Moore does a lovely job of showcasing sizzle in this must-read for fans of regency and historical romance.
It is romance on the high seas for Miss Amelia Beckett and Captain Sir William Drake in Jennifer Moore’s debut novel, Becoming Lady Lockwood. Sweet rather than steamy, the book is a fun, fast read overflowing with colorful, if not deep characters and exotic landscapes.
Forced into signing a marriage agreement with a man she has never met, the new Lady Lockwood finds only relief in the news that her husband has perished before coming to collect her. Content to stay on her sugar plantation in Jamaica, Amelia is surprised to find herself unceremoniously bundled off and bound for England to settle a legal inheritance dispute between her formidable father, Admiral Beckett, and the late Earl of Lockwood’s brother, the dashing Captain Drake. However, as the HMS Venture sails through hostile waters, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems as a hidden conspiracy threatens the lives of all aboard.
Set during the Napoleonic Wars, Becoming Lady Lockwood falls somewhere between historical and traditional regency romance. A bit chaste for a historical and not quite detailed enough for a traditional, it offers a small taste of the regency by uniquely focusing on Jamaican plantation life and the British navy before setting foot on the docks of London. Fans of the genre may notice the paucity of Austenesque vocabulary and dialogue as well as the characters’ tendencies to fluctuate between traditional and more casual, modern voices, but they will be pleased with the attention given to the dress and customs of the men aboard ship as well as Amelia’s foray into British society life.
The tale is largely plot driven, complete with battles at sea and daring escapes, but the pacing is often choppy, leaving some scenes feeling rushed and incomplete, and others fully formed. The cast of supporting characters helps smooth the gaps with humor and insight while remaining one-dimensional themselves. The villains are always evil, the young men earnest, the crew loyal, and so on throughout, with the exception of Amelia and William, who begin as adversaries before their affection develops.
Moore does a lovely job of showcasing the sizzle between Amelia and William while retaining a sense of innocence, “He raised her chin even higher, so that she was forced to lift her gaze to his face. He stared at her for a moment. Then his eyes dropped to her lips, and Amelia’s pulse began to race. Would he kiss her again? They sat frozen for a heartbeat, and then William stood, stealing with him all of the warmth in the room.” The overall effect is one of a gentle romance between two deeply moral people.
Hinting that more may follow, the author has set the scene for a follow-up featuring Captain Drake’s sister, Miss Emma Drake, and his closest friend, the newly promoted Captain Fletcher. In the meantime, Becoming Lady Lockwood is a must for avid readers of Covenant Communications’ regency romances or for those who simply love the regency period without the tawdriness.
Pallas Gates McCorquodale
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