by storm and continues to do so. And then one day while meeting with her banker, Lydia finds out that she is bankrupt.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m sorry. I can’t be poor. Too many people depend on me. Craftsman and merchants, artisans and wine brokers, tradesmen and other such businesses.”

This was doing it a bit brown. “They do have other clients,” he said.

She frowned, more annoyed than offended. “I don’t think you properly appreciate my position, Terwilliger. I am not just another member of the ton. I am”—she cast about for the appropriate word—“I am an industry.”

Was she twitting him? She’d always had an odd sense of humor.

“Terwilliger,” she said with a touch of exasperation, “I dine at an establishment and its reputation is made. I import a certain varietal wine for a dinner party and within a week the vintner has orders for the next five years and the vineyard where the wine comes from is secure for a decade. I wear a perfume and not only is that fragrance’s popularity guaranteed, but the perfumery’s, too. The same can be said of the mill that produces the silk for my gowns, the musician I hire for an afternoon salon, the composer I employ to write a new sonata ...” She trailed off, studying him to gauge whether he understood.

He recognized in surprise that she was right and once again was visited by the uncomfortable notion that behind all her frivolity, Lady Lydia understood very well the world in which she lived. She was an industry. True, the ton was filled with fashion makers, but no one save Beau Brummell had captivated the public imagination like Lady Lydia Eastlake. She drew crowds wherever she went. People stood in line outside the shops she frequented and lined Rotten Row each afternoon hoping to get a glimpse of her riding past in her barouche.

In this passage, Lydia comes across as being a bit vane and a touch spoiled, but I see it more as confidence. Even when she behaves this way, she is still thinking of others. The fact that she is so genuine and knows exactly who she is made me appreciate and like her right from the start. She acts the way she does because that’s what she’s always known and what has always been expected of her. So, Lydia’s choices are pretty clear: either live off of a pittance and keep her beloved independence or marry a wealthy man and live comfortably without that freedom. As expected, Lydia chooses the latter.

Captain Edward “Ned” Lockton, recently retired from His Majesty’s naval service, comes home to Josten Hall to be with his family in the ancestral home he has always loved. Home only a week and Ned is informed by his brother the earl that the family’s fortune is gone and that Ned is to find an heiress and marry her as soon as possible. Ned goes to London, not because he is forced to or shamed into going, but because he sincerely loves his family in spite of their spoiled and self-indulgent ways. He likes to keep the peace. From the moment he first matches wits with Lydia, Ned sets out to win her. Sigh. He is sensible and always composed (he reminded me a bit of Mr. Darcy) and while it takes a little while for Lydia to crack his reserve, the reader is left with no doubt as to how he feels (one thing in particular that he does made me cry!). And the fact that Lydia is enormously wealthy pretty much seals the deal. But how will each take the news that the other does not have what they require in a spouse?

I loved, loved, LOVED this story! It has been a while since I’ve read a historical romance that was so well written and thoroughly blew me away. Seriously, I could not put it down. Everything about it was simply perfect; from the levelheaded, honorable Ned to the self-assured, compassionate Lydia; from the quirky but charming secondary characters to the slow-building romance sprinkled with tension, which when left in Ms. Brockway’s adept hands, unfolded beautifully. This may be my first Brockway book, but it isn’t going to be my last. I’ve already ordered several from her backlist, including so many romance readers’ top ten all-time favorite, All Through the Night. So, if you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend The Golden Season. You don’t want to miss it!



  1. Great review! I'll have to look for it to read.

  2. Wow, Andrea, sounds like you really fell in love with that book! It sounds interesting enough and I'll be sure to check it out!

  3. SIGH.

    Connie Brockway gives such excellent historical!

    Andrea, I hope you adore All Through the Night. It is in my Top 10 favorite romances of all time. I can't wait to read this one!

  4. Great review, Andrea! I've read The Golden Season and agree wholeheartedly. It's a fabulous story!

    I kind of envy you, you know. I've read all of Connie's books but you're just getting started. You have so many wonderful stories waiting for you!

  5. WOW, 5 stars!!

    Confession: I've never read a Connie Brockway book either. But, your review makes this book a must-buy.

    Thanks, again, Andrea, for adding to the mountain---nicely said, of course! :) (Good think I still have some Christmas money left....)

  6. Fabulous review, Andrea! I really, REALLY want to read this one now.

    I really enjoyed Connie's Yellow Rose series, and I think you would like them too :-)

  7. Thanks, jedi! I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up!

    LisaK, I really did fall in love with this book. And its hero. And its heroine. And....

  8. Kati, if ATtN is half as good as this one, I will love it. :)

    Thanks, PJ! I cannot wait to read her other books!

  9. LOL, Deb! So I wasn't the only one that hadn't read her before, huh? I think you would love this book. It's really quite excellent.

    Thanks, Buffie! I love this one so much that I'm going to buy a "real" copy for my shelves because I know I'll be reading it again.

  10. I can't wait to get this one, Connie's one of my very favorite authors. Andrea, All Through the Night is a fabulous book. After that, don't miss As You Desire, another top favorite for me.

  11. Ok, I also will confess, I have never read Connie Brockway either, Oh mercy.

    Andrea what an enthusiastic review. You are right, the writing fairly crackles, doesn't it?

    Ok, Love Ned already, not only was he a navel captain, but devoted to his family? *sigh*

  12. I can see why she's one of your favorites, Pam. Along with All Through the Night, I also ordered As You Desire and My Dearest Enemy!

  13. Drew, Ned will absolutely make you sigh. Multiple times. He is just . . . wonderful.

  14. Great review, Andrea!! You raved about this book while reading it, so I'll definitely have to see for myself. :)

  15. Trisha, you WILL be borrowing this book from me. I insist! LOL

  16. Great review, Andrea! I love Connie's writing, and I can't wait to read THE GOLDEN SEASON. :)

  17. Great review!! I've never read this author before either, but I think you just convinced me to give this book a try!

  18. Fantastic review Andrea I have read some of Connie's books and really enjoyed them I will be ordering this one

    Have Fun

  19. Andrea--I can't wait to read this book. Gannon has talked about Connie Brockoway to me for awhile but I have never gotten around to picking up a book of hers. This will be the first and it sounds like I will have a new author to depend upon for a seriously good adventure!

  20. Great review !! Really that good... then I guess it goes straight to my TBB list ;-)

  21. I never miss a Brockway book. She's an autobuy author for me. Like PJ, I envy you all the reading wealth you have to explore with her backlist.

    Her range is incredible too. And from the darkness of All Through the Night to the delight of As You Desire, they are all great.

  22. Thanks, Gannon! You'll love it!

    Thanks, inthehammockblog! You've not read Brockway either? That's what I love about reviewing--I have discovered so many authors that I may not have otherwise. :)

  23. Helen, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

    Cyndi, in the past, several people had mentioned that I should read Ms. Brockway, too, but I just never got around to it. Now I get to glom! Hope you like it!

  24. Good choice, Emmanuelle! Thanks!

    Janga--with this one book, she became an auto-buy author for me. I'm excited to read the rest and look forward to her next!

  25. Spectacular review! I am virtually drooling. Never read Brockway before, but I will now!

    Thanks again!

  26. Thanks, Jessica! I hope you like it!