Saturday, July 3, 2010

Memoirs of a Hoyden by Joan Smith

Book Description:
"You are certainly a lady who knows her own mind - and everyone else's!"

After one had savored the starry dusk of Constantinople, raced camels across the Syrian desert, and been chased by Arabian bandits, England seemed quite dreary indeed!

But for famed author and adventuress Marion Mathieson, it was - momentarily - home. Here to lecture on her new book, A Gentlewoman's Memoirs of the Orient, she had no choice but to obey the ludicrous restrictions placed on "civilized" ladies. Truth to tell, many considered her exploits quite unladylike!

But a stormy night's highway robbery soon raised her spirits considerably. Especially now that the "Queen of the Orient" was in pursuit of spies and smugglers - albeit in the unwilling company of Mr. Kestrel... whose strong shoulders and captivating eyes promised a lady as much adventure as she could handle!
Quick review on a cute and diverting regency romance, with a surprisingly likable heroine as an authoress who is convinced she is always in the right. Add in an exasperated country squire on the trail of French spies while trying to rid himself of said annoying authoress, it all makes for a fun read.
Marion is not your typical heroine, for one thing, she's older than most.  A spinster at age thirty-two she has no aspirations of getting married, though she's still very pretty and comely.  She just thinks she doesn't need a man in her life.  She's an independent woman used to getting her way.  While traveling through England on her book tour, male secretary in tow, their public equipage is robbed and she runs into the annoying Mr. Kestrel who is rude and dismisses her out of hand.   He's high handed and almost comes across as a cowardly fop.  Eventually, Marion winds up at the country estate of one of the local gentry who takes them in for the night.  At dinner they get to know the owner and his daughter and lo and behold Kestrel shows up - he's a neighbor with a fondness for sheep and he doesn't seem to be interested in Marion's stories of her adventures in the Orient either - imagine that! Is he or isn't he who we think he is?  Zany mix ups, false identities and passionate kisses while on the hunt for French spies along the English coastline prove to be too irresistible for Marion and she wants in on the fun!
Bored with the humdrum life in England, she longs for adventure.  Her bossy tendencies take over and she immediately takes matters into her hands and interferes with Mr. Kestrel's (who we find out is really a spy for England)  plans to catch Boney's spies who have been skulking around the coastline of England.  Can he stop a French invasion - not if Marion keeps getting in the way!
There were lots of funny laugh out loud moments.  Between Marion's hilarious thoughts about everyone and her bantering that goes on with Kestrel I enjoyed this quick read.  Her secretary is funny too as he tries to help Marion and usually makes matters worse.  Kestrel and Marion detest each other on sight, but soon it turns to passion, albeit reluctantly.  Both are just as surprised (and horrified) to find they're attracted to one another! Kestrel as hero material was hard to like at first, but he grew on me, Marion was just plain funny and full of herself. 

A light and frothy clean romance which I really liked! It was cute, funny and a quick read. The hero wasn't developed much at all, and through most of the book he was sneering and surly, but over the course of the storyline we understand why. For the most part, it was the heroine who made the book likable with her witty asides and preponderance for jumping to the wrong conclusions. While completely missing the mark, she valiantly remained convinced that everyone else around her was the numskull. I wouldn't mind reading more about the adventures of this hoyden!  Fun and amusing!


Marie-Thérèse said...

Wonderful review of the book that's my favorite romance read so far this year.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Yes, you were the one who recommended it at Librarything! I'd never heard of it before, so I thought I'd give it a try, thanks for the rec!

Marie-Thérèse said...

You're welcome! I have a few more books by Joan Smith in my TBR pile. I'll let you know if they're as good this one after I read them.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

M-T - thanks!

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