Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher:   Robert Hale
Release Date:  July 2003
ISBN:   ISBN 070907428X
Format Reviewed: Hardback 
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Genre:   Historical Romance [Regency Derbyshire, UK]
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer:   Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

Derbyshire Deception
By Ann Barker

     Freya Pascoe is an heiress, still unmarried at twenty-six. The trouble is that at 5' 10," she is taller than most of the men she meets and the pretty pastel clothes in fashion make her look a fright. Perhaps it is not surprising that she is taken as Lady Terrington's companion rather than her friend by the beautiful but obnoxious Miss Bryce, and this puts an idea into her head. Why not pretend to be a companion in need of a new situation, and thus get a holiday in her beloved Derbyshire? With a bet on the side that she won't last even a week, she surprises her friends by actually going, and there can indulge in her favorite pastime of walking. But she keeps bumping into Claudia Bryce's handsome fiancé (when she isn't fending off Claudia's brother Piers) and is strangely drawn to him, even though he has been pointed out to her as a heartless gambler who has frittered away the family fortune. Somehow even the prospect of a proper holiday in Derbyshire with her friend if she wins the bet can hardly compare with the exciting Lord Ravendale.

     This is classic provincial Regency, where the characters are all staying in a country house and the reader is entertained by the ensuing hi-jinks. As such, it is entertaining, and the descriptions of the Derbyshire sights and the interior of a mill are a welcome addition, although I would have preferred a slightly more detailed description of both. There are the inevitable quarrels that result from people jumping to the wrong conclusion, and of course the heroine and hero dislike each other initially. Although it might be nice if somebody could write a romance that doesn't include either hackneyed plot detail, this is an entertaining tale with a likeable pair of protagonists who manage to avoid the worse clichés and have some sprightly fun.

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