Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book review: A Baron In Her Bed by Maggi Anderson

A Baron in Her Bed (The Spies of Mayfair #1) by Maggi Anderson 
Regency romance*Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 2012 by Knox Robinson Publishing Ltd.

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia's plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. 

Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch. 

Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father's stallion, "The General", around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. She has become bored of her country life and longs to escape to London to pursue her desire to become part of the London literary set. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them. 

Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia's father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia's time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy's demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.

Horatia is a strong minded young woman who doesn't want to marry and give up her independence. Part of her free spirited way of living is to dress up as a groomsman so she can ride her father's horse, The General, like a man. She would like to be a poet, inherit and live like a spinster, as her aunt does. Until she encounters an injured man in the woods, an attractive man with a French accent, and is stuck in a sudden snowstorm. The man, an aristocrat, is Guy and he is new to the area. Guy is there to claim his father's heritage and home. But he can't keep his eyes off the helpful groomsman with the feminine features.

The opening scene in A Baron In Her Bed is engaging and certainly grabs the reader's attention. I liked watching Horatio's predicament as she tries to keep her true identity secret from the rakish Baron. Guy opens up, thinking he is with another guy, never suspecting Simon is a woman. The scene where he lets Horatia know he's on to her was humorous and romantic. I cheered for this couple to get together. Guy is wealthy, handsome and eligible. Many of the country females would love to become his wife. As he adjusts to his new home, there are attempts on his life and he doesn't know why. As he grows closer to Horatia, he devises a plan to flush out who wants him dead. Involving Horatia as his intended as a ploy could backfire, especially with his increasing feelings for her. Can he keep her safe and stay alive?

Told from the third person points-of-view of Horatia and Guy, A Baron In Her Bed is an entertaining Regency Romance. Rich in period details from articles of clothing to architecture, the author paints a vivid setting and inhabits it with a colorful cast of characters from Horatia's studious father to her sociable aunt to Guy's extravagant sister. Once the mystery (which was predictable) of who wanted Guy dead was revealed, I felt some of the story's steam was lost as espionage is then brought introduced. As for the main couple, I loved seeing Guy change from a rake to one who realized he only desired one woman, a woman he loved. Horatia holds steadfast to her life plan until her heart makes her change her mind after Guy's kiss. Seeing her own father engaged, she knows her future is with Guy. 

I enjoyed the characters though I didn't connect with them. This is the first book in The Spies of Mayfair series and the next book deals with Guy's friend, John. I wonder what  awaits readers in that installment.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment: 
I've seen that model grace many a book cover and it's becoming tiresome. Still, I like the pose and setting. As for Guy, I thought he was described in the book as having olive and brown skin at times. 

Book source: 
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review during a blog tour.

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