Monday, February 26, 2018

Review - - Lady Be Reckless

Lady Be Reckless
By Megan Frampton
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Lady Olivia Howlett, one of the twin daughters of the Duke of Marymount, is convinced that she is meant to marry Bennett Raybourn, Lord Carson, heir to the Marquis of Wheatley and the man that her sister Eleanor refused to marry (Lady Be Bad). In fact, Olivia is so convinced that Bennett is the man destined to be her husband that she proposes to him. He rejects her gently, but even that is not enough to deter Olivia. Bennett is attempting to see that Edward Wolcott, a friend since their school days, is accepted into aristocratic circles. Wolcott’s position as the illegitimate son of an immensely wealthy financier makes such acceptance unlikely, but Olivia is confident that she will succeed. She sets out to find young ladies of the ton who will accept the attention of the personable, wealthy Wolcott despite the stigma of his birth. Surely then Bennett will see that she is the perfect match for him, and helping Wolcott is just the kind of good deed in which Olivia delights.

Wolcott is devoted to his father, who acknowledged him, reared him with love and attention, saw that he was educated as a gentleman, and made him his heir. His father is ill, and his greatest wish is to see his son married to a woman whose breeding will win Edward the acceptance that all his father’s money has been unable to achieve. Edward is skeptical that Lady Olivia can find him a bride, but he sets the terms of their deal: if she can find him a bride within thirty days, he will donate one thousand pounds to the charity of her choice. Now if he can only control his attraction to the lovely Olivia.

Any fan of light historical romance can predict what happens from this point. Of course, the plan goes agley, and Olivia and Edward fall in love with one another. But the predictability of the destination does not diminish the wit and unexpected twists of the story nor the excellence of some of the secondary characters. Edward’s father is a delightful character, and the relationship between him and his son is one of the novel’s emotional strengths. Olivia’s twin Pearl and their younger sister Ida emerge as more fully defined characters in this book.

Lady Be Reckless is the second book in Frampton’s Duke’s Daughters series. Olivia is the third daughter who refuses to follow her parents’ plans for her. Edward is a wonderful hero—intelligent, sensitive, and insightful enough to see to the heart of Olivia. Some readers may find Olivia’s ebullience appealing and her compulsion to right the wrongs of the world endearing, but others may find her a bit too much. Frampton prefaces her chapters with quotations from Lady Olivia’s Guides: “Lady Olivia’s Particular Guide to Decorum” for the first twelve chapters and switching to “Lady Olivia’s Particular Guide to Being Reckless” in chapter thirteen after Edward’s kisses seriously undermine Olivia’s sense of decorum. In significant ways, this novel tells the story of the education of Lady Olivia Howlett. Olivia moves from penning gems such as “If you believe something is right, you should do it. Even at the risk of being wrong. But you are never wrong” to “I have no idea anymore.” She learns that she does not have all the answers, and she learns to listen to others.

I admit that although I adored Edward, Olivia reminded me strongly of Austen’s Emma, a heroine with whom I am not enamored.  I dislike Emma so much that I petitioned my committee to substitute Persuasion for Emma on the nineteenth-century English fiction section of the reading list for my doctoral comprehensive exams. My problems with Olivia were not enough to spoil my appreciation of the book, but they were enough to rank this second book as less stellar than the first, which was among my top ten last year. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book, and if you appreciate humorous romance with generous servings of charm and sizzle, I think you will enjoy it too. The Lady Is Daring, bookworm Ida’s story is next, with a release date of September 25, 2018. I am eager for this one for two reasons: (1) it looks as if Bennett will finally meet his match and (2) Ida sets out to find sister Della, the most scandalous of the duke’s daughters. I can’t wait!


  1. I have read many of Megan Frampton's novels and look forward to reading this one as well. There are always times when I don't always "get" what she is trying to express but I can't help but think that she is purposely doing this to make the reader think about what she is saying. Often times, it's rather like tongue-in-cheek humor and she's challenging the reader to catch it. Many romance novels are like mind candy in that we almost know what's going to happen next and it's a fun little story. But Megan wants us to remember her books and she's good at knowing how to do it. Well played, Ms. Frampton.

  2. Overall it sounds like a good read - thanks.

    1. Catslady, I think Megan Frampton is one of the best in the genre when it comes to combining humor and romance.

  3. Thank you for the review Janaga. I have this on my "wish list".

  4. You always make me realize that there are so many wonderful books waiting for me to read them. You are the one who introduced me to Megan Frampton. And you are the one who continues to remind me that there books I absolutely MUST get.

    This does sound like a book I would enjoy.

    Just so you know, I am not an Emma fan either. I have always wondered if she was based on someone Jane did not admire. Because to me she comes off as someone who is not very admirable.

    Thanks for the terrific review.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Annette. I always enjoy Frampton's books. I don't know if Austen modeled Emma on a particular person, but she certainly knew not all readers would like the character. She referred to her as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." We belong to a large company in our dislike of Emma. :)

  5. Sounds like a wonderful series to look into. Thanks for the review.

  6. Thank you for the review. This sounds like a good book for a weekend where you want to keep it light and just enjoy. Humor is important in the stories i read. It can be gallows humor meant to lighten a serious situation in a suspense story, or just the light humor mentioned above. I'll have to watch for this one.