by Victoria Malvey, historical (2001)
Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-7434-1884-0
Elizabeth Everly, your favorite bluestocking Regency heroine, doesn't like parties. Catherine Everly, your favorite gaily younger sister Regency teenager, loves parties and flirting. I wish people will stop copying Jane Austen's characters in Sense And Sensibility - why can't we copy from Edgar Allen Poe instead? Now that's a thought.
Meanwhile, John Vernon is the proper and boring Marquess of Wykham. His younger brother Richard is in trade - he runs a successful pretzel factory. I'm serious. Richard is the rake, John is the one who loves to sit on sticks.
Their paths cross when Daddy Everly despairs of Elizabeth ever marrying, so he declares that if Elizabeth doesn't marry, neither will seventeen-year old Catherine. Like all Regency dimbulbs, Elizabeth collapses at the slightest hint of emotional blackmail and starts looking for a husband. But she will not want that rude rake Richard, oh definitely!
Catherine agrees. Oh, John Vernon makes a better husband, don't you agree? She decides to ask Richard to help her throw John and Elizabeth together. Meanwhile, Elizabeth decides that all men are boring gits or just plain insufferable like that Richard Vernon, so she asks John to pretend to be her boyfriend to throw her father off the scent for a while. John agrees, because he wants to throw her, a proper and virtuous lap dog any man could want, to his brother together in hope for some matrimony ding-a-lings. Hopefully Elizabeth will tame wild, unruly Richard. Richard, however, is now an ex-rake who just pretends to be one to hide his pretzel business from the Ton. He will not stare at Elizabeth's bosom, he will not!
Do you get all that? To ease any misery, I'll make clear that Richard and Elizabeth will end up a couple, and Catherine and John (cradle snatcher!) the other.
Richard is cute as a pretzel boss, but he and Elizabeth soon lose me. Their relationship turn into a kiss-kiss, push him/her away because she/he is too good for him/her, repeat. Catherine and John fare better, maybe because Catherine at least isn't averse to flirting and smiling compared to I-will-die-if-I-have-fun Elizabeth, and John is a revelation when his dour mask falls. These two outshadow the major couple by spades.
Everything else is harmless fluffy fun of misunderstandings (minor ones) and matrimonial rigmarole. Wedding Of The Year isn't as merry or madcap as it wants to be - the story soon moves in a pointless circle of kiss-bicker-kiss-bicker - but all in all, it's okay. Nothing special, to be honest, but nothing exceptionally bad either. A rather average but sometimes amusing read to while the blues away, this one.
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